to Continental Lodge #287's Home Page. We Fraternally invite you to
view our Communication and visit us on our regular meeting night. We
meet on the first Wednesday of the month at Grand Lodge, 71 West 23rd
Street in the Renaissance Room on the 6th Floor at 7:30PM. Our
Brothers meet for dinner prior to the meetings. Check the
Communication for location and feel free to join us..... Dutch of
Be Well, God Bless and let our Brotherly Love Spread Around the
If you are not already a member
of our ancient & honorable fraternity, and would like additional
information, please contact this Lodg or any of our fraternity.
Although we cannot directly solicit members, we will be pleased to
respond to your interest by answering your questions and will gladly
provide a petition at your request.
H.G. Wells was born in Bromley, Kent. His father was a shopkeeper and a professional
cricketer, and his mother served from time to time as a housekeeper at the nearby estate of Uppark. His
father's business failed and to elevate the family to middle-class status, Wells was
apprenticed like his brothers to a draper, spending the years between 1880 and 1883 in
Windsor and Southsea. Later he recorded these years in KIPPS (1905). In the story Arthur
Kipps is raised by his aunt and uncle, and who is apprenticed to a draper. After learning
that he has been left a fortune, Kipps enters the upper-class society, which Wells
describes with sharp social criticism.
In 1883 Wells become a teacher/pupil at Midhurst Grammar Scool. He obtained a scholarship
to the Normal School of Science in London and studied there biology under T.H. Huxley.
However, his interest faltered and he left without a degree in 1887. He taught in private
schools for four years, not taking his B.S. degree until 1890. Next year he settled in
London, married his cousin Isabel and continued his career as a teacher in a
After some years Wells left Isabel for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom
he married in 1895. As a novelist Wells made his debut with The Time Machine, a parody of
English class division, and a satirical warning that human progress is not inevitable. It
was followed by such science fiction classics as THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1896), in which
a mad scientist transforms animals into human creatures, The Invisible Man (1897), a
Faustian story of a scientist who has tampered with nature in pursuit of superhuman
powers, The War of the Worlds (1898), a novel of an invasion of Martians, THE FIRST MEN ON
THE MOON (1901), prophetic description of the methodology of space flight, and THE WAR IN
THE AIR (1908), a hybrid that places Kipps-like Cockney hero in the context of a
catastrophic aerial war.
Dissatisfied with his literary work, Wells moved into the novel genre, with LOVE AND MR.
LEWISHAM (1900), strenghtening his reputation as a serous writer with Kipps, TONO-BUNGAY
(1909), THE HISTORY OF MR. POLLY (1909), an ode to vanished England. He also published
critical pamphlets attacking the Victorian social order, among them ANTICIPATIONS (1901),
MANKIND IN THE MAKING (1903), A MODERN UTOPIA (1905).
Passionate concern for society led Wells to join in 1903 the socialist Fabian Society in
London, but he soon quarreled with the society's leaders, among them George Bernard Shaw.
This experience was basis for his novel THE NEW MACHIAVELLI (1911), where he draw
portraits of the noted Fabians. At the outbreak of war in 1914 Wells was involved in a
love affair with the young English author Rebecca West, which influenced his works and
After WW I Wells published several non-fiction works, among them THE OUTLINE OF HISTORY
(1920), THE SCIENCE OF LIFE (1929-39, written in collaboration with Sir Julian Huxley and
George Philip Wells), and EXPERIMENT IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1934). At this time Wells had
gained the status as a popular celebrity, continuing to write prolifically. He lived
through World War II in his house on Regent's Park, refusing to let the blitz drive him
out of London. His last book, MIND AT THE END OF ITS TETHER (1945) expressed pessimism
about mankind's future prospects. Wells died in London on August 13. 1946. Return
to Last Page
Booker T. Washington recalled his childhood in his autobiography, Up From
Slavery. He was born in 1856 on the Burroughs tobacco farm
which, despite its small size, he always referred to as a "plantation." His
mother was a cook, his father a white man from a nearby farm. "The early years of
my life, which were spent in the little cabin," he wrote, "were not very
different from those of other slaves."
He went to school in Franklin County - not as a student, but to carry books for one of
James Burroughs's daughters. It was illegal to educate slaves. "I had the feeling
that to get into a schoolhouse and study would be about the same as getting into
paradise," he wrote. In April 1865 the Emancipation Proclamation was read to
joyful slaves in front of the Burroughs home. Booker's family soon left to join his
stepfather in Malden, West Virginia. The young boy took a job in a salt mine that began at
4 a.m. so he could attend school later in the day. Within a few years, Booker was taken in
as a houseboy by a wealthy towns-woman who further encouraged his longing to learn. At age
16, he walked much of the 500 miles back to Virginia to enroll in a new school for black
students. He knew that even poor students could get an education at Hampton Institute,
paying their way by working. The head teacher was suspicious of his country ways and
ragged clothes. She admitted him only after he had cleaned a room to her satisfaction.
In one respect he had come full circle, back to earning his living by menial tasks. Yet
his entrance to Hampton led him away from a life of forced labor for good. He became an
instructor there. Later, as principal and guiding force behind Tuskegee Institute in
Alabama, which he founded in 1881, he became recognized as the nation's foremost black
Washington the public figure often invoked his own past to illustrate his belief in the
dignity of work. "There was no period of my life that was devoted to play,"
Washington once wrote. "From the time that I can remember anything, almost
everyday of my life has been occupied in some kind of labor." This concept of
self-reliance born of hard work was the cornerstone of Washington's social philosophy.
As one of the most influential black men of his time, Washington was not without his
critics. Many charged that his conservative approach undermined the quest for racial
equality. "In all things purely social we can be as separate as the fingers,"
he proposed to a biracial audience in his 1895 Atlanta Compromise address, "yet
one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress." In part, his methods
arose for his need for support from powerful whites, some of them former slave owners. It
is now known, however, that Washington secretly funded anti segregationist activities. He
never wavered in his belief in freedom: "From some things that I have said one may
get the idea that some of the slaves did not want freedom. This is not true. I have never
seen one who did not want to be free, or one who would return to slavery."
By the last years of his life, Washington had moved away from many of his
accommodationist policies. Speaking out with a new frankness, Washington attacked racism.
In 1915 he joined ranks with former critics to protest the stereotypical portrayal of
blacks in a new movie, "Birth of a Nation." Some months later he died at age 59.
A man who overcame near-impossible odds himself, Booker T. Washington is best remembered
for helping black Americans rise up from the economic slavery that held them down long
after they were legally free citizens.
Although he would have much preferred to be remembered as a highly
successful military hero, Lew Wallace has been thwarted in this ambition and is best known as an author.
Born in Indiana, he had worked as a clerk and early displayed a fascination for Mexico
which would affect him in later years. During the Mexican War he served as a second
lieutenant in the lst Indiana but saw only minor action. In 1849 he was admitted to the
bar in his native state and seven years later entered the state senate.
With the outbreak of the Civil War he offered
his services, and his assignments included: adjutant general of Indiana (April 1861);
colonel, 11th Indiana (April 25, 1861); colonel, 11th Indiana (reorganized August 31,
1861); brigadier general, USV (September 3, 1861); commanding 3rd Division, District of
Cairo, Department of the Missouri (February 14-17, 1862); major general, USV (March 21,
1862); commanding 3rd Division, Army of the Tennessee (February 17-June 1862); commanding
8th Corps, Middle Department (March 22, 1864-February 1,1865 and April 19-August 1, 1865);
and also commanding the department (March 22, 1864-February 1,1865 and April 19-June 27,
His career got off to a promising start when he
routed an inferior Confederate force at Romney, Virginia. Promoted to brigadier general,
he was given charge of a newly organized division in the midst of the operations against
Fort Donelson and was soon rewarded with a second star. However, that spring his
reputation plummeted after the battle of Shiloh. On the first day his division was
stationed north of the main army at Crump's Landing, and a series of contradictory orders
from Grant forced him to countermarch his command and delayed his arrival on the main
battlefield until the fighting was nearly over. He redeemed himself on the second day, but
a scapegoat was needed for the near disaster the day before and this was Wallace. Sent
home to await further orders, he offered his services to Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton
and, despite his high rank, took temporary command of a regiment during the emergency
posed by Kirby Smith's invasion of Kentucky. With Cincinnati threatened, Wallace was
placed in charge of a mostly civilian defense force. Through a show of tremendous energy
he was able to save the city without a major fight. He was then head of the commission
which examined Buell's handling of the invasion and other boards until placed in charge in
Maryland in early 1864. There he bought valuable time for the defenders of Washington
during Early's drive into the state when he made a stand at Monocacy with an inferior
At the close of the war he sat on the
court-martial which tried the Lincoln conspirators and presided over that which sent
Andersonville chief Henry Wirz to the gallows. He then joined a movement to aid the Juarez
forces against Maximilian in Mexico. He tried to raise money and troops and even accepted
the title of major general from the Juarez group. On November 30, 1865, he resigned from
the U.S. service, but his Mexican venture collapsed and he realized little of the money
which he had hoped to gain from it. In later years he was governor of the New Mexico
Territory and a diplomat to Turkey. As a prolific writer, who often drew upon his own
experiences, he is best remembered for Ben Hur.- A Tale of the Cbrist, one of the most
popular novels of the nineteenth century. Return
to Last Page
Voltaire, assumed name of François Marie Arouet (1694-1778), French writer and
philosopher, who was one of the leaders of the Enlightenment.
Voltaire was born in Paris, November 21, 1694, the son of a notary. He was educated by the
Jesuits at the College Louis-le-Grand.
Voltaire quickly chose literature as a career. He began moving in aristocratic circles and
soon became known in Paris salons as a brilliant and sarcastic wit. A number of his
writings, particularly a lampoon accusing the French regent Philippe II, duc d'Orléans of
heinous crimes, resulted in his imprisonment in the Bastille. During his 11-month
detention, Voltaire completed his first tragedy, (Edipe, which was based upon thr (Edipus
tyrannus of ancient Greek Dramatist Sophocles, and commenced an epic poem on Henry IV of
France. (Edipe was given its initial performance at the Théâtre-Français in 1718 and
received with great enthusiasm. The work on Henry IV was printed anonymously in Geneva
under the title of Poème de la ligue (Poem of the League, 1723). In his first
philosophical poem, Le pour et le contre (For and Against), Voltaire gave eloquent
expression to both his anti-Christian views and his rationalist, deist creed.
A quarrel with a member of an illustrious French family, the chevalier de Rohan, resulted
in Voltaire's second incarceration in the Bastille, from which he was released within two
weeks on his promise to quit France and proceed to England. Accordingly he spent about two
years in London. Voltaire soon mastered the English language, and in order to prepare the
British public for an enlarged edition of his Poème de la ligue, he wrote in English two
remarkable essays, one on epic poetry and the other on the history of civil wars in
France. For a few years the Catholic, autocratic French government prevented the
publication of the enlarged edition of Poème de la ligue, which was retitled La Henriade
(The Henriad). The government finally allowed the poem to be published in 1728. This work,
an eloquent defense of religious toleration, achieved an almost unprecedented success, not
only in Voltaire's native France but throughout all of the continent of Europe as well.
In 1728 Voltaire returned to France. During the next four years he resided in Paris and
devoted most of his time to literary composition. The chief work of this period is the
Lettres anglaises ou philosophiques (English or Philosophical Letters, 1734). A covert
attack upon the political and ecclesiastical institutions of France, this work brought
Voltaire into conflict with the authorities, and he was once more forced to quit Paris. He
found refuge at the Château de Cirey in the independent duchy of Lorraine. There he
formed an intimate relationship with the aristocratic and learned Gabrielle Émilie Le
Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, who exerted a strong intellectual influence
Voltaire's sojourn at Cirey in companionship with the marquise du Châtelet was a period
of intense literary activity. In addition to an imposing number of plays, he wrote the
Élements de la philosophie de Newton (Elements of the Philosophy of Newton), and produced
novels, tales, satires, and light verses.
Voltaire's stay at Cirey was not without interruptions. He often traveled to Paris and to
Versailles, where, through the influence of the marquise de Pompadour, the famous mistress
of Louis XV, he became a court favorite. He was first appointed historiographer of France,
and then a gentleman of the king's bedchamber; finally, in 1746, he was elected to the
French Academy. His Poème de Fontenoy (1745), describing a battle won by the French over
the English during the War of the Austrian Succession, and his Précis du siècle de Louis
XV (Epitome of the Age of Louis XV), in addition to his dramas La princesse de Navarre and
Le triomphe de Trajan, were the outcome of Voltaire's connection with the court of Louis
Following the death of Madame du Châtelet in 1749, Voltaire finally accepted a
long-standing invitation from Frederick II of Prussia to become a permanent resident at
the Prussian court. He journeyed to Berlin in 1750 but did not remain there more than two
years, because his acidulous wit clashed with the king's autocratic temper and led to
frequent disputes. While at Berlin he completed his Siècle de Louis XIV, a historical
study of the period of Louis XIV (1638-1715).
For some years Voltaire led a migratory existence, but he finally settled in 1758 at
Ferney, where he spent the remaining 20 years of his life. In the interval between his
return from Berlin and his establishment at Ferney, he completed his most ambitious work,
the Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations (Essay on
General History and on the Customs and the Character of Nations, 1756). In this work, a
study of human progress, Voltaire decries supernaturalism and denounces religion and the
power of the clergy, although he makes evident his own belief in the existence of God.
After settling in Ferney, Voltaire wrote several philosophical poems, such as Le désastre
de Lisbonne (The Lisbon Disaster, 1756); a number of satirical and philosophical novels,
of which the most brilliant is Candide (1759); the tragedy Tancrède (1760); and the
Dictionnaire philosophique (1764). Feeling secure in his sequestered retreat, he sent
forth hundreds of short squibs and broadsides satirizing abuses that he desired to expose.
Those who suffered persecution because of their beliefs found in Voltaire an eloquent and
powerful defender. The flavor of Voltaire's activities could be summarized in the phrase
he often used: écrasons l'infâme ("let us crush the infamous one"). With this
phrase, he referred to any form of religion that persecutes nonadherents or that
constitutes fanaticism. For Christianity he would substitute deism, a purely rational
religion. Candide, in which Voltaire analyzes the problem of evil in the world, depicts
the woes heaped upon the world in the name of religion. He died in Paris, May 30, 1778.
Voltaire's contradictions of character are reflected in his writings as well as in the
impressions of others. He seemed able to defend either side in any debate, and to some of
his contemporaries he appeared distrustful, avaricious and sardonic; others considered him
generous, enthusiastic, and sentimental. Essentially, he rejected everything irrational
and incomprehensible and called upon his contemporaries to act against intolerance,
tyranny, and superstition. His morality was founded on a belief in freedom of thought and
respect for all individuals, and he maintained that literature should be useful and
concerned with the problems of the day. These views made Voltaire a central figure in the
18th-century philosophical movement typified by the writers of the famous French
Encyclopédie. Because he pleaded for a socially involved type of literature, Voltaire is
considered a forerunner of such 20th-century writers as Jean Paul Sartre and other French
existentialists. Return to Last Page
The novels of Russia's greatest writer, Leo Tolstoi, captured the vastness of
the Russian landscape and the complexity of its people. His social and moral
ideals spread to all parts of the world. His massive `War and Peace' is regarded as a
milestone in the development of the Western novel.
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi was born in the village of Yasnaya Polyana in the central Russian
province of Tula. The date was Sept. 9, 1828, but it was August 28 according to the
calendar being used at the time.
Tolstoi' s parents, Count Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoi and Princess Marya Nikolaevna
Volkonskaya, were married in Moscow in 1822. They came from distinguished families of the
Russian nobility. The couple moved to her family's estate at Yasnaya Polyana in 1823 with
their first child, Nikolai. There Sergei, Dmitri, and Leo were born. The household was a
happy one. Tolstoi re-created many of the scenes of his childhood in his writings.
Tolstoi's mother died in 1830 after the birth of a daughter, Marya. Seven years later the
count died. Relatives and friends cared for the orphans until they were taken to Kazan' to
live with an aunt in 1841. Leo showed intelligence, sensitivity, and imagination early in
life. In 1836 a tutor had predicted literary fame for the boy.
Tolstoi entered the University of Kazan' in 1844. He soon became dissatisfied with the
educational system. His study of the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau encouraged
his rebellious attitude and greatly influenced his moral, social, and educational beliefs.
In 1847 Tolstoi left the university, saying that he had lost faith in religion and prayer.
In 1851, tired of the irresponsible life-style he had chosen, he accompanied his brother
Nikolai, a military officer, to the Caucasus. There Leo joined the army in 1852. In 1854
he was commissioned an officer and served bravely in the Crimean War until 1856. He used
and described his army experiences in many of his stories and novels.
Tolstoi 's first published work appeared in the Russian magazine Contemporary in 1852. It
was based on his own memories and was titled `Childhood'. More stories and accounts of the
Crimean campaign were soon published. He was a well-known author by 1856.
In 1862 Tolstoi married Sofya Andreevna Behrs. They lived in Yasnaya Polyana for the next
48 years. They had 13 children.
Tolstoi's epic novel of Russian life during the time of Napoleon, `War and Peace', was
completed in 1869. His other famous works include `Anna Karenina', published in 1877; `The
Death of Ivan Ilyich' (1886); `The Power of Darkness', a play written in 1886; `Master and
Man' (1895); and `Resurrection' (1899).
After 1879 Tolstoi changed his way of life. He determined to live by a code of
nonviolence, universal love and forgiveness, and simplicity. This moral crisis was
recorded in his essay `Confession' (1879). His writings became increasingly devoted to his
beliefs. Some of them were `The Kreutzer Sonata' (1889), ` The Kingdom of God Is Within
You ' (1893), and `What Is Art?' (1897). Tolstoi 's creed attracted many followers, who
were called Tolstoians.
Tolstoi was often in opposition to the Russian government and the church. Many of his
works were censored, and his followers were persecuted. Tolstoi, however, was protected
from harm by his worldwide fame and the love the Russian people had for him.
Tolstoi and his family were driven apart by conflicts in their beliefs. At the age of 82
he left Yasnaya Polyana, intending never to return. He became ill on the journey and died
on Nov. 20, 1910 (Gregorian calendar), at the railroad station of Astapovo in Ryazan'
Province. Return to Last Page
Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667 in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Protestant
Anglo-Irish parents: his ancestors had been Royalists, and all
his life he would be a High-Churchman. His father, also Jonathan, died a few months before
he was born, upon which his mother, Abigail, returned to England, leaving her son behind,
in the care of relatives. In 1673, at the age of six, Swift began his education at
Kilkenny Grammar School, which was, at the time, the best in Ireland. Between 1682 and
1686 he attended, and graduated from, Trinity College in Dublin, though he was not,
apparently, an exemplary student.
In 1688 William of Orange invaded England, initiating the Glorious Revolution: with Dublin
in political turmoil, Trinity College was closed, and an ambitious Swift took the
opportunity to go to England, where he hoped to gain preferment in the Anglican Church. In
England, in 1689, he became secretary to Sir William Temple, a diplomat and man of
letters, at Moor Park in Surrey. There Swift read extensively in his patron's library, and
met Esther Johnson, who would become his "Stella," and it was there, too, that
he began to suffer from Meniere's Disease, a disturbance of the inner ear which produces
nausea and vertigo, and which was little understood in Swift's day. In 1690, at the advice
of his doctors, Swift returned to Ireland, but the following year he was back with Temple
in England. He visited Oxford in 1691: in 1692, with Temple's assistance, he received an
M. A. degree from that University, and published his first poem: on reading it, John
Dryden, a distant relation, is said to have remarked "Cousin Swift, you will never be
In 1694, still anxious to advance himself within the Church of England, he left Temple's
household and returned to Ireland to take holy orders. In 1695 he was ordained as a priest
in the Church of Ireland, the Irish branch of the Anglican Church, and the following year
he returned to Temple and Moor Park.
Between 1696 and 1699 Swift composed most of his first great work, A Tale of a Tub, a
prose satire on the religious extremes represented by Roman Catholicism and Calvinism, and
in 1697 he wrote The Battle of the Books, a satire defending Temple's conservative but
beseiged position in the contemporary literary controversy as to whether the works of the
"Ancients" -- the great authors of classical antiquity -- were to be preferred
to those of the "Moderns." In 1699 Temple died, and Swift traveled to Ireland as
chaplain and secretary to the Earl of Berkeley.
In 1700 he was instituted Vicar of Laracor -- provided, that is, with what was known as a
"Living" -- and given a prebend in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. These
appointments were a bitter disappointment for a man who had longed to remain in England.
In 1701 Swift was awarded a D. D. from Dublin University, and published his first
political pamphlet, supporting the Whigs against the Tories. 1704 saw the anonymous
publication of A Tale of a Tub, The Battle of the Books, and The Mechanical Operation of
In 1707 Swift was sent to London as emissary of Irish clergy seeking remission of tax on
Irish clerical incomes. His requests were rejected, however, by the Whig government and by
Queen Anne, who suspected him of being irreligious. While in London he he met Esther
Vanhomrigh, who would become his "Vanessa." During the next few years he went
back and forth between Ireland and England, where he was involved--largely as an observer
rather than a participant--in the highest English political circles.
In 1708 Swift met Addison and Steele, and published his Bickerstaff Papers, satirical
attacks upon an astrologer, John Partridge, and a series of ironical pamphlets on church
questions, including An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity.
In 1710, which saw the publication of "A Description of a City Shower," Swift,
disgusted with their alliance with the Dissenters, fell out with Whigs, allied himself
with the Tories, and became the editor of the Tory newspaper The Examiner. Between 1710
and 1713 he also wrote the famous series of letters to Esther Johnson which would
eventually be published as The Journal to Stella. In 1713 Swift was installed as Dean of
St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin -- a promotion which was, again, a disappointment.
The Scriblerus Club, whose members included Swift, Pope, Congreve, Gay, and Arbuthnot, was
founded in 1714. In the same year, much more unhappily for Swift, Queen Anne died, and
George I took the throne. With his accession the Tories fell from power, and Swift's hopes
for preferment in England came to an end: he returned to Ireland "to die," as he
says, "like a poisoned rat in a hole." In 1716 Swift may or may not have married
Esther Johnson. A period of literary silence and personal depression ensued, but beginning
in 1718, he broke the silence, and began to publish a series of powerful tracts on Irish
In 1720 he began work upon Gulliver's Travels, intended, as he says in a letter to Pope,
"to vex the world, not to divert it." 1724-25 saw the publication of The Drapier
Letters, which gained Swift enormous popularity in Ireland, and the completion of
Gulliver's Travels. The progressive darkness of the latter work is an indication of the
extent to which his misanthropic tendencies became more and more markedly manifest, had
taken greater and greater hold upon his mind. In 1726 he visited England once again, and
stayed with Pope at Twickenham: in the same year Gulliver's Travels was published.
Swift's final trip to England took place in 1727. Between 1727 and 1736 publication of
five volumes of Swift-Pope Miscellanies. "Stella" died in 1728. In the following
year A Modest Proposal was published. 1731 saw the publication of Swift's ghastly "A
Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed."
By 1735, when a collected edition of his Works was published in Dublin, his Meniere's
Disease became more acute, resulting in periods of dizziness and nausea: at the same time,
prematurely, his memory was beginning to deteriorate. During 1738 he slipped gradually
into senility, and finally suffered a paralytic stroke: in 1742 guardians were officially
appointed to care for his affairs. Swift died on October 19, 1745. Return
to Last Page
Novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott was born in 1771 in Edinburgh, one of
six surviving infants from twelve.
At eighteen months he took ill with poliomyelitis but pulled through although with a lame
right leg. He was well educated, studying at Edinburgh University. In 1792 he was
admitted to the Faculty of Advocates, becoming Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire from 1799
and Principal Clerk to the Court of Session from 1806. He was married in 1797 to
French Charlotte Charpentier, who bore him four children.
Fired by the tales and poems he heard as a child recuperating from his illness at his
grandfathers farm, Scotts first love was literature and writing. His first
works were the fusing and re-working of traditional tales and ballads.
Soon this developed into a new form of writing, bringing history into romantic
adventures. He produced contemporary works on the history of Scotland, Napoleon,
France and past writers.He lived very expensively with a house in Edinburgh on Castle
Street during court term and another in the country, Abbotsford, near Melrose, which
he purchased in 1812 and had rebuilt, with extensions to his land also.
With income from his legal work, his writing and shares in his publishing and printing
companies, his life went well until January 1826 and a collapse of the economy.
There was no limited liability at that time and he found himself with debts from his
businesses of £120,000.
Rather than declare bankruptcy he began an unbearably tough work regime to pay his
creditors. Then, the following May, his wife died. From 1830 he worked through
four strokes before dying in September 1832.
Scotts work has moved in and out of fashion and he has even been criticised for
writing about history while the American and Industrial Revolutions were occurring.
He explained his need to write tales set in historical Scotland because he was aware of
his country daily melting and dissolving into those of her sister and
ally. In his work he tried to capture the essence of an earlier, still
independent and proud Scotland.
It is a mark of his writing ability that the worlds shortbread tin
lid perception of Scotland descends entirely from his works of fiction in
images todays historians cannot hope to correct. Return
to Last Page
Rudyard Kipling, born in Bombay, India, on December 30, 1865, made a significant
contribution to English Literaturein various genres including poetry, short story and novel.
His birth took place in an affluent family with his father holding the post of Professor
of Architectural Sculpture at the Bombay School of Art and his mother coming from a family
of accomplished women. He spent his early childhood in India where an aya took
care of him and where under her influence he came in direct contact with the Indian
culture and traditions. His parents decided to send him to England for education and so at
the young age of five he started living in England with Madam Rosa, the landlady of the
lodge he lived in, where for the next six years he lived a life of misery due to the
mistreatment - beatings and general victimization - he faced there. Due to this sudden
change in environment and the evil treatment he received, he suffered from insomnia for
the rest of his life. This played an important part in his literary imagination (Sandison
A.G.). His parents removed him from the rigidly Calvinistic foster home and placed him in
a private school at the age of twelve. The English schoolboy code of honor and duty deeply
affected his views in later life, especially when it involved loyalty to a group or a
Returning to India in 1882 he worked as a newspaper reporter and a part-time writer and
this helped him to gain a rich experience of colonial life which he later presented in his
stories and poems (Martinez, Gabriel A.). In 1886 he published his first volume of poetry,
Departmental Ditties and between 1887 and 1889 he published six volumes of
short stories set in and concerned with the India he had come to know and love so well.
When he returned to England he found himself already recognized and acclaimed as a
brilliant writer. Over the immediately following years he published some of his most
exquisite works including his most acclaimed poem "Recessional" and most famed
novel "Kim". In 1907 Kipling won the Nobel prize in literature in consideration
of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable
talent for narration which characterized his writings. Death of both his children,
Josephine and John, deeply affected his life. Both these incidents left a profound
impression on his life, which his works published in the subsequent years after their
deaths displays. Between 1919 and 1932 he traveled intermittently, and continued to
publish stories, poems, sketches and historical works though his output dwindled. As he
grew older his works display his preoccupation with physical and psychological strain,
breakdown, and recovery. In 1936, plagued by illness, he passed away into the world
beyond, leaving behind a legacy that will live for centuries to come.
Kiplings works span over five decades, with Tennyson and Browning still writing
and Hardy and Yeats unheard of, when his first work Schoolboy Lyrics hit the press (Page,
Norman). He wrote during the period now known as the Victorian Age. According to English
and Western Literature, conservatism, optimism and self-assurance marked the poetry of
this age. Though Kiplings works achieved literary fame during his early years, as he
grew older his woks faced enormous amount of literary criticism. His poems dealt with
racial and imperialistic topics which attracted a lot of critics. Critics also condemned
the fact that unlike the popular model of poetry, Kipling poetry did not have an
underlying meaning to it and that interpreting it required no more than one reading.
Maguills Critical Survey of Poetry indicates that some critics even attributed the
qualities of coarseness and crudeness to his poetry. As Kipling grew older his poetry came
under even more scrutiny and doubts began to arise about poetic abilities. These views of
the critics come as a surprise due to the fact that even in face of his dwindling
reputation in literary circles, his popularity among the masses persisted without change.
In fact due to his ability to relate to the layman as well as the literary elite through
his works, he joined a select group of authors who reached a worldwide audience of
considerable diversity. Kiplings reputation started a revival course after
T.S.Eliots essay on his poetic works where Eliot describes Kiplings verse as
"great verse" that sometimes unintentionally changes into poetry. Following
Eliots lead many other critics reanalyzed Kiplings verse and revived his
poetic reputation to the merited level. In his lifetime Kipling went from the unofficial
Poet Laureate of Great Britan to one of the most denounced poet in English Literary
History. In contrast to the path his reputation took, Rudyard Kipling improved as a poet
as his career matured and by the time of his death Kipling had compiled one of the most
diverse collection of poetry in English Literature. Return
to Last Page
Because schools in Arkansas offered blacks no education beyond the 8th grade,
Johnsons mother, a widow, saved for two years in
order to move her family to Chicago so that her son could continue his high school
education. There, he became an honor student and served as class and student council
president and edited the school newspaper and yearbook. While attending the University of
Chicago at night, Johnson spent his days as an office boy with a life insurance company.
It was here that he devised the idea of a magazine for a black readership. Negro Digest,
first published in 1942, was financed originally with $500 his seamstress mother raised by
pawning their furniture. In less than a year, circulation was up to 50,000. Johnson now
controls the nations largest black-owned company, which has revenues in excess of
$140 million. He is publisher of Ebony, Jet, and EM, plus, Johnson engages in other
businesses, including Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Ebone Cosmetics, Supreme Beauty products and
three radio stations. Return to Last Page
American biographer, scriptwriter, author who became famous with the publication of the
novel ROOTS, which traces his ancestry back to Africa and covers seven
American generations as they are taken slaves to the United States. The book was adapted
to television series, and woke up an interest in genealogy, particulary among
Alex Haley was born in Ithaca, N.Y. His father was a teacher of agriculture. The family
moved to the small town of Henning, Tennessee, when Alex Haley was an infant. In Henning
Haley heard stories from his maternal grandmother, Cynthia Palmer, who traced the family
genealogy to Haley's great-great-great-great-grandfather, who was an African, called
"Kin-tay" and brought by slave-ship to America.
During WW II Haley enlisted in the Coast Guard and started to write adventure stories to
stave off the boredom, and getting a new rating - Chief Journalist.
After twenty years of service Haley left the Coast Guard in 1959 to become a full-time
writer. His first major work was THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X, which appeared in 1992,
had immense effect on the black power movement in the United States.
In 1965 Haley stumbled upon the names of his maternal great-grandparents, when he was
going through post-Civil War records in National Archives in Washington, D.C. This
resulted to odyssey, where on basis of family histories and research Haley travelled by
safari to the village of Juffure, to trace his own ancestor and to meet with a native
griot, oral historian, who could name Haley's own ancestor Kunta Kinte.
When Roots appeared in 1976 it gained critical and popular success, although the truth and
originality of the book faced also criticism. James Baldwin considered in his New York
Times review, that Roots suggest how each of us are vehicle of the history which have
produced us. On the other side - representing a minority opinion - Michael Arled viewed
the book and television series as Haley's own fantasies about Going Home. It was also
claimed that the griot in Juffure was a well-known trickster and told Haley just what he
wanted to hear. However, Haley donated money to the village of Juffure for a new mosque.
He had also founded in the early 1970s with his brothers the Kinte Foundation to
collection and preservation of African-American genealogy records.
In 1977 Roots won the National Book Award and a special Pulizer Prize. The book sold in
one year more than million copies. It challenged the view of black history as explored in
such works as Stanley M. Elkin's Slavery (1959). Slaves did not give up all their ties to
African culture, but humor, songs, words, folk beliefs survived. The book also showed that
the oppressed never became docile: Kunta Kinte suffered amputation of a foot for his
repeated attempts to run away.
Haley himself commented that the book was not so much history as a study of mythmaking.
"What Roots gets at in whatever form, is that it touches the pulse of how alike we
human beings are when you get down to the bottom, beneath these man-imposed
Haley's next literary project was history of the town of Henning and a biograph of Frank
Wills, the security quard who discovered the Watergate break-in. In television series
Palmerstown, USA (1980) Haley collabotated with producer Norman Lear. The series was based
on author's boyhood experiences in Henning. Return
to Last Page
English historian and scholar, the supreme historian of the Enlightment, who is best
known as the author of the monumental THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE,
often considered as the greatest historical work written in English. "It was at
Rome... as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while barefoot friars were
singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of
the city first started to my mind." However, Gibbon's first works were written in
Edward Gibbon was born in London into a prosperous family. He was a sickly child and his
education at Westminster and at Magdalen College, Oxford, was irregular. Gibbon was
expelled from Magdalen College for turning into Roman Catholism. sent in 1753 by his
father to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he boarded with a Calvinist pastor and rejoined the
Anglican fold. In Lausanne he fell in love with Suzanne Curchod. Their relationship was
ended by his father and Gibbon remained unmarried for the rest of his life.
From 1759 to 1762 Gibbon hold a commission in the Hampshire militia, reachinf the rank of
colonel. In 1764 he visited Rome and was inspired to write the history of the city from
the death of Marcus Aurelius to the year 1453. After his father died Gibbon ound himself
in some difficulties, but he was able to settle in London to proceed with his great work.
The first volume appeared in 1776, with public reaction to Gibbon's ironical treatment of
the rise of Christianity. Between 1774 and 1783 he sat in the House of Commons, and become
a lord commissioner of trade and plantations.In 1774 he was elected to Dr Johnson's Club.
From 1783 Gibbon spent much of his time in Lausanne and in England with Lord Sheffield
(John Baker Holroy) in his Sussex and his London House. Lord Sheffield prepared later
Gibbon's MEMOIRS OF MY LIFE AND WRITINGS for publication (1796) and MISCELLANEOUS WORKS
The last three volumes of The History were published in 1788. Although Gibbon's
conclusions have been modified, the command of historical perspective and literary style
have preserved his place as the forerunner of English historiographers.On the other hand,
his personal habits were peculiar - according to some contemporary comment Gibbon was so
filthy that one could not stand close to him. How did Lord Sheffield manage to do so?
Gibbon was also a member of the circle that was formed around him - Note: In his youth in
Switzerland Gibbon met also Voltaire, who had settled in 1755 near Geneva. - "Gibbon
is not merely a master of the pageant and the story; he is also the critic and the
historian of the mind." (Virginia Woolf).
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788) - Gibbon covers more than 13
centuries from the 2nd century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Christianity is
dealt with in detail, he examines the encroachment of the Teutonic tribes who eventually
held the Western Empire in fee, the rise of Islam, and the Crusades. Gibbon viewed the
Roman Empire as a single entity in undeviating decline from the ideals of political and
intellectual freedom that had characterized the classical literature he had read. For him,
the material decay of Rome was the effect and symbol of moral decadence. With powerful
narrative, fluid and musical prose, and persuasive arguments the work has a permanent
place of honour in historical literature.
1856-1928), The leading black American journalist of the late 19th century.
The son of slaves, Fortune attended a Freedmen's Bureau school for a time after the Civil
War and eventually became a compositor for a black newspaper in Washington, D.C.
Moving to New York City about 1880, he soon began a career in journalism as editor and
publisher of a newspaper first called the New York Globe (1882-84), then the New York
Freeman (1884-87), and finally the New York Age, editing the latter (with interruptions)
from 1887 until he sold it in 1907.
In his well-known editorials in the Age, Fortune defended the civil rights of both
Northern and Southern blacks and spoke out against racial discrimination and segregation.
He also wrote the book Black and White (1884), in which he condemned the exploitation of
black labour by both agriculture and industry in the post-Reconstruction South.
Fortune was the chief founder in 1890 of the Afro-American League, which, though it
collapsed in 1893, was an important forerunner of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Though always a militant defender of black rights, Fortune had by 1900 allied himself with
the more moderate Booker T. Washington, a move that would eventually compromise Fortune's
reputation and lead to a decline in his influence. From 1923 until his death he edited the
Negro World, the journalistic organ of the movement led by Marcus Garvey. Return
to Last Page
Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859. He was raised in the Roman Catholic
faith. While Doyle was training to become a doctor he started to read Darwin, Spencer, and Huxley. Their writings
and his own disenchantment with religion caused him to become an agnostic.
In 1887 at the age of 28, Doyle became interested in the possibility of Thought
Transference. Working with a friend who was an architect he wanted to see if it was
possible to transmit diagrams back and forth. Doyle later wrote he had shown beyond any
doubt he was able to convey his thoughts without words.
Once Doyle was convinced thought transference was possible between living beings he
started to become interested in investigating the possibility of messages being
transmitted in a similar way from the world beyond.
In the late 1800's Table Turnings were very popular and Doyle attended a large number. One
of the most remarkable physical mediums of the day was Daniel Douglas Home (a fellow
Scotsman) and Doyle managed to sit with him several times. This was the time in Doyle's
life that he became interested in mysticism, which he later replaced with Spiritualist
As a member of the Society for Psychical Research he amassed an extensive library of
Spiritualist writings along with his own. A few of the books he wrote on Spiritualism are
The New Revelation, The Vital Message, Wanderings of a Spiritualist, The Case for Psychic
Photograpy, Memories and Adventure and the list goes on.
It was almost 20 years from the time Doyle first began his research into Spiritualism
until in 1916 he publicly declared that he had possessed positive knowledge of life after
We all have a turning point in our life and Doyle reached his just after World War I. His
youngest son Kingsley died of pneumonia. Doyle's belief in survival after death became his
primary concern. A year after his son's death he attended a seance held by a Welsh medium
where his son spoke to him. He later wrote, "It was his voice and he spoke of
concerns unknown to the medium." Shortly after that he saw his mother and nephew, in
his words, "As plainly as I ever saw them in life!"
During Doyle's travels he drew large crowds who were probably first attracted by his name,
but stayed to be won over by his sincerity. Doyle illustrated his lectures with slides of
Spirit photographs he had taken and developed himself.
He never denied the existence of some fraud among mediums and psychic practitioners, but
asserted it was far less common than was supposed. He always felt the issue of fraud was
clouded by mediums who, suffering from a temporary failure of real psychic power, would
then cheat a little.
He was opposed to all church dogma, but retained a deep respect for the principles of
Christianity as well as Islam and Buddhism.
In a recorded talk shortly before his death, Conan Doyle said:
"People ask, 'What do you get from Spiritualism?' The
first thing you get is that it absolutely removes all fear of death. Secondly, it bridges
death for those dear ones whom we may love. We need have no fear that we are calling them
back, for all we do is to make such conditions as experience has taught us will enable
them to come if they wish, and the initiative lies always with them. They have many times
told us that they would not come back it it were not God's will, and it makes them
intensely happy to help and comfort us, to tell us about their happy life in that world to
which we are in our turn destined to come." Return
to Last Page
CARLO COLLODI is the pen-name of CARLO LORENZINI (1826-90). Collodi is the name of the
little village in Tuscany where his mother was born. He was born in Florence,
the son of a cook and a servant, and spent his chilhood as much in the rough and tumble of
the streets of his native Florence as in the classroom. No doubt this stood him in good
stead in his two periods as a soldier - once in 1848 when Tuscany rose in revolt against
its Habsburg rulers, and again in the war between Italy and Austria in1859.
Collodi starded his writing career as a newspaperman: he wrote for other papers, and also
started his own satirical paper Il Lampione (The Lanter) - but the government closed it
down. Later he became a government official himself, working as a civil servant for the
education department and trying to push through much-needed educational reforms.
In the 1850s, he began to have a variety of both fiction and non-fiction books published.
Once, he translated some French fairy-tales so well that he was asked whether he would
like to write some of his own. The result was his fist major success, Giannettino, which
is a kind of educational fairly- tale. He now devoted himself to writing for
children" becouse adults are too hard to please"!
In 1881, he sent to a friend, who edited a newspaper in Rome, a short episode in the life
of a wooden puppet, wondering whether the editor would be interested in publishing this
"bit of foolishness" in his children's section. The editor did, and the children
loved it. The adventures of Pinocchio were serialized in the paper in 1881-2, and then
published in 1883 with huge success. The fist English-language version was just as
successful on its publication in 1892. The 1940 Walt Disney cartoon has ensured that the
character of Pinocchio remains familiar: but the book is far richer in the details of the
adventures of the naughty puppet in search of boyhood. Return
to Last Page
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30,
1835, one of six children. When Samuel was four, his
family moved to Hannibal, Missouri a little town on the west bank of the Mississippi
River. His father, John Marshall Clemens, was a freethinker, a persuasion not at all
uncommon in the Midwest of that period. He is also said to have been stern and
puritanical, and was not Samuel's favorite parent. One of Samuel's biographers, Edward
Wagenknecht, declares that his temperament was inherited from his mother, Jane Lampton
Clemens, who was conventionally religious, but not fanatically .
After his father died, Clemens left school at the age of fourteen and became apprenticed
as a printer, but soon decided that what he really wanted to do was to become a river
pilot, and he set about "the stupendous task of learning the twelve hundred miles of
the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans -- of knowing it as exactly and
unfailingly, even in the dark, as one knows the way to his own features." He followed
this career from 1857 to 1861, a brief period in his young life. However, his experiences
as a river pilot, as well as his boyhood life in Hannibal, provided much of the raw
material for his subsequent literary work. His pseudonym was, as everyone knows, the call
of a Mississippi steamer's "leadsman" when a depth of two fathoms had been
His writing career began in 1862 as a newspaper journalist, and his gift for humorous
writing was soon recognized. His earliest literary mentors were Artemus Ward and Bret
Harte. The piece that first made him famous was "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of
Calaveras County." He went on, however, to much more substantial writings, including Tom
Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, A Tramp Abroad, The Prince and the Pauper,
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Tragedy of Pudd'n Head Wilson,
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and The Mysterious Stranger. His book, The
Gilded Age, bequeathed its name on late nineteenth century America. One of his
biographers, Justin Kaplan, expresses the view that Mark Twain "had probably the most
richly endowed natural talent in American literature." He was a life-long friend of
William Dean Howells, and was acquainted with many of the celebrities of his time,
including Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Ward Beecher, Robert G. Ingersoll, Joel Chandler Harris,
and James Russell Lowell. In his extensive travels abroad he established friendships with
Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, and many others.
Twain fell in love with England and spent a great deal of time there. For some years, he
was better known and better liked in England than in his own country.
Throughout his life, Mark Twain was an unpolished diamond. The word "urbane"
could never have been applied to him. He was moody and experienced frequent periods of
despondency interspersed with periods of elation. In psychological parlance he would
doubtless be described as manic-depressive. His depressed periods, however, were often not
without real cause. In addition to money problems, he experienced personal tragedies. Only
one of his four children, Clara, survived him. The deaths of a son and two daughters were
a lasting grief. Although he suffered frequent bouts of illness himself he survived his
beloved wife, Olivia, whose death in 1902 was a terrible blow to him. Most of the
financial worries which plagued him so often were the result of his impulsive nature and
weakness for get-rich-quick schemes, as well as his extravagant tastes.
Being often desperately in need of money -- which in part accounts for his enormous
literary output -- he was anxious for his books to be a financial success. In his
struggles to keep out of debt, he was aided by two institutions that flourished in his day
but have since vanished from the American scene. One was the subscription publishing
system: an enterprising publisher would employ a large number of travelling salesmen who
would retail the books to subscribers throughout the country, thereby assuring a
contracting author a large volume of sales. The other was the lyceum system, likewise
maintained by entrepreneurs who organized nation-wide lecture tours for popular lecturers,
of whom Twain was one of the foremost. Return
to Last Page
Black newspapers did not attain commercial success until Robert S. Abbott founded the
Chicago Defender in 1905. Capitalizing on the sensationalist techniques
developed by William Randolph Hearst, Abbott designed the Defender as a paper for the
masses. Abbott initially avoided politics, but the paper came into its own when he
concentrated on muckraking stories about the black community. By 1920, the Defender had a
circulation of 283,571.
Chicago Defender was founded in 1905 by Robert S. Abbott on May 5. Abbot was a graduate
of Hampton Institute in Virginia and Kent School of Law in Chicago. Forbidden to practice
law because of racial discrimination, Mr. Abbott turned to the skill he had learned at
Hampton printing. With 25 dollars, a table and a typewriter, he began publishing the
Chicago Defender from his kitchen.
In its original concept, the Chicago Defender was a weekly publication. Over the years,
the influence and the circulation of the Defender grew. It was one of the first African
American newspapers in this country to reach a circulation of more than 100,000. During
the era classified by the historians as the "Great Migration," 19 15 to 1948,
the Chicago Defender and Mr. Abbott played a major role.
Using its pages, Mr. Abbott was able to influence more than 50,000 African Americans to
leave southern states and come to Chicago, where the opportunities for employment,
education and personal freedom were immensely greater. On February 4, 1956, Mt. Abbott's
nephew, John H. Sengstacke founded the Chicago Daily Defender. This publication grew to
become the largest Afri can American daily in the country. Continuing the work of his
uncle, he used the Defender to help "improve the quality of life" for all
He was directly involved in the desegregation of the U. S. armed forces. He also worked
closely with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create jobs in the United States Postal
Service for African Americans. The Chicago Daily Defender today is a newspaper that brings
readers world wide coverage of news, excellent features and a myriad of other sections
which compose the modern publication. The Defender does not limit its news columns to
African American subjects. Instead, it covers the full spectrum of news. But of course,
its major audience is the African American market and its purpose is to fulfil l the
African American need for a publication dedicated to this cause. Return
to Last Page
Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August
1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first
cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward
(1888) and Equality (1897).
Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and
articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with
political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time
economy similar to our present military industrial complex.
The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth's Companion, the leading
family magazine and the Reader's Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had
hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist
church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford
had enjoyed Francis's sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford
Hall Forum, located in downtown Boston.
In 1892 Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of
education in the National Education Association. As its chairman, he prepared the program
for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He
structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute -
his 'Pledge of Allegiance.'
His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the
Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'
He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge, but knew that the state
superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African
to Last Page