Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
  BACK-1867 Part I NEXT-1867 Part III    
1860 - 1869
History at a Glance
1860 Part I
Treaty of Turin
First Taranaki War
Convention of Peking
Secession of South Carolina
Poincare Raymond
The Church Union
1860 Part II
Barrie James Matthew
Boucicault Dion
Dion Boucicault: "The Colleen Bawn"
Collins Wilkie
Wilkie Collins: "The Woman in White"
Wilkie Collins 
"The Moonstone"
"The Woman in White"
George Eliot: "The Mill on the Floss"
Di Giacoma Salvatore
Labiche Eugene-Marin
Multatuli: "Max Havelaar"
Alexander Ostrovski: "The Storm"
Chekhov Anton
Anton Chekhov
"Uncle Vanya"
1860 Part III
Degas: "Spartan Boys and Girls Exercising"
Hunt: "Finding of the Saviour in the Temple"
Manet: "Spanish Guitar Player"
Ensor James
James Ensor
Mucha Alfons
Alfons Mucha
Levitan Isaak
Isaac Levitan
Steer Philip Wilson
Philip Wilson Steer
Mahler Gustav
Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde
Gustav Mahler
Paderewski Ignace
Paderewski - Minuet
Ignace Paderewski
Suppe Franz
Franz von Suppe - Das Pensionat
Franz von Suppe
Wolf Hugo
Hugo Wolf - "Kennst du das Land"
Hugo Wolf
MacDowell Edward
MacDowell - Piano Sonata No. 1 "Tragica"
Edward MacDowell
Albeniz Isaac
Albeniz - Espana
Isaac Albeniz
1860 Part IV
Fechner Gustav Theodor
Lenoir Etienne
Walton Frederick
Across the Continent
Burke Robert O'Hara
Wills William John
Stuart John McDouall
Grant James Augustus
"The Cornhill Magazine"
"The Catholic Times"
Heenan John Camel
Sayers Tom
The Open Championship
Park William
1861 Part I
Confederate States of America
Davis Jefferson
First inauguration of Abraham Lincoln
American Civil War
First Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Hatteras
The American Civil War, 1861
1861 Part II
Siege of Gaeta
Emancipation Manifesto
Louis I
1861 Part III
Dal Vladimir
Steiner Rudolf
Whitehead Alfred North
Charles Dickens: "Great Expectations"
Dostoevsky: "The House of the Dead"
George Eliot: "Silas Marner"
Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Elsie Venner"
Tagore Rabindranath
Charles Reade: "The Cloister and the Hearth"
Wood Ellen
Mrs. Henry Wood: "East Lynne"
Spielhagen Friedrich
Friedrich Spielhagen: "Problematische Naturen"
1861 Part IV
Garnier Charles
Anquetin Louis
Louis Anquetin
Godward John William
John William Godward
Bourdelle Antoine
Antoine Bourdelle
Korovin Konstantin
Konstantin Korovin
Maillol Aristide
Aristide Maillol
Melba Nellie
Royal Academy of Music, London
The Paris version "Tannhauser"
1861 Part V
Thallium (Tl)
Hopkins Frederick Gowland
Mort Thomas Sutcliffe
Nansen Fridtjof
Fermentation theory
Baker Samuel
Baker Florence
The Bakers and the Nile
Beeton Isabella
Harden Maximilian
First horse-drawn trams in London
Order of the Star of India
Otis Elisha Graves
1862 Part I
Battle of Fort Henry
Second Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Fredericksburg
Grey Edward
Briand Aristide
The American Civil War, 1862
1862 Part II
Rawlinson George
Ogai Mori
Ivan Turgenev: "Fathers and Sons"
Flaubert: "Salammbo"
Victor Hugo: "Les Miserables"
Barres Maurice
Maeterlinck Maurice
Hauptmann Gerhart
Wharton Edith
Schnitzler Arthur
Uhland Ludwig
1862 Part III
Albert Memorial, London
Manet: "Lola de Valence"
Manet: "La Musique aux Tuileries"
Nesterov Mikhail
Mikhail Nesterov
Klimt Gustav
Gustav Klimt
Rysselberghe Theo
Theo van Rysselberghe
Berlioz: "Beatrice et Benedict"
Debussy Claude
Debussy - Preludes
Claude Debussy
Delius Frederick
Frederick Delius - On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Frederick Delius
German Edward
Edward German - Melody in D flat major
Edward German
Kochel Ludwig
Kochel catalogue
Verdi: "La Forza del Destino"
1862 Part IV
Bragg William
Foucault Leon
Gatling Richard Jordan
Lamont Johann
Lenard Pnilipp
Sachs Julius
Palgrave William Gifford
The Arabian Desert
International Exhibition, London
1863 Part I
West Virginia
Emancipation Proclamation
Battle of Chancellorsville
Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address"
The American Civil War, 1863
1863 Part II
Isma'il Pasha
January Uprising
George I of Greece
Dost Mohammad Khan
Christian IX  of Denmark
Chamberlain Austen
Lloyd George David
Second Taranaki War
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
1863 Part III
Huxley: "Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature"
Charles Lyell: "The Antiquity of Man"
Massachusetts Agricultural College
D'Annunzio Gabriele
Bahr Hermann
Dehmel Richard
Hale Edward Everett
Edward Everett Hale: "Man without a Country"
Hope Anthony
Charles Kingsley: "The Water Babies"
Longfellow: "Tales of a Wayside Inn"
Quiller-Couch Arthur
Stanislavsky Constantin
Stanislavsky system
1863 Part IV
Stuck Franz
Manet: "Dejeuner sur l'herbe"
Manet: "Olympia"
Meurent Victorine-Louise
The "Salon des Refuses" in Paris
Art in Revolt
Impressionism Timeline
Signac Paul
Paul Signac
Munch Edvard
Edvard Munch
Berlioz: "Les Troyens"
Bizet: "Les Pecheurs de perles"
Mascagni Pietro
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana
Pietro Mascagni
Weingartner Felix
Felix von Weingartner: Symphony No 6
Felix Weingartner
1863 Part V
Billroth Theodor
Butterick Ebenezer
Ford Henry
Graham Thomas
National Academy of Sciences
Sorby Henry Clifton
The Football Association, London
Grand Prix de Paris
Hearst William Randolph
Yellow journalism
Pulitzer Joseph
History of photography
Alexandra of Denmark
Royce Henry
Cuthbert Ned
Coburn Joe
Mike McCoole
1864 Part I
Schleswig-Holstein Question
First Schleswig War
Second Schleswig War
Halleck Henry
Sherman William
Sand Creek massacre
Venizelos Eleutherios
Maximilian II of Bavaria
Louis II
First International Workingmen's Association
Confederate Army of Manhattan
The American Civil War, 1864
1864 Part II
Lombroso Cesare
Newman: "Apologia pro Vita Sua"
Syllabus of Errors
Dickens: "Our Mutual Friend"
Karlfeldt Erik Axel
Trollope: "The Small House at Allington"
Wedekind Frank
Zangwill Israel
1864 Part III
Stieglitz Alfred
History of photography
Dyce William
William Dyce
Jawlensky Alexey
Alexei von Jawlensky
Ranson Paul
Paul Ranson
Serusier Paul
Paul Serusier
Toulouse-Lautrec Henri
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
A More Tolerant Salon
Impressionism Timeline
Whistler: "Symphony in White, No. 2"
Roberts David
David Roberts "A Journey in the Holy Land"
D'Albert Eugen
Eugen d'Albert - Piano Concerto No.2
Eugen d’Albert
Foster Stephen
Stephen Foster - Beautiful Dreamer
Offenbach: "La Belle Helene"
Strauss Richard
Richard Strauss - Metamorphosen
Richard Strauss
Fry William Henry
William Henry Fry - Santa Claus Symphony
William Henry Fry - Niagara Symphony
1864 Part IV
Lake Albert
Bertrand Joseph
Nernst Walther
Wien Wilhelm
Rawat Nain Singh
The Surveyors
First Geneva Convention
Knights of Pythias
"Neue Freie Presse""
De Rossi Giovanni Battista
"In God We Trust"
Travers Stakes
Farragut David
1865 Part I
Union blockade in the American Civil War
Charleston, South Carolina in the American Civil War
Lee Robert Edward
Conclusion of the American Civil War
Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Johnson Andrew
Causes of the Franco-Prussian War
Leopold II of Belgium
Harding Warren
George V of Great Britain
Ludendorff Erich
Free State–Basotho Wars
The American Civil War, 1865
1865 Part II
Baudrillart Henri
William Stanley Jevons: "The Coal Question"
Billings Josh
Belasco David
Campbell Patrick
Lewis Carroll: "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Dodge Mary Mapes
Mary Mapes Dodge: "Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates"
Kipling Rudyard
Rudyard Kipling
Merezhkovsky Dmitry
John Henry Newman: "Dream of Gerontius"
Mark Twain: "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"
Walt Whitman: "Drum-Taps"
Yeats William Butler
1865 Part III
Serov Valentin
Valentin Serov
Wiertz Antoine
Antoine Wiertz
Vallotton Felix
Felix Vallotton
"Olympia" - a Sensation
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Nielsen Carl
Carl Nielsen - Aladdin Suite
Carl Nielsen
Glazunov Alexander
Glazunov - The Seasons
Alexander Glazunov
Dukas Paul
Paul Dukas "L'Apprenti Sorcier"
Paul Dukas
Meyerbeer: "L'Africaine"
Sibelius Jean
Jean Sibelius - Finlandia
Jean Sibelius
Wagner: "Tristan und Isolde"
1865 Part IV
Plucker Julius
Hyatt John Wesley
Kekule: structure of benzene
Lowe Thaddeus
Mendelian inheritance
Sechenov Ivan
Whymper Edward
The High Andes
 Bingham Hiram
Rohlfs Friedrich Gerhard
Open hearth furnace
Martin Pierre-Emile
Ku Klux Klan
"The Nation"
Marquess of Queensberry Rules
"San Francisco Examiner"
"San Francisco Chronicle"
Mitchell Maria
1866 Part I
Cuza Alexandru
"Monstrous coalition"
Carol I
Austro-Prussian War
Battle of Custoza
Battle of Trautenau
Battle of Koniggratz
Battle of Lissa
Cretan Revolt of 1866–1869
MacDonald Ramsay
Sun Yat-sen
1866 Part II
Croce Benedetto
Soderblom Nathan
Larousse Pierre
Larousse: Great Universal Dictionary of the 19th Century
Friedrich Lange: "History of Materialism"
Benavente Jacinto
Dostoevsky: "Crime and Punishment"
Hamerling Robert
Ibsen: "Brand"
Kingsley: "Hereward the Wake"
Rolland Romain
Wells Herbert
H.G. Wells
"The War of the Worlds"

"The Invisible Man"
"A Short History of the World"
1866 Part III
Bakst Leon
Leon Bakst
Fry Roger
Kandinsky Vassili
Vassili Kandinsky
A Defender Appears
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Busoni Ferruccio
Ferruccio Busoni - Berceuse Elegiaque
Ferruccio Busoni
Offenbach: "La Vie Parisienne"
Smetana: "The Bartered Bride"
Satie Eric
Erik Satie: Nocturnes
Eric Satie
1866 Part IV
Aeronautical Society of Great Britain
Morgan Thomas Hunt
Nicolle Charles
Werner Alfred
Whitehead Robert
Whitehead torpedo
Doudart de Lagree Ernest
Panic of 1866
Thomas Morris
MacGregor John
1867 Part I
Manchester Martyrs
Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
Alaska Purchase
North German Confederation
Reform Act of 1867
Battle of Mentana
Mary of Teck
Baldwin Stanley
Rathenau Walther
Pilsudski Joseph
1867 Part II
Bagehot Walter
Walter Bagehot: "The English Constitution"
Freeman Edward Augustus
Freeman: The History of the Norman Conquest of England
Marx: "Das Kapital"
Thoma Ludwig
Soseki Natsume
Russell George William
Reymont Wladislau
Bennett Arnold
Balmont Konstantin
Pirandello Luigi
Galsworthy John
Charles de Coster: "The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel"
Ouida: "Under Two Flags"
Trollope: "The Last Chronicle of Barset"
Turgenev: "Smoke"
Zola: "Therese Raquin"
Ibsen: "Peer Gynt"
1867 Part III
Delville Jean
Jean Delville
Kollwitz Kathe
Kathe Kollwitz
Nolde Emil
Emil Nolde
Bonnard Pierre
Pierre Bonnard
Manet's Personal Exhibition
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bizet: "La Jolie Fille de Perth"
Gounod: "Romeo et Juliette"
Offenbach: "La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein"
Johann Strauss II: The "Blue Danube"
Toscanini Arturo
Verdi: "Don Carlos"
Granados Enrique
Enrique Granados - Spanish Dances
Enrique Granados
1867 Part IV
Curie Marie
Michaux Pierre
Monier Joseph
Brenner Railway
Mining industry of South Africa
Thurn and Taxis
Chambers John Graham
London Athletic Club
Barnardo Thomas John
1868 Part I
British Expedition to Abyssinia
Battle of Magdala
Tokugawa Yoshinobu
Tenure of Office Act
Province of Hanover
Russian Turkestan
Mihailo Obrenovic III
Milan I of Serbia
Glorious Revolution
Horthy Nicholas
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
1868 Part II
International Alliance of Socialist Democracy
Charles Darwin: "The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication"
Louisa May Alcott: "Little Women"
Robert Browning: "The Ring and the Book"
Wilkie Collins: "The Moonstone"
Dostoevsky: "The Idiot"
George Stefan
Gorki Maxim
Rostand Edmond
Edmond Rostand
"Cyrano De Bergerac"
1868 Part III
Bernard Emile
Emile Bernard
Vollard Ambroise
Slevogt Max
Max Slevogt
Vuillard Edouard
Edouard Vuillard
The Realist Impulse
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bantock Granville
Bantock "Overture The Frogs"
Granville Bantock
Brahms: "Ein deutsches Requiem"
Schillings Max
Max von Schillings: Mona Lisa
Max von Schillings
Wagner: "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg"
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1
1868 Part IV
Lartet Louis
Haber Fritz
Millikan Robert Andrews
Richards Theodore William
Scott Robert Falcon
Armour Philip Danforth
Badminton House
Garvin James Louis
Harmsworth Harold
Trades Union Congress
"Whitaker's Almanack"
Sholes Christopher Latham
1869 Part I
Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant
French legislative election, 1869
Prohibition Party
Red River Rebellion
Chamberlain Neville
Gandhi Mahatma
1869 Part II
Matthew Arnold: "Culture and Anarchy"
Eduard Hartmann: "The Philosophy of the Unconscious"
Mill: "On The Subjection of Women"
First Vatican Council
Blackmore Richard Doddridge
Blackmore: "Lorna Doone"
Flaubert: "Sentimental Education"
Gide Andre
Gilbert: "Bab Ballads"
Halevy Ludovic
Bret Harte: "The Outcasts of Poker Flat"
Victor Hugo: "The Man Who Laughs"
Leacock Stephen
Mark Twain: "The Innocents Abroad"
Tolstoy: "War and Peace"
1869 Part III
Lutyens Edwin
Poelzig Hans
Carus Carl Gustav
Carl Gustav Carus
Somov Konstantin
Konstantin Somov
Matisse Henri
Henri Matisse
Manet Falls Foul of the Censor
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 0
Pfitzner Hans
Pfitzner - Nachts
Hans Pfitzner
Wagner Siegfried
Siegfried Wagner "Prelude to Sonnenflammen"
Richard Wagner: "Das Rheingold"
Roussel Albert
Albert Roussel - Bacchus et Ariane
Albert Roussel
Wood Henry
1869 Part IV
Francis Galton: "Hereditary Genius"
Periodic law
Nachtigal Gustav
Cincinnati Red Stockings
Girton College, Cambridge
1869 New Jersey vs. Rutgers football game
Co-operative Congress
Lesseps Ferdinand
Suez Canal

"Thyl Ulenspiegel and Nele in Flanders" pen drawing by the Belgian artist René De Coninck
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1867 Part II
Walter Bagehot: "The English Constitution"
Bagehot Walter

Walter Bagehot, (born February 3, 1826, Langport, Somerset, England—died March 24, 1877, Langport), economist, political analyst, and editor of The Economist who was one of the most influential journalists of the mid-Victorian period.

His father’s family had been general merchants for several generations, while his maternal uncle Vincent Stuckey was the head of the largest bank in the west of England. Bagehot’s relatives felt that his acute political sense derived from his father, whereas the sparkle and originality of his mind came from his mother.

Walter Bagehot.
An anonymous mezzotint of Walter Bagehot published in 1891
  Bagehot had the severe schooling of an early Victorian. As a child he went to Langport Grammar School, whose headmaster had been a friend of the poet William Wordsworth; at 13 he was sent to Bristol College, one of the best schools in Great Britain. There he received an intense grounding in philosophy, mathematics, literature, the classics, and the new natural sciences.

Because his father was a Unitarian, the obvious choice for Bagehot’s higher education was University College, London (at that time Oxford and Cambridge were decidedly Anglican).
Bagehot was a “lanky youth, rather thin and long in the legs with a countenance of remarkable vivacity and characterised by the large eyes that were always noticeable,” wrote Sir Edward Fry, one of his friends at Bristol. Bagehot’s somewhat sardonic manner did not endear him to all of his contemporaries, but he did make a number of lasting friends at University College, notably Richard Holt Hutton, who was for the latter part of the century the distinguished editor of The Spectator; Arthur Hugh Clough, the poet; and, of an older generation, Henry Crabb Robinson, who had been the friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge and who had served as a correspondent for The Times during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1846 Bagehot took his bachelor’s degree with first-class honours at University College, despite bad health, and in 1848 he earned his master’s degree with the university’s gold medal in moral and intellectual philosophy.

He studied law for three years after his graduation but never liked it, and it was chance that took him into literature. Bagehot happened to be in Paris at the end of 1851 when Louis Napoleon’s coup d’etat took place. He wrote a series of articles in the leading Unitarian journal describing the coup and defending Napoleon and thereby stirred controversy among readers because the coup was widely condemned in England. This, however, convinced Bagehot that he could write, which he began to do while settling down to work in Stuckey’s bank. Over the next several years, he wrote a series of literary essays on John Milton, William Shakespeare, Edward Gibbon, Sir Walter Scott, and Pierre-Jean de Béranger, together with studies of leading political figures such as Henry St. John Bolingbroke, William Pitt, and Sir Robert Peel.

As a banker, Bagehot had written various economic articles that had attracted the attention of James Wilson, financial secretary to the treasury in Lord Palmerston’s government and an influential member of Parliament. Wilson had founded The Economist in 1843. Through this acquaintance, Bagehot met Wilson’s eldest daughter, Eliza. The two were married in April 1858.
The following year Wilson was asked to go to India to reorganize the finances of the Indian government, and he died in Calcutta in 1860, leaving Bagehot, then the manager of the Bristol branch of Stuckey’s bank, in charge of The Economist. For 17 years Bagehot wrote the main article, improved and expanded the statistical and financial sections, and transformed the journal into one of the world’s foremost business and political publications. More than that, he humanized its political approach by emphasising social problems.

Bagehot described himself as a conservative Liberal or “between size in politics.” Unlike many Liberals, he had grown up in the deep countryside and believed strongly that rapid industrialization and urbanization were creating social problems in Britain. He was also an acute observer of international affairs, with an instinctive affection for France and an equal distrust of Otto von Bismarck’s Germany. His early years at The Economist coincided with the American Civil War, about which he wrote nearly 20 articles; instinctively, like many of his British contemporaries, he sympathized with the Confederacy, yet he supported Abraham Lincoln. When the news of Lincoln’s assassination reached England, Bagehot wrote:

We do not know in history such an example of the growth of a ruler in wisdom as was exhibited by Mr. Lincoln. Power and responsibility visibly widened his mind and elevated his character. Difficulties, instead of irritating him as they do most men, only increased his reliance on patience; opposition, instead of ulcerating, only made him more tolerant and determined.

In 1867 Bagehot published The English Constitution, an attempt to look behind the facade of the British system of government—crown, Lords, and Commons—to see how it really operated and where true power lay.

Walter Bagehot, Lombard Street,
1873, title page
He was one of the first to observe the overriding power of the Cabinet in the party that commanded an effective majority in the House of Commons. He cultivated many close political friendships, notably with William Ewart Gladstone, who became the first Liberal prime minister in 1868; with Lord Carnarvon among the Conservatives (the author of the British North America Act, the constitution of Canada); and with William Edward Forster (the author of the first public education act in Britain).

Bagehot never succeeded, however, in entering politics himself. He stood for election to Parliament seats representing Manchester, then Bridgwater near his Somerset home (a district that had a notorious reputation for corruption), and finally London University in 1867. But he was a poor speaker and failed each time.

All this time, Bagehot and his wife were living in London, and he was editing a weekly of growing influence. In his 40s he became increasingly frail, and such energy as he had was concentrated on professional economic studies. In 1873 he published Lombard Street, which, though really a tract arguing for a larger central reserve in the hands of the Bank of England, in fact contains the germ of the modern theory of central banking and exchange control. He was working on a major series of economic studies when pneumonia struck him down at the age of 51.

The greatest tribute to Bagehot’s lively style, humanity, and insight is that his books have been read, republished, and subjected to a continuous stream of critical essays ever since his death.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walter Bagehot: "The English Constitution"

The English Constitution is a book by Walter Bagehot. First serialised in The Fortnightly Review between 15 May 1865 and 1 January 1867, and later published in book form in the latter year, it explores the constitution of the United Kingdom, specifically the functioning of Parliament and the British monarchy, and the contrasts between British and American government. The book became a standard work which was translated into several languages.

While Walter Bagehot's references to the Parliament of the United Kingdom have become dated, his observations on the monarchy are seen as central to the understanding of the principles of constitutional monarchy. He defined the rights and role of a monarch vis-à-vis a government as threefold:

-The right to be consulted;
-The right to encourage;
-The right to warn.

He also divided the constitution into two components: the "dignified" (that part which is symbolic) and the "efficient" (the way things actually work and get done).

Bagehot also praised "cabinet government" (in the Westminster system of government). At the same time, he mocked the American system for numerous flaws and absurdities he perceived, and its comparative lack of flexibility and accountability. In his words, "Cabinet governments educate the nation; the presidential does not educate it, and may corrupt it."

He praised Parliament as a place of "real" debate, considering debates in the United States Congress to be "prologues without a play". Bagehot said the difference in the substance of debate was due to debate in Parliament having the potential to turn out a government, while "debates" in the United States Congress have no such potential import.

Bagehot also criticised the fixed nature of a presidential term and the presidential election process itself. "Under a presidential constitution the preliminary caucuses that choose the president need not care as to the ultimate fitness of the person they choose. They are solely concerned with his attractiveness as a candidate; they need not regard his efficiency as a ruler." He declared that the only reason America succeeded as a free country was that the American people had a "genius for politics".

The title page of Bagehot's The English Constitution (1st ed., 1867)
A column in the magazine The Economist is named after Bagehot. Bagehot also influenced Woodrow Wilson, who wrote Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics (1885) having been inspired by The English Constitution.

Generations of British monarchs and their heirs apparent and presumptive have studied Bagehot's analysis.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

E. A. Freeman: "History of the Norman Conquest"
Freeman Edward Augustus

Edward Augustus Freeman (2 August 1823 – 16 March 1892), English historian, was born at Harborne, Staffordshire, on the 2nd of August 1823. He lost both of his parents in infancy, was brought up by a grandmother, and was educated at private schools and by a private tutor. He was a studious and precocious boy, more interested in religious matters, history and foreign politics than in boyish things.


Edward Augustus Freeman
  He obtained a scholarship at Trinity College, Oxford, and a second class in the degree examination, and was elected fellow of his college (1845). While at Oxford he was much influenced by the High Church movement, and thought seriously of taking orders, but abandoned the idea. He married a daughter of his former tutor, the Rev. R. Gutch, in 1847, and entered on a life of study. Ecclesiastical architecture attracted him strongly.

He visited many churches and began a practice, which he pursued throughout his life, of making drawings of buildings on the spot and afterwards tracing them over in ink. His first book, save for his share in a volume of English verse, was a History of Architecture (1849). Though he had not then seen any buildings outside England, it contains a good sketch of the development of the art. It is full of youthful enthusiasm and is written in florid language. After some changes of residence he bought a house called Somerleaze, near Wells, Somerset, and settled there in 1860.

Freeman's life was one of strenuous literary work. He wrote many books, and countless articles for reviews, newspapers and other publications, and was a constant contributor to the Saturday Review until 1878, when he ceased to write for it for political reasons. His Saturday Review articles corrected many errors and raised the level of historical knowledge among the educated classes, but as a reviewer he was apt to forget that a book may have blemishes and yet be praiseworthy. For some years he was an active county magistrate.

He was deeply interested in politics, was a follower of Mr. Gladstone, and approved the Home Rule Bill of 1886, but objected to the later proposal to retain the Irish members at Westminster. To be returned to Parliament was one of his few ambitions, and in 1868 he unsuccessfully contested Mid-Somerset. Foreign rather than domestic politics had the first place with him. Historical and religious sentiment combined with his detestation of all that was tyrannical to inspire him with hatred of the Turk and sympathy with the smaller and subject nationalities of eastern Europe. He took a prominent part in the agitation which followed "the Bulgarian atrocities"; his speeches were intemperate, and he was accused of uttering the words "Perish India!" at a public meeting in 1876. This, however, was a misrepresentation of his words. He was made a knight commander p77of the order of the Saviour by the king of Greece, and also received an order from the prince of Montenegro.

Freeman advanced the study of history in England in two special directions, by insistence on the unity of history, and by teaching the importance and right use of original authorities. History is not, he urges, to be divided "by a middle wall of partition" into ancient and modern, nor broken into fragments as though the history of each nation stood apart. It is more than a collection of narratives; it is a science, "the science of man in his political character." The historical student, then, cannot afford to be indifferent to any part of the record of man's political being; but as his abilities for study are limited, he will, while reckoning all history to be within his range, have his own special range within which he will master every detail (Rede Lecture). Freeman's range included Greek, Roman and the earlier part of English history, together with some portions of foreign medieval history, and he had a scholarly though general knowledge of the rest of the history of the European world. He regarded the abiding life of Rome as "the central truth of European history," the bond of its unity and he undertook his History of Sicily (1891-1894) partly because it illustrated this unity. Further, he urges that all historical study is valueless which does not take in a knowledge of original authorities, and he teaches both by example and precept what authorities should be thus described, and how they are to be weighed and used. He did not use manuscript authorities, and for most of his work he had no need to do so. The authorities which he needed were already in print, and his books would not have been better if he had disinterred a few more facts from unprinted sources.

His reputation as a historian will chiefly rest on his History of the Norman Conquest (1867‑1876), his longest completed book. In common with his works generally, it is distinguished by exhaustiveness of treatment and research, critical ability, a remarkable degree of accuracy, and a certain insight into the past which he gained from his practical experience of men and institutions.
He is almost exclusively a political historian. His saying that "history is past politics and politics are present history" is significant of this limitation of his work, which left on one side subjects of the deepest interest in a nation's life. In dealing with constitutional matters he sometimes attaches too much weight to words and formal aspects. This gives certain of his arguments an air of pedantry, and seems to lead him to find evidences of continuity in institutions which in reality and spirit were different from what they once had been. As a rule his estimates of character are remarkably able. It is true that he is sometimes swayed by prejudice, but this is the common lot of great historians; they cannot altogether avoid sharing in the feelings of the past, for they live in it, and Freeman did so to an extraordinary degree. Yet if he judges too favourably the leaders of the national party in England on the eve of the Norman Conquest, that is a small matter to set against the insight which he exhibits in writing of Aratus, Sulla, Nicias, William the Conqueror, Thomas of Canterbury, Frederick the Second and many more. In width of view, thoroughness of investigation and honesty of purpose he is unsurpassed by any historian. He never conceals nor wilfully misrepresents anything, and he reckoned no labour too great which might help him to draw a truthful picture of the past. When a place had any important connexion with his work he invariably visited it. He travelled much, always to gain knowledge, and generally to complete his historical equipment. His collected articles and essays on places of historical interest are perhaps the most pleasing of his writings, but they deal exclusively with historical associations and architectural features. The quantity of work which he turned out is enormous, for the fifteen large volumes which contain his Norman Conquest, his unfinished History of Sicily, his William Rufus (1882), and his Essays (1872‑1879), and the crowd of his smaller books, are matched in amount by his uncollected contributions to periodicals. In respect of matter his historical work is uniformly excellent.   In respect of form and style the case is different. Though his sentences themselves are not wordy, he is extremely diffuse in treatment, habitually repeating an idea in successive sentences of much the same import. While this habit was doubtless aggravated by the amount of his journalistic work, it seems originally to have sprung from what may be called a professorial spirit, which occasionally appears in the tone of his remarks. He was anxious to make sure that his readers would understand his exact meaning, and to guard them against all possible misconceptions. His lengthy explanations are the more grievous because he insists on the same points in several of his books. His prolixity was increased by his unwillingness, when writing without prescribed limits, to leave out any detail, however unimportant. His passion for details not only swelled his volumes to a portentous size, but was fatal to artistic construction. The length of his books hindered their usefulness. They were written for the public at large, but few save professed students, who can admire and value his exhaustiveness, will read the many hundreds of pages which he devotes to a short period of history.

In some of his smaller books, however, he shows great powers of condensation and arrangement, and writes tersely enough. His style is correct, lucid and virile, but generally nothing more, and his endeavour to use as far as possible only words of Teutonic origin limited his vocabulary and makes his sentences somewhat monotonous. While Froude often strayed away from his authorities, Freeman kept his authorities always before his eyes, and his narrative is here and there little more than a translation of their words. Accordingly, while it has nothing of Froude's carelessness and inaccuracy, it has nothing of his charm of style. Yet now and again he rises to the level of some heroic event, and parts of his chapter on the "Campaign of Hastings" and of his record of the wars of Syracuse and Athens, his reflections on the visit of Basil the Second to the church of the Virgin on the Acropolis, and some other passages in his books, are fine pieces of eloquent writing.
The high quality of Freeman's work was acknowledged by all competent judges. He was made D.C.L. of Oxford and LL.D. of Cambridge honoris causa, and when he visited the United States on a lecturing tour was warmly received at various places of learning. He served on the royal commission on ecclesiastical courts appointed in 1881. In 1884 he was appointed regius professor of modern history at Oxford. His lectures were thinly attended, for he did not care to adapt them to the requirements of university examinations, and he was not perhaps well fitted to teach young men. But he exercised a wholesome influence over the more earnest students of history among the resident graduates. From 1886 he was forced by ill-health to spend much of his time abroad, and he died of smallpox at Alicante on the 16th of March 1892, while on a tour in Spain. Freeman had a strongly marked personality. Though impatient in temper and occasionally rude, he was tender-hearted and generous. His rudeness to strangers was partly caused by shyness and partly by a childlike inability to conceal his feelings. Eminently truthful, he could not understand that some verbal insincerities are necessary to social life. He had a peculiar faculty for friendship, and his friends always found him sympathetic and affectionate. In their society he would talk well and showed a keen sense of humour. He considered it his duty to expose careless and ignorant writers, and certainly enjoyed doing so. He worked hard and methodically, often had several pieces of work in hand, and kept a daily record of the time which he devoted to each of them. His tastes were curiously limited. No art interested him except architecture, which he studied throughout his life; and he cared little for literature which was not either historical or political. In later life he ceased to hold the theological opinions of his young, but remained a devout churchman.

See W. R. Stephens, Life and Letters of E. A. Freeman (London, 1895); Frederic Harrison, Tennyson, Ruskin, Mill and other Literary Estimates (London, 1899); James Bryce, "E. A. Freeman," Eng. Hist. Rev., July 1892.

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Freeman: The History of the Norman Conquest of England

The History of the Norman Conquest of England: Its Causes and Its Results (1867–1879) is a six-volume study of the Conquest by Edward A. Freeman. Recognised by critics as a major work of scholarship on its first publication, it has since proved unpopular with readers, many of whom were put off by its enormous length and copious detail.

Academics have often criticized it for its heavily Whig treatment of the subject, and its glorification of Anglo-Saxon political and social institutions at the expense of their feudal successors, but its influence has nevertheless been profound, many Anglo-Norman historians of modern times having come around to some of Freeman's main conclusions.

Composition and publication
Freeman first wrote about the Conquest while he was still a student at Oxford, where his 1846 essay "The Effects of the Conquest of England by the Normans" was submitted for, but failed to win, a prize. In 1859 and 1865 he published lengthy reviews of the last two volumes of Sir Francis Palgrave's History of Normandy and of England. Exploring his points of agreement and disagreement with Palgrave Freeman decided to embark on his own history of the Conquest, reasoning that its approaching 800th anniversary might well make such a work popular. He believed that he had so completely worked out his own position on the historical controversies involved that "there will be little more to do than write down what is already in my head". He began work on the History on 7 December 1865, writing to a friend that it was a book "which I can do easier than anybody else, as I have worked so much at the subject for twenty years past". In the event, Freeman's decision to trace the remoter causes of the Conquest in much greater detail than he had originally planned put paid to all hopes of bringing his history down to William the Conqueror's accession in time for the octocentenary. His first volume, taking the story as far as the death of Harthacnut, appeared in 1867; subsequent volumes in 1868, 1869 and 1871 dealt with the reigns of Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror respectively; and an 1876 volume explored the consequences of the Conquest in later reigns, with a final index volume in 1879. Freeman later issued two revised editions.
Title page of the first edition of the last volume
Freeman aimed his History at both specialists and non-specialists. In an 1867 letter he wrote that

I have to make my text a narrative which I hope may be intelligible to girls and curates, and in an appendix to discuss the evidence for each point in a way which I hope may be satisfactory to Gneist and Stubbs.

He drew on the massive corpus of primary sources published over the previous eighty years, and on the works of 19th-century historians, particularly Augustin Thierry, Sharon Turner, Sir Francis Palgrave, and J. M. Lappenberg, but he felt it unnecessary to search out manuscript material and never went to either the British Museum Library or the Public Record Office, preferring his own well-stocked bookshelves. He also corresponded with scholars such as J. R. Green, James Bryce, W. F. Hook, W. R. W. Stephens, and especially William Stubbs, for whom he always professed the greatest admiration, as did Stubbs of him. A contemporary rhyme went:

See, ladling butter from alternate tubs
Stubbs butters Freeman, Freeman butters Stubbs.

Frank Barlow summarised Freeman's qualifications to write such a history:

a good knowledge of languages, including Anglo-Saxon, and an interest in field archaeology and architecture, with the ability to sketch buildings and their features. He was much involved in politics and not unreasonably regarded participation in government as useful training for a historian…Above all, he had tremendous zest.

Marjorie Chibnall added that in his knowledge of medieval chronicles Freeman had no rival.[7] As a set-off to this list Barlow noted Freeman's dogmatism, pugnacity and indifference to various subjects he considered irrelevant to his survey of 11th century England: theology, philosophy, and most of the arts.

Freeman went on to publish a history of The Reign of William Rufus (1882), in two volumes. He also wrote a series of works on the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods aimed at a popular readership: Old English History for Children, a work he had had in mind since before he began the History of the Norman Conquest, was published in 1869; A Short History of the Norman Conquest in 1880; and William the Conqueror in 1888. In 1974 J. W. Burrow produced an abridged edition of the History of the Norman Conquest of England.

Freeman was a man of deeply held convictions, which he expounded in the History of the Norman Conquest and other works with vigour and enthusiasm. These included the belief, common to many thinkers of his generation, in the superiority of those peoples that spoke Indo-European languages, especially the Greek, Roman and Germanic peoples, and in their genetic cousinhood; also in the purely Teutonic nature of the English nation. He asserted that the Anglo-Saxon invaders of England had largely killed or driven out the original Celtic inhabitants, and though he admitted that "the women would doubtless be largely spared", an exception which fatally flawed his argument, his conviction of the racial purity of the Anglo-Saxon people was highly influential on later generations of writers. His enthusiasm for Anglo-Saxondom knew few bounds when it came to their social and political institutions, and to his greatest heroes. These included Alfred the Great, Earl Godwin and Harold Godwinson, though he also began increasingly to admire William for his policy of protecting his revolution by retaining Old English institutions wherever possible. Freeman placed much greater faith in Anglo-Saxon historical writings than in the Norman chronicles, which he considered vitiated by sycophancy to the Norman court. Freeman had learned from Thomas Arnold a belief in the continuous and cyclical nature of history in general. Taking his cue from Francis Palgrave, he applied this to early medieval history by making the thoroughly Whig claim that the first parliaments of the reigns of Henry III and Edward I had brought the country back to something like the Anglo-Saxon institution of the Witenagemot, or national council, and that the constitution of the country had evolved through the Conquest period rather than being entirely remade. An unbroken line thus connected the Witenagemot with Victorian democracy. This all had the effect of diminishing the significance of his own subject, since it meant that 1066 had for Freeman "not the importance either of a beginning or of an ending, but the importance of a turning point". Hammering the point home, he wrote that,

I cannot too often repeat, for the saying is the very summing up of the whole history, that the Norman Conquest was not the wiping out of the constitution, the laws, the language, the national life, of Englishmen.

The book's sales were healthy, but never so great as Freeman had hoped. Doubtless this was partly caused by the sheer off-putting size of his books, but perhaps also by the fact that his historical prejudices were quite out in the open, leading readers to wonder whether his conclusions could be trusted.

Reviews of the History were respectful and in most cases favourable, though some reservations were expressed. The Gentleman's Magazine, for example, noted the harshness with which Freeman treated his opponents and his "unmistakeably strong belief in the correctness of his own views", but agreed with many of them, excepting only his insistence on spelling Anglo-Saxon personal names (Ecgberht, Ælfred etc.) in unmodernized form. The Saturday Review, the North American Review and the Literary World all agreed in regretting Freeman's indifference to social history, as opposed to political and military history.

The Month, a Catholic magazine, objected only to Freeman's outspokenly Protestant opinions on the "abject superstition" of some of the medieval saints, and bade him keep a civil tongue in his head on this point. The Edinburgh Review reached a more ambivalent verdict than most. It praised him for finding a middle line between the conflicting views of Thierry and Palgrave on the importance of the Conquest, and acknowledged that on many important points "Mr. Freeman has pronounced a judgment which will be accepted as conclusive by all historical scholars", but it devoted much space to its impatience with Freeman's enthusiasm for Anglo-Saxon institutions and for his particular heroes.[29] Chambers's Cyclopædia of English Literature told a wide readership that the History was "among the great works of the present century".

But in the later years of Freeman's life the book's reputation was injured by a series of attacks levelled on it by the genealogist and local historian J. H. Round.

Round brought against Freeman the same kind of agressively pedantic nit-picking that Freeman himself had been used to bring against other historians. Round was neither interested in nor knowledgeable about Anglo-Saxon history, but had "an instinctive feeling that in England our consecutive political history does, in a sense, begin with the Norman conquest".

Part of his motivation was political: as a Conservative who detested Freeman's Liberalism he reached the damning verdict that Freeman "was a democrat first, and historian afterwards". Freeman and his supporters responded to Round's criticisms, but Round did not give up the attack. "Truth cannot be silenced, facts cannot be obscured", he wrote. "I appeal, sure of my ground, to the verdict of historical scholars, awaiting, with confidence and calm, the inevitable triumph of the truth." Many of his attacks on Freeman were well placed, and their effect was to turn a whole generation of scholars against him, while to the general reading public, as Freeman himself acknowledged, "I seem to be either unknown or a subject for mockery".

After Freeman's death in 1892 critical opinion slowly began to change. In 1906 Thomas Hodgkin, without endorsing the accuracy of Freeman's History, called it "the great quarry from which all later builders will hew their blocks for building", and as the 20th century advanced the tide continued to turn as academics turned back to Freeman's Norman Conquest with renewed interest, even if the general public did not. The historian D. J. A. Matthew considered it "one of the most cited but least read historical monuments written on any historical subject." One exception to this rule was General Patton, who in 1944 included Freeman's History in his field kit, hoping to learn where to conduct a campaign in Normandy by studying William the Conqueror’s choice of roads. In 1953 David Douglas wrote that

as a detailed narrative of the Norman Conquest, Freeman's book has never been superseded, and it is those best versed in the history of eleventh-century England who are most conscious of its value.

Frank Barlow saw Freeman's influence as being profound. Modern historians, Frank Stenton and Ann Williams among them, have again come to share some of his beliefs, including the existence of a degree of historical continuity across the Norman Conquest, and to view English and Norman events in the broader context of European history. In 1967 R. Allen Brown called the History "a notorious high-water mark in studies of 1066". In the present century Anthony Brundage and Richard A. Cosgrove have been more reprehensive, writing that the History’s

organization, judgments, and style strike the modern reader as well over the top: uncritical and injudicious, remorselessly detailed, and a prose that adored long, languid sentences.

They nevertheless admit that

Even after knowledge of their shortcomings [is] taken into consideration, his conclusions remain a powerful voice on behalf of a nation whose past and present gloried in liberty, democracy and constitutional government

and they acknowledge that Freeman's views on the English national identity have had a lasting influence.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marx: "Das Kapital"

Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (1867-1883) (German: Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie; (German pronunciation: [das kapital]) by Marx Karl  is a foundational theoretical text in communist philosophy, economics and politics. Marx aimed to reveal the economic patterns underpinning the capitalist mode of production, in contrast to classical political economists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill.

In Capital: Critique of Political Economy (1867), Karl Marx proposes that the motivating force of capitalism is in the exploitation of labour, whose unpaid work is the ultimate source of surplus value and then profit both of which concepts have a specific meaning for Marx. The employer is able to claim the right to profits because he or she owns the productive capital assets (means of production), which are legally protected by the capitalist state through property rights (the historical section shows how this right was acquired in the first place chiefly through plunder and conquest and the activity of the merchant and 'middle-man'). In producing capital (money) as well as commodities (goods and services), the workers continually reproduce the economic conditions by which they labour. Capital proposes an explanation of the "laws of motion" of the capitalist economic system, from its origins throughout its future, by describing the dynamics of the accumulation of capital, the growth of wage labour, the transformation of the workplace, the concentration of capital, commercial competition, the banking system, the decline of the profit rate, land-rents, et cetera.

The critique of the political economy of capitalism proposes that:

The commodity is the basic "cell-form" (trade unit) of a capitalist society, but capitalism is distinguished from other forms of production based on commodities in that here labour power becomes a commodity like any other. Moreover, because commerce, as a human activity, implied no morality beyond that required to buy and sell goods and services, the growth of the market system made discrete entities of the economic, the moral, and the legal spheres of human activity in society; hence, subjective moral value is separate from objective economic value. Subsequently, political economy — the just distribution of wealth and "political arithmetick" about taxes — became three discrete fields of human activity: Economics, Law, and Ethics, politics and economics divorced.

Capital: A Critique of Political Economy

«Das Kapital» von Karl Marx in einer Ausgabe von 1867 aus der Sammlung Saitzew in der Zentralbibliothek Zürich
"The economic formation of society [is] a process of natural history", thus it is possible for a political economist to objectively study the scientific laws of capitalism, given that its expansion of the market system of commerce had objectified human economic relations; the use of money (cash nexus) voided religious and political illusions about its economic value, and replaced them with commodity fetishism, the belief that an object (commodity) has inherent economic value. Because societal economic formation is a historical process, no one person could control or direct it, thereby creating a global complex of social connections among capitalists; thus, the economic formation (individual commerce) of a society precedes the human administration of an economy (organised commerce).

The structural contradictions of a capitalist economy, the gegensätzliche Bewegung, describe the contradictory movement originating from the two-fold character of labour, and so the class struggle between labour and capital, the wage labourer and the owner of the means of production. These capitalist economic contradictions operate "behind the backs" of the capitalists and the workers, as a result of their activities, and yet remain beyond their immediate perceptions as men and women and as social classes.

The economic crises (recession, depression, etc.) that are rooted in the contradictory character of the economic value of the commodity (cell-unit) of a capitalist society, are the conditions that propitiate proletarian revolution; which the Communist Manifesto (1848) collectively identified as a weapon, forged by the capitalists, which the working class "turned against the bourgeoisie, itself".

In a capitalist economy, technological improvement and its consequent increased production augment the amount of material wealth (use value) in society, whilst simultaneously diminishing the economic value of the same wealth, thereby diminishing the rate of profit — a paradox characteristic of economic crisis in a capitalist economy; "poverty in the midst of plenty" consequent to over-production and under-consumption.

After two decades of economic study and preparatory work (especially regarding the theory of surplus value) the first volume appeared in 1867: The production process of capital. After Marx's death in 1883, Friedrich Engels introduced, from manuscripts and the first volume; Volume II: The circulation process of capital in 1885; and Volume III: The overall process of capitalist production in 1894. These three volumes are collectively known as Das Kapital.
Capital: Critique of Political Economy

Capital, Volume I
Capital, Volume I (1867) is a critical analysis of political economy, meant to reveal the contradictions of the capitalist mode of production, how it was the precursor of the socialist model of production, and of the class struggle rooted in the capitalist social relations of production.

The first of three volumes of Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Capital: Critique of Political Economy) was published on 14 September 1867, dedicated to Wilhelm Wolff, and was the sole volume published in Marx’s lifetime.

Capital, Volume II
Capital, Volume II, subtitled The Process of Circulation of Capital, was prepared by Friedrich Engels from notes left by Karl Marx and published in 1885. It is divided into three parts: The Metamorphoses of Capital and Their Circuits, The Turnover of Capital, and The Reproduction and Circulation of the Aggregate Social Capital.

In Volume II, the main ideas behind the marketplace are to be found: how value and surplus-value are realized. Its dramatis personae, not so much the worker and the industrialist (as in Volume I), but rather the money owner (and money lender), the wholesale merchant, the trader and the entrepreneur or 'functioning capitalist.' Moreover, workers appear in Volume II, essentially as buyers of consumer goods and, therefore, as sellers of the commodity labour power, rather than producers of value and surplus-value (although, this latter quality, established in Volume I, remains the solid foundation on which the whole of the unfolding analysis is based).

Reading Volume II is of monumental significance to understanding the theoretical construction of Marx's whole argument. Marx himself quite precisely clarified this place, in a letter sent to Engels on 30 April 1868: 'In Book 1. . . we content ourselves with the assumption that if in the self-expansion process £100 becomes £110, the latter will find already in existence in the market the elements into which it will change once more.

But now we investigate the conditions under which these elements are found at hand, namely the social intertwining of the different capitals, of the component parts of capital and of revenue (= s).'

This intertwining, conceived as a movement of commodities and of money, enabled Marx to work out at least the essential elements, if not the definitive form of a coherent theory of the trade cycle, based upon the inevitability of periodic disequilibrium between supply and demand under the capitalist mode of production (Mandel, 1978, Intro to Vol. II of Capital).

Volume II of Capital has indeed been not only a 'sealed book', but also a forgotten one. To a large extent, it remains so to this very day. Part 3 is the point of departure for a topic given its Marxist treatment later in detail by, among others, Rosa Luxemburg.

  Capital, Volume III
Capital, Volume III, subtitled The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole, was prepared by Friedrich Engels from notes left by Karl Marx and published in 1894. It is in seven parts:

The conversion of Surplus Value into Profit and the rate of Surplus Value into the rate of Profit
Conversion of Profit into Average Profit
The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall
Conversion of Commodity Capital and Money Capital into Commercial Capital and Money-Dealing Capital (Merchant's Capital)
Division of Profit Into Interest and Profit of Enterprise, Interest Bearing Capital.
Transformation of Surplus-Profit into Ground Rent.
Revenues and Their Sources

The work is best known today for part 3, which in summary says that as the organic fixed capital requirements of production rise as a result of advancements in production generally, the rate of profit tends to fall. This result, which orthodox Marxists believe is a principal contradictory characteristic leading to an inevitable collapse of the capitalist order, was held by Marx and Engels to, as a result of various contradictions in the capitalist mode of production, result in crises whose resolution necessitates the emergence of an entirely new mode of production as the culmination of the same historical dialectic that led to the emergence of capitalism from prior forms.

Intellectual influences
The purpose of Capital: Critique of Political Economy (1867) was a scientific foundation for the politics of the modern labour movement; the analyses were meant "to bring a science, by criticism, to the point where it can be dialectically represented" and so "reveal the law of motion of modern society" to describe how the capitalist mode of production was the precursor of the socialist mode of production. The argument is a critique of the classical economics of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, and Benjamin Franklin, drawing on the dialectical method that G.W.F. Hegel developed in The Science of Logic and The Phenomenology of Spirit; other intellectual influences upon Capital were the French socialists Charles Fourier, Comte de Saint-Simon, Sismondi and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; and the Greek philosophers, especially Aristotle.

At university, Marx wrote a dissertation comparing the philosophy of nature in the works of the philosophers Democritus (ca. 460–370 BC) and Epicurus (341–270 BC). The logical architecture of Capital: Critique of Political Economy is derived in part from the Politics and the Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, including the fundamental distinction between use value and exchange value, the "syllogisms" (C-M-C' and M-C-M') for simple commodity circulation, and the circulation of value as capital. Moreover, the description of machinery, under capitalist relations of production, as "self-acting automata" derives from Aristotle’s speculations about inanimate instruments capable of obeying commands as the condition for the abolition of slavery. In the nineteenth century, Karl Marx’s research of the available politico-economic literature required twelve years, usually in the British Library, London.

Capital, Volume IV
At the time of his death (1883) Karl Marx had prepared the manuscript for Capital, Volume IV, a critical history of theories of surplus value of his time, the nineteenth century. The philosopher Karl Kautsky (1854–1938) published a partial edition of Marx's surplus-value critique, and later published a full, three-volume edition as Theorien über den Mehrwert (Theories of Surplus Value, 1905–1910); the first volume was published in English as A History of Economic Theories (1952).
Capital, Volume I (1867) was published in Marx’s lifetime, but he died, in 1883, before completing the manuscripts for Capital, Volume II (1885) and Capital, Volume III (1894), which friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels edited and published as the work of Karl Marx. The first translated publication of Capital: Critique of Political Economy was in Imperial Russia, in March 1872. It was the first foreign publication; the English edition appeared in 1887. Despite Tsarist censorship proscribing "the harmful doctrines of socialism and communism", the Russian censors considered Capital as a "strictly scientific work" of political economy the content of which did not apply to monarchic Russia, where "capitalist exploitation" had never occurred, and was officially dismissed, given "that very few people in Russia will read it, and even fewer will understand it"; nonetheless, Karl Marx acknowledged that Russia was the country where Capital "was read and valued more than anywhere." The Russian edition was the fastest selling. 3,000 copies were sold in 1 year while the German edition took 5 years to sell 1,000, the Russian translation thus selling 15 times as fast as the German.

In the wake of the global economic collapse of 2008-9, Marx's Capital was purportedly in high demand in Germany. In 2012, Red Quill Books released "Capital: In Manga!", a comic book version[9] of Volume I which is an expanded English translation of the wildly successful[10] 2008 Japanese pocket version "Das Kapital" Manga de Dokuha.

The foreign editions of Capital: Critique of Political Economy (1867), by Karl Marx, include a Russian translation by the revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876). Eventually Marx's work was translated into all major languages. An English translation by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling was reissued in the 1970s by Progress Publishers in Moscow; a more recent English translation was made by Ben Fowkes and David Fernbach (the Penguin edition). The definitive critical edition of Marx's works, "MEGA II" (Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe), includes Das Kapital in German (and French, for the first volume) and shows all the versions and alterations made to the text, plus a very extensive apparatus of footnotes and (cross-)references.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  IDEAS that Changed the World
Karl Marx
"Manifesto of the Communist Party"
- Marxism

Friedrich Engels
First International
Pope Pius IX, on the 18th centenary of St. Peter and St. Paul, announces his intention to hold an ecumenical council
Thoma Ludwig
Ludwig Thoma (21 January 1867, Oberammergau – 26 August 1921, Rottach) was a German author, publisher and editor, who gained popularity through his partially exaggerated description of everyday Bavarian life.

Ludwig Thoma, by Karl Klimsch
  After graduation from the Imperial Latin School in Landstuhl (today: Sickingen- Gymnasium Landstuhl), he first studied Forestry in Aschaffenburg, then Law until 1893 in Munich and Erlangen.
Subsequently, he settled down as a lawyer, at first in Dachau, later in Munich.

After 1899, he worked for the magazine Simplicissimus and published humorous narrations, comedies, novels and stories. Thoma satirized Bavarian rural and small-town life. His serious peasant novels Andreas Vöst (1905), Der Wittiber (1911), and Der Ruepp (1922), as well as his humorous collections Assessor Karlchen (1900), Lausbubengeschichten [Scoundrel Stories] (1904), and Tante Frieda [Aunt Frieda] (1906), are characterized by authenticity of regional language and life. Thoma's dramas, including Die Medaille [The Medal] (1901), Das Säuglingsheim [The Orphanage] (1913), and especially Moral (1908), reflect elements of folk theater.

In 1907 he married 25-year-old Marietta di Rigardo, who was born in the Philippines. The marriage however did not last, Marietta was soon bored and by 1911 Thoma and Marietta were divorced.

In the later years of his life, he wrote nationalistic propaganda agitating against left-wing politicians (e.g. for the newspaper "Miesbacher Anzeiger").

During World War I he served as a paramedic. In July 1917 he joined the German Fatherland Party.

His best-known works are Ein Münchner im Himmel (A Municher in Heaven), the Lausbubengeschichten (Scoundrel Stories) and Jozef Filsers Briefwexel (Jozef Filser's Correspondence). Lausbubengeschichten was made into a movie in 1964, also released in English under the title Tales of a Young Scamp.

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Soseki Natsume
Natsume Sōseki (夏目 漱石?, February 9, 1867 – December 9, 1916), born Natsume Kinnosuke (夏目 金之助?) was a Japanese novelist of the Meiji period (1868–1912). He is best known for his novels Kokoro, Botchan, I Am a Cat and his unfinished work Light and Darkness. He was also a scholar of British literature and composer of haiku, kanshi, and fairy tales. From 1984 until 2004, his portrait appeared on the front of the Japanese 1000 yen note. In Japan, he is often considered the greatest writer in modern Japanese history. He has had a profound effect on almost all important Japanese writers since.

Natsume Soseki
  Early years
Born as Natsume Kinnosuke in the town of Babashita in the Edo region of Ushigome (present Kikui, Shinjuku), Sōseki began his life as an unwanted child, born to his mother late in her life, forty years old and his father then fifty-three. When he was born, he already had five siblings. Having five children and a toddler had created family insecurity and was in some ways a disgrace to the Natsume family. In 1868, a childless couple, Shiobara Masanosuke and his wife, adopted him until the age of nine, when the couple divorced. He returned to his family and was welcomed by his mother although regarded as a nuisance by his father. His mother died when he was fourteen, and his two eldest brothers died in 1887, intensifying his sense of insecurity.

Sōseki attended the First Tokyo Middle School (now Hibiya High School), where he became enamored with Chinese literature, and fancied that he might someday become a writer. His desire to become an author arose when he was about fifteen when he told his older brother about his interest in literature. However, his family disapproved strongly of this course of action, and when Sōseki entered the Tokyo Imperial University in September 1884, it was with the intention of becoming an architect. Although he preferred Chinese classics, he began studying English at that time, feeling that it might prove useful to him in his future career, as English was a necessity in Japanese college.

In 1887, Sōseki met Masaoka Shiki, a friend who would give him encouragement on the path to becoming a writer, which would ultimately be his career. Shiki tutored him in the art of composing haiku.

From this point on, he began signing his poems with the name Sōseki, which is a Chinese idiom meaning "stubborn". In 1890, he entered the English Literature department, and quickly mastered the English language. In 1891 he produced,a translation into English of the classical work Hōjōki. Sōseki graduated in 1893, and enrolled for some time as a graduate student and part-time teacher at the Tokyo Normal School.

In 1895, Sōseki began teaching at Matsuyama Middle School in Shikoku, which became the setting of his novel Botchan. Along with fulfilling his teaching duties, Sōseki published haiku and Chinese poetry in a number of newspapers and periodicals. He resigned his post in 1896, and began teaching at the Fifth High School in Kumamoto. On June 10 of that year, he married Nakane Kyoko.

In the United Kingdom, 1901–1903
In 1900, the Japanese government sent Sōseki to study in Great Britain as "Japan's first Japanese English literary scholar". He visited Cambridge and stayed a night there, but gave up the idea of studying at the university because he could not afford it on his government scholarship. He studied instead at University College, London (UCL). He had a miserable time of it in London, spending most of his days indoors buried in books, and his friends feared that he might be losing his mind. He also visited Pitlochry in Scotland.

He lived in four different lodgings, only the last of which, lodging with Priscilla and her sister Elizabeth Leale in Clapham (see the photograph), proved satisfactory. Five years later, in his preface to Bungakuron (The Criticism of Literature), he wrote about the period:

The two years I spent in London were the most unpleasant years in my life. Among English gentlemen I lived in misery, like a poor dog that had strayed among a pack of wolves.

He got along well with the one Leale sister, who shared his love of literature (notably Shakespeare—his tutor at UCL was the Shakespeare scholar W. J. Craig—and Milton) and spoke fluent French, much to his admiration. The Leales were a Channel Island family, and Priscilla had been born in France. The sisters worried about Sōseki's incipient paranoia and successfully urged him to get out more and take up cycling.

Despite his poverty, loneliness, and mental problems, he solidified his knowledge of English literature during this period and returned to the Empire of Japan in January 1903. In April he was appointed to the First National College in Tokyo. Also, he was given the lectureship in English literature, subsequently replacing Koizumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn) and ultimately becoming a professor of English literature at the Tokyo Imperial University, where he taught literary theory and literary criticism.

  Literary career
Sōseki's literary career began in 1903, when he began to contribute haiku, renku (haiku-style linked verse), haitaishi (linked verse on a set theme) and literary sketches to literary magazines, such as the prominent Hototogisu, edited by his former mentor Masaoka Shiki, and later by Takahama Kyoshi.

However, it was the public success of his satirical novel I Am a Cat in 1905 that won him wide public admiration as well as critical acclaim.

He followed on this success with short stories, such as Rondon tō ("Tower of London") in 1905 and the novels Botchan ("Little Master"), and Kusamakura ("Grass Pillow") in 1906, which established his reputation, and which enabled him to leave his post at the university for a position with Asahi Shimbun in 1907, and to begin writing full-time.

Much of his work deals with the relation between Japanese culture and Western culture.
Especially his early works are influenced by his studies in London; his novel Kairo-kō was the earliest and only major prose treatment of the Arthurian legend in Japanese.

He began writing one novel a year before his death from a stomach ulcer in 1916.

Major themes in Sōseki's works include ordinary people fighting against economic hardship, the conflict between duty and desire (a traditional Japanese theme; see giri), loyalty and group mentality versus freedom and individuality, personal isolation and estrangement, the rapid industrialization of Japan and its social consequences, contempt of Japan's aping of Western culture, and a pessimistic view of human nature.

Sōseki took a strong interest in the writers of the Shirakaba (White Birch) literary group.

In his final years, authors such as Akutagawa Ryūnosuke and Kume Masao became close followers of his literary style.

In the 21st century, there has been a global emergence of interest in Sōseki. Soseki's Kokoro (Heart) has been newly published in 10 languages, such as Arabic, Slovenian and Dutch, since 2001. In South Korea, the complete collection of Soseki's long works began to be published in 2013. In English speaking countries there has been a succession of English translations since 2008. About 60 of his works have been translated into more than 30 languages. Reasons for this emergence of global interest have been attributed in part to Haruki Murakami who said Sōseki was his favorite writer. Political scientist Kang Sang-jung, who is the principal of Seigakuin University, said, "Soseki predicted the problems we are facing today. He had a long-term view of civilization." He also said, "His popularity will become more global in the future".

Sōseki appears as a character in Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Bōken, where he is charged with stabbing a woman to death, and defended by the protagonist. In the game he has a pet cat called Wagahai, a reference to I Am a Cat.

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Russell George William

George William Russell (10 April 1867 – 17 July 1935) who wrote with the pseudonym Æ (sometimes written AE or A.E.), was an Irish writer, editor, critic, poet, artistic painter and Irish nationalist. He was also a mysticism writer, and a personage of a group of devotees of theosophy in Dublin for many years.


George William Russell
Russell was born in Lurgan, County Armagh, (not as is often said in Portadown), second son of Thomas Russell and Mary Armstrong. His father, the son of a small farmer, became an employee of Thomas Bell and Co, a prosperous firm of linen drapers. The family relocated to Dublin, where his father had a new offer of employment, when he was eleven years old. The death of his much loved sister Mary, aged 18, was a blow from which it took him a long time to recover.

He was educated at Rathmines School and the Metropolitan School of Art, where he began a lifelong friendship with William Butler Yeats. He started working as a draper's clerk, then worked many years for the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (IAOS), an agricultural co-operative society initiated by Horace Plunkett in 1894. In 1897 Plunkett needed an able organiser and W. B. Yeats suggested Russell, who became Assistant Secretary of the IAOS.

In 1898 he marrried Violet North; they had two surviving sons, Brian and Diarmuid, as well as a child who died soon after birth. Frank O'Connor, a close friend in Russell's later years, remarked that his family life was something of a mystery even to those who knew him best: O'Connor noticed that he never spoke about his wife and seemed to be at odds with his sons (although O'Connor himself liked both of them). While his marriage was rumoured to be unhappy, all his friends agreed that Violet's death in 1932 was a great blow to Russell.

He was an able lieutenant to Plunkett, and travelled extensively throughout Ireland as a spokesman for the IAOS; he was mainly responsible for developing the credit societies and establishing Co-operative Banks in the south and west of the country, the numbers of which increased to 234 by 1910. Russell and Plunkett made a good team, with each gaining much from the association with the other. As an officer of the IAOS he could not express political opinions freely, but he made no secret of the fact that he considered himself a Nationalist. During the 1913 Dublin Lock-out he wrote an open letter to the Irish Times criticizing the attitude of the employers, then spoke on it in England and helped bring the crisis to an end.

As a pacifist, Russell could have no sympathy either with the aims of the Easter Rising or the methods chosen to further it, but he was deeply moved by the deaths of the leading rebels, and like Yeats celebrated their sacrifice in verse:

"Their dream has left me numb and cold

And yet my spirit rose in pride

Refashioning in burnished gold

The images of those who died

Or were shut up in penal cell

Here's to you Pearse, your dream, not mine

And yet the thought- for this you fell

Has turned life's water into wine".

He was an independent delegate to the 1917–18 Irish Convention in which he opposed John Redmond's compromise on Home Rule. He became involved in the anti-partition Irish Dominion League when Plunkett founded the body in 1919.

Russell was editor from 1905 to 1923 of the Irish Homestead, the journal of the IAOS. His gifts as a writer and publicist gained him a wide influence in the cause of agricultural co-operation. He then became editor of the The Irish Statesman, the paper of the Irish Dominion League, which merged with the Irish Homestead, from 15 September 1923 until 12 April 1930. With the demise of this newspaper he was for the first time of his adult life without a job, and there were concerns that he could find himself in a state of poverty, as he had never earned very much money from his paintings or books; at one point his son Diarmuid was reduced to selling off early drafts of his father's works to raise money, rather to the annoyance of Russell, who accused Diarmuid, with whom his relations were not good, of "raiding the wastepaper baskets".  Unbeknownst to him meetings and collections were organized and later that year at Plunkett House he was presented by Father T. Finlay with a cheque for £800. This enabled him to visit the United States the next year, where he was well received all over the country and his books sold in large numbers.

He used the pseudonym "AE", or more properly, "Æ". This derived from an earlier Æon signifying the lifelong quest of man, subsequently abbreviated.


Bathers by Æ
Writer, artist, patron
His first book of poems, Homeward: Songs by the Way (1894), established him in what was known as the Irish Literary Revival, where Æ met the young James Joyce in 1902 and introduced him to other Irish literary figures, including William Butler Yeats. He appears as a character in the "Scylla and Charybdis" episode of Joyce's Ulysses, where he dismisses Stephen's theories on Shakespeare. His collected poems was published in 1913, with a second edition in 1926.

His house at 17 Rathgar Avenue in Dublin became a meeting-place at the time for everyone interested in the economic and artistic future of Ireland: his Sunday evenings "at home" were a feature of Dublin literary life. Michael Collins, the effective leader of the new Government, became acquainted with Russell in the last months of his life: Oliver St. John Gogarty, a regular guest at Russell's "at homes", believed that these two men, so utterly unalike, nonetheless had a mutual respect.

  Russell's generosity and hospitality were legendary: Frank O'Connor fondly recalled "the warmth and kindness, which enfolded you like an old fur coat". He was the most loyal of friends, and in the notoriously fractious Dublin literary world tried to keep the peace between his quarreling colleagues: even the abrasive Seamus O'Sullivan could be forgiven a great deal, simply because "Seamus drinks too much". His interests were wide-ranging; he became a theosophist and wrote extensively on politics and economics, while continuing to paint and write poetry. Æ claimed to be a clairvoyant, able to view various kinds of spiritual beings, which he illustrated in paintings and drawings.

He was noted for his exceptional kindness and generosity towards younger writers: Frank O'Connor termed him "the man who was the father to three generations of Irish writers", and Patrick Kavanagh called him "a great and holy man". P.L. Travers, famous as the creator of Mary Poppins, was yet another writer who gratefully recalled Russell's help and encouragement.

Last years and death
Russell, who had become increasingly unhappy in the Irish Free State (which according to Yeats he called "a country given over to the Devil"), moved to England soon after his wife's death in 1932. Despite his failing health he went on a final lecture tour in the United States, but returned home utterly exhausted. He died of cancer in Bournemouth in 1935. His body was brought back to Ireland and he had an impressive funeral, which was attended by Eamon de Valera and many other leading figures in Irish life, Catholic as well as Protestant. He is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

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Reymont Wladislau

Władysław Stanisław Reymont, Reymont also spelled Rejment (born May 7, 1867, Kobiele Wielkie, Poland, Russian Empire [now in Poland]—died December 5, 1925, Warsaw, Poland), Polish writer and novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1924.


Władysław Stanisław Reymont
  Reymont never completed his schooling but was at various times in his youth a shop apprentice, a lay brother in a monastery, a railway official, and an actor. His early writing includes Ziemia obiecana (1899; The Promised Land; filmed 1974), a story set in the rapidly expanding industrial town of Łódz and depicting the lives and psychology of the owners of the textile mills there. His two early novels Komediantka (1896; The Comedienne) and Fermenty (1897; “The Ferments”) were based on his own theatrical experience, while his short stories from peasant life show the strong influence of Naturalism. The novel Chłopi, 4 vol. (1904–09; The Peasants; filmed 1973), is a chronicle of peasant life during the four seasons of a year. Written almost entirely in peasant dialect, it has been translated into many languages and won for Reymont the Nobel Prize.

Reymont’s later work was less expressive but reflected the variety of his interests, including his view of the spiritualist movement in Wampir (1911; “Vampire”) and his image of Poland at the beginning of the partition process at the end of the 18th century, Rok 1794, 3 vol. (1913–18; “The Year 1794”).

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Bennett Arnold

Arnold Bennett, in full Enoch Arnold Bennett (born May 27, 1867, Hanley, Staffordshire, England—died March 27, 1931, London), British novelist, playwright, critic, and essayist whose major works form an important link between the English novel and the mainstream of European realism.


Arnold Bennett
  Bennett’s father was a self-made man who had managed to qualify as a solicitor: the family atmosphere was one of sturdy respectability and self-improvement.

Arnold, the eldest of nine children, was educated at the Middle School, Newcastle-under-Lyme; he then entered his father’s office as a clerk. In 1889 he moved to London, still as a solicitor’s clerk, but soon gained a footing in literature by writing popular serial fiction and editing a women’s magazine.

After the publication of his first novel, A Man from the North (1898), he became a professional writer, living first in the Bedfordshire countryside, then, following his father’s death, moving to Paris in 1903.

In 1907 he married a French actress, Marguerite Soulié; they separated in 1921.

Bennett is best known for his highly detailed novels of the “Five Towns”—the Potteries, since amalgamated to form the city of Stoke-on-Trent, in his native Staffordshire.

As a young writer he learned his craft from intensive study of the French realistic novelists, especially Gustave Flaubert and Honoré de Balzac, who emphasized detailed description of people, scenes, and events.

He also owes an immediate debt to George Moore, who was influenced by the same writers. Bennett’s criticism was of such high calibre that, if he had never written fiction, he would rank as an important writer.

He was less successful in his plays, although Milestones (1912), written with Edward Knoblock, and The Great Adventure (1913), adapted from his novel of five years earlier, Buried Alive (1908), both had long runs and have been revived.

As early as 1893 he had used the “Five Towns” as background for a story, and his major novels—Anna of the Five Towns (1902), The Old Wives’ Tale (1908), and Clayhanger (1910; included with its successors, Hilda Lessways, 1911, and These Twain, 1916, in The Clayhanger Family, 1925)—have their setting there, the only exception being Riceyman Steps (1923), set in a lower-middle-class district of London.

Arnold Bennett

  Paris during Bennett’s eight years there was the capital of the arts, and he made full use of his opportunities to study music, art, and literature as well as life. He retained an understanding of provincial life, but he shed the provincial outlook, becoming one of the least insular of Englishmen.

At a time when the popular culture and the arcane complacencies of the elite were equally inbred, Bennett was a cosmopolitan who appreciated Impressionist painting, the ballet of Serge Diaghilev, and the music of Igor Stravinsky before they reached London. Later, reviewing a constant stream of new books, he unerringly picked out the important writers of the next generation—James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway—and praised them discerningly. When Bennett returned to England, he divided his time between London and a country home in Essex. He never returned to the Potteries except on brief visits, but he continued to live there imaginatively, much as Joyce did in Dublin.

Bennett wrote 30 novels, and even many of the lesser ones display the essential Bennettian values, ironic yet kindly, critical yet with a large tolerance. His reputation declined in the 1920s and ’30s but soon rose, partly as the result of a reevaluation of his work by a group of young writers who felt themselves to be artistically in his debt. The Journals of Arnold Bennett, 1896–1928 were published in three volumes (1932–33).

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Balmont Konstantin
Konstantin Dmitriyevich Balmont (Russian: Константи́н Дми́триевич Бальмо́нт; 15 June [O.S. 3 June] 1867 – 23 December 1942) was a Russian symbolist poet, translator, one of the major figures of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.

Portrait of Konstantin Balmont
by Valentin Serov, 1905.
Konstantin Balmont was born in village Gumnishchi, Shuya (then Vladimir Guberniya, now Ivanovskaya oblast), the third of the seven sons of a Russian nobleman, lawyer and senior state official Dmitry Konstantinovich Balmont and Vera Nikolayevna (née Le′bedeva) The latter, having come from a family of military men where enthusiasm for literature and theater was almost hereditary, had the most profound influence over her son: she introduced him to the world of music, history and folklore. Vera Nikolayevna knew several foreign languages and often received guests whose political views were deemed 'risqué' at the time. It was from her that Konstantin Balmont, as he later remembered, inherited 'tempestuousness of character' and rabble-rouser mentality.
Balmont who learned to read at the age of five (while watching his elder brother's family lessons) cited Pushkin, Nekrasov, Koltsov and Nikitin as his first favorites. He insisted, though, that "the family house, the garden, creeks, marshy lakes, whispering leaves, butterflies, birds and sunrises" were his first poetry teachers. Balmont used to remember those ten years he spent in his family’s Gumnishchi estate with great love and warmth, referring to the place as "a tiny kingdom of silent comfort".

In 1876 the family moved to the town of Shuya where Vera Nikolayevna owned a two-story decrepit-looking house. At the age of ten Konstantin joined the preparatory class of a local gymnasium, an institution he later described as "the home of decadence and capitalism, good only at air and water contamination".

It was here at school that, rather vexed with the educational system's restrictions, he became interested in French and German poetry and started writing verses of his own. His first two poems, though, were criticized by his mother in such a harsh manner that for the next six years he made no attempts to repeat this first poetic venture.

What he became involved in instead was an illegal circle (formed by students and some traveling teachers) which printed and distributed Narodnaya Volya proclamations. "I was happy and I wanted everybody to be happy. The fact that only a minority, myself included, was entitled to such happiness, seemed outrageous to me," he later wrote, explaining his early enchantment with revolutionary activities.

Vera Nikolayevna transferred her son to another gymnasium, in Vladimir, but here the boy had to live in the house of a Greek language teacher who took upon himself a duty of a warden, becoming a source of much psychological suffering for a boy. In the late 1885 Balmont made his publishing debut: three of his poems appeared in a popular Saint Petersburg magazine Zhivopisnoye Obozrenye. This event (as a biographer put it) "has been noticed by nobody except for his (tor)mentor" whose ultimatum included a veto on any further publications until the graduation day. Balmont graduated in 1886. having spent "one and a half years in prison-like conditions." "I curse gymnasium wholeheartedly. It ruined my nervous system completely," the poet stated in 1923.

In 1886 Balmont joined the law faculty of the Moscow University where he met several of leftist activists, among them P.F. Nikolayev. The following year Balmont was arrested for taking part in students' demonstrations (against a new set of rules introduced by the authorities), spent three days in prison, then was expelled from the University and sent back home to Shuya. In 1889 Balmont returned to the University but soon quit again due to nervous breakdown. He joined the Demidov Law college in Yaroslavl but was expelled in September 1890 and decided that he'd had enough of formal education. "I simply couldn't bring myself to studying law, what with living so intensely through passions of my heart and being deeply involved in studying German literature," he wrote in 1911. The only family member who supported Konstantin's decision was his elder brother who studied philosophy at the time. "At the age of 13 I learned the meaning of the English word "self-help", fell in love with intellectual work and never stopped it until my dying days," Balmont wrote in the 1930s.


Konstantin Balmont in the late 1880s
In 1889 Balmont married Larisa Garelina, the daughter of a local factory owner. The marriage proved to be an unhappy one; it brought two tempestuous characters together. In 1890 he released a self financed book called simply The Poetry Collection (Sbornik stikhotvoreny), which included some of the pieces published in 1885. The publication was in many ways helped by Vladimir Korolenko, already an established writer. A couple of years earlier Korolenko received a handwritten notebook (which was sent to him by Konstantin's classmates) and replied with a letter providing serious and favourable critical analysis, praising the schoolboy's sharp eye for small detail but pointing at the occasional lack of concentration and general hastiness. "He wrote that… one is not to chase every fleeting moth; not to whip one’s emotions up with one's thought, but rather trust and rely upon this unconscious part of human soul which accumulates momentary impressions and later ensures young flower [of a talent] blossoming," Balmont remembered. "Should you learn to concentrate and work methodically, in due time we'll hear of your having developed into something quite extraordinary", were the last words of this remarkable letter. Much impressed with the famous writer's magnanimity, Balmont later credited Korolenko as being his "literary Godfather". The debut collection made no impact. Disgusted both with the book and the lack of public attention, the poet collected and burnt all of its copies. In 1888–1889 Balmont published several Romantic pieces he translated from German, in 1890 and 1891 he made translations from French symbolist poetry.
In Мarch 1890 a near fatal accident occurred: Balmont attempted suicide by jumping off the third floor window. He survived, but broke his leg and received injuries which left him bed-ridden for a year. The immediate impulse was provided apparently by Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, but there were other reasons behind it: the falling apart of his marriage, alcohol abuse and financial difficulties (his parents, who disliked Larisa, have left the pair without support). The year of recuperation served as a turning point for Balmont, who, in his words, experienced "the unusual mental agitation and the ensuing rush of cheerfulness." It was then that he recognized "life's sacred value" and envisaged his "poetic mission".

After the divorce Balmont for some time was destitute: none of the literary journals showed interest in his own work. "My first book, of course, was a total failure. People dear to me have made this fiasco even less bearable with their negativism," he wrote in 1903, meaning apparently Larisa, but also his University friends who scorned the debut collection for being "reactionary" and its author, for "abandoning the ideals of social struggle." Again, Korolenko came to help. "The poor guy is very shy; a mere attention to his work would make great difference," he wrote to Mikhail Albov, one of Severny Vestnik‍'​s editors, in September 1891.

Professor Nikolay Storozhenko of the Moscow University gave the struggling poet some more practical help. "If it was not for him I would have died of hunger. He gave me a fatherly helping hand," the latter remembered. Professor accepted Balmont's essay on Percy Bysshe Shelley and in October 1892, during young poet's first trip to the capital, introduced him to the influential Severny Vestnik clique. Here for the first time Balmont met Nikolay Minsky, Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Zinaida Gippius. More importantly, Storozhenko introduced Balmont to K.T.Soldatenkov, a respected publisher who commissioned him to translate two fundamental works on the history of German and Italian literature. Those books, published in 1894–1895, "were feeding me for three years, making it possible for me to fulfill all my poetic ambitions," Balmont wrote in 1922. All the while he continued to translate Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe. Balmont's translations of Poe's ballads and short stories are still regarded as exemplary.

Another man who helped launching the poet's stellar career was the famous lawyer and philanthropist Prince Alexander I. Urusov, an expert in West European literature who sponsored the publication of two of the Poe's books, translated by Balmont. In 1894 in the student's Circle of West European Literature fans Balmont met Valery Bryusov, who was deeply impressed by the young poet's "personality and his fanatical passion for poetry" and soon became his best friend.


Balmont and Sergey Gorodetsky with respective wives (Andreyeva to the right),
Saint Petersburg, 1907.
In December 1893 Balmont informed Nikolai Minsky in a letter: "I've written a series of my own verse and in January I'm planning to start the publishing process. I anticipate my liberal friends to be outraged for there's no liberalism in this whatsoever, while 'corrupting influences' are there aplenty."

The book, Under the Northern Sky (Pod severnym nebom) came out in 1894, was received favorably by critics and had success with the public. Regarded as Balmont's first 'real' book, it marked the starting point in his literary career. Prince Urusov declared himself a fan while critics noted, on the one hand, the dominance of the current vogue themes (laments on "grayness" of life, etc.), on the other, young author's individuality, exquisiteness of form and technical versatility.
The second collection, In Limitless Darkness (V bezbrezhnosti mraka, 1895) was seen as a much stronger effort. It was here that Balmont started experimenting with the Russian language's musical and rhythmical structures. Mainstream critics reacted coolly, but the Russian cultural elite embraced the innovator and soon he was welcomed in the major literary journals.

In 1895 Balmont met Jurgis Baltrusaitis (a poet who in the 1919 helped him leave the Soviet Russia). Even more significant was his friendship with Sergey Poliakov, a man of many trades and talents (known as, among other things, Knut Hamsun's Russian translator) a shrewd entrepreneur who in 1899 founded the Scorpion publishing house, and in 1904 became the sponsor and formal editor of the symbolist magazine Vesy (edited by Bryusov).

All the while Balmont was engaged in an intensive self-educating process: he learned several languages, read extensively and became an expert in various subjects from the Spanish art to the Chinese culture.

In 1896 Balmont married Yekaterina Andreyeva, a fellow translator whose placidness and rationality provided a much-needed counterbalance to his own emotional character. That year the couple went abroad to travel through Western Europe. In the spring of 1897 Oxford University invited Balmont to read lectures on the Russian poetry. "For the first time ever I've been given the opportunity to live my life totally in accord with my intellectual and aesthetic interests. This wealth of arts, poetry and philosophy treasures I'll never get enough of," he wrote in a letter to critic Akim Volynsky. These European impressions have formed the basis for Balmont's third collection The Silence (Tishina, 1898) which was lauded by contemporary critics as his best effort to date.

K. Balmont. A portrait by Nikolai Ulyanov (1909)
After two years of continuous travelling Balmont settled at Sergey Polyakov's Banki estate to concentrate on his next piece of work. In the late 1899 he informed fellow poet Lyudmila Vilkina:

I’ve got lots of news, all of them excellent. Luck's on my side. I write non-stop. My love of life grows and now I want to live forever. You won't believe how many new poems I've written: more than a hundred! It's madness, it’s fantasy and it's something new. The book I'm going to publish will be different. It will raise many an eyebrow. My understanding of the state of things has totally changed. It may sound funny, but I’ll tell you: I’ve understood how the world works. For many years [this understanding] will stay with me, hopefully forever.

The book in question was Burning Buildings (Goryashchiye zdaniya, 1900), a collection of innovative verse which later came to be regarded an apex of Balmont’s legacy. At the very core of it, according to the author, was the "longing for inner liberation and self-understanding". In 1901, along with a copy of Burning Buildings Balmont sent Leo Tolstoy a letter, saying: "This book is a prolonged scream of a soul caught in the process of being torn apart. One might see this soul as low or ugly. But I won't disclaim not a single page of it as long I keep in me this love for ugliness which is as strong as my love of harmony". Burning Buildings have made Balmont the leader of the Russian Symbolism. From then on "for a decade he was hovering above everybody else in the Russian poetry.

Others either meekly followed him or were struggling painfully to free themselves from his overbearing influence," wrote Valery Bryusov. Despite continuous partying (in the company of Sergey Polyakov and friends) Balmont's flow of creative output in those several years was virtually ceaseless. "Something new has come upon me, something more complex than I could have envisaged. I churn out one page after another, hastily, desperately trying to avoid mistakes… How unpredictable one’s soul is! One more look inside, and you see new horizons. I feel like I’ve struck a goldmine. Should I remain on it, I'll make a book that will never die," he wrote to Ieronim Yasinsky in 1900.

In March 1901 Balmont became known in Saint Petersburg's revolutionary circles. First he took part in the student demonstration on the Kazansky Sobor square which was violently disrupted by the police and Cossacks units. Several days later he went up stage of the literary event which was held in the Duma building and read his recently written poem "Little Sultan", a vitriolic swipe at Tzar Nicolas The 2nd. The hand-written version of it became popular, even Vladimir Lenin has been impressed. As a result, Balmont was deported from the capital and banned for three years from living in the University cities. He flew to Paris and spent 1902 travelling from one West European country to another with lectures.

Burning Buildings made Balmont Russia's number one literary celebrity, regarded by many as the most important poet of his generation. It was followed in 1903 by Let Us Be Like the Sun. The Book of Symbols (Budem kak solntse. Kniga simvolov) which had great success and in retrospect is seen as his strongest collection. Alexander Blok called it "unique in its unfathomable richness."

In the summer of 1903 Balmont visited Moscow, then moved to the Baltic Sea shore to work on his next book. The collection of poetry called Only Love (Tolko lyubov, 1903) couldn't surpass any of his two previous masterpieces but added to the cult of Balmont. "Russia was passionately in love with him. Young men whispered his verses to their loved ones, schoolgirls scribbled them down to fill their notebooks," Teffi remembered. Many established poets – Mirra Lokhvitskaya, Valery Bryusov, Andrey Bely, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Maximilian Voloshin and Sergey Gorodetsky among them – treated him (in the words of biographer Darya Makogonenko) as a "genius… doomed to rise high above the world by submerging himself totally into depths of his soul."

In 1904–1905 Scorpion published the two-volume set of Balmont's best work. It was followed by Lithurgy of Beauty. Hymns for Elements (Liturgiya krasoty. Stikhiynye gimny) and Fairies' Tales (Feinye skazki, both 1905). The first one was created much under the impression of the Russian-Japanese War, the second was a children's book written for daughter Nina Balmont. Back from his trip to Mexico and California, Balmont became involved in the 1905 street unrest, reading poems on barricades and (according to Yekaterina Andreeva) "carrying a pistol in the pocket wherever he went." Now friends with Maxim Gorky, he contributed both to the latter's New Life (Novaya zhizn) and Paris-based Red Banner (Krasnoye znamya) radical newspapers.[25] In December 31, 1905, he flew to Paris so as to avoid arrest. Balmont's posing as a political immigrant was ridiculed in Russia, but years later archive researchers found conclusive evidence for the fact that the Russian secret police regarded the poet as a "dangerous political activist" and tried to follow his steps even abroad.


Konstantin Balmont
Balmont's next two books collected pieces written during and in the wake of the First Russian revolution events. Poems (Stikhotvorenya, 1906) were immediately confiscated by the police; Songs of the Avenger (Pesni mstitelya, 1907), containing direct calls for the assassination of the Tzar ("You should be killed, you've become everyone's grief." - "To Nicolas the Last") were banned in Russia and came out in Paris. Another one, Vile Charms (Zlyiye tchary, 1906), was banned for its allegedly anti-religious sentiments. None of this fuss, though, could make up for the fact that the poet's muse mysteriously abandoned him: both critics and fellow poets (close friend Brysov among them) saw these forays into socio-political spheres as total failures. Russian folklore-orientated Firebird. A Slav's Svirel (Zhar-ptitsa. Svirel slavyanina, 1907), Hortus conclusus. Words Like Kisses (Zelyony vertograd. Slova potseluinyie, 1909) and Ancient Calls (Zovy drevnosty, 1909), even if radically different, bore the same sign of deep artistic crisis, of which the poet himself, apparently, was totally unaware. Most notable Balmont's work of the time, three non-poetry books – Mountain Peaks (Gornyie vershiny, 1904), White Heat Lightnings (Belyie zarnitsy, 1908) and The Luminous Sea (Morskoye svetchenyie, 1910), - were collections of essays on Russian and foreign authors.

In 1907–1912 Balmont travelled continuously. Different brands of ethnic folklore and esoteric ideas formed the basis of his next books: Snakes' Flowers (Zmeinyie tsvety. 1910), White Architect (1914) and The Osiris Land (1914).

"I want to enrich my mind, for too many personal things have been jamming it off over the years," he explained. In 1913 the political amnesty (declared in time for the Romanovs' 300 years Jubilee) made it possible for Balmont to return home where he found himself in the center of public attention, a hero of banquets, ceremonies and extravagant celebrations. 1914 saw the beginning of the Complete Balmont in ten volumes, the publication of which continued in the course of the next seven years.

Touring Russia and abroad, Balmont continued translating – among other things, Hindu, Georgian and Japanese folklore originals. The break out of the World War I found him the poet in France and he had to make a trip through Britain, Norway and Sweden to finally return home in May 1915. By this time Balmont has discovered for himself a new genre in poetry: he wrote 255 sonnets which were published under the title Sonnets of the Sun, the Honey and the Moon (Sonety solntsa, myoda i Luny, 1917). This, along with Fraxinus. Vision of a Tree (Yasen. Videniye dreva, 1916), was moderately successful in Russia, but critics deplored "overall monotony and banality of linguistic decorativeness" of his new verse.

Balmont welcomed the February Revolution and even became the member of the Society of Proletarian Art, but soon got disillusioned, joined the Cadet party and praised Lavr Kornilov in one of the newspaper articles. The October revolution horrified Balmont and made him repudiate many of his views of the past. Being the 'absolute freedom' idea apologist, he condemned the dictatorship of proletariat doctrine as destructive and suppressive. Still, in his Revolutionary: Am I or Am I Not? autobiographical essay Balmont argued that a poet should keep away from political parties and keep "his individual trajectory which is more akin to that of a comet rather than a planet."

1918–1919 were the years of enormous hardship for Balmont who, now living in Petrograd with his third wife Yelena Tsvetkovskaya (and their daughter Mirra), had to support Yekaterina Andreeva (and Nina) whom he from time to time visited in Moscow. He struck close friendship with Marina Tsvetayeva, another poet on the verge of physical collapse. Unwilling to collaborate with the Bolsheviks (whose "hands were smeared with blood", as he declared openly at one of the literary meetings) he still occasionally had to. In 1920 Anatoly Lunacharsky (under pressure from Jurgis Baltrushaitis, then the head of Lithuanian diplomatic mission in Moscow) gave Balmont the permission to leave the country. Boris Zaitsev later opined that what Baltrushaitis did was actually save Balmont's life. For, according to S.Litovtsev (a Russian critic who lived in immigration) at one of the Cheka secret meetings the fate of Balmont was discussed: "those demanding him being put to a firing squad just happened to be in minority at the time," and he was left alone for a while. On May 25, 1920, Balmont and his family left Russia for good.

In Paris Balmont found himself an unpopular figure. Radical Russian emigres saw his too easy an exit suspicious and insinuated about him being a Communist sympathizer. In a way Lunacharsky with his apologetic article ensuring the public at home that Balmont's stance wasn't in any way anti-Bolshevist, played up to these suspicions. On the other hand, Balmont has said negative things about the Bolshevist Russia and this gave the Soviet press the reason to accuse of "treacherousness" a poet, who "having been sent to the West on a mission to collect common people's revolutionary poetry abused the trust of the Soviet government." Condemning repressions in Russia, Balmont was critical of his new environment too, speaking of many things that horrified him in the West. What caused him most trouble, though, was his longing for Russia. "There wasn't another Russian poet in exile who'd suffer so painfully his being severed from his roots'" wrote memoirist Yuri Terapiano. For Balmont his European experience was "life among aliens". "Russia is what I long for. Emptiness, emptiness everywhere. Not a trace of spirituality here in Europe," he complained in a December 1921 letter to Yekaterina Andreeva.

  In 1921 Balmont moved out of Paris into the province where he and his family rented houses, mostly in Brittany, Vendee and Gironde. 1926 he spent in Bordeaux. In the late 1920s Balmont's criticism of both the Soviet Russia and the leftist Western elite (Romain Rolland in particular), indifferent, as he saw it, to the plight of the Russian people, was becoming more pronounced. Great Britain's acknowledgement of the legitimacy of (in Balmont's words) "the international gang of bandits who seized power in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, weakened by our military defeat" has rendered "a fatal blow to the last remnants of honesty in the post-War Europe." All the while, unlike his conservative friend Ivan Shmelyov, Balmont's political views were liberal: he detested fascism and right-wing nationalist ideas. At the same time he shied the Russian ex-Socialists (like Kerensky and Fondaminsky) and expressed horror at France's enchantment with Socialism. His views in many ways were similar to those of Ivan Bunin; the two (who have never been friends) were speaking in one voice on many occasions.

In immigration Balmont continued to write a lot. He published several books of poetry: A Gift to Earth (Dar Zemle), Lightened Hour (Svetly tchas, both 1921), The Haze (Marevo, 1922), Mine to Her. Poems of Russia (Moyo — ei. Stikhi o Rossiyi, 1923), Stretching Horizons (V razdvinutoi dali, 1929), Northern Lights (Severnoye siyaniye, 1933), Blue Horseshoe (Golubaya podkova) and Serving the Light (Svetosluzheniye, both 1937).

He released autobiographies and memoirs: Under the New Sickle (Pod novym serpom), The Airy Path (Vozdushny put, both 1923) and Where Is My Home? (Gde moi dom?, Prague, 1924). Balmont's poetry in emigration was not popular with his contemporaries: Vladimir Nabokov called his verse "jarring" and "it's new melodies false." Nina Berberova argued that Balmont exhausted his muse while in Russia and none of his later work was worthy of attention. Modern Russian critics assess Balmont's last books more favourably, seeing them as lacking in flamboyance, but being more accessible and demonstrating more depth. Poet Nikolay Bannikov called poems "Pines in Dunes" (Dyunnyie sosny) and "Russian Language" (Russkiy yazyk) "little masterpieces". In the late 1920s Balmont was still touring, reading lectures (in Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Lithuania) and translated a lot. Returning to Russia became his idee fix which never transpired.

In the early 1930s life for Balmont became hard, as financial support from the Czech and Yugoslav governments' literary funds ceased.
The poet who had to support three women (among them daughter Mirra with her erratic behavior, a constant source of trouble) has fallen into poverty. Ivan Shmelyov provided moral support and addressed philanthropists; professor Vladimir Zeeler regularly provided financial help. Things worsened in 1932 when it became clear that Balmont was suffering from mental illness (triggered to some extent by his alcohol abuse in 1920s).

He's never lost neither his mind, nor a sense of humor. Of a car accident which left him with some bruises and a costume spoiled, he wrote to a friend in 1936: "The quality of life of a Russian immigrant is such that the thought of what would be more profitable to lose: trousers or legs on which they are usually on, becomes a serious dilemma." In April 1936 the group of Russian writers and musicians abroad celebrated the 50th anniversary of Balmont's literary career by staging a charity event; among organizers and contributors were Ivan Shmelyov, Ivan Bunin, Boris Zaitsev, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Mark Aldanov. In 1939–1940 the Russian Nazis in Paris tried to bring up the poet's "revolutionary past" to the attention of their German masters, but the latter (according to Yuri Terapiano) showed total indifference to the fact. Balmont died on December 23, 1942 in the "Russian House" asylum, due to complications of pneumonia. He was buried in Noisy-le-Grand's Catholic cemetery with four words engraved on a grey tomb: "Constantin Balmont, poete russe". Few people were present, among them Boris Zaitsev, daughter Mirra and Jurgis Baltrushaitis' widow.

Konstantin Balmont
Konstantin Balmont has been characterized variously as theatrical, pretentious and outright egotistical, his behaviour was on more than one occasion described as erratic and irrational. He could sprawl himself on a cobbled street of Paris to make an upcoming fiacre stop abruptly, or, dressed in a coat and hat, enter a pond at night so as "to experience something new and express this in poetry." What fans saw as whimsies of a genius, others treated as cheap posturing. Boris Zaitsev remembered how his wife became duly appalled when Balmont (who was a neighbour) once asked her: "Vera, would you prefer a poet coming to Boris' room by air, by-passing banal trails of the real world?" - We were aware of one of his earlier attempts of the kind and would rather prefer his visits performed in the most banal, natural ways," Zaitsev added. Ridiculing good-humouredly his neighbour's vain eccentricities, he remembered episodes when Balmont "could be altogether different person: very sad and very simple."

Poet Andrey Bely spoke of Balmont as of a lonely and vulnerable man, totally out of touch with the real world. Inconsistency marred his creativity too: "He's failed to connect and harmonize those riches he's been given by nature, aimlessly spending his spiritual treasures," Bely argued. Duality was intrinsic to the way Balmont acted and even looked. According to Bely, His deep-seated, almost browless eyes looked sombrely, humbly and mistrustfully. Once a spiteful look entered his face, a glimpse of vulnerability followed suit. His whole image was a kaleidoscope of contradictory features: arrogance and weakness, majestic posturing and languid apathy, cheekiness and fear – those were flickering on and on, making his pale, emaciated face ever changing.

Sometimes this face looked insignificant. Sometimes it radiated unspoken grace.
"Balmont was a poseur and reasons for this were obvious. Ever crowded by worshippers, he was trying to bear himself in a manner he saw as befitting a great poet, head cast back, brow furrowed... It was laughter that gave him away… This childish laughter could say a lot of the nature of those ridiculous shenanigans of his. Just like a child, he was always moved by a momentary impulse," wrote Teffi. Close friend Valery Bryusov explained quirks and deviations in Balmont's behaviour by "the deep poetic nature of his self." "He lives in a poet's way finding in life's every moment its full richness. That is why one shouldn't judge him by common criteria," Bryusov wrote.

Many remembered Balmont as a warm and humane person. Piotr Pertsov who knew him from teenage years, characterized Balmont as "very nice, friendly and considerate young man." Marina Tsvetayeva, Balmont's close friend at the times of hardship, insisted that the poet was "a kind of man who'd give a needy one his last piece of bread, his last log of wood." Mark Talov, a Soviet translator who in the 1920s found himself penniless in Paris, remembered how often, after having left Balmont's house he would find money in a pocket; the poet (who was very poor himself) preferred the anonymous way of help so as not to confuse a visitor.

Some dismissed Balmont's childishness as an affectation, others saw it as something genuine. Boris Zaitsev thought Valentin Serov with his portrait came closest to depicting Balmont's brisk, belligerent character. "Cheerful, easy to burst out, ready to retort sharply or effusively. To make a parallel with the world of birds, he'd be a colourful chantecler, greeting daylight and life itself," Zaitsev wrote.

Bohemian habits notwithstanding, Balmont was a hard worker, highly proficient and prolific. Wherever he went, he never stopped learning, seeping in myriads of facts concerning the place's history and culture. Eccentric to many, he seemed rational and logical to some. Publisher Sergey Sabashnikov remembered the poet as "accurate, punctual, pedantic and never slovenly… Such accuracy made Balmont a very welcome client," Sabashnikov added.

There is an element of controversy as to Konstantin Balmont's (and his second name's) origins. Common knowledge has it that his father Dmitry Konstantinovich Balmont (1835—1907) was a nobleman of Scandinavian (probably Scottish) ancestry. In his 1903 short autobiography the poet wrote:

According to our family legend, my ancestors were sailors, either Scottish or Scandinavian, who came to Russia and settled there. My father's father was a Navy officer and a hero of Turkish War praised by Tzar Nikolay the First for bravery. My mother's ancestors were Tatars, the first in the line being Prince Bely Lebed (White Swan) of the Golden Horde. That was where two of her distinctive qualities, unruliness and tempestuousness which I inherited, have come from.

The less exotic, alternative version of this has been suggested by the poet's second wife Yekaterina Andreeva. According to her Memoirs, Balmont’s grand-grandfather on his father's side Ivan Andreyevich Balamut (the Ukrainian surname, meaning "trouble-maker", "rabble-rouser") served as a cavalry sergeant in Catherine the Great's Imperial Guard regiment (Andreyeva insisted she saw the proof in the original parchment-written document kept in the family archives). A landowner in Kherson, Southern Ukraine, Ivan Balamut has got his name somehow modified into Balmont. This second version has its own detractors, though. According to Tatyana Alexandrova, an authority on Mirra Lokhvitskaya and Balmont, "It would have been logical that a foreign name should be transformed by common people of rural area into a folkish, recognizable version, but certainly not vice versa."

  Private life
In 1889 Balmont married Larisa Mikhaylovna Garelina, the daughter of a factory-owner in Shuya, described as "a Botticellian beauty (with the Birth of Venus serving here apparently for a point of reference). The poet's mother forbade her son to marry the girl. Balmont was adamant and had to sever all ties with his family to implement his decision. This marriage was doomed from the very start. Garelina was described as a neurasthenic who "was giving [the poet] love of a truly demonic nature," sympathized with neither his literary ambitions nor revolutionary inclinations, was suffering from bouts of violent jealousy and was responsible for his well-publicized alcohol-related excesses (this last idea has been propagated by Balmont himself, notably in the autobiographical poem "Forest Fires"). The poet's first suicidal attempt on March 13, 1890, was the direct result of the catastrophe that his marriage proved to be. The couple's first son died in infancy; the second, Nikolai, suffered from mental illness. Later some critics warned against demonizing Larisa Garelina, pointing to the fact that years later she married the well-known Russian journalist and literature historian Nikolai Engelgardt and enjoyed perfectly normal family life with him. Their daughter Anna Engelgardt became the second wife of poet Nikolai Gumilyov.

Yekaterina Alekseyevna Andreyeva (1967–1952), the poet's second wife, came from the rich merchants' family, related to Sabashikovs, the well-known Moscow-based publishers' clan. She was (as friends remembered her) an exceptionally well-educated woman, tall, elegant and slender, somewhat aloof, strong-minded and attractive. Andreyeva was (according to her Memoirs) passionately (and unrequitedly) in love with Prince Alexander Urusov and for a while was leaving infatuated Balmont's passes without notice.

The latter prevailed, finally she fell for him and on September 27, 1896, the couple married and instantly left for France (one reason being the fact that the husband was still not officially divorced at the time). Andreyeva and Balmont had much in common: they even formed a translational tandem working together on the works of Gerhart Hauptmann, Oscar Wilde and others Andreyeva, according to Boris Zaitsev, was a leading force in the family. Under her control the poet was "in strong, healthy and loving hands", well disciplined and leading a working man's life. In 1901, daughter Nina Balmont (later Bruni, died in Moscow in 1989 году) was born; it was for her that the poet wrote A Fairy's Tale, the 1905 book of children's verses.

In the early 1900s, while in Paris, Balmont met Yelena Konstantinovna Tsvetkovskaya (1880–1943), general K.G. Tzvetkovsky's daughter, who was at the time studying mathematics in Sorbonne and was the poet's ardent fan. Balmont, as some of his letters suggested, wasn't in love with her, but found himself in many ways dependent on the girl who proved to be a loyal, devoted friend. Balmont's family life got seriously complicated after Tsvetkovskaya in 1907 gave birth to a daughter. Balmont called her Mirra in memory of Mirra Lokhvitskaya who died in 1905 and whom he had passionate platonic relations with.

Torn apart between the two families, in 1909 Balmont attempted suicide for the second time (jumping out a window) and again survived. Up until 1917 he lived in Saint Petersburg with Tsvetkovskaya and Mirra, occasionally visiting Yekaterina and Nina in Moscow. While in immigration Balmont continued to correspond with Andreyeva until 1934 (when such links between relatives were officially banned in the USSR).
Yekaterina Andreeva, Balmont's second wife.
Teffi thus described Balmont and Tsvetkovskaya: "He [entered the room], head held high, a true Fame's laurels bearer, neck wrapped in a black tie of a kind Lermontov might have found useful but nobody would even dream of wearing today. Lynx' eyes, mane of long reddish hair. Followed by a shadow, Yelena: small, thin, dark-skinned creature who was obviously depending in life on two strong things: tea and her love." The couple, according to Teffi, communicated in strange and pretentious manner. "She was always calling him 'a poet', never – 'my husband'. A simple phrase: 'My husband asks for a drink' in their special argot would turn into something like: 'A poet is willing to appease his thirst'."  Unlike Andreyeva, Yelena Tsvetkovskaya was helpless in domestic life and had no influence over Balmont, whom she felt as her duty to follow wherever he went to drink, spending nights by his side, never being able take him home. "Small wonder that, leading such a life, at 40 she looked like a very old woman," Teffi remarked.

The last woman Balmont has been romantically linked with was Dagmar Shakhovskaya (1893–1967), an Estonian baroness. The lovers met rarely, but had two children: George (1922–194?) and Svetlana (b. 1925). Balmont wrote to her almost daily; all in all 858 of his letters and postcards remained. Still, it was Yelena Tsvetkovskaya who remained with him till his dying day. She died in 1943, a year after her husband. Mirra Balmont (in marriage Boychenko, then Autina) published poetry as Aglaya Gamayun. She died in Paris in 1970.

Cultural references
Many Russian composers set Balmont's poetry to music: Mikhail Gnessin, Nikolai Myaskovsky, Nikolai Obukhov, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Maximilian Steinberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Sergei Taneyev. His poems are frequently performed as songs.

One of his best known works is his free Russian translation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells, which formed the basis of Rachmaninoff's choral symphony of the same name, Op. 35.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

see also: Konstantin Balmont
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Pirandello Luigi

Luigi Pirandello, (born June 28, 1867, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy—died Dec. 10, 1936, Rome), Italian playwright, novelist, and short-story writer, winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize for Literature. With his invention of the “theatre within the theatre” in the play Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (1921; Six Characters in Search of an Author), he became an important innovator in modern drama.


Luigi Pirandello

  Pirandello was the son of a sulfur merchant who wanted him to enter commerce. Pirandello, however, was not interested in business; he wanted to study. He first went to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and, in 1887, to the University of Rome. After a quarrel with the professor of classics there, he went in 1888 to the University of Bonn, Ger., where in 1891 he gained his doctorate in philology for a thesis on the dialect of Agrigento.

In 1894 his father arranged his marriage to Antonietta Portulano, the daughter of a business associate, a wealthy sulfur merchant. This marriage gave him financial independence, allowing him to live in Rome and to write. He had already published an early volume of verse, Mal giocondo (1889), which paid tribute to the poetic fashions set by Giosuè Carducci.
This was followed by other volumes of verse, including Pasqua di Gea (1891; dedicated to Jenny Schulz-Lander, the love he had left behind in Bonn) and a translation of J.W. von Goethe’s Roman Elegies (1896; Elegie romane). But his first significant works were short stories, which at first he contributed to periodicals without payment.

In 1903 a landslide shut down the sulfur mine in which his wife’s and his father’s capital was invested.

Suddenly poor, Pirandello was forced to earn his living not only by writing but also by teaching Italian at a teacher’s college in Rome. As a further result of the financial disaster, his wife developed a persecution mania, which manifested itself in a frenzied jealousy of her husband. His torment ended only with her removal to a sanatorium in 1919 (she died in 1959). It was this bitter experience that finally determined the theme of his most characteristic work, already perceptible in his early short stories—the exploration of the tightly closed world of the forever changeable human personality.

Pirandello’s early narrative style stems from the verismo (“realism”) of two Italian novelists of the late 19th century—Luigi Capuana and Giovanni Verga. The titles of Pirandello’s early collections of short stories—Amori senza amore (1894; “Loves Without Love”) and Beffe della morte e della vita (1902–03; “The Jests of Life and Death”)—suggest the wry nature of his realism that is seen also in his first novels: L’esclusa (1901; The Outcast) and Il turno (1902; Eng. trans. The Merry-Go-Round of Love). Success came with his third novel, often acclaimed as his best, Il fu Mattia Pascal (1904; The Late Mattia Pascal). Although the theme is not typically “Pirandellian,” since the obstacles confronting its hero result from external circumstances, it already shows the acute psychological observation that was later to be directed toward the exploration of his characters’ subconscious.


Luigi Pirandello
  Pirandello’s understanding of psychology was sharpened by reading such works as Les altérations de la personnalité (1892), by the French experimental psychologist Alfred Binet; and traces of its influence can be seen in the long essay L’umorismo (1908; On Humor), in which he examines the principles of his art. Common to both books is the theory of the subconscious personality, which postulates that what a person knows, or thinks he knows, is the least part of what he is.

Pirandello had begun to focus his writing on the themes of psychology even before he knew of the work of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis.

The psychological themes used by Pirandello found their most complete expression in the volumes of short stories La trappola (1915; “The Trap”) and E domani, lunedì . . . (1917; “And Tomorrow, Monday . . . ”), and in such individual stories as “Una voce,” “Pena di vivere così,” and “Con altri occhi.”

Meanwhile, he had been writing other novels, notably I vecchi e i giovani (1913; The Old and The Young) and Uno, nessuno e centomila (1925–26; One, None, and a Hundred Thousand). Both are more typical than Il fu Mattia Pascal.

The first, a historical novel reflecting the Sicily of the end of the 19th century and the general bitterness at the loss of the ideals of the Risorgimento (the movement that led to the unification of Italy), suffers from Pirandello’s tendency to “discompose” rather than to “compose” (to use his own terms, in L’umorismo), so that individual episodes stand out at the expense of the work as a whole. Uno, nessuno e centomila, however, is at once the most original and the most typical of his novels. It is a surrealistic description of the consequences of the hero’s discovery that his wife (and others) see him with quite different eyes than he does himself. Its exploration of the reality of personality is of a type better known from his plays.

Luigi Pirandello
  Pirandello wrote over 50 plays. He had first turned to the theatre in 1898 with L’epilogo, but the accidents that prevented its production until 1910 (when it was retitled La morsa) kept him from other than sporadic attempts at drama until the success of Così è (se vi pare) in 1917. This delay may have been fortunate for the development of his dramatic powers. L’epilogo does not greatly differ from other drama of its period, but Così è (se vi pare) began the series of plays that were to make him world famous in the 1920s. Its title can be translated as Right You Are (If You Think You Are). A demonstration, in dramatic terms, of the relativity of truth, and a rejection of the idea of any objective reality not at the mercy of individual vision, it anticipates Pirandello’s two great plays, Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) and Enrico IV (1922; Henry IV). Six Characters is the most arresting presentation of the typical Pirandellian contrast between art, which is unchanging, and life, which is an inconstant flux. Characters that have been rejected by their author materialize on stage, throbbing with a more intense vitality than the real actors, who, inevitably, distort their drama as they attempt its presentation. And in Henry IV the theme is madness, which lies just under the skin of ordinary life and is, perhaps, superior to ordinary life in its construction of a satisfying reality. The play finds dramatic strength in its hero’s choice of retirement into unreality in preference to life in the uncertain world.

The production of Six Characters in Paris in 1923 made Pirandello widely known, and his work became one of the central influences on the French theatre.

French drama from the existentialistic pessimism of Jean Anouilh and Jean-Paul Sartre to the absurdist comedy of Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett is tinged with “Pirandellianism.” His influence can also be detected in the drama of other countries, even in the religious verse dramas of T.S. Eliot.

In 1920 Pirandello said of his own art:

I think that life is a very sad piece of buffoonery; because we have in ourselves, without being able to know why, wherefore or whence, the need to deceive ourselves constantly by creating a reality (one for each and never the same for all), which from time to time is discovered to be vain and illusory . . . My art is full of bitter compassion for all those who deceive themselves; but this compassion cannot fail to be followed by the ferocious derision of destiny which condemns man to deception.

This despairing outlook attained its most vigorous expression in Pirandello’s plays, which were criticized at first for being too “cerebral” but later recognized for their underlying sensitivity and compassion. The plays’ main themes are the necessity and the vanity of illusion, and the multifarious appearances, all of them unreal, of what is presumed to be the truth. A human being is not what he thinks he is, but instead is “one, no one and a hundred thousand,” according to his appearance to this person or that, which is always different from the image of himself in his own mind. Pirandello’s plays reflect the verismo of Capuana and Verga in dealing mostly with people in modest circumstances, such as clerks, teachers, and lodging-house keepers, but from whose vicissitudes he draws conclusions of general human significance.

The universal acclaim that followed Six Characters and Henry IV sent Pirandello touring the world (1925–27) with his own company, the Teatro d’Arte in Rome. It also emboldened him to disfigure some of his later plays (e.g., Ciascuno a suo modo [1924]) by calling attention to himself, just as in some of the later short stories it is the surrealistic and fantastic elements that are accentuated.

After the dissolution, because of financial losses, of the Teatro d’Arte in 1928, Pirandello spent his remaining years in frequent and extensive travel. In his will he requested that there should be no public ceremony marking his death—only “a hearse of the poor, the horse and the coachman.”

John Humphreys Whitfield

Encyclopædia Britannica

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Galsworthy John

John Galsworthy, (born Aug. 14, 1867, Kingston Hill, Surrey, Eng.—died Jan. 31, 1933, Grove Lodge, Hampstead), English novelist and playwright, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932.


John Galsworthy
  Galsworthy’s family, of Devonshire farming stock traceable to the 16th century, had made a comfortable fortune in property in the 19th century. His father was a solicitor. Educated at Harrow and New College, Oxford, Galsworthy was called to the bar in 1890.

With a view to specializing in marine law, he took a voyage around the world, during which he encountered Joseph Conrad, then mate of a merchant ship. They became lifelong friends. Galsworthy found law uncongenial and took to writing. For his first works, From the Four Winds (1897), a collection of short stories, and the novel Jocelyn (1898), both published at his own expense, he used the pseudonym John Sinjohn. The Island Pharisees (1904) was the first book to appear under his own name.

The Man of Property (1906) began the novel sequence known as The Forsyte Saga, by which Galsworthy is chiefly remembered; others in the same series are “Indian Summer of a Forsyte” (1918, in Five Tales), In Chancery (1920), Awakening (1920), and To Let (1921). The saga chronicles the lives of three generations of a large, upper middle-class family at the turn of the century. Having recently risen to wealth and success in the profession and business world, the Forsytes are tenaciously clannish and anxious to increase their wealth. The novels imply that their desire for property is morally wrong. The saga intersperses diatribes against wealth with lively passages describing character and background.

In The Man of Property, Galsworthy attacks the Forsytes through the character of Soames Forsyte, a solicitor who considers his wife Irene as a mere form of property. Irene finds her husband physically unattractive and falls in love with a young architect who dies. The other two novels of the saga, In Chancery and To Let, trace the subsequent divorce of Soames and Irene, the second marriages they make, and the eventual romantic entanglements of their children. The story of the Forsyte family after World War I was continued in The White Monkey (1924), The Silver Spoon (1926), and Swan Song (1928), collected in A Modern Comedy (1929). Galsworthy’s other novels include The Country House (1907), The Patrician (1911), and The Freelands (1915).

Galsworthy was also a successful dramatist, his plays, written in a naturalistic style, usually examining some controversial ethical or social problem.


John Galsworthy
  They include The Silver Box (1906), which, like many of his other works, has a legal theme and depicts a bitter contrast of the law’s treatment of the rich and the poor; Strife (1909), a study of industrial relations; Justice (1910), a realistic portrayal of prison life that roused so much feeling that it led to reform; and Loyalties (1922), the best of his later plays. He also wrote verse.

In 1905 Galsworthy married Ada Pearson, the divorced wife of his first cousin, A.J. Galsworthy. Galsworthy had, in secret, been closely associated with his future wife for about ten years before their marriage. Irene in The Forsyte Saga is to some extent a portrait of Ada Galsworthy, although her first husband was wholly unlike Soames Forsyte.

Galsworthy’s novels, by their abstention from complicated psychology and their greatly simplified social viewpoint, became accepted as faithful patterns of English life for a time. Galsworthy is remembered for this evocation of Victorian and Edwardian upper middle-class life and for his creation of Soames Forsyte, a dislikable character who nevertheless compels the reader’s sympathy.

A television serial of The Forsyte Saga by the British Broadcasting Corporation achieved immense popularity in Great Britain in 1967 and later in many other nations, especially the United States, reviving interest in an author whose reputation had plummeted after his death.

Encyclopædia Britannica

see also: John Galsworthy
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Charles Pierre Baudelaire (Baudelaire Charles) d. (b. 1821)

Charles Baudelaire, 1863 by Étienne Carjat
Charles Baudelaire

"The Flowers of Evil"
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"The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel">

The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak (French: La Légende et les Aventures héroïques, joyeuses et glorieuses d'Ulenspiegel et de Lamme Goedzak au pays de Flandres et ailleurs) is a 1867 novel by Charles De Coster (Coster Charles). Based on the 14th century Low German figure Till Eulenspiegel, Coster's novel recounts the allegorical adventures as those of a Flemish prankster Thyl Ulenspiegel during the Reformation wars in the Netherlands.

De Coster was one of many 19th Century nationalist writers who made use of - and considerably adapted and changed - pre-existing folk tales. In this case, Thyl Ulenspiegel is made into a Protestant hero of the time of the Dutch War of Independence (or rather, of the major part played in that war by the Flemish, even though Flanders itself was doomed to remain under Spanish rule).

De Coster incorporated in his book many of the original amusing Ulenspiegel tales, side by side with far from funny material - for example, graphic depictions of tortures by the inquisition and auto de fe. As depicted by De Coster, Ulenspiegel carries in a locket around his neck the ashes of his father, burned at the stake outside of the walls of the city on charges of heresy - a feature never hinted at in any of the original folk tales. This experience begins Ulenspiegel's transformation from idle prankster to hero of the Dutch Revolt.


"Thyl Ulenspiegel and Nele in Flanders" pen drawing by the Belgian artist René De Coninck
The novel was later illustrated with a series of linocuts by Frans Masereel, the foremost Belgian modernist painter and engraver.

A film based on the novel was filmed in 1956 with Gerard Philipe, directed by Joris Ivens and Gerard Philipe "Les Aventures de Till L'Espiègle" (English title: "Bold Adventure"). The film was a French-East German co-production.

A film based on the novel was filmed in the USSR by Aleksandr Alov and Vladimir Naumov, "The Legend of Till Ullenspiegel" (1976).

Ulenspiegel was mentioned in Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" as a possible prototype for the black cat character Behemoth.

Wladimir Vogel was a Russian composer who wrote a drama-oratorio Thyl Claes in the late 30s or early 40s, derived from De Coster's book.

The Soviet composer Nikolai Karetnikov and his librettist filmmaker Pavel Lungin adapted De Coster's novel as the samizdat opera "Till Eulenspiegel" (1983), which had to be recorded piece-by-piece in secret and received its premiere (1993) only after the Soviet Union collapsed.

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Holmes Oliver Wendell: "The Guardian Angel"

Oliver Wendell Holmes: "The Guardian Angel"
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Ouida: "Under Two Flags"

Under Two Flags (1867) was a best-selling novel of the late 1860s by Ouida. Perhaps "her best" novel.

The novel is about The Hon. Bertie Cecil (nicknamed Beauty of the Brigades).

In financial distress because of his own profligacy and the loss of an important horse-race on which he has bet extensively, and falsely accused of forgery, but unable to defend himself against the charge without injuring the "honour" of a lady and also exposing his younger brother (the real culprit), Cecil fakes his own death and exiles himself to Algeria where he joins the Chasseurs d'Afrique, a regiment comprising soldiers from various countries, rather like the French Foreign Legion.

After Cecil's great childhood friend and the friend's beautiful sister show up in Africa, and after a series of melodramatic self-sacrifices by Cecil and by the young girl Cigarette, a "child of the Army" who sacrifices her life saving Cecil from a firing squad, the main conflicts are resolved and the surviving characters return to England to fortune, title, and love.

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First edition title page
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Trollope: "The Last Chronicle of Barset"

The Last Chronicle of Barset is the final novel in Anthony Trollope's (Trollope Anthony) series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire", first published in 1867.

Plot summary
The Last Chronicle of Barset concerns an indigent but learned clergyman, the Reverend Josiah Crawley, the perpetual curate of Hogglestock, as he stands accused of stealing a cheque.

The novel is notable for the non-resolution of a plot continued from the previous novel in the series, The Small House at Allington, involving Lily Dale and Johnny Eames. Its main storyline features the courtship of the Rev. Mr Crawley's daughter, Grace, and Major Henry Grantly, son of the wealthy Archdeacon Grantly.

The Archdeacon, although allowing that Grace is a lady, doesn't think her of high enough rank or wealth for his widowed son; his position is strengthened by the Reverend Mr Crawley's apparent crime.

Almost broken by poverty and trouble, the Reverend Mr Crawley hardly knows himself if he is guilty or not; fortunately, the mystery is resolved just as Major Grantly's determination and Grace Crawley's own merit force the Archdeacon to overcome his prejudice against her as a daughter-in-law.

As with Lucy Robarts in Framley Parsonage, the objecting parent finally invites the young lady into the family; this new connection also inspires the Dean and Archdeacon to find a new, more prosperous, post for Grace's impoverished father.

Through death or marriage, this final volume manages to tie up more than one thread from the beginning of the series.

First edition title page
One subplot deals with the death of Mrs. Proudie, the virago wife of the Bishop of Barchester, and his subsequent grief and collapse. Mrs. Proudie, upon her arrival in Barchester in Barchester Towers, had increased the tribulations of the gentle Mr. Harding, title character of The Warden; he dies of a peaceful old age, mourned by his family and the old men he loved and looked after as Warden.
Characters of the novel

The storyline places several of the characters in prominent roles throughout the hierarchy of the Church of England.

Reverend Josiah Crawley is the central character throughout the entire storyline of this novel. The story begins with him acting as the perpetual curate of Hogglestock. He has been accused of stealing a cheque worth 20 pounds. His wife is Mary Crawley, and together they are the parents of another central character, Grace Crawley, as well as two other children named Bob and Jane.
Bishop Proudie, also Doctor Proudie, acts as the bishop over the diocese of Barchester. His wife is Mrs. Proudie, and both characters were introduced in the preceding Barchester Towers novel.

Archdeacon Theophilus Grantly, also Doctor Grantly, is archdeacon of Barchester and rector of Plumstead Episcopi. He is married to Mrs. Grantly, and their son Major Henry Grantly is a central character in the main plot. Doctor Grantly and his wife were introduced in the preceding novel The Warden.
Dean Frank Arabin, also Doctor Arabin, serves as the dean of Barchester. He is husband to Eleanor Arabin, and they have a daughter named Susan “Posy” Arabin. Doctor Arabin is a close friend of Josiah Crawley, but is absent from his deanery for the majority of the story.
Septimus Harding is a retired warden and precentor living at Barchester deanery. He is the father of Eleanor Arabin and Mrs. Grantly. While on his deathbed, Mr. Harding recommends Josiah Crawley for a new appointment in the church. Mr. Harding is the title character for the preceding novel The Warden.

Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset. Illustration captioned 'Posy and her Grandpapa' from original 1867 edition.
Rector Mortimer Tempest, also Doctor Tempest, is rector of Silverbridge and is charged with the task of heading up an ecclesiastical commission to investigate the ramifications of Josiah Crawley's expected conviction under criminal law.
Reverend Mark Robarts is the curate of the parish of Framley and a friend of the Crawley family throughout the story. His wife is Mrs. Robarts and the Robarts family is central to the preceding novel Framley Parsonage.
Non-clerical Male Characters
Major Henry Grantly is a central character to the plot and is the love interest of Grace Crawley. He is the son of Archdeacon Theophilus Grantly and Mrs. Grantly. His is a widower with one child, Edith Grantly. He is retired from the military position of major, and resides at Crosby Lodge under the financial provisions of his father.

Johnny Eames is the "private secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Income-tax board".:ch. XV He is in love with Lily Dale but his proposals are rejected numerous times throughout the story. He is the nephew of Thomas Toogood and a distant cousin of Mary Crawley and Grace Crawley. Mr. Eames also participates in a secondary romance with Madalina Demolines which is ended before the conclusion of the story.

Thomas Toogood is an attorney who assists Josiah Crawley in his legal troubles. He is the uncle of Johnny Eames and cousin of Mary Crawley.

Adolphus Crosbie is the love interest of Lily Dale. He had previously broken off relations with Lily Dale to marry Lady Alexandrina who died some short while before the storyline begins. After dissolving his relationship with Lily Dale, Mr. Crosbie had received a “thrashing” from Johnny Eames.

Conway Dalrymple is a painter. Over the course of the story, Mr. Dalrymple is painting a portrait of one of his love interests, Clara Van Siever.

The time and place for sittings are orchestrated by another of his love interests, Mrs. Dobbs Broughton. Mr. Dalrymple is also a close friend of Johnny Eames.
Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset. Illustration captioned 'It's dogged as it goes' from original 1867 edition.
Female characters
Grace Crawley is a central character and serves as the love interest of Major Henry Grantly. Miss Crawley is the daughter of Josiah Crawley and Mary Crawley, and is a cousin of Johnny Eames. She becomes close friends with Lily Dale.
Lily Dale is the love interest of Johnny Eames and had a previous relationship with Adolphus Crosbie detailed in the preceding novel The Small House at Allington. She becomes close friends with Grace Crawley.
Mrs. Proudie is the virago wife of Bishop Proudie. The Proudie storyline is a continuation of Barchester Towers.

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"Barchester Towers"
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Turgenev: "Smoke"

Smoke (Russian Дым Dym) is an 1867 novel by the Russian writer Turgenev Ivan  (1818–1883) that tells the story of a love affair between a young Russian man and a young married Russian woman while also delivering the author's criticism of Russia and Russians of the period. The story takes place largely in the German resort town of Baden-Baden.

Background and Critical Reception
Ivan Turgenev began work on what was to become Smoke in late 1865 and it's known that he carried a finished manuscript of the novel with him when he visited Russia in early 1867.

In St. Petersburg, in February 1867, he gave several public charity readings from chapters of the book, all of which were met with approbation. Smoke was first published in the March 1867 issue of The Russian Messenger (Ру́сский ве́стник Russkiy vestnik), one of the premier literary magazine of nineteenth century Russia. The reception to Turgenev’s public readings was a bellwether, for upon publication in Russia the novel was met with almost immediate and universal condemnation in that country.

Conservatives were enraged by his portrayal of the nobility, Slavophiles denounced Turgenev for denigrating his native Russia, while revolutionaries called the author a senile dodderer incapable or unwilling to appreciate young Russians’ strength and will. As for Alexander Herzen, the exiled revolutionary the likes of whom Turgenev satirized in the character of Gubaryov, he wrote a largely negative review of the work in his revolutionary publication The Bell.
The criticism of the novel for its supposed “anti-Russian” attitude arose from the fact that Smoke, more than simply a story of a ménage à trois (or even ménage à quatre) and a failed loved affair, is a Roman à thèse, meant largely to display in ironical or farcical light the different strata of Russian society and to offer a political critique on the problems Russia was facing and the shortcomings of Russia’s would-be saviours.
Indeed, Smoke is a deeply satirical novel aimed not only at the conservative elements of Russian society who stubbornly refused reform and modernization but also at those Russian Slavophiles Turgenev had witnessed first hand abroad, more specifically Alexander Herzen and his young followers, who were rejecting European culture and glorifying a Slav mysticism in their campaign to remake Russia, and in the process badgering Turgenev for what appeared to them as his slavish adoration of European culture. In this, Turgenev focuses his ire on two groups that play prominently in the novel. On the one hand are a group of aristocratic “generals” who are resident in Baden and who form part of the entourage surrounding Litvinov's love interest Irina (and one of whom, General Ratmirov, is her husband). Their apparent disdain for Russia includes a pernicious chauvinism. Opposing them is a mixed group of radicals, who represent a new Slavophile socialism that is at least in part derived from the ideas of Herzen and his circle. Thus, for Turgenev, the similarities between them, rather than the surface opposition, lie at the heart of his criticism. Both groups deal in abstracts; both are far removed from any practical realities; and both ignore what for Turgenev remains the necessary element for the future of Russia: hard work in the context of the lessons of Western "civilization" in the broadest sense and above all concrete practicality. That viewpoint is presented by one of Turgenev's most problematic protagonists, Sozont Potugin, whose unsuccessful personal life stands in sharp contrast with the forcefulness of his Westernist views.

Aside from the few stories within the story, such as the early history of Litvinov and Irina Ratmirov, and the brief concluding chapters, the entirety of the novel takes place in Baden-Baden, a German resort town famous for its waters and gambling houses and a popular gathering spot for the elite of nineteenth century Europe. Turgenev’s description of the town came first-hand, for he had lived for a period in Baden, the novel was written there, and the episodes and characters are undoubtedly drawn from life. Turgenev had come to Baden-Baden to be near Madame Viardot, the opera singer, and his most intimate, lifelong friend.

The novel opens in the German bathing resort of Baden-Baden (or simply Baden) in the summer of 1862, where the young Russian Grigory Litvinov has arrived en route home to Russia to meet his fiancée Tatiana Shestov, who will soon be arriving with her aunt and guardian, Kapitolina Markovna Shestov, from Dresden. In Baden Litvinov soon encounters Rostislav Bambaev, an acquaintance from Moscow. Later that evening at a social gathering Bambaev introduces Litvinov to the political activist Stepan Nikolaevitch Gubaryov. Litvinov is not overly impressed by the gathering nor especially by the nondescript looking Gubaryov. After this Litvinov returns to a local restaurant where he is approached by Sozont Ivanitch Potugin, who introduces himself to Litvinov as a fellow Russian. Litvinov had noted Potugin at the earlier get-together at Gubaryov’s where Potugin had not spoken a word. Potugin now opens up to Litvinov and Litvinov in turn is captivated by Potugin’s way with words. In a rather one-sided conversation Potugin vents his frustrations regarding the Russian character – its tendency towards servitude and flights of idealism that lead nowhere. Later back in his rooms, Litvinov finds a letter from his father and also a gift of heliotrope flowers on his windowsill brought by a mysterious woman who, according to the servant, did not leave her name. The letter from his father reveals the superstition of the rural Russian. The flowers, though they come without a note, seem to strike a deep and powerful resonance with Litvinov.
Later that night, unable to sleep, he suddenly realizes who might have brought them.

The story now reverts to about a decade earlier to relate the background story of the young Grigory Litvinov and Irina Osinin. Acquaintances in Moscow, the two fall in love when barely out of childhood and promise themselves to one another. Unlike Litvinov, Irina comes from an ennobled family of long pedigree, though in recent times fallen into near penury. One day the Osinin family, in view of their nobility, are invited to a ball being thrown by the emperor on his visit to Moscow. Irina agrees to go though she pleads with Litvinov not to go himself and Litvinov acquiesces to her wishes, though he does bring her a bouquet of heliotrope. Irina’s beauty makes quite an impression at the court ball and the very next day the court chamberlain Count Reisenbach, a relation of the Osinins and a wealthy man with high connections, decides he will adopt his niece Irina and bring her to live with him in St. Petersburg. Irina is heartbroken but bends to her parents’ wishes to become his adopted niece and heiress. It means leaving Litvinov and she writes to him breaking off their relationship. Soon thereafter she is whisked away to St. Petersburg and her new home.

The story moves back to Baden. Litvinov wonders excitedly whether it wasn’t Irina who left him the flowers. The next morning Litvinov decides to escape Baden and the Russian crowd by hiking alone up in the hills around the town's old castle. Stopping later at the old castle for refreshment, he encounters the arrival of a large Russian entourage, clearly composed of Russian nobility of the highest rank, many in military uniforms. Among them, a young woman calls to Litvinov and he soon recognizes her as Irina, his former love. The ten years since their last meeting in Moscow has brought her to her full bloom and he is struck by her mature beauty. Litvinov is introduced to her husband, the general Valerian Vladimirovitch Ratmirov, an affable man who it soon becomes clear holds very conservative opinions, wishing to turn back the clock on all the reforms that have taken place in Russia. As the “son of a plebeian”, Litvinov feels out of place among these aristocrats and put off by their manners and opinions. He bids farewell to Irina and she urges him to come see her while in Baden.
Though affected by his meeting with Irina, Litvinov does not go to see her. Several days pass. A letter from Tatiana telling him that she will be delayed arriving in Baden due to the illness of her aunt puts Litvinov in a petulant mood. One day Potugin comes to see Litvinov. Litvinov is glad for the company but soon learns that Potugin knows Irina quite well and that he has in fact come to bring a message from her urging Litvinov to come see her that very day. He agrees. Irina is staying in one of the finest hotels in the city and her husband is away on personal business. Irina and Litvinov have a long talk catching up on the past decade. Irina pleads with Litvinov to forgive her for what she did to him and Litvinov seems to dismiss the notion of forgiveness, as those events were long ago in their childhood. When Litvinov touches upon the flowers left in his room, Irina claims to know nothing about them. The return of Irina’s husband seems to break up the meeting. Later Litvinov passes Irina again while out walking but feigns not to recognize her. Irina later accosts him on his walk, asking why he ignores her and pleading with him not to do so, for she is desperate and alone and misses their simple relationship. Litvinov tells her what is in his heart, that she meant much to him and was the cause of great anguish and now that their paths and situations are so different he sees no point in renewing an acquaintance has only the potential to hurt again and to reveal to Irina how much power she still holds over him. She urges him again warmly that they might be, if not friends, at least friendly, “as if nothing had happened.”  
Litvinov promises her not to treat her as a stranger, though he still does not understand her intentions. Irina is then called off by the approach of an aristocratic friend. Litvinov, walking on, again encounters Potugin, now sitting and reading on a bench. They have another lengthy conversation about Russia that Potugin dominates, ridiculing those Slavophiles who are constantly heralding the native Russian genius but who refuse to see that the mastery of things comes with training and education and not through any internal nature or instinct. Litvinov is still unable to learn of just how Potugin knows Irina, only that he has known her for some time. Returning to his rooms, Litvinov later finds an invitation from Irina to attend a soiree in her rooms, where he will be able to meet many from her circle and better understand “the air she breathes.” Litvinov later attends this soiree and returning to his rooms comes to realize with exhilaration and horror that he loves Irina and that his marriage with Tatiana is threatened by this looming passion. Litvinov decides he must leave Baden and Irina forever and makes arrangements for the omnibus to Heidelberg. He visits Irina’s hotel rooms to reveal both his love and his determination to leave rather than ruin himself. Irina is moved by this confession and though she initially supports his decision, she later comes to him to confess her love and tells him her destiny is in his hands.

Meanwhile, Tatiana and her aunt arrive from Dresden. Litvinov’s rather distant attitude towards Tatiana has his fiancée suspicious that something is not right. When the couple pass Irina on the street and Irina throws them a glance, Tatiana’s suspicions are further aroused. That evening, rather than staying with his fiancée and her aunt, Litvinov goes to see Irina who has summoned him. Irina tells him that he is in no way obligated to her and that he should feel completely free. On the way back to Tatiana’s rooms Litvinov encounter Potugin, who is forward enough to warn Litvinov to beware of his love for Irina and to not cause Tatiana pain. Litvinov feels insulted by this presumption on the part of Potugin, but the latter assures him he speaks from experience, for he too has been ruined by his love of Irina, albeit a love that has never been and never will be requited.

The story then reverts to eight years previous to relate Potugin’s history with Irina. At that time he was still working as a government official and would visit the country estate of the Count Reisenbach, the guardian of the young Irina, near St. Petersburg. Later, Irina, realizing that the older Potugin had fallen in love with her, uses this leverage to seek a great favour of Potugin. Irina’s close friend Eliza Byelsky, an orphan but the heir of a wealthy estate, was facing ruin (though left unsaid in the novel, this is understood to be pregnancy out of wedlock). For a large sum of money, but primarily because Irina desired it, Potugin agreed to secretly marry Eliza. Eliza later had her child, a daughter whom Potugin then adopted, before poisoning herself. Since that time Potugin has followed in the train of the Ratmirovs, utterly devoted to Irina.

Back at his hotel, Litvinov spends the evening with Tatiana and her aunt. He now tells Tatiana that he has something important he must tell her the next day. Tatiana has a foreboding of what this might be. The next morning a distraught Litvinov attempts to inform Tatiana of the situation but it is Tatiana, rather, who guesses he has fallen in love with that other woman they saw on the street. Soon thereafter, Tatiana leaves unceremoniously back to Dresden with her aunt without leaving any farewell note for Litvinov. Meanwhile, Litvinov writes a letter to Irina telling her of his break and urging her to run away with him only if her will is strong enough to stand such a life. If not, he will go away. Irina arranges for him to come see her again when her husband is out, and she reaffirms her commitment to follow him, though all her finances are in her husband’s hands. Eventually, however, Irina writes to Litvinov telling him that despite her love she is not strong enough to abandon her current life and declaring sorrowfully that she is unable to elope with him. Litvinov is heart-broken and leaves Baden on the train back for Russia. Along the way he muses over the mutability and seeming meaninglessness of all things, which have all the permanence of the smoke being blown forth by the train.  
Back in Russia Litvinov returns to his estate in time to see his elderly father pass away. On his land Litvinov slowly recovers and even begins gradually to implement some of the land management and agricultural techniques he had learned in Europe. One day he hears through a visiting relative that Tatiana is living not too far away on her own estate with Kapitolina. He writes to Tatiana asking if he might visit her one day and she responds in the affirmative, signaling to Litvinov that she has forgiven him. Litvinov wastes little time and sets out for her village. At a way station en route he encounters none other than Gubaryov and his brother. They reveal their true colors by their derision of the peasantry and their base treatment of Bambaev who, his finances wiped out, has been forced to become a servant to the Gubaryovs. Arriving at Tatiana's, Litvinov falls at her feet and kisses the hem of her dress. Here the narrator leaves the story, with the note that readers can guess the end by themselves.

As he does with almost all his novels, Turgenev then briefly relates what became of some of the other characters. Irina is related to be older but still lovely, with young men still falling in love with her "ironical intellect." Her husband is steadily rising in the world. As for Potugin, the little girl he had adopted has died but he still follows in the train of Irina.

Major Characters (in order of appearance in novel)
Grigory (Grisha) Mihailovitch Litvinov – a young Russian of about thirty, the son of a woman of noble extraction and a plebeian father; he served some time in the military and now is heir to his family estate

Tatiana (Tanya) Petrovna Shestov – the cousin of Grigory Litvinov and his betrothed at the opening of the novel

Kapitolina Markovna Shestov – aunt and guardian of Tatiana; an unmarried women in her fifties and of liberal political leanings; a free spirit and an anti-aristocratic “democrat”, there is something of the hypocrite in her as she could not resist the urge of coming to the resort of Baden to gaze upon the aristocratic and fashionable crowd she abjures Rostislav Bambaev – an acquaintance of Litvinov’s from Moscow

Semyon Yakovlevitch Voroshilov – a young liberal thinker and would-be activist; his ideas are largely not his own nor very well understood by him but this in no way detracts from his earnestness; he worships Gubaryov Stepan Nikolaevitch Gubaryov – a Russian exile and well-known revolutionist

Matrona Semyonovna Suhantchikov – A Russian liberal Litvinov first meets at Gubaryov’s; Turgenev is not kind in his rendering, painting her largely as a hypocrite who pays lips service to lofty ideals but is mostly attracted to petty gossip and prone to back-stabbing

Pishtchalkin - a minor, and model, Russian landowner

Sozont Ivanich Potugin – a retired Russian technocrat who befriends Litvinov early in the novel; he holds very cynical views of the Russian or Slav character and its penchant for abstract and ultimately impotent talk over practical action; he is in Baden with his young adopted daughter and is a devotee of Irina, and a victim of his unrequited love for her

Irina Pavlovna Osinin - a beautiful woman from an established noble, though impoverished, family; she is the childhood friend and then fiancee of a very young Litvinov; she abruptly broke off her relations with Litvinov ten years before the main story takes place, seduced by the possibilities of high society; she meets Litvinov again, now as a married woman, in Baden

Valerian Vladimirovitch Ratmirov – a Russian general and husband of Irina Pavlovna Osinin

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Notable quotes

“…there arrived, too, a certain Pishtchalkin, an ideal mediator, one of those men of whom precisely, perhaps, Russia stands in need — a man, that is, narrow, of little information, and no great gifts, but conscientious, patient, and honest.”

“…let a dozen Russians meet together, and instantly there springs up the question…of the significance and the future of Russia, and in terms so general, beginning with creation, without facts or conclusions.”

“Je ne suis jamais plus sérieux, madame, que quand je dis des bêtises.”

see also: Turgenev Ivan
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Zola: "Therese Raquin"

Thérèse Raquin is a novel (first published in 1867) and a play (first performed in 1873) by the French writer Zola Emile. The novel was originally published in serial format in the journal L'Artiste and in book format in December of the same year.

Plot introduction
Thérèse Raquin tells the story of a young woman, unhappily married to her first cousin by an overbearing aunt who may seem to be well-intentioned but in many ways is deeply selfish. Thérèse's husband, Camille, is sickly and egocentric, and when the opportunity arises, Thérèse enters into a turbulent and sordidly passionate affair with one of Camille's friends, Laurent.

In his preface, Zola explains that his goal in this novel was to "study temperaments and not characters". Because of this detached and scientific approach, Thérèse Raquin is considered an example of naturalism.

Plot summary
Thérèse Raquin is the daughter of a French sea-captain and an Algerian mother. After the death of her mother, her father brings her to live with her aunt, Madame Raquin, and her valetudinarian son, Camille.

Because her son is "so ill", Madame Raquin dotes on Camille to the point where he is selfish and spoiled. Camille and Thérèse grow up side-by-side, and Madame Raquin marries them to one another when Thérèse is 21. Shortly thereafter, Camille decides that the family should move to Paris so he can pursue a career.

Thérèse and Madame Raquin set up shop in the Passage du Pont Neuf to support Camille while he searches for a job. Camille eventually begins working for the Orléans Railway Company, where he meets up with a childhood friend, Laurent.

Laurent visits the Raquins and decides to take up an affair with the lonely Thérèse, mostly because he cannot afford prostitutes any more. However, this soon turns into a torrid love affair.

They meet regularly and secretly in Thérèse's room. After some time, Laurent's boss no longer allows him to leave early, and so the two lovers have to think of something new.

Thérèse inspires the idea of killing Camille. They eventually drown him on a boat trip, though in defending himself Camille has bitten Laurent on the neck. Madame Raquin is in shock after hearing the disappearance of her son and everybody believes the story of an accident.
Publicité pour Thérèse Raquin - ca 1867
But Laurent is still uncertain about whether Camille is truly dead and frequently visits the mortuary, where he finally finds the dead Camille. Thérèse has nightmares and is very subdued, so Michaud—one of the regular visitors of the family—comes up with the idea that Thérèse should marry again and that the ideal husband would be Laurent.
They marry but they are haunted by the memory of the murder they had committed. They have hallucinations of the dead Camille in their bedroom every night, preventing them from touching each other and quickly driving them insane.
Laurent, who is an artist, can no longer paint a picture (even a landscape) which does not in some way resemble the dead man. They also have to look after Madame Raquin, who suffered a stroke after Camille's death.

Madame Raquin suffers a second stroke and becomes completely paralyzed (except for her eyes), after which Therese and Laurent reveal the murder in her presence during an argument.

During an evening's game of dominoes with friends, Madame Raquin manages to move her finger with an extreme effort of will to trace words on the table: "Thérèse et Laurent ont ...". The complete sentence was intended to be "Thérèse et Laurent ont tué Camille" (Thérèse and Laurent killed Camille). At this point her strength gives out, and the words are interpreted as "Thérèse and Laurent look after me very well".

Eventually, Thérèse and Laurent find life together intolerable and plot to kill each other. At the climax of the novel, the two are about to kill one another when each of them realizes the plans of the other.

They each then break down sobbing and reflect upon their miserable lives. After having embraced one last time, they each commit suicide by taking poison, all in front of the watchful gaze of Madame Raquin, who enjoys this late vengeance of her son.
Thérèse Raquin – the eponymous heroine, is the wife of Camille and the orphaned daughter of Madame Raquin's brother and an unknown African woman.

Camille Raquin – Thérèse's husband and first cousin.

Madame Raquin – Camille's mother and Thérèse's aunt. She works as a shopkeeper to support her family.

Laurent LeClaire – a childhood friend and coworker of Camille who seduces Thérèse.

Michaud – the police commissioner and friend of Madame Raquin

Olivier – Michaud's son who works at the police prefecture

Suzanne – Olivier's wife

Grivet – an elderly employee of the Orléans Railroad Company, where Camille works

François – the Raquins' cat

Major themes


Throughout the book there are references to chains, cages, tombs, and pits.
These contribute to the impression that Laurent and Thérèse are in a state of remorse and are plagued by guilt.
The book mentions how they are always clawing at the chains that bound them together. The shop that Thérèse owns is compared to a tomb, where Therese watches corpses walk by in the day.
In his preface to the second edition, Zola writes that he intended to "study temperaments and not characters." To his main characters, he assigns various humors according to Galen's Four Temperaments: Thérèse is melancholic, Laurent is sanguine, Camille is phlegmatic, and Madame is choleric. For Zola, the interactions of these types of personalities could only have the result that plays out in his plot.

Human beast
Also in his preface, Zola calls both Thérèse and Laurent "human brutes," and the characters are often given animal tendencies. Zola would take up this idea again in his La Bête humaine of 1890.

Mechanical man
Similar to the human beast who acts based on instinct, the mechanical man acts like an "unthinking machine."

Literary significance and reception
Thérèse Raquin is generally considered to be Zola's first major work. Upon its release in 1867, Thérèse Raquin was a commercial and artistic success for Zola; enough so that it was reprinted in book form in 1868. It gained additional publicity when critic Louis Ulbach (pen name: Ferragus) called Thérèse Raquin "putrid" in a long diatribe, upon which Zola capitalized for publicity and to which he referred in his preface to the second edition.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emile Zola

J'accuse" (I accuse)
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Ibsen: "Peer Gynt"

Peer Gynt  is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Ibsen Henrik . Written in the Bokmål form of Norwegian, it is one of the most widely performed Norwegian plays. Ibsen believed Per Gynt, the Norwegian fairy tale on which the play is loosely based, to be rooted in fact, and several of the characters are modelled after Ibsen's own family, notably his parents Knud Ibsen and Marichen Altenburg. He was also generally inspired by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen's collection of Norwegian fairy tales, published in 1845 (Huldre-Eventyr og Folkesagn).

According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones". Peer Gynt has also been described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance. A first edition of 1,250 copies was published on 14 November 1867 in Copenhagen. Although the first edition swiftly sold out, a reprint of two thousand copies, which followed after only fourteen days, didn't sell out until seven years later.

While Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson admired the play's "satire on Norwegian egotism, narrowness, and self-sufficiency" and described it as "magnificent", Hans Christian Andersen, Georg Brandes and Clemens Petersen all joined the widespread hostility, Petersen writing that the play was not poetry. Enraged by Petersen's criticisms in particular, Ibsen defended his work by arguing that it "is poetry; and if it isn't, it will become such. The conception of poetry in our country, in Norway, shall shape itself according to this book." Despite this defense of his poetic achievement in Peer Gynt, the play was his last to employ verse; from The League of Youth (1869) onwards, Ibsen was to write drama only in prose.

Ibsen wrote Peer Gynt in deliberate disregard of the limitations that the conventional stagecraft of the 19th century imposed on drama. Its forty scenes move uninhibitedly in time and space and between consciousness and the unconscious, blending folkloric fantasy and unsentimental realism.

Raymond Williams compares Peer Gynt with August Strindberg's early drama Lucky Peter's Journey (1882) and argues that both explore a new kind of dramatic action that was beyond the capacities of the theatre of the day; both created "a sequence of images in language and visual composition" that "became technically possible only in film." Peer Gynt was first performed in Christiania (now Oslo) on 24 February 1876, with original music composed by Edvard Grieg that includes some of today's most recognized classical pieces, In the Hall of the Mountain King and Morning Mood. It was published in German translation in 1881, in English in 1892, and in French in 1896. The contemporary influence of the play continues into the twenty-first century with Will Eno's adaptation of it titled Gnit which had its world premiere at the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2013.

Act I

Peer Gynt is the son of the once highly regarded Jon Gynt. Jon Gynt spent all his money on feasting and living lavishly, and had to go from his farm as a wandering salesman, leaving his wife and son behind in debt. Åse, the mother, wished to raise her son to restore the lost fortune of his father, but Peer is soon to be considered useless. He is a poet and a braggart, not unlike the youngest son from Norwegian fairy tales, the "Ash Lad", with whom he shares some characteristics.

As the play opens, Peer gives an account of a reindeer hunt that went awry, a famous theatrical scene generally known as "the Buckride". His mother scorns him for his vivid imagination, and taunts him because he spoiled his chances with Ingrid, the daughter of the richest farmer.

Peer leaves for Ingrid's wedding, scheduled for the following day, because he may still get a chance with the bride. His mother follows quickly to stop him from shaming himself completely.

At the wedding, the other guests taunt and laugh at Peer, especially the local blacksmith, Aslak, who holds a grudge after an earlier brawl. In the same wedding, Peer meets a family of Haugean newcomers from another valley.

He instantly notices the elder daughter, Solveig, and asks her to dance.
She refuses because her father would disapprove, and because Peer's reputation has preceded him. She leaves, and Peer starts drinking. When he hears the bride has locked herself in, he seizes the opportunity, runs away with her, and spends the night with her in the mountains.

Act II
Peer is banished for kidnapping Ingrid. As he wanders the mountains, his mother, Åse, and Solveig's father search for him. Peer meets three amorous dairymaids who are waiting to be courted by trolls (a folklore motif from Gudbrandsdalen). He becomes highly intoxicated with them and spends the next day alone suffering from a hangover. He runs head-first into a rock and swoons, and the rest of the second act probably takes place in Peer's dreams. He comes across a woman clad in green, who claims to be the daughter of the troll mountain king.
Together they ride into the mountain hall, and the troll king gives Peer the opportunity to become a troll if Peer would marry his daughter. Peer agrees to a number of conditions, but declines in the end. He is then confronted with the fact that the green-clad woman is with child. Peer denies this; he claims not to have touched her, but the wise troll king replies that he begat the child in his head. Crucial for the plot and understanding of the play is the question asked by the troll king: What is the difference between troll and man?

The answer given by the Old Man of the Mountain is: "Out there, where sky shines, humans say: 'To thyself be true.' In here, trolls say: 'Be true to yourself and to hell with the world.'" Egoism is a typical trait of the trolls in this play. From then on, Peer uses this as his motto, always proclaiming that he is himself, whatever that is. He then meets one of the most interesting characters, the Bøyg — a creature who has no real description. Asked the question "Who are you?" The Bøyg answers, "Myself". In time, Peer also takes the Bøyg's important saying as a motto: "Go around". The rest of his life, he "beats around the bush" instead of facing himself or the truth.

Upon awaking, Peer is confronted by Helga, Solveig's sister, who gives him food and regards from her sister. Peer gives the girl a silver button for Solveig to keep and asks that she not forget him.

As an outlaw, Peer struggles to build his own cottage in the hills. Solveig turns up and insists on living with him. She has made her choice, she says, and there will be no return for her. Peer is delighted and welcomes her, but as she enters the cabin, an elderly-appearing woman in green garments appears with a limping boy at her side. This is the green-clad woman from the mountain hall, and her half-human brat is the child begotten by Peer from his mind during his stay there. She has cursed Peer by forcing him to remember her and all his previous sins, when facing Solveig. Peer hears a ghostly voice saying, "Go roundabout, Peer", and decides to leave. He tells Solveig he has something heavy to fetch. He returns in time for his mother's death, and then sets off overseas.

Act IV
Peer is away for many years, taking part in various occupations and playing various roles including that of a businessman engaged in enterprises on the coast of Morocco. Here, he explains his view of life, and we learn that he is a businessman taking part in unethical transactions, including sending heathen images to China and trading slaves. In his defense, he points out that he has also sent missionaries to China, and he treated his slaves well. His companions rob him, after he decides to support the Turks in suppressing a Greek revolt, and leave him alone on the shore. He then finds some stolen Bedouin gear, and, in these clothes, he is hailed as a prophet by a local tribe. He tries to seduce Anitra, the chieftain's daughter, but she steals his money and rings, gets away, and leaves him. Then he decides to become a historian and travels to Egypt. He wanders through the desert, passing the Colossi of Memnon and the Sphinx. As he addresses the Sphinx, believing her to be the Bøyg, he encounters the keeper of the local madhouse, himself insane, who regards Peer as the bringer of supreme wisdom. Peer comes to the madhouse and understands that all of the patients live in their own worlds, being themselves to such a degree that no one cares for anyone else. In his youth, Peer had dreamt of becoming an emperor. In this place, he is finally hailed as one — the emperor of the "self". Peer despairs and calls for the "Keeper of all fools", i.e., God.

Act V
Finally, on his way home as an old man, he is shipwrecked. Among those on board, he meets the Strange Passenger, who wants to make use of Peer's corpse to find out where dreams have their origin. This passenger scares Peer out of his wits. Peer lands on shore bereft of all of his possessions, a pitiful and grumpy old man. Back home in Norway, Peer Gynt attends a peasant funeral and an auction, where he offers for sale everything from his earlier life. The auction takes place at the very farm where the wedding once was held. Peer stumbles along and is confronted with all that he did not do, his unsung songs, his unmade works, his unwept tears, and his questions that were never asked. His mother comes back and claims that her deathbed went awry; he did not lead her to heaven with his ramblings.

Peer escapes and is confronted with the Button-molder, who maintains that Peer's soul must be melted down with other faulty goods unless he can explain when and where in life he has been "himself". Peer protests. He has been only that, and nothing else. Then he meets the troll king, who states that Peer has been a troll, not a man, most of his life. The Button-molder comes along and says that he has to come up with something if he is not to be melted down. Peer looks for a priest to whom to confess his sins, and a character named "The Lean One" (who is the Devil) turns up. The Lean One believes Peer cannot be counted a real sinner who can be sent to Hell; he has committed no grave sin. Peer despairs in the end, understanding that his life is forfeit; he is nothing. But at the same moment, Solveig starts to sing — the cabin Peer built is close at hand, but he dares not enter. The Bøyg in Peer tells him "go around". The Button-molder shows up and demands a list of sins, but Peer has none to give, unless Solveig can vouch for him.

Then Peer breaks through to Solveig, asking her to forgive his sins. But she answers: "You have not sinned at all, my dearest boy." Peer does not understand — he believes himself lost. Then he asks her: "Where has Peer Gynt been since we last met? Where was I as the one I should have been, whole and true, with the mark of God on my brow?" She answers; "In my faith, in my hope, in my love." Peer screams, calls his mother, and hides himself in her lap. Solveig sings her lullaby for him, and we might presume he dies in this last scene of the play, although there are neither stage directions nor dialogue to indicate that he actually does.

Behind the corner, the Button-molder, who is sent by God, still waits, with the words: "Peer, we shall meet at the last crossroads, and then we shall see if... I'll say no more."

Klaus Van Den Berg argues that Peer Gynt, "is a stylistic minefield: its origins are romantic, but the play also anticipates the fragmentations of emerging Modernism. Chronicling Peer's journey from the Norwegian mountains to the North African desert, the cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones. The irony of isolated individuals in a mass society infuses Ibsen's tale of two seemingly incompatible lovers—the deeply committed Solveig and the superficial Peer, who is more a surface for projections than a coherent character. The simplest conclusion one may draw from Peer Gynt, is expressed in the eloquent prose of the Van Den Berg: "if you lie; are you real?"

The literary critic Harold Bloom of New York University in his book The Western Canon has challenged the conventional reading of Peer Gynt stating; "Far more than Goethe's Faust, Peer is the one nineteenth-century literary character who has the largeness of the grandest characters of Renaissance imaginings. Dickens, Tolstoy, Stendhal, Hugo, even Balzac have no single figure quite so exuberant, outrageous, vitalistic as Peer Gynt. He merely seems initially to be an unlikely candidate for such eminence: what is he, we say, except a kind of Norwegian roaring boy, marvelously attractive to women, a kind of bogus poet, a narcissist, absurd self-idolator, a liar, seducer, bombastic self-deceiver? But this is paltry moralizing, all too much like the scholarly chorus that rants against Falstaff. True, Peer, unlike Falstaff, is not a great wit. But in the Yahwistic Biblical sense, Peer the scamp bears the Blessing: more life."

Writing process
On 5 January 1867 Ibsen wrote to Frederik Hegel, his publisher, with his plan for the play: it would be "a long dramatic poem, having as its principal a part-legendary, part-fictional character from Norwegian folklore during recent times. It will bear no resemblance to Brand, and will contain no direct polemics or anything of that kind."

He began to write Peer Gynt on 14 January, employing a far greater variety of metres in its rhymed verse than he had used in his previous verse plays Brand (written 1865) or Love's Comedy (written 1862). The first two acts were completed in Rome and the third in Casamicciola on the north of the island of Ischia.

During this time, Ibsen told Vilhelm Bergsøe that "I don't think the play's for acting" when they discussed the possibility of staging the play's image of a casting-ladle "big enough to re-cast human beings in."

Ibsen sent the three acts to his publisher on 8 August, with a letter that explains that "Peer Gynt was a real person who lived in Gudbrandsdal, probably around the end of the last century or the beginning of this. His name is still famous among the people up there, but not much more is known about his life than what is to be found in Asbjørnsen's Norwegian Folktales (in the section entitled 'Stories from the Mountain')."

In those stories, Peer Gynt rescues the three dairy-maids from the trolls and shoots the Bøyg, who was originally a gigantic worm-shaped troll-being. Peer was known to tell tall tales of his own achievements, a trait Peer in the play inherited.

The "buck-ride" story, which Peer tells his mother in the play's first scene, is also from this source, but, as Åse points out, it was originally Gudbrand Glesne from Vågå who did the tour with the reindeer stag and finally shot it.

Following an earthquake on Ischia on 14 August, Ibsen left for Sorrento, where he completed the final two acts; he finished the play on 14 October. It was published in a first edition of 1,250 copies a month later in Copenhagen.
Ibsen's previous play, Brand, preached the philosophy of “All or nothing.” Relentless, cruel, resolute, overriding in will, Brand went through everything that stood in his way toward gaining an ideal. Peer Gynt is a compensating balance, a complementary color to Brand. In contrast to Brand, with his iron will, Peer is will-less, insufficient, and irresolute. Peer "goes around" all issues facing him.

Brand had a phenomenal literary success, and people became curious to know what Ibsen's next play would be. The dramatist, about this time, was relieved of financial worry by two money grants, one from the Norwegian government and the other from the Scientific Society of Trondhjem. This enabled him to give to his work an unfettered mind. He went with his family to Frascati, where, in the Palazzo rooms, he looked many feet down upon the Mediterranean, and pondered his new drama. He preserved a profound silence about the content of the play, and begged his publisher, Hegel, to create as much mystery about it as possible.

The portrayal of the Gynt family is known to be based on Henrik Ibsen's own family and childhood memories; in a letter to Georg Brandes, Ibsen wrote that his own family and childhood had served "as some kind of model" for the Gynt family. In a letter to Peter Hansen, Ibsen confirmed that the character Åse, Peer Gynt's mother, was based on his own mother, Marichen Altenburg. The character Jon Gynt is considered to be based on Ibsen's father Knud Ibsen, who was a rich merchant before he went bankrupt. Even the name of the Gynt family's ancestor, the prosperous Rasmus Gynt, is borrowed from the Ibsen's family's earliest known ancestor. Thus, the character Peer Gynt could be interpreted as being an ironic representation of Henrik Ibsen himself. There are striking similarities to Ibsen's own life; Ibsen himself spent 27 years living abroad and was never able to face his hometown again.

Ibsen's mother, Marichen Altenburg, was the model for Peer Gynt's mother, Ase
Grieg's music
Ibsen asked Edvard Grieg to compose incidental music for the play. Grieg composed a score that plays approximately ninety minutes. Grieg extracted two suites of four pieces each from the incidental music (Opus 46 and Opus 55), which became very popular as concert music. One of the sung parts of the incidental music ended up in these suites (the famous In the Hall of the Mountain King) in the 1st suite with the vocal parts omitted. Originally, the second suite had a fifth number, The Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter, but Grieg withdrew it. Grieg himself declared that it was easier to make music "out of his own head" than strictly following suggestions made by Ibsen. For instance, Ibsen wanted music that would characterize the "international" friends in the fourth act, by melding the said national anthems (Norwegian, Swedish, German, French and English). Reportedly, Grieg was not in the right mood for this task.

The music of these suites, especially Morning Mood starting the first suite, In the Hall of the Mountain King, and the string lament Åse's Death later reappeared in numerous arrangements, soundtracks, etc.

Other Norwegian composers that have written theatrical music for Peer Gynt include Harald Sæverud (1947), Arne Nordheim (1969), Ketil Hvoslef (1993) and Jon Mostad (1993–4). Gunnar Sønstevold (1966) wrote music for a ballet version of Peer Gynt.

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