National Inventors Day

National Inventors day takes place annually on February 11 to coincide with the birth of Thomas Edison who was born 11 February 1847, and to recognise the important contributions inventors make and inspire would-be inventors to invent something useful and make a difference. It was created by Former US President Ronald Reagan In recognition of the enormous contribution inventors make to the nation and the world, the Congress, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 140 (Public Law 97 – 198), designated February 11, the anniversary of the birth of the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who held over 1,000 patents.

However Not all countries recognise Inventors’ Day. Those countries which do recognise an Inventors’ Day do so with varying degrees of emphasis and on different days of the year.For instance The Inventors’ Day (Spanish: Día del Inventor) in Argentina has been celebrated since 1986 and is held yearly on September 29, the birthday of the inventor of the ballpoint pen, László József Bíró. Meanwhile The Inventors’ Day (German: Tag der Erfinder) in the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland is celebrated on November 9, the birthday of the Austrian-born inventor and Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr whose main invention was the frequency-hopped spread spectrum 1942. The day was proclaimed by Berlin inventor and entrepreneur Gerhard Muthenthaler. According to the website of the organisation.

The aims of National Inventors day are to Encourage people towards their own ideas and for a change to the better and Remind people of forgotten inventors. Hungarian Inventors’ Day (Magyar Feltalálók Napja) is celebrated on June 13 in memoriam of Albert Szent-Györgyi who registered his national patent about the synthesized Vitamin C in 1941 and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937. It is celebrated by the Association of Hungarian Inventors (MAFE) since 2009. While in the Republic of Moldova an Inventors’ and Rationalizers’ Day is celebrated annually at the end of June. Thailand on the other hand recognises February 2 as Inventors’ Day each year. The Thai Cabinet set this date to commemorate the anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s allocation of a patent for a slow speed surface aerator on February 2, 1993.

Thomas Edison

American inventor and businessman Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him “addled”. This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” His mother taught him at home. much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker’s School of Natural Philosophy. Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. Around the middle of his career, Edison attributed the hearing impairment to being struck on the ears by a train conductor after a chemical laboratory he was transporting in a boxcar caught fire and he was thrown off the train in Smiths Creek, Michigan, along with his apparatus and chemicals.

In 1854 Edison’s family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and he sold vegetables to supplement his income. He also studied qualitative analysis, and conducted chemical experiments on the train until an accident prohibited further work of the kind. He obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers.This began Edison’s long streak of entrepreneurial ventures, as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.

Thomas Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him notice was the phonograph in 1877. This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” New Jersey.His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder, but had poor sound quality and the recordings could be played only a few times. In the 1880s, a redesigned model using wax-coated cardboard cylinders was produced by Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, and Charles Tainter. This was one reason that Thomas Edison continued work on his own “Perfected Phonograph.” In 1877–78, Edison invented and developed the carbon microphone used in all telephones along with the Bell receiver until the 1980s. After protracted patent litigation, in 1892 a federal court ruled that Edison and not Emile Berliner was the inventor of the carbon microphone which was also used in radio broadcasting and public address work through the 1920s.

He also developed many other devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb Edison also patented a system for electricity distribution in 1880, which was essential to capitalize on the invention of the electric lamp. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.Edison is the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, telecommunication. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. He also developed the first power station on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York and is credited with designing and producing the first commercially available fluoroscope, a machine that uses X-rays to take radiographs. Until Edison discovered that calcium tungstate fluoroscopy screens produced brighter images than the barium platinocyanide screens originally used by Wilhelm Röntgen, the technology was capable of producing only very faint images, The fundamental design is still in use today.

Edison was active in business until Just months before his death, the Electrical transmission for the Lackawanna Railroad inaugurated suburban electric train service from Hoboken to Montclair, Dover, and Gladstone in New Jersey. was by means of an overhead catenary system using direct current, which Edison had championed. Despite his frail condition, Edison was at the throttle of the first electric MU (Multiple-Unit) train to depart Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken in September 1930, driving the train the first mile through Hoboken yard on its way to South Orange.This fleet of cars would serve commuters in northern New Jersey for the next 54 years until their retirement in 1984. A plaque commemorating Edison’s inaugural ride can be seen today in the waiting room of Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, which is presently operated by New Jersey Transit. Edison was said to have been influenced by a popular fad diet in his last few years; “the only liquid he consumed was a pint of milk every three hours”. He is reported to have believed this diet would restore his health. Edison became the owner of his Milan, Ohio, birthplace in 1906. On his last visit, in 1923, he was reportedly shocked to find his old home still lit by lamps and candles.

Thomas Edison tragically died from complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931, in his home, “Glenmont” in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey, which he had purchased in 1886 as a wedding gift for Mina. He is buried behind the home. Edison’s last breath is reportedly contained in a test tube at the Henry Ford Museum. Ford reportedly convinced Charles Edison to seal a test tube of air in the inventor’s room shortly after his death, as a memento.

Whitney Houston

The late, great singer, actress and model, Whitney Houston, tagically died on the 11th February 2012, at the age of 48. B orn 9th August in 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, At the age of 11, Houston started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. When Houston was a teenager, she attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school in Caldwell, New Jersey, where she met her best friend Robyn Crawford, whom she described as the “sister she never had”. While Houston was still in school, her mother continued to teach her how to sing. Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an influence on her as a singer and performer.Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where her mother Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her. In 1977, at age 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band’s single “Life’s a Party”. In 1978, at age 15, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan’s hit single “I’m Every Woman”, a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself on her monster-selling The Bodyguard soundtrack album. She also sang back-up on albums by Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson.

http://youtu.be/qFUjJc2nqbI WHITNEY HOUSTON’S GREATEST HITS

In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She appeared in the magazines Seventeen, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Young Miss,Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models of that time and While modeling, she also continued her burgeoning recording career. Houston first recording was a duet with Teddy Pendergrass entitled “Hold Me” which appeared on his album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit.The Song also appeared on her debut album which was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her “one of the most exciting new voices in years” while The New York Times called the album “an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent”.In the US, the soulful ballad “You Give Good Love” was chosen as the lead single from Houston’s debut to establish her in the black marketplace first.

Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit, but in the US, it gave the album its first major hit as it peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 1 on the Hot R&B chart. As a result, the album began to sell strongly, and Houston continued promotion by touring nightclubs in the US. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. The jazzy ballad “Saving All My Love for You” was released next and it would become Houston’s first No. 1 single in both the US and the UK.By 1986, a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, “Greatest Love of All“, became Houston’s biggest hit at the time after peaking No. 1 and remaining there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, which made her debut the first album by a female artist to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and had the No. 1 album of the year on the 1986 Billboard year-end charts. Houston also embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour.

The album became an international success, and was certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the United States alone, and has sold a total of 25 million copies worldwide. At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Houston was nominated for three awards including Album of the Year. She was not eligible for the Best New Artist category due to her previous hit R&B duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. She won her first Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for “Saving All My Love for You”. Houston’s performance of the song during the Grammy telecast later earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.Houston won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album’s popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards when “Greatest Love of All” would receive a Record of the Year nomination. Houston’s debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and on The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 list.

Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released in June 1987. the album enjoyed considerable commercial success. and Houston became the first female artist in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK. The album’s first single, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)“, was also a massive hit worldwide and The next three singles, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees. Houston became the first female artist to generate four number-one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified 9× Platinum in the US for shipments of over 9 million copies, and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.

In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for “How Will I Know”, influenced several African American female artists to follow in her footsteps. Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone’s best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single “I Will Always Love You“, became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history. Her sad demise left fans around the world in shock. The I Will Always Love You and Saving All My Love singer won multiple Grammys including album and record of the year, selling millions of albums and singles worldwide. She also carried her success into the film industry, appearing in hit movies including The Bodyguard.

Plimsoll Day

Plimsoll Day takes place annually on 10 February. It commemorates the anniversary of the birth of British merchant, politician, author and reformer Samuel Plimsoll who was born Feb. 10, 1824 in Bristol. He soon moved to Whiteley Wood Hall, Sheffield, and spent part of his childhood in Penrith, Cumberland. Leaving school at an early age, he became a clerk at Rawson’s Brewery, and rose to be manager. In 1853, he unsuccessfully attempted to become a coal merchant in London. Through this experience, he learnt to sympathise with the struggles of the poor, and when his good fortune returned, he resolved to devote his time to improving their condition.

His efforts were directed especially against what were known as “coffin ships”: unseaworthy and overloaded vessels, which were often so heavily insured, that unscrupulous shipping companies stood to make a higher profit if the ship sank. Plimsoll sought to end this by advocating the inspection of all vessels, adoption of a maximum load line and limitation of insurance according to proportions of property on any one ship. He realized that the power to bring ship owners to account rested with the government. So he ran for a seat as a member of Parliament (MP) and was elected on the second try, in 1868. He tried in vain for the next eight years to pass a bill to regulate the shipping industry.

Plimsoll also fought the 1871 Merchant Shipping Act, which forced seamen to complete a voyage after they had signed a contract. Any sailor who realized a ship was unseaworthy before boarding or during the journey was subject to imprisonment if he refused to go on. It wasn’t unusual for a company to paint over wood rot, rename a ship and present it as new. When heavy loads were added, a ship could sink in anything but perfect weather.

In March 1873, The Times printed a story about fifteen seamen who were imprisoned for months after they refused to board a ship. When the ship finally set sail with a new crew, it sank and three men drowned. In 1873 Plimsoll published Our Seamen: An Appeal, a powerful attack on ship owners who knowingly risked their crews’ lives for their own profit. It brought public attention to the injust treatment of working men and incensed many MPs, especially those who were ship owners.

Some decried him as a militant and tried to have him drummed out of Parliament. But Plimsoll had momentum and public support, He initiated a Royal Commission to investigate wrongdoing and two in 1875, a bill was introduced. However It was inadequate, in his opinion, and left ample room for amendments to further weaken it in the future.

Plimsoll decided to support it. Parliament met on July 22, 1875, to ratify the bill. However Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli renaged. Plimsoll campaigned for years to force companies to value safety over profit. When Disraeli appeared to accede to the wishes of his enemies, Plimsoll jumped from his seat in a rage, bounded to the floor in front of Speaker Sir Henry Brand and shook his fist at both sides of the assembly. He also mentioned MP Edward Bates as the owner of three ships that had sunk the year before, killing 87 and intended to name others. The government eventually reversed Disraeli’s decision under pressure from ship owners; they, in turn, pushed Disraeli to reverse his position and pass the bill. In 1876, the Merchant Shipping Act became law. Amendments limiting liability were finally repealed in 1894. Foreign ships visiting British ports were required to have a load line as of 1906. He has since been remembered for his creation of the loading line that came to be known as the Plimsoll Line, marked on the hull of every cargo ship, indicating the maximum depth to which the ship can be safely loaded.

Edgar Wallace

Prolific English writer Edgar Wallace and Edgar tragically slipped into a coma and died of diabetes combined with double pneumonia, on 10 February 1932 in North Maple Drive, Beverly Hills. He was born 1 April 1875 in Greenwich, London. Wallace’s family had been in show business and his mother worked in the theatre as a stagehand, usherette and bit-part actress until she married in 1867. His father Joseph was a Merchant NavyCaptain. When Mary was eight months pregnant, in January 1868, her husband, Joseph Richards died at sea. After the birth, destitute, Mary took to the stage, assuming the stage name “Polly” Richards. In 1872, Polly met and joined the Marriott family theatre troupe, managed by Mrs. Alice Edgar, her husband Richard Edgar and their three adult children, Grace Edgar, Adeline Edgar and Richard Horatio Edgar. Richard Horatio Edgar and Polly ended up having a “broom cupboard” style sexual encounter during an after-show party. Discovering she was pregnant, she stayed at a Boarding House, because unmarried mothers were frowned upon in those days. Her midwife introduced Polly to her close friend, Mrs Freeman, a mother of ten children, whose husband George Freeman was a Billingsgate fishmonger. Wallace, then known as Richard Horatio Edgar Freeman, had a happy childhood, forming a close bond with 20-year-old Clara Freeman who became a second mother to him. By 1878, Polly could no longer afford the small sum she had been paying the Freemans to care for her son and instead of placing the boy in the workhouse, the Freemans adopted him. His foster-father George Freeman was determined to ensure Richard received a good education and for some time Wallace attended St. Alfege with St. Peter’s, a boarding school in Peckham,however he played truant and left full-time education at 12.

Wallace had held down numerous jobs such as newspaper-seller at Ludgate Circus near Fleet Street, milk-delivery boy, rubber factory worker, shoe shop assistant and ship’s cook. A plaque at Ludgate Circus commemorates Wallace’s first encounter with the newspaper business. He was dismissed from his job on the milk run for stealing money.In 1894, he became engaged to a local Deptford girl, Edith Anstree, but broke the engagement, enlisting in the Infantry. Wallace registered in the army at 21 under the adopted the name Edgar Wallace, taken from the author of Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace. He was posted in South Africa with the West Kent Regiment. in 1896 He transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps, and transferred again to the Press Corps. Between 1898 and 1902 Wallace began publishing songs and poetry, inspired by Rudyard Kipling, whom he met in Cape Town in 1898. Wallace’s first book of ballads, The Mission that Failed! was published that same year. In 1899, he turned to writing full-time and became a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and the Daily Mail. In 1901, while in South Africa, Wallace married Ivy Maude Caldecott sadly though Their daughter Eleanor Clare Hellier Wallace died from meningitis in 1903 and they returned to London, deep in debt. Wallace found work at the the Mail in London and began writing thrillers and detective stories in a bid to earn quick money. A son, Bryan, was born in 1904 followed by a daughter, Patricia in 1908. Unable to find a publisher, Wallace set up his own publishing company, Tallis Press, and published the thriller The Four Just Men (1905). Despite promotion in the Mail and good sales, the book was financially mismanaged and Problems were compounded when inaccuracies in Wallace’s reporting led to libel cases being brought against the Mail and Wallace was dismissed in 1907,

In 1907 Edgar travelled to the Congo Free State, to report on atrocities committed against the Congolese under King Leopold II of Belgium and the Belgian rubber companies, in which up to 15 million Congolese were killed. Wallace was invited to serialise stories inspired by his experiences. These were published as his first collection Sanders of the River (1911), which was adapted into a film with the same name, starring Paul Robeson. Wallace went on to publish 11 more similar collections (102 stories). They were tales of exotic adventure and local tribal rites, set on an African river. Between 1908 to 1932 Wallace wrote many more books including detective stories, adventure stories, science fiction and thrillers. The success of his books restored his reputation as a journalist. he then began reporting from horse racing circles. He wrote for the Week-End and the Evening News, becoming an editor for Week-End Racing Supplement and started his own racing papers Bibury’s and R. E. Walton’s Weekly. Unfortunately he lost thousands gambling and Ivy divorced him and moved to Tunbridge Wells with the children Wallace married his secretary Ethel Violet King, the daughter of banker Frederick King, in 1921 and their daughter Penelope Wallace was born in 1923.

Wallace signed with publishers Hodder and Stoughton, and organising his contracts, instead of selling the rights in order to raise funds. This allowed him advances, royalties and full scale promotional campaigns for his books. He became know as the, ‘King of Thrillers’, writing across many genres including science fiction, screen plays, a non-fiction ten-volume history of the First World War. He went on to write over 170 novels, 18 stage plays and 957 short stories. Wallace also served as chairman of the Press Club, which continues to present an annual ‘Edgar Wallace Award’ for excellence in writing. Following the great success of his novel The Ringer, Wallace was appointed chairman of the British Lion Film Corporation. Wallace was the first British crime novelist to use policemen as his protagonists, rather than amateur sleuths as most other writers of the time did. Most of his novels are independent stand-alone stories; he seldom used series heroes. In 1923, Edgar Wallace became the first British radio sports reporter, when he made a report on the Epsom Derby for the British Broadcasting Company. In the 1920’sWallace wrote a controversial article entitled “The Canker In Our Midst” about paedophilia and the show business world. Wallace also joined the Liberal Party and contested Blackpool in the 1931 general election as one of a handful of Independent Liberals, who rejected the National Government, and the official Liberal support for it, and strongly supported free trade.

In 1931 he went to America and wrote the screenplay for the first sound film adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1932) produced by Gainsborough Pictures.Moving to Hollywood, he began working as a “script doctor” for RKO. His play, The Green Pack opened to excellent reviews, boosting his status even further. Wallace wanted to get his own work on Hollywood celluloid, adapting books such as The Four Just Men and Mr J G Reeder. Wallace’s play On the Spot, written about gangster Al Capone, also became a huge success and launched the career of Charles Laughton who played the lead Capone character Tony Perelli. In December 1931, Wallace was assigned work on the RKO “gorilla picture” (King Kong, 1933) for producer Merian C. Cooper. However he started having sudden, severe headaches and was diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately His condition deteriorated within days and he sadly died shortly after.


National Holidays and Events happening on 10 February

Plimsoll Day
National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
Umbrella Day

Boris Pasternak

Russian poet and novelist Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born 10 February 1890. At first Pasternak aspired first to be a musician. Inspired by Scriabin, Pasternak studied at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1910 he abruptly left for the German University of Marburg, where he studied under Neo-Kantian philosophers Hermann Cohen and Nicolai Hartmann. Although Professor Cohen encouraged him to remain in Germany and to pursue a Philosophy doctorate, Pasternak decided against it. and returned to Moscow upon the outbreak of World War I. His first poetry anthology was published later that year.

During World War I, Pasternak taught and worked at a chemical factory in Vsevolodovo-Vilve near Perm, which undoubtedly provided him with material for Dr. Zhivago. Unlike the rest of his family and many of his closest friends, Pasternak chose not to leave Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. remained in Moscow throughout the Civil War (1918–1920), making no attempt to escape abroad or to the White-occupied south, as a number of other Russian writers did at the time. No doubt, like Yuri Zhivago, he was momentarily impressed by the “splendid surgery” of the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917. However he soon began to harbor profound doubts about the claims and credentials of the regime, not to mention its style of rule. The terrible shortages of food and fuel, and the depredations of the Red Terror, made life very precarious in those years, particularly for the “bourgeois” intelligentsia. Published in 1921, Pasternak’s My Sister, Life revolutionised Russian poetry and made Pasternak the model for younger poets, and decisively changed the poetry of Osip Mandelshtam, Marina Tsvetayeva and others. By 1927, Pasternak’s close friends Vladimir Mayakovsky and Nikolai Aseyev were advocating the complete subordination of the Arts to the needs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.So he broke off relations, with both of them. By 1932, Pasternak had altered his style to make it acceptable to the Soviet public and printed the new collection of poems aptly titled The Second Birth, He simplified his style and language even further for his next collection of verse, Early Trains (1943). This prompted his former admirer, Vladimir Nabokov, to mock Pasternak as a “weeping Bolshevik”. After Joseph Stalin was acclaimed as leader of the CPSU in 1929, Pasternak became further disillusioned with the Party’s tightening censorship of literature.

Still unwilling to conform, Pasternak remained a close friend of Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam, who recited his searing indictment of Stalin, the Stalin Epigram, to Pasternak soon after its composition in late April 1934. After listening, Pasternak told Mandelstam, “I didn’t hear this, you didn’t recite it to me, because, you know, very strange and terrible things are happening now: they’ve begun to pick people up. Mandelstam was arrested shortly afterwards. Pasternak was concerned that he might be blamed for fingering Mandelstam to the secret police So he wrote to Stalin to explain that injustices were being committed in the name of the Leader.

Although Pasternak was never arrested by the Soviet secret police during the Great Purge, which took place in the Soviet Union in the late 1930s and involved the, repression of peasants, Red Army leadership, Old Bolsheviks and unaffiliated persons, he lost many friends. Soon after, Pasternak appealed directly to Stalin. He wrote about his family’s strong Tolstoyan convictions. Pasternak was certain that he would be instantly arrested, but he was not. Stalin is said to have crossed Pasternak’s name off an execution list during the Great Purge. After the outbreak of war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Pasternak was elated. With the end of the war in 1945, there was a great expectation that the Soviet people would not only see the end of the devastation of Nazism, but also the end of Stalin’s Purges. However, sealed trains began carrying large numbers of prisoners to the Soviet Gulags. Some were Nazi collaborators but most were ordinary Soviet officers and men. Pasternak watched as ex-POWs were directly transferred from Nazi to Soviet concentration camps. White emigres who had returned due to pledges of amnesty were also sent directly to the Gulag, as were Jews from the Anti-Fascist Committee and other organizations. Many thousands of innocents were incarcerated as part the Leningrad Affair and the Doctor’s Plot, while whole ethnic groups were deported to Siberia. :O

Pasternak’s translation of the first part of Faust caused contorversy and he was accused of distorting Goethe’s “progressive,” meanings to support “the reactionary theory of ‘pure art’”, as well as introducing aesthetic and individualist values. When Stalin died of a stroke on 5 March 1953, there were waves of panic, confusion, and public displays of grief Across the nation. Pasternak wrote, “Men who are not free… always idealize their bondage. For so long we were ruled over by a madman and a murderer, and now by a fool and a pig. The madman had his occasional flights of fancy, he had an intuitive feeling for certain things, despite his wild obscurantism. Now we are ruled over by mediocrities.” During this period, Pasternak delighted in reading a clandestine copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm in English. In conversation with Ivinskaya, Pasternak explained that the swine dictator Napoleon, “vividly reminded,” him of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Doctor Zhivago was completed in 1956 and imediately caused controvery – The author, like his protagonist Yuri Zhivago, showed more concern for the welfare of individual characters than for the “progress” of society.

Censors also regarded some passages as anti-Soviet, especially the novel’s criticisms of Stalinism, Collectivisation, the Great Purge, and the Gulag. As a result Russian people were unwilling to publish it, however Thanks to the efforts of a Communist Italian Journalist and Helped considerably by the Soviet campaign against the novel, Doctor Zhivago became an instant sensation throughout the non-Communist world upon its release in November 1957. Pasternak also received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an event which both humiliated and enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. By the time of his death from lung cancer on 30th May 1960, the campaign against Pasternak had severely damaged the international credibility of the U.S.S.R. He remains a major figure in Russian literature to this day. Furthermore, tactics pioneered by Pasternak were later continued, expanded, and refined by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other Soviet dissidents.

Berthold Brecht

Influential German poet, playwright, and theatre director Bertolt Brecht was born 10 February 1898 in in Augsburg, Bavaria. Berthold’s mother taught Brecht the Bible and the “dangers of the self denying woman” which both influenced his later writing. When he was 16, the First World War broke out. Initially enthusiastic, Brecht soon changed his mind on seeing his classmates “swallowed by the army”. So Brecht registered for an additional medical course at Munich University instead, and studied drama. From July 1916, Brecht’s newspaper articles began appearing under the new name “Bert Brecht” (his first theatre criticism for the Augsburger Volkswille appeared in October 1919). Some time in either 1920 or 1921, Brecht took a small part in the political cabaret of the Munich comedian Karl Valentin whom he compared to Charlie Chaplin.

Brecht’s first full-length play, Baal was written 1918 and Brecht completed his second play, Drums in the Night in February 1919. Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, by touring with the Berliner Ensemble – the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht. He was also awarded the prestigious Kleist Prize (intended for unestablished writers and probably Germany’s most significant literary award for his first three plays (Baal, Drums in the Night, and In the Jungle. In 1923, Brecht wrote a scenario for what was to become a short slapstick film, Mysteries of a Barbershop, directed by Erich Engel and starring Karl Valentin, which it is now considered one of the most important films in German film history. In May 1923, Brecht’s In the Jungle premiered in Munich, also directed by Engel. Opening night proved to be a “scandal”—a phenomenon that would characterize many of his later productions during the Weimar Republic—in which Nazis blew whistles and threw stink bombs at the actors on the stage. In 1924 Brecht worked with the novelist and playwright Lion Feuchtwanger on an adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II that proved to be a milestone in Brecht’s early theatrical and dramaturgical development.That September, a job as assistant dramaturg at Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater—at the time one of the leading three or four theatres in the world—brought him to Berlin. In his role as dramaturg, Brecht had much to stimulate him but little work of his own.[26] Reinhardt staged Shaw’s Saint Joan, Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters and Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author in his group of Berlin theatres. A new version of Brecht’s third play, now entitled Jungle: Decline of a Family,also opened at the Deutsches Theater in October 1924.

In 1925, he completed his collection of poems, Devotions for the Home. In 1925 in Mannheim the artistic exhibition Neue Sachlichkeit (“New Objectivity”) had given its name to the new post-Expressionist movement in the German arts. Brecht also began to develop his Man Equals Man project, which was to become the first product of “the ‘Brecht collective’—that shifting group of friends and collaborators on whom he henceforward depended.This collaborative approach to artistic production, together with aspects of Brecht’s writing and style of theatrical production, mark Brecht’s work from this period as part of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement (New Matter-of-Factness)which stressed the collective and downplayed of the individual. In 1925, Brecht also saw two films that had a significant influence on him: Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.In 1926 a series of short stories was published under Brecht’s name, and also produced the play Man Equals Man. In 1927 Brecht became part of the “dramaturgical collective” of Erwin Piscator’s first company, which was designed to tackle the problem of finding new plays for its “epic, political, confrontational, documentary theatre”, this influenced Brecht’s ideas about staging and design, and alerted him to the radical potentials offered to the “epic” playwright by the development of stage technology. Brecht was struggling at the time with the question of how to dramatize the complex economic relationships of modern capitalism. 1927 also saw the first collaboration between Brecht and the young composer Kurt Weill.They produced The Little Mahagonny for a music festival in July, as what Weill called a “stylistic exercise” in preparation for the large-scale piece. Together they began to develop Brecht’s Mahagonny project, and In 1930 Brecht formed a writing collective which became prolific and very influential.

Brecht’s first great play, Saint Joan of the Stockyards, attempted to portray the drama in financial transactions. The collective also adapted John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, with Brecht’s lyrics set to music by Kurt Weill. Retitled The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) it was the biggest hit in Berlin of the 1920s and a renewing influence on the musical worldwide. One of its most famous lines underscored the hypocrisy of conventional morality working in conjunction with the established order, in the face of working-class hunger and deprivation.The success of The Threepenny Opera was followed by the quickly thrown together Happy End and Brecht used elements of Happy End in Saint Joan of the Stockyards,Happy End’s score by Weill produced many Brecht/Weill hits like “Der Bilbao-Song” and “Surabaya-Jonny”.The masterpiece of the Brecht/Weill collaborations, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny), caused an uproar when it premiered in 1930 in Leipzig, with Nazis in the audience protesting. The Mahagonny opera would premier later in Berlin in 1931 as a triumphant sensation. Brecht spent the early 1930′s in Berlin working with his “collective” on the Lehrstücke. These were a group of plays driven by morals, music and Brecht’s budding epic theatre and were often aimed at educating workers on Socialist issues. These included The Measures Taken (Die Massnahme), Kuhle Wampe (1932), which is notable for its subversive humour, outstanding cinematography and still provides a vivid insight into Berlin during the last years of the Weimar Republic Brecht was also influenced by The so-called “Westend Berlin Scene”.

In 1933 Brecht left Germany Fearing persecution from the Nazis. After brief spells in Prague, Zurich and Paris he and Weigel moved to Denmark, where they settled in a house in Svendborg on the island of Funen. Brecht also travelled to Copenhagen, Paris, Moscow, New York and London . in April 1939, he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he remained for a year. During the war years, Brecht became a prominent writer of the Exilliteratur. He expressed his opposition to the National Socialist and Fascist movements in his most famous plays: Life of Galileo, Mother Courage and Her Children, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich, and many others. Brecht also wrote the screenplay for the Fritz Lang-directed film Hangmen Also Die! which was loosely based on the 1942 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Reich Protector of German-occupied Prague, number-two man in the SS, and a chief architect of the Holocaust, who was known as “The Hangman of Prague. he then wrote The Visions of Simone Machard, Schweik in the Second World War and an adaptation of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. Hanns Eisler was nominated for an Academy Award for his musical score.

Brecht and Weigel also protested on the roof of the Berliner Ensemble during the International Workers’ Day demonstrations in 1954 and In the years of the Cold War and “Red Scare”, Brecht was blacklisted by movie studio bosses and interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Along with about 41 other Hollywood writers, directors, actors and producers. In 1947 Brecht testified that he had never been a member of the Communist Party Brecht’s decision to appear before the committee led to criticism, including accusations of betrayal. The day after his testimony, on 31 October, Brecht returned to Europe. In Chur in Switzerland, Brecht staged an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone, based on a translation by Hölderlin. It was published under the title Antigonemodell 1948, accompanied by an essay on the importance of creating a “non-Aristotelian” form of theatre.An offer for his own theatre and theatre company (the Berliner Ensemble) encouraged Brecht to return to Berlin in 1949.Though he was never a member of the Communist Party, Brecht had been deeply schooled in Marxism by the dissident communist Karl Korsch and Brecht received the Stalin Peace Prize in 1954.At first Brecht supported the measures taken by the East German government against the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany, which included the use of Soviet military force. Brecht’s subsequent commentary on those events, however, offered a different assessment— especially in one of the poems in the Elegies, “Die Lösung” (The Solution). Although Brecht wrote very few plays in his final years in East Berlin, Some of his most famous poems, including the “Buckow Elegies”, were written at this time. He is buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery on Chausseestraße in the Mitte neighbourhood of Berlin. Brecht sadly died on 14 August 1956 of a heart attack at the age of 58 however he leaves behind a rich legacy.