For Whom the bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway

The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was published 21 October 1940. The novel graphically describes the brutality of the civil war in Spain during this time. It is told primarily through the thoughts and experiences of the protagonist, Robert Jordan. It draws on Hemingway’s own experiences in the Spanish Civil War as a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance.

Jordan is an American who has lived in Spain during the pre-war period, and fights in the International Brigades for the Republic against Francisco Franco’s fascist forces. An experienced dynamiter, he is ordered by a Soviet general to travel behind enemy lines and destroy a bridge with the aid of a band of local anti-fascist guerrillas, in order to prevent enemy troops from responding to an upcoming offensive. On his mission, Jordan meets the rebel Anselmo who brings him to the hidden guerrilla camp and initially acts as an intermediary between Jordan and the other guerrilla fighters.

In the camp, Jordan encounters María, a young Spanish woman whose life had been shattered by her parents’ execution and her rape at the hands of the Falangists (part of the fascist coalition) at the outbreak of the war. His strong sense of duty clashes with both the unwillingness of the guerrilla leader Pablo to commit to an operation that would endanger himself and his band, and Jordan’s own new-found lust for life which arises from his love for María. Pablo’s wife, Pilar, usurps Pablo’s leadership and pledges the allegiance of the guerrillas to Jordan’s mission. However, when another band of anti-fascist guerrillas, led by El Sordo, is surrounded and killed, Pablo steals the dynamite and detonators hoping to prevent the demolition and thereby avoid fascist reprisals. Although he disposes of the detonators by throwing them down a gorge into the river, Pablo regrets abandoning his comrades and returns to assist in the operation.

However, the enemy, learns of the coming offensive, and is prepared to ambush it in force. Regardless of this, Jordan understands that he must still demolish the bridge in an attempt to prevent Fascist reinforcements from overwhelming his allies. Lacking the detonation equipment stolen by Pablo, Jordan plans an alternative method to explode the dynamite by using hand grenades with wires attached so that their pins can be pulled from a distance. This improvised plan is considerably more dangerous because the men must increase their proximity to the explosion. While Pablo, Pilar, and other guerrilla members attack the posts at the two ends of the bridge, Jordan and Anselmo plant and detonate the dynamite, costing Anselmo his life when he is hit by a piece of shrapnel. While escaping, Jordan is maimed when a tank shoots his horse out from under him. Knowing he would only slow his comrades down, he bids goodbye to María and ensures that she escapes to safety with the surviving guerrillas…

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Jack the Giant Slayer

I have recently watched the exciting Fantasy Film Jack the Giant Slayer. It is Based on the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk and takes place In the Kingdom of Cloister, where Jack, a young farm boy, becomes fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magic crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.

Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house. Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground.

Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself). Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before he can eat Roderick, Roderick dons the magical crown.

Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, kills Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He incites the giants to attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. However Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk where the giant guarding the beanstalk is pushed off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell is understandably alarmed and orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.

Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick however Fallon takes the crown and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants lay siege to the castle and chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell inside, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, and it id up to Jack to recover the Crown and the beans and banish the Giants to their own realm in an exciting finale.

Jonathan Swift (Gullivers Travels)

Satirist, essayist, poet and cleric Jonathan Swift sadly passed away on 19 October 1745 (aged 77), shortly after having a stroke. He was born 30 November 1667. He is remembered for works such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift’s family had several interesting literary connections: His grandmother, Elizabeth (Dryden) Swift, was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of the poet John Dryden. The same grandmother’s aunt, Katherine (Throckmorton) Dryden, was a first cousin of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh. His great-great grandmother, Margaret (Godwin) Swift, was the sister of Francis Godwin, author of The Man in the Moone which influenced parts of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. His uncle, Thomas Swift, married a daughter of the poet and playwright Sir William Davenant, a godson of William Shakespeare. He is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms – such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, MB Drapier – or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. He then traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnson and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple’s household. During his visits to England in these years Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club. Swift also went to London many times & was recruited by The Tory Party to support their cause as editor of The Examiner. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet “The Conduct of the Allies & became part of the inner circle of the Tory government, and often acted as mediator between Henry St John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710–15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (1711–14).

After the death of Queen Anne in 1714 and accession of George I, the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France so Swift returned to Ireland, where he began to support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier’s Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot. He began writing Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver’s Travels.

In 1726 he visited London, staying with his old friends Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of Gulliver’s Travels in 1726 It was immediately successful and was translated into. French, German, and Dutch.Swift returned to England one more time in 1727 but The visit was cut short when Swift received word that Esther Johnson was dying and rushed back home to be with her. On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died. Sadly After this, Death became a frequent feature in Swift’s life. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift. In 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness, and in 1742 he may have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak. Following his death he was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson’s side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (twelve thousand pounds) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, which opened in 1757. There have also been many film Animation and Television adaptations made of of the novel. including the 1939 version, a Hallmark version starring Ted Danson as Lemuel Gulliver, and the most recent one starring Jack Black.

Philip Pullman

English novelist Philip Pullman CBE, FRSL was born 19 October 1946. He is the author of several best-selling books, most notably the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, The Ruby in the Smoke and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. In the 1950′s After his Father’s tragic Death in an Air Accident, His mother remarried and moved to Australia, where Pullman’s discovered comic books including Superman and Batman. Around 1957 Pullman also discovered John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which would become a major influence for His Dark Materials.After returning to England From, Pullman attended Exeter College, Oxford, from 1963, receiving a Third class BA in 1968. He also discovered William Blake’s illustrations around 1970, which would later influence him greatlyIn 1970 he began teaching middle school children ages 9 to 13 at Bishop Kirk Middle School in Summertown, North Oxford and writing school plays. His first published work was The Haunted Storm, which joint-won the New English Library’s Young Writer’s Award in 1972. Galatea, an adult fantasy-fiction novel, followed in 1978, but it was his school plays which inspired his first children’s book, Count Karlstein, in 1982.

He stopped teaching around the publication of The Ruby in the Smoke (1986), his second children’s book, whose Victorian setting is indicative of Pullman’s interest in that era. Pullman also taught part-time at Westminster College, Oxford, between 1988 and 1996, continuing to write children’s stories.Around 1993 He began writing the trilogy His Dark Materials, and Volume I, Northern Lights was published in 1995 (entitled The Golden Compass in the U.S., 1996). The next two novels in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, soon followed. Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction in the UK in 1995. The Amber Spyglass was awarded both 2001 Whitbread Prize for best children’s book and the Whitbread Book of the Year prize in January 2002, For the 70th anniversary of the Medal it was named one of the top ten winning works by a panel, composing the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite and became the first children’s book to receive that award. Northern Lights was also named the all-time “Carnegie of Carnegies” on 21 June 2007. The series was also placed third in the BBC’s Big Read poll, and also won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

On 23 November 2007, Pullman was made an honorary professor at Bangor University and In June 2008, he became a Fellow supporting the MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes Universitys and In 2008, The Times also named Pullman one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945″. Pullman later wrote two companion pieces to the trilogy, entitled Lyra’s Oxford, and Once Upon a Time in the North. A third companion piece Pullman refers to as the “green book” will expand upon his character Will. He has plans for one more, the as-yet-unpublished The Book of Dust. This book is not a continuation of the trilogy but will include characters and events from His Dark Materials, he is also writing “The Adventures of John Blake”, a story for the British children’s comic The DFC, with artist John Aggs. The Golden Compass was also adapted as a film starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, and the Ruby in the Smoke was adapted into a Television Drama starring Billie Piper.

In October 2009, he became a patron of the Palestine Festival of Literature, and continues to deliver talks and writes occasionally for The Guardian. He was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 2004. He also co-judged the prestigious Christopher Tower Poetry Prize (awarded by Oxford University) in 2005 with Gillian Clarke. Pullman also began lecturing at a seminar in English at his alma mater, Exeter College, Oxford, in 2004, the same year that he was elected President of the Blake Society. In 2004 Pullman also guest-edited The Mays Anthology, a collection of new writing from students at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. In 2005 Pullman won the biggest prize in children’s literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council, recognising his career contribution to “children’s and young adult literature in the broadest sense”.

The first volume of Pullman’s new trilogy The Book of Dust is published on 19 October 2017. The as-yet-unnamed second title in “The Book of Dust” will include a character named after Nur Huda el-Wahabi, a 16-year-old victim of London’s tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

John le Carré

Prolific English novelist John le Carré ( David John Moore Cornwell), was Born 19th October 1931. His formal schooling began at St Andrew’s Preparatory School, near Pangbourne, Berkshire, then continued at Sherborne School. From 1948 to 1949, he studied foreign languages at the University of Bern in Switzerland. In 1950 he joined the Intelligence Corps of the British Army garrisoned in Austria, working as a German language interrogator of people who crossed the Iron Curtain to the West.In 1952, he returned to England to study at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he worked covertly for the British Security Service, MI5, spying upon far-left groups for information about possible Soviet agents.in 1954, Cornwell quit Oxford to teach at a boys’ preparatory school; however, a year later, he returned to Oxford and graduated, in 1956, with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He then taught French and German at Eton College for two years, afterwards becoming an MI5 officer in 1958; he ran agents, conducted interrogations, tapped telephone lines, and effected break-ins.

It was whilst he was an active MI5 officer, that Cornwell began writing his first novel “Call for the Dead” (1961), Moreover, Lord Clanmorris was one of two inspirations – Vivian H. H. Green being the other – for George Smiley, the spymaster of the Circus.In 1960, Cornwell transferred to MI6, the foreign-intelligence service, and worked under Second Secretary’ cover in the British Embassy at Bonn; he later was transferred to Hamburg as a political consul. There, he wrote the detective story A Murder of Quality (1962) and espionage thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), as ‘John le Carré’ which became an international best-seller & established him as an important writer of espionage fiction and remains one of his best known works.Following the novel’s success, Cornwell left the service in 1964 to work full-time as a novelist, as his intelligence officer career was ended by the betrayal of British agents’ covers to the KGB by Kim Philby, a British double agent (of the Cambridge Five). Le Carré depicts and analyses Philby as the upper-class traitor, code-named Gerald by the KGB, the mole George Smiley hunts in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974). Credited by his pen name, Cornwell also appears as an extra in the 2011 film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, among the guests at the Christmas party seen in several flashback scenes

In 1964 le Carré won the Somerset Maugham Award, established to enable British writers younger than thirty-five to enrich their writing by spending time abroad.In 1990, he received the Helmerich Award which is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. In 2008, The Times ranked Le Carré 22nd on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute.In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath, and In 2012, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa by the University of Oxford. Many of Le Carre’s novels have also been adapted for screen and television including Tinker,Tailer,soldier,spy, A Delicate Truth and A Most Wanted Man.

Moby Dick

The novel Moby Dick was fiirst published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London On 18 October 1851. The story tells the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael who has experience in the merchant marine but has recently decided his next voyage will be on a whaling ship . So On a cold, gloomy night in December, he arrives at the Spouter-Inn in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and grees to share a bed with a then-absent stranger. When his bunk mate, a heavily tattooed Polynesian harpooner named Queequeg, returns very late and discovers Ishmael beneath his covers, both men are alarmed, but the two quickly become close friends and decide to sail together from Nantucket, Massachusetts, on a whaling voyage, setting out from Manhattan so he sets off on the whaleship Pequod, commanded byCaptain Ahab, who is nowhere to be seen. The two friends encounter a mysterious man named Elijah on the dock after they sign their papers and he hints at troubles to come with Ahab. The mystery grows on Christmas morning when Ishmael spots dark figures in the mist, apparently boarding the Pequod shortly before it sets sail that day.The ship’s officers direct the early voyage while Ahab stays in his cabin. The chief mate is Starbuck, a serious, sincere Quaker and fine leader; second mate is Stubb, happy-go-lucky and cheerful and always smoking his pipe; the third mate is Flask, short and stout but thoroughly reliable. Some time after sailing, Ahab finally appears on the quarter-deck one morning, an imposing, frightening figure whose haunted visage sends shivers over the narrator. One of his legs is missing from the knee down and has been replaced by a prosthesis fashioned from a sperm whale’s jawbone.

After gathering the crewmen together, with a rousing speech Ahab secures their support for his single, secret purpose for this voyage: hunting down and killing Moby Dick, an old, very large sperm whale, with a snow-white hump and mottled skin, that crippled Ahab on his last whaling voyage and destroyed Ahab’s boat and bit off his leg, driving Ahab to take revenge. Only Starbuck shows any sign of resistance to the charismatic but monomaniacal captain. . Eventually even Starbuck acquiesces to Ahab’s will, though harboring misgivings.The mystery of the dark figures seen before the Pequod set sail is explained during the voyage’s first lowering for whales. Ahab has secretly brought along his own boat crew, including a mysterious harpooneer named Fedallah (also referred to as ‘the Parsee’), an inscrutable figure with a sinister influence over Ahab. Later, while watching one night over a captured whale carcass, Fedallah gives dark prophecies to Ahab regarding their twin deaths

After entering the Pacific Ocean. Queequeg becomes deathly ill and requests that a coffin be built for him by the ship’s carpenter. Just as everyone has given up hope word is heard from other whalers of Moby Dick. The jolly Captain Boomer of the Samuel Enderby has lost an arm to the whale, and is stunned at Ahab’s burning need for revenge. Next they meet the Rachel, which has seen Moby Dick very recently and has lost many crew as a result of the encounter, but Ahab is resolute; the Pequod is very near the White Whale now and will not stop to help. Finally the Delight is met, even as its captain buries a sailor who had been killed by Moby Dick. Starbuck begs Ahab one final time to reconsider his thirst for vengeance, but to no avail.The next day, the Pequod meets Moby Dick, who wreaks widespread destruction, and many disappearances, it becomes clear that while Ahab is a vengeful whale-hunter, and Moby Dick, while dangerous and fearless, is not motivated to hunt humans. So Starbuck exhorts Ahab one last time to desist, but Ahab ignores this voice of reason and continues with his ill-fated chase and soon most of the crew meets a watery fate…

Howard Shore

Prolific Canadian Composer Howard Shore was born on October 18 1946 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Shore started studying music at the age of 8 or 9 and was playing in bands by the age of 13. He studied music at Berklee College of Music in Boston after graduating from Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. From 1969 to 1972, Shore was a member of the jazz fusion band Lighthouse. In 1970, he became the music director for Lorne Michaels and Hart Pomerantz’s short-lived TV program The Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour. In 1974 Shore wrote the music for Canadian magician Doug Henning’s magical/musical Spellbound and from 1975 until 1980, he was the musical director for Saturday Night Live appearing in Howard Shore and His All-Nurse Band, and dressed as a beekeeper for a John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd performance of the Slim Harpo classic I’m a King Bee. Shore also suggested the name for The Blues Brothers to Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

Shore’s first film score was for David Cronenberg’s first major film The Brood (1979) he also scored The Fly (1986), and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. In 1988 he composed the score for Big, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Tom Hanks. He then scored two more David Cronenberg films: Dead Ringers (1988) and Naked Lunch (1991) and also composed the score for The Silence of the Lambs, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, and directed by Jonathan Demme, for which He received his first BAFTA nomination. The film also won five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress). Shore is the only living composer to have scored a “Top Five” Oscar winning film. During 1993, he composed the scores for M. Butterfly (another collaboration with Cronenberg), Philadelphia (his second collaboration with Jonathan Demme), and Mrs. Doubtfire, directed by Chris Columbus. Shore went on to write the music for another three films in 1994: The Client, Ed Wood, and Nobody’s Fool abnd also wrote the scores for Seven (1995) The Game, The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996), Tom Hanks’ directorial debut, That Thing You Do and David Cronenberg’s film the Cell.

He also wrote the Grammy and Oscar winning score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Which was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA and also composed the scores to Panic Room, Gangs of New York and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, receiving a BAFTA nomination for Gangs of New York. In 2003 he composed the score for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and won his second Oscar for Best Original Score, as well as a third for Best Original Song for “Into the West”, which he shared with Fran Walsh and Annie Lennox. Shore also won his first Golden Globe, his third and fourth Grammy (the fourth for Best Song), and was nominated for a third BAFTA. In 2004, Shore again collaborated with Martin Scorsese, scoring his epic film The Aviator. For which He won a second Golden Globe for the score, becoming the third composer to have won consecutive Golden Globes in the Original Score category. He also received his sixth Grammy nomination, and his fifth BAFTA nomination. He collaborated again with David Cronenberg in 2005 for the Oscar nominated film A History of Violence, starring Viggo Mortensen and In 2006, he collaborated for the fourth time with Martin Scorsese, this time to score the Oscar winning film The Departed. Shore has a cameo in Peter Jackson’s King Kong as the conductor of the orchestra in the theater, performing portions of Max Steiner’s score to the original 1933 version of the film.

In 2007, Shore composed the music for the video game Soul of the Ultimate Nation, featuring Lydia Kavina on theremin. He also composed the scores for The Last Mimzy and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, earning Shore his fourth Golden Globe nomination. In 2008 he scored the Oscar nominated film Doubt, starring Meryl Streep and directed by John Patrick Shanley. He also composed the score to Twilight Breaking Dawn, Edge of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson and a Dangerous Method, starring Viggo Mortensen and directed by David Cronenberg. Shore also wrote the score to Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo, his fifth collaboration with the director, earning him a sixth Golden Globe nomination and fourth Oscar nomination. Shore’s recent projects include Robert Sigl’s The Spider and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. He is also set to compose the music to Sinatra, and The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, both of which are being directed by Martin Scorsese.