Leo Tolstoy

Russian writer Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy tragically passed away 20 November [O.S. 7 November] 1910. He was Born 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) southwest of Tula, Russia, and 200 kilometers (120 mi) south of Moscow. After his parents died during his childhood, Tolstoy and his siblings were brought up by relatives. In 1844, he began studying law and oriental languages at Kazan University. His time there was not a success however, with teachers describing him as “both unable and unwilling to learn.”Tolstoy left the university in the middle of his studies, returned to Yasnaya Polyana and then spent much of his time in Moscow, Tula and Saint Petersburg, leading a lax and leisurely lifestyle He began writing during this period, including his first novel Childhood, a fictitious account of his own youth, which was published in 1852. In 1851, after running up heavy gambling debts, he went with his older brother to the Caucasus and joined the army. Tolstoy served as a young artillery officer during the Crimean War and was in Sevastopol during the 11-month-long siege of Sevastopol in 1854–55, including the Battle of the Chernaya. During the war he was recognised for his bravery and courage and promoted to lieutenant. He was appalled by the number of deaths involved in warfare, and left the army after the end of the Crimean War.

His conversion from a dissolute and privileged society author to the non-violent and spiritual anarchist of his latter days was brought about by his experience in the army as well as two trips around Europe in 1857 and 1860–61. Others who followed the same path were Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin. During his 1857 visit, Tolstoy witnessed a public execution in Paris, a traumatic experience that would mark the rest of his life. Writing in a letter to his friend Vasily Botkin: “The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.” Tolstoy’s concept of non-violence or Ahimsa was bolstered when he read a German version of the Tirukkural. He later instilled the concept in Mahatma Gandhi through his A Letter to a Hindu when young Gandhi corresponded with him seeking his advice.

His European trip in 1860–61 shaped both his political and literary development when he met Victor Hugo, whose literary talents Tolstoy praised after reading Hugo’s newly finished Les Misérables. The similar evocation of battle scenes in Hugo’s novel and Tolstoy’s War and Peace indicates this influence. Tolstoy’s political philosophy was also influenced by a March 1861 visit to French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, then living in exile under an assumed name in Brussels. Apart from reviewing Proudhon’s forthcoming publication, La Guerre et la Paix (War and Peace in French), whose title Tolstoy would borrow for his masterpiece, the two men discussed education, as Tolstoy wrote in his educational notebooks: “If I recount this conversation with Proudhon, it is to show that, in my personal experience, he was the only man who understood the significance of education and of the printing press in our time.”

In 1861 Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana and founded 13 schools for the children of Russia’s peasants, who had just been emancipated from serfdom. Tolstoy described the school’s principles in his 1862 essay “The School at Yasnaya Polyana”. Tolstoy’s educational experiments were short-lived, partly due to harassment by the Tsarist secret police. However, as a direct forerunner to A. S. Neill’s Summerhill School, the school at Yasnaya Polyana can justifiably be claimed the first example of a coherent theory of democratic education.

He primarily wrote novels and short stories. Tolstoy was a master of realistic fiction and is widely considered one of the world’s greatest novelists. He is best known for two long novels, War and Peace(1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Tolstoy first achieved literary acclaim in his 20s for hisSevastopol Sketches (1855), based on his experiences in the Crimean War, followed by the publication of a semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth(1855-1858). His fiction output also includes two additional novels, dozens of short stories, and several famous novellas, including The Death of Ivan Ilych, Family Happiness, andHadji Murad. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays.

Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married aristocrat/socialite and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother’s unbridled womanizing. Then a bachelor, Vronsky asks her to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official and marry him instead, however she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, the moral laws of the Russian Orthodox Church, her own insecurities, and Karenin’s indecision. Although Vronsky and Anna go to Italy, where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky’s reassurances, she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fearing loss of control.

A parallel story within the novel is that of Konstantin Lëvin or Ljovin, a wealthy country landowner who wants to marry Princess Kitty, sister to Dolly and sister-in-law to Anna’s brother Oblonsky. Konstantin has to propose twice before Kitty accepts. The novel details Konstantin’s difficulties managing his estate, his eventual marriage, and his struggle to accept the Christian faith, until the birth of his first child. Anna Karenina is also an evaluation of the feudal system that existed in Russia at the time—politics, not only in the Russian government but also at the level of the individual characters and families, religion, morality, gender and social class.

Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. Tolstoy sadly passed away 29 November 1910 however His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr and his epic sweeping novels such as Anna Kerenina and War and Peace are still rightly regarded as classics and have also been adapted for film and television many times

The War of the Worlds

I am currently watching the BBC three part version of H.G.Wells The War of The Worlds which began 17 November. Based on H.G.Wells 1898 novel It takes place in 1905 (ten years after the original novel) and stars Rafe Spall as George, Eleanor Tomlinson as Amy and Robert Carlyle as Ogilvy

It begins when a group of Astronomers including Ogilvy from an Astronomical Observatory in Ottershaw and a journalist named George, notice a number of strange explosions on the planet Mars. Meanwhile everybody including George, his wife Amy and his Politician Brother, who works for the Admiralty in London, carry on with their everyday lives, blissfully unaware.

Then a few months later a mysterious Elongated meteorite lands in nearby Horsell Common. At first their is great excitement as George, Ogilvy and many otherAstronomers From the observatory in Ottershaw investigate the fallen asteroid on Horsell Common and speculate whether there may be Technologically superior and super-intelligent Martians inside. Upon further examination of the impact crater and the asteroid they discover that it is in fact artificial, hollow and made of metal and what’s more there is something moving about inside.

Excitement soon turns to terror when the asteroid suddenly begins unscrewing, And opens To reveal a mysterious sphere which systematically incinerates  all onlookers with a heat ray. Soon the Army are called in however they too find themselves powerless against the heat ray. Then a gigantic tripod rises up from inside the metal cylinder in the Crater and wreaks widespread destruction around Woking  using a heat ray and spreading noxious clouds of poisonous black smoke, killing thousands of people. Suddenly plunging people’s Lives into chaos So George tells Amy to flee The carnage and head for his Brothers house in London and safety. Then news is received concerning a second asteroid which has landed in Byfleet and has cut off the route to London….

Alan Dean Foster

Prolific American fantasy and science fiction novelist Alan Dean Foster was born November 18, 1946. He is known for his science fiction novels set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an interstellar ethical/political union of species including humankind and the insectoid Thranx. Many of these novels feature Philip Lynx (“Flinx”), an empathic young man who has found himself involved in something which threatens the survival of the Galaxy. Flinx’s constant companion since childhood is a minidrag named Pip, a flying, empathic snake capable of spitting a highly corrosive and violently neurotoxic venom.

One of Foster’s better-known fantasy works is the Spellsinger series, in which a young musician is summoned into a world populated by talking creatures where his music allows him to do real magic whose effects depends on the lyrics of the popular songs he sings (although with somewhat unpredictable results).

Many of Foster’s works have a strong ecological element to them, often with an environmental twist. Often the villains in his stories experience their downfall because of a lack of respect for other alien species or seemingly innocuous bits of their surroundings. This can be seen in such works as Midworld, about a semi-sentient planet that is essentially one large rainforest, and Cachalot, set on an ocean world populated by sentient cetaceans. Foster usually devotes a large part of his novels to descriptions of the strange environments of alien worlds and the coexistence of their flora and fauna. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is Sentenced to Prism, in which the protagonist finds himself trapped on a world where life is based on silicon rather than carbon, as on Earth.

Foster was the ghostwriter of the original novelization of Star Wars which had been credited solely to George Lucas. After two other writers had declined his offer of a flat fee of $5,000 for the work, Lucas brought to Foster the original screenplay, after which Foster fleshed out the backstory of time, place, planets, races, history and technology in such detail that it became canonical for all subsequent Star Wars novels. Foster wrote the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a Star Wars sequel published in 1978, two years prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back. Foster’s story relied heavily on abandoned concepts that appeared in Lucas’s early treatments for the first film. Foster was stunned when Return of the Jedi revealed the characters of Luke and Leia as brother and sister; in Splinter, the characters exhibit quite a bit of romantic and sexual energy. Although Splinter was contradicted by later entries in the Star Wars film canon, it was the first “Star Wars expanded universe” entry written (although not the first published—a Marvel Comics story holds that honor). Foster wrote the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Foster is also credited with writing the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He also wrote 10 books based on episodes of the animated Star Trek, the first six books each consisting of three linked novella-length episode adaptations, and the last four being expanded adaptations of single episodes that segued into original story. In the mid-seventies, he wrote original Star Trek stories for the Peter Pan-label Star Trek audio story records. He later wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek, his first Star Trek novel in over 30 years. He later wrote the novelization for Star Trek’s sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Eric by Terry Pratchett🧙‍♂️

I have recently listened to the hilarious BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Eric by Terry Pratchett. It follows immediately after the events of Sourcery in which Discworld’s most pathetic Wizard Rincewind Manages to get himself trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions (The Discworld version of Hell or Pandemonium). Amazingly Rincewind then finds himself summoned by a13-year-old demonologist, named Eric Thursley, who thinks he is a powerful demon and makes a Faustian pact With him, asking for three wishes In return. At first Rincewind protests but then discovers to his horror that he really can grant wishes.

Firstly Eric asks to be ruler of the world. He and Rincewind Then find themselves in the rainforests of Klatch in the Tezumen empire, (a parody of the Aztec Empire). The local people pay tribute to Eric and declare him Ruler of the World. However Rincewind discovers a prisoner, Ponce da Quirm (a parody of Juan Ponce de León), and learns what happens to the Ruler of the World and they soon find themselves in great peril.

Secondly Eric asks to meet the most beautiful woman in history. However this does not go to plan either, as they find themselves in the midst of a battle between the Tsorteans and the Ephesians. (A parody of the Greeks and Trojans) They are Also disappointed to discover that artistic license may have been taken in the description of certain events and people.

Finally Eric asks to live forever. However this also goes hilariously wrong When Eric and Rincewind find themselves at the beginning of time, where they meet the Creator, before making a startling discovery. They then find themselves transported back to the Dungeon Dimension which has been steeped in bureaucracy, since the Demon King Astfgl took over and decided that boredom might be the ultimate form of torture. However not everyone is happy about this arrangement, such as Lord Vassenego, a Demon Lord who has been leading a secret revolt against Astfgl. Meanwhile Rincewind and Eric try to escape the dungeon Dimension (again) Along the way they meet old acquaintances and learn the source of Rincewind’s power before discovering that it may have been part of a conspiracy by Certain members of the Dungeon Dimension…

George Spelvin Day

George Spelvin day takes place annaully on 15 November. The purpose of George Spelvin Day is to commemorate those unsung actors who appear in film but remain anonymous or are not credited. George Spelvin, Georgette Spelvin, and Georgina Spelvin are traditional pseudonyms used in programs in American theater. The reasons for the use of an alternate name vary. Actors who do not want to be credited, or whose names would otherwise appear twice because they are playing more than one role in a production, may adopt a pseudonym. Actors who are members of the AFL-CIO trade union of professional actors known as Actors’ Equity Association, but are working under a non-union contract and wish to avoid the significant penalties ranging from substantial fines to revocation of union membership that could result from working under non-union contracts, also use pseudonyms.

In some plays, this name has appeared in cast lists as the name of an actor (or actress) portraying a character who is mentioned in the dialogue but never turns up onstage: with the role credited to “George Spelvin”, the audience is not forewarned that the character never makes an entrance. The name is said to have first appeared on a cast list in 1886 in Karl the Peddler, a play by Charles A. Gardiner. The 1927 musical play Strike Up the Band by George S. Kaufman and George and Ira Gershwin features a character named George Spelvin. The name can also be used when one actor is playing what appear to be two characters, but is later revealed as being one person with two names or identities. Because of the pseudonym, the audience is not clued-in that the two seemingly separate characters are meant to be the same person. This is especially useful in murder mysteries.

“Georgina Spelvin” has fallen out of general use (or become more popular depending on your outlook ) since it was adopted as a screen name by pornographic actress Shelley Graham, who was credited by that name in The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) and her subsequent films.

Another example of the name being used occurred in Players de Noc’s production of The Full Monty, about a group of men who try their luck as male strippers. A member of the production’s orchestra, not wanting members of his church to find he was involved with such a risqué play, had his name credited as George Spelvin. The one-act play The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang features a main character named George Spelvin, and the January 27, 1942, episode of Fibber McGee and Molly (“The Blizzard”) features a visit by a stranger calling himself George Spelvin (played by Frank Nelson).

The columnist Westbrook Pegler used this name in his writings; one of his books of collected columns is titled George Spelvin, America. The name was used in the I Love Lucy episode “Don Juan is Shelved”, in the Mama’s Family episode “Fangs A Lot, Mama” as the author of a book called A Nun’s Life, and as the name of a character villain voiced by Peter Serafinowicz in the “Tragical History” episode of Archer. The name may also be used for a character who never delivers a line, and thus any member of the stage crew might be filling in the role. For example, a person makes a delivery to a character onstage: the doorbell rings, the delivery is made, and the delivery carrier disappears, with no words spoken.

More Holidays and National Days which take place on 15 November

• America Recycles Day.
• American Enterprise Day.
• Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
• George Spelvin Day.
• Great American Smokeout.
• I Love to Write Day.
• International Guinness World Records Day.
• National Bundt Day.
• National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
• National Little Red Wagon Day.
• National Philanthropy Day.
• National Raisin Bran Cereal Day.
• National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day.
• Nouveau Beaujolais Day.
• Pack Your Mom’s Lunch Day.
• Proclamação da República.
• Use Less Stuff Day.

Day of the Imprisoned Writer

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer takes place annually on 15 November. The purpose of Day of the Imprisoned Writer is to recognize and support writers who resist, or have resisted, repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information. This day is observed each year on November 15. It was started in 1981 by PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

PEN International is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 by Catherine Amy Dawson Scott, with John Galsworthy as its first president. Its first members included Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Craig, George Bernard Shaw, and H. G. Wells. PEN originally stood for “Poets, Essayists, Novelists”, but now stands for “Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists”, and includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians. PEN International established the following aims:

To promote intellectual co-operation and understanding among writers;
To create a world community of writers that would emphasize the central role of literature in the development of world culture; and,
To defend literature against the many threats to its survival which the modern world poses.

The association has autonomous International PEN centers in over 100 countries. Other goals of PEN International included: to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views.

In addition to increasing the public’s awareness of persecuted writers in general, PEN uses the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to direct attention to several specific persecuted or imprisoned writers and their individual circumstances. Each of the selected writers is from a different part of the world, and each case represents circumstances of repression that occur when governments or other entities in power feel threatened by what writers have written. On this day, the general public is encouraged to take action—in the form of donations and letters of appeal—on behalf of the selected writer. The day also serves to commemorate all of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Between November 15, 2007 and November 15, 2008, at least 39 writers from around the world were killed in circumstances that appeared to be related to their professions.

J.G.Ballard

English novelist and short story writer James Graham “J. G.” Ballard was born 15 November 1930. He was also a prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash (1973), which was adapted into a (rather strange) film by David Cronenberg, and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Empire of the Sun is Based on Ballard’s boyhood in the Shanghai International Settlement and his internment by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. It recounts the story of a young British boy, Jaime Graham, who lives with his parents in Shanghai. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese occupy the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents. He spends some time in abandoned mansions, living on remnants of packaged food. Then having exhausted the food supplies, he decides to try to surrender to the Japanese Army. After many attempts, he finally succeeds and is interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center. Although the Japanese are “officially” the enemies, Jim identifies partly with them, both because he adores the pilots with their splendid machines and because he feels that Lunghua is still a comparatively safer place for him, however the food supply runs short and Jim barely survives, with people around him starving to death. The camp prisoners are then forced upon a march to Nantao, with many dying along the route. However some of the people including Jim are saved from starvation by air drops from American Bombers.

The book was adapted by Tom Stoppard in 1987. The screenplay was filmed by Steven Spielberg, to critical acclaim, being nominated for six Oscars and winning three British Academy Awarhds (for cinematography, music and sound). It starred 13-year-old Christian Bale, as well as John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson; it also featured a cameo by the 21 year old Ben Stiller, in a dramatic role. The literary distinctiveness of Ballard’s work has given rise to the adjective “Ballardian”, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.” Sadly Ballard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2006, from which he died in London on 19th April 2009, however In 2008, The Times included Ballard on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

Excelsior

American comic book writer editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and Founder of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee tragically passed away 12 November 2018. He was born 28th December 1922 in New York City. As a child Lee was influenced by books and movies, especially Errol Flynn, He was also A voracious reader who enjoyed writing as a teen. During his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center; delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway; and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper.

He graduated from high school early, at age 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics, which evolved into Marvel Comics. He made his comic-book debut with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in Captain America Comics #3, Which introduced Captain America’s trademark ricocheting shield-toss. He graduated from writing filler to actual comics & two issues later. Lee co-created his first superhero the Destroyer.

Other characters he created include Jack Frost and Father Time. He showed a knack for business that led him to remain as the comic-book division’s editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he became publisher. During In the mid-1950s, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense.In the 1950s Lee was assigned to create a new superhero team in response to DC Comics Justice League of America. Lee responded by giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens and introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, melancholy fits, vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or even were sometimes physically ill.

The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the Fantastic Four. He also collaborated with several artists, most notably Steve Ditko, and co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and many other fictional characters introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. wrote a monthly column called “Stan’s Soapbox,” and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark phrase “Excelsior!”

Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with issues of discrimination, intolerance, prejudice, racism and bigotry. Lee became the figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics & made appearances at comic book conventions around America. He has also been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in various Marvel film adaptations. In the 2000s, Lee did his first work for DC Comics, launching the Just Imagine… series, in which Lee reimagined the DC superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash. In 2006, Marvel published a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom.

In 2008, Lee wrote humorous captions for the political fumetti book Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying? Lee also collaborated with Hiroyuki Takei on the manga Karakuridôji Ultimo. In 2009, he collaborated with the Japanese company Bones to produced its first manga feature, Heroman, and In 2010 The Stan Lee Foundation was founded which focused on literacy, education and the arts, and In August 2011, Lee announced his support for the Eagle Initiative, a program to find new talent in the comic book field. He was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Best known for writing the novel “Crime and Punishment” the Russian Novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born 11 November 1821 in the Mariinsky hospital in Moscow, Russia. Dostoyevsky was introduced to literature at an early age – fairy tales and legends, as well as books by English, French, German and Russian authors. His mother’s sudden death in 1837 devastated him. At around the same time, he left school to enter the Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute. Once he graduated, he worked as an engineer and briefly enjoyed a liberal lifestyle.

He soon began to translate books to earn extra money. Around the mid-1840s he wrote his first novel, Poor Folk, allowing him to join St Petersburg’s literary circles. He also wrote short stories and essays which explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russia. Although Dostoyevsky began writing books in the mid-1840s. In 1849 he attracted controversy when he was arrested for his involvement with the Petrashevsky Circle, a secret society of liberal utopians as well as a literary discussion group. He and other members were condemned to death, but the penalty proved to be a mock execution and the sentence was commuted to four years’ hard labour in Siberia.

After his release, Dostoyevsky was forced to serve as a soldier, but was discharged from the military due to his ill health. In the following years Dostoyevsky worked as a journalist, publishing and editing several magazines of his own and later a serial, A Writer’s Diary. His best novels, including Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. He wrote eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and three essays, and has been acknowledged by many literary critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in universal literature. He also began to travel around western Europe, however his finances suffered because of his gambling addiction and he had to face the humiliation of begging for money.

Dostoyevsky also suffered from epilepsy throughout his adult life. But he persevered and though sheer energy and force of will he managed to publish a large volume of work. Fyodor Dostoyevsky sadly passed away on 9th February 1881, however he has since become one of the most widely read and renowned Russian writers, His books remain popular and have been translated into more than 170 languages and sold around 15 million copies. He has also influenced a vast range of writers, from Anton Chekhov and James Joyce to Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ayn Rand, to name but a few.