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Think that John Oliver devised the art of providing a healthy dose of cultural opinion when making folks laugh? Nope, sorry--folks have been doing this for centuries, also Aristophanes is one of the masters. His comment about the philosopher Socrates (who appears as a personality) was so pointed that a few (like any unknown dude named Plato) believed that the play was responsible for producing the bad rep which eventually got Socrates attempted and implemented. Consequently, in the event that......Read More
Ernest Hemingway's 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, is a classic warfare romance (that is a war play and a love, in one). Set in the hills of Spain in 1937, it tells the story of Robert Jordan, an American fighting for the Republicans (that is one facet of the Spanish Civil War, not the American political party) who is ordered to blow up a bridge as part of a bigger offensive. A good deal of sweat, blood, and tears went into this book, and we mean actually. It is really wrapped in, and......Read More
Back in 1958, Boris Pasternak became only the second author (later Jean-Paul Sartre) to ever refuse the Nobel Prize for Literature. The thing is that while Sartre turned down the prize for philosophical reasons, Pasternak turned it down because the Soviet government would have given him a severe trouble if he'd dared to accept it. Wait, why? It was only one year before, in 1957, that Pasternak published his masterpiece Doctor Zhivago. He wrote the book in Russian, but since the book criticized......Read More
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