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Happy birthday Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 — 30 November 1900)!

To celebrate, enjoy an assortment of Wilde-related material from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which is celebrating is 50th anniversary this year!

1/ A short note exchanged between Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde, arranging a meeting in 1882.
2/ A first edition copy of his 1892 collection of poems, signed by Wilde himself.
3/ An 1894 illustration by Aubrey Beardsley for Wilde’s Salome.

Today is Günter Grass’s 86th birthday!
He is a german novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely regarded as Germany’s most famous living writer.
Grass was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). In 1945, he came to West Germany as a homeless refugee, though in his fiction he frequently returns to the Danzig of his childhood.
Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a key text in european magic realism, and the first part of his Danzig Trilogy, which also includes Cat and Mouse and Dog Years. His works are frequently considered to have a left-wing political dimension and Grass has been an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The Tin Drum was adapted into a film, which won both the 1979 Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish Academy, upon awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature, noted him as a writer “whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”… (more)

Today is Günter Grass’s 86th birthday!

He is a german novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely regarded as Germany’s most famous living writer.

Grass was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). In 1945, he came to West Germany as a homeless refugee, though in his fiction he frequently returns to the Danzig of his childhood.

Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a key text in european magic realism, and the first part of his Danzig Trilogy, which also includes Cat and Mouse and Dog Years. His works are frequently considered to have a left-wing political dimension and Grass has been an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The Tin Drum was adapted into a film, which won both the 1979 Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish Academy, upon awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature, noted him as a writer “whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”… (more)

Oscar Wilde would be 159 years old today.
He was an irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his only novel (The Picture of Dorian Gray), his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death.
Wilde’s parents were successful anglo-irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in french and german early in life. At university Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new “English Renaissance in Art”, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day… (more)

Oscar Wilde would be 159 years old today.

He was an irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his only novel (The Picture of Dorian Gray), his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death.

Wilde’s parents were successful anglo-irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in french and german early in life. At university Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new “English Renaissance in Art”, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day… (more)

Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, would be 169 years old today.
He was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation,” which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life’s expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be. Often referred to as one of the first existentialist philosophers along with Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Nietzsche’s revitalizing philosophy has inspired leading figures in all walks of cultural life, including dancers, poets, novelists, painters, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and social revolutionaries… (more)

Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, would be 169 years old today.

He was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation,” which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life’s expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be. Often referred to as one of the first existentialist philosophers along with Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Nietzsche’s revitalizing philosophy has inspired leading figures in all walks of cultural life, including dancers, poets, novelists, painters, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and social revolutionaries… (more)

The spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega passed away 477 years ago.
He was born in the spanish city of Toledo. His exact birth date is unknown, but estimates put his year of birth between 1498 and 1503 (it is at least known that it was before 1504). His father, Pedro Suárez de Figueroa, was a nobleman in the royal court of the Catholic Monarchs. His mother’s name was Sancha de Guzmán… (more)

The spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega passed away 477 years ago.

He was born in the spanish city of Toledo. His exact birth date is unknown, but estimates put his year of birth between 1498 and 1503 (it is at least known that it was before 1504). His father, Pedro Suárez de Figueroa, was a nobleman in the royal court of the Catholic Monarchs. His mother’s name was Sancha de Guzmán… (more)

Hannah Arendt, the german-american political philosopher, would be 107 years old today.
Though often described as a philosopher, she rejected that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with “man in the singular” and instead described herself as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.” Her works deal with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. The Hannah Arendt Prize is named in her honour… (more)

Hannah Arendt, the german-american political philosopher, would be 107 years old today.

Though often described as a philosopher, she rejected that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with “man in the singular” and instead described herself as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.” Her works deal with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. The Hannah Arendt Prize is named in her honour… (more)