Animal Farm by George Orwell

The allegorical novella Animal Farm by George Orwell was first published on 17 August 1945. It may have been inspired by events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and subsequent life under the totalitarian rule of the Stalin era in the Soviet Union which he believed, had become a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror. The novel addresses corruption, wickedness, ignorance, greed, myopia and indifference. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD and the Spanish Civil War.

Animal Farm starts when, an old boar on the Manor Farm, convinces the other animals that humans are “enemies”. When He dies, two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, assume command and prepare for a Rebellion. The animals revolt, driving the drunken, irresponsible farmer Mr. Jones, as well as Mrs. Jones and the other human caretakers and employees, off the farm, renaming it “Animal Farm”. They adopt the Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is, “All animals are equal”. Snowball teaches the animals to read and write, while Napoleon educates young puppies on the principles of Animalism. Food is plentiful, and the farm runs smoothly. The pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership and set aside special food items, ostensibly for their personal health.

Jones and his men attempt to recapture the farm, aided by several other farmers who are terrified of similar animal revolts. Snowball and the animals, who are hiding in ambush, defeat the men by launching a surprise attack as soon as they enter the farmyard. Snowball’s popularity soars, and this event is proclaimed “The Battle of the Cowshed”. It is celebrated annually with the firing of a gun, on the anniversary of the Revolution. Napoleon and Snowball vie for pre-eminence. When Snowball announces his plans to modernize the farm by building a windmill, Napoleon has his dogs chase Snowball away and declares himself leader.

Napoleon enacts changes to the governance structure of the farm, replacing meetings with a committee of pigs who will run the farm. Through a young pig named Squealer, Napoleon claims credit for the windmill. The animals work harder with the promise of easier lives with the windmill. However the windmill collapses after a violent storm, and Napoleon and Squealer convince the animals that Snowball sabotaged it.

Once Snowball becomes a scapegoat, Napoleon begins to purge the farm with his dogs, killing animals he accuses of consorting with his old rival. When some animals recall the Battle of the Cowshed, Napoleon (who was nowhere to be found during the battle) frequently smears Snowball as a collaborator of Farmer Jones, while falsely representing himself as the hero of the battle. “Beasts of England” is replaced with an anthem glorifying Napoleon, who appears to be adopting the lifestyle of a man. The animals remain convinced that they are better off than they were under Mr. Jones.

Mr. Frederick, a neighbouring farmer, attacks the farm, using blasting powder to blow up the restored windmill. Although the animals win the battle, many, including Boxer, the workhorse, are wounded. Despite his injuries, Boxer continues working harder and harder, until he collapses while working on the windmill. Napoleon sends for a van to purportedly take Boxer to a veterinary surgeon, explaining that better care can be given there. Benjamin, the cynical donkey who “could read as well as any pig”, notices that the van belongs to a knacker and attempts a futile rescue. Squealer quickly assures the animals that the van had been purchased from the knacker by an animal hospital, and the previous owner’s signboard had not been repainted.

In a subsequent report, Squealer reports sadly to the animals that Boxer died peacefully at the animal hospital; the pigs hold a festival one day after Boxer’s death to further praise the glories of Animal Farm and have the animals work harder by taking on Boxer’s ways. However, the truth was that Napoleon had engineered the sale of Boxer to the knacker, allowing him and his inner circle to acquire money to buy whisky for themselves. (In 1940s England, one way for farms to make money was to sell large animals to a knacker, who would kill the animal and boil its remains into animal glue.) The windmill is rebuilt along with construction of another windmill, which makes the farm a good amount of income. However, the ideals which Snowball discussed, including stalls with electric lighting, heating and running water are forgotten, with Napoleon advocating that the happiest animals live simple lives. In addition to Boxer, many of the animals who participated in the Revolution are dead, as is Farmer Jones. Napoleon holds a dinner party for the pigs and local farmers, with whom he celebrates a new alliance. He abolishes the practice of the revolutionary traditions and restores the name “The Manor Farm” and the pigs start to behave more like humans.

Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin” and in his essay of 1946, Why I Write, he wrote that Animal Farm was the first book in which he had tried, with full consciousness of what he was doing, “to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole”. Orwell originally suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which recalled the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques, and which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin for “bear”, a symbol of Russia. It was written Between November 1943-February 1944, when the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union was at its height and Stalin was held in highest esteem in Britain both among the people and intelligentsia, a fact that Orwell hated.

It was initially rejected by a number of British and American publishers, including one of Orwell’s own, Victor Gollancz. Although Its publication was delayed it became a great commercial success when it appeared— partly because the Cold War so quickly followed WW2. Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005); it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World. There is also an animated version of Animal Farm

The unexpected return of Josephine Fox by Clare Gradidge

The Unexpected.Return of Josephine fox by Clare Gradidge is a dark, tale of wartime family secrets and lies. It takes place lApril 1941, Romsey, England and concerns Josephine ‘Jo’ Fox who was born in Romsey but hasn’t set foot there in over twenty years. As an illegitimate child, her family – headed by her controlling grandfather – found her an embarrassment. Now, she wants to return to what was once her home and uncover the secret of her parentage. Who was her father and why would her mother never talk about him?

Jo arrives the day after the Luftwaffe have bombed the town. The local pub, The Cricketers’ Arms,has been completely destroyed and rescue teams are searching for the remains of the seven people known to have been in the pub at the time the bomb hit. They are shocked, however, to uncover eight bodies, not seven. The eighth, unidentified, body is that of a teenage girl, who no one in the town claims to know. Who is she, how did she get there, but most importantly – who killed her?

Teaming up with local coroner and old friend, Bram Nash, Jo sets out to establish the identity of the girl and solve the riddle of her death. However in doing so she also uncovers her own personal mystery.

E. Nesbit

English author and poet Edith Nesbit was born 15th August 1858. She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co founoded the Fabian Society, a precursor to the modern Labour Party.Nesbit published approximately 40 books for children, including novels, collections of stories and picture books. Collaborating with others, she published almost as many more. Nesbit was “the first modern writer for children”and unlike authors such asLewis Carroll, George MacDonald and Kenneth Grahame, who turned away from tough truths, Nesbit dealt with things-as-they-are, previously the province of adult novels.” Nesbit is also credited with having invented the children’s adventure story. Noël Coward was a great admirer of hers and, in a letter to an early biographer Noel Streatfeild, wrote “she had an economy of phrase, and an unparalleled talent for evoking hot summer days in the English countryside.”

Among Nesbit’s best-known books are The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1898) and The Railway Children. This concerns a family who move to “Three Chimneys”, a house near the railway, after the father, who works at the Foreign office, is imprisoned after being falsely accused of spying. The children befriend an Old Gentleman who regularly takes the 9:15 train near their home; he is eventually able to help prove their father’s innocence, and the family is reunited. The family also take care of a Russian exile, Mr Szczepansky, who came to England looking for his family (later located) and Jim, the grandson of the Old Gentleman, who suffers a broken leg in a tunnel. The theme of an innocent man being falsely imprisoned for espionage and finally vindicated might have been influenced by the Dreyfus Affair, which was a prominent worldwide news item a few years before the book was written. And the Russian exile, persecuted by the Tsars for writing “a beautiful book about poor people and how to help them” and subsequently helped by the children, was most likely an amalgam of the real-life dissidents Sergius Stepniak and Peter Kropotkin who were both friends of the author.

The Railway Children was also adapted into 1970 British drama film based on the novel by E. Nesbit. The film was directed by Lionel Jeffries, and stars Dinah Sheridan, Jenny Agutter (who had earlier featured in the successful BBC’s 1968 dramatisation of the novel), Sally Thomsett and Bernard Cribbins in leading roles. The film was released to cinemas in the United Kingdom on 21 December 1970. The film rights were bought by Lionel Jeffries. It was his directorial debut, and he was also responsible for writing the screenplay for the film. The Railway Children turned out to be a critical success, both at the time of its release and in later years. It has gone on to gain a place in several surveys of the greatest films ever made, including surveys conducted by the British Film Institute and Total Film magazine. The Railway Children was later remade with Jenny Agutter playing the Mother of the three children.

Nesbitt also wrote The Wouldbegoods (1899), which recount stories about the Bastables, a middle class family that has fallen on relatively hard times. The Railway Children is also extremely well known. Her children’s writing also included numerous plays and collections of verse.She created an innovative body of work that combined realistic, contemporary children in real-world settings with magical objects – what would now be classed as contemporary fantasy – and adventures and sometimes travel to fantastic worlds. In doing so, she was a direct or indirect influence on many subsequent writers, including P. L. Travers (author of Mary Poppins), Edward Eager, Diana Wynne Jones and J. K. Rowling. C. S. Lewis wrote of her influence on his Narnia series and mentions the Bastable children in The Magician’s Nephew. Michael Moorcock would go on to write a series of steampunk novels with an adult Oswald Bastable (of The Treasure Seekers) as the lead character. Nesbit also wrote books for adults, including eleven novels, short stories and four collections of horror stories. Edith Nesbit sadly passed away on 4 May 1924, but has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some great novels and Poems which continue to remain popular. Her novel The Railway Children has also been adapted for film and Television numerous times.

SirWalter Scott FRSE

Scottish historical novelist, playwright, poet and historian. Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet FRSE was born 15 August 1771 inCollege Wynd, Edinburgh, near the gates of theUniversity of Edinburgh (Old College). A childhood bout of polio in 1773 left him lame And had a significant effect on his life and writing. To alleviate his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Scottish Borders at his paternal grandparents’ farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and folklore of the Scottish Borders. Scott sometimes travelled with his father from Selkirk to Melrose, where some of his novels are set. At a certain spot the old gentleman would stop the carriage and take his son to a stone on the site of the Battle of Melrose. His father was a member of a cadet branch of the Scotts Clan, and his mother descended from the Haliburton family, the descent from whom granted Walter’s family the hereditary right of burial in Dryburgh Abbey. Via the Haliburton family, Walter was a cousin of the pre-eminent contemporaneous property developer James Burton, who was a Haliburton who had shortened his surname, and of his son, the architect Decimus Burton. In 1775 he returned to Edinburgh, then went with his aunt Jenny to take spa treatment at Prestonpans, Bath in England, and they lived at 6 South Parade between 1775 and 1776.

In 1778, Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education and joined his family in their new house built as one of the first in George Square. In 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh (in High School Yards). He was now well able to walk and explore the city and the surrounding countryside. His reading included chivalric romances, poems, history and travel books. He was given private tuition by James Mitchell in arithmetic and writing, and learned from him the history of the Church of Scotland with emphasis on the Covenanters. After finishing school he was sent to stay for six months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local grammar school where he met James and John Ballantyne, who later became his business partners and printed his books.

In 1783 Scott began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh at the age of 12. In March 1786 he began an apprenticeship in his father’s office to become a Writer to the Signet. While at the university Scott had become a friend of Adam Ferguson, the son of Professor Adam Ferguson who hosted literary salons. Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock, who lent him books and introduced him to James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle of poems. During the winter of 1786–87 the 15-year-old Scott saw Robert Burns at one of these salons, for what was to be their only meeting. When Burns noticed a print illustrating the poem “The Justice of the Peace” and asked who had written the poem, only Scott knew that it was by John Langhorne, and was thanked by Burn When it was decided that he would become a lawyer, he returned to the university to study law, first taking classes in Moral Philosophy and Universal History in 1789–90. After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh. As a lawyer’s clerk he made his first visit to the Scottish Highlands directing an eviction. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1792. He had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of Fettercairn, who married Scott’s friend Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet.

Scott became fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders. He was an obsessive collector of stories, and developed an innovative method of recording what he heard at the feet of local story-tellers using carvings on twigs, to avoid the disapproval of those who believed that such stories were neither for writing down nor for printing. At the age of 25 he began to write professionally, translating works from German, his first publication being rhymed versions of ballads by Gottfried August Bürger in 1796. He then published an idiosyncratic three-volume set of collected ballads of his adopted home region, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. This was the first sign from a literary standpoint of his interest in Scottish history. Due to his early polio infection, Scott had a pronounced limp. He was described in 1820 as tall, neither fat nor thin, with forehead very high, nose short, upper lip long and face rather fleshy, complexion fresh and clear, eyes very blue, shrewd and penetrating, with hair now silvery white. Scott enlisted as a volunteer in the 1st Lothian and Border yeomanry.

On a trip to the Lake District with old college friends he met Charlotte Charpentier (or Carpenter), daughter of Jean Charpentier of Lyon in France, and ward of Lord Downshire in Cumberland, an Episcopalian, Scott proposed and they were married on Christmas Eve 1797 in St Mary’s Church, Carlisle. After renting a house in George Street, they moved to nearby South Castle Street. They had five children, of whom four survived by the time of Scott’s death, most baptized by an Episcopalian clergyman. In 1799 he was appointed Sheriff-Depute of the County of Selkirk, based in the Royal Burgh of Selkirk.

After their third son was born in 1801, they moved to 39 North Castle Street. This remained Scott’s base in Edinburgh until 1826, when he could no longer afford two homes. From 1798 Scott had spent the summers in a cottage at Lasswade, where he entertained guests including literary figures, and it was there that his career as an author began. While working as Sheriff-Depute he stayed at a local inn. In 1804 he ended his use of the Lasswade cottage and leased the substantial house of Ashestiel, 6 miles (9.7 km) from Selkirk on the south bank of the River Tweed,

In 1796, Scott’s friend James Ballantyne founded a printing press in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. Through Ballantyne, Scott was able to publish his first works, including “Glenfinlas” and “The Eve of St. John”, and his poetry then began to bring him to public attention. In 1805, The Lay of the Last Minstrel captured wide public imagination, and his career as a writer was established in spectacular fashion.
Over the next decade He published many other poems, including The Lady of the Lake, printed in 1810 and set in the Trossachs. Portions of the German translation of this work were set to music by Franz Schubert. One of these songs, “Ellens dritter Gesang”, is popularly labelled as “Schubert’s Ave Maria”. Beethoven’s opus 108 “Twenty-Five Scottish Songs” includes 3 folk songs whose words are by Walter Scott. The poem Marmion, was published in 1808. In 1809 Scott persuaded James Ballantyne and his brother to move to Edinburgh and to establish their printing press there. He became a partner in their business. As a political conservative, Scott helped to found the Tory Quarterly Review, a review journal to which he made several anonymous contributions. Scott was also a contributor to the Edinburgh Review, which espoused Whig views.

Scott was ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Duddington and sat in the General Assembly for a time as representative elder of the burgh of Selkirk. When the lease of Ashestiel expired in 1811, Scott bought Cartley Hole Farm, on the south bank of the River Tweed nearer Melrose, which was nicknamed “Clarty Hole”, (Ewwwww!🤣) and when Scott built a family cottage there in 1812 he named it “Abbotsford”. He continued to expand the estate, and built Abbotsford House in a series of extensions. In 1813 Scott was offered the position of Poet Laureate. He declined, and the position went to Scott’s friend, Robert Southey

Scott wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, in 1814. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Its English protagonist, Edward Waverley, like Don Quixote a great reader of romances, has been brought up by his Tory uncle, who is sympathetic to Jacobitism, although Edward’s own father is a Whig. The youthful Waverley obtains a commission in the Whig army and is posted in Dundee. On leave, he meets his uncle’s friend, the Jacobite Baron Bradwardine and is attracted to the Baron’s daughter Rose. On a visit to the Highlands, Edward overstays his leave and is arrested and charged with desertion but is rescued by the Highland chieftain Fergus MacIvor and his mesmerizing sister Flora, whose devotion to the Stuart cause, “as it exceeded her brother’s in fanaticism, excelled it also in purity”. Through Flora, Waverley meets Bonnie Prince Charlie, and under her influence goes over to the Jacobite side and takes part in the Battle of Prestonpans. He escapes retribution, however, after saving the life of a Whig colonel during the battle. Waverley (whose surname reflects his divided loyalties) eventually decides to lead a peaceful life of establishment respectability under the House of Hanover rather than live as a proscribed rebel. He chooses to marry the beautiful Rose Bradwardine, rather than cast his lot with the sublime Flora MacIvor, who, after the failure of the ’45 rising, retires to a French convent.

There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting , including Tales of my Landlord and The Bride of Lammermoor. This was afictionalized version of an actual incident in the history of the Dalrymple family that took place in the Lammermuir Hills in 1669. The novel concerns the Wealthy Lucie Ashton and the nobly born but now dispossessed and impoverished Edgar Ravenswood exchange vows. But the Ravenswoods and the wealthy Ashtons, who now own the former Ravenswood lands, are enemies, and Lucie’s mother forces her daughter to break her engagement to Edgar and marry the wealthy Sir Arthur Bucklaw with tragic results. In 1821, French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix painted a portrait depicting himself as the melancholy, disinherited Edgar Ravenswood. The prolonged, climactic coloratura mad scene for Lucia in Donizetti’s 1835 bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor is based on events in the the Bride of Lammermuir.

Tales of my Landlord includes the now highly regarded novel Old Mortality, set in 1679–89 against the backdrop of the ferocious anti-Covenanting campaign of the Tory Graham of Claverhouse, subsequently made Viscount Dundee (called “Bluidy Clavers” but dubbed “Bonnie Dundee” by Scott). The Covenanters were presbyterians who had supported the Restoration of Charles II on promises of a Presbyterian settlement, but he had instead reintroduced Episcopalian church government with draconian penalties for Presbyterian worship. This led to the destitution of around 270 ministers who had refused to take an oath of allegiance and submit themselves to bishops, and who continued to conduct worship among a remnant of their flock in caves and other remote country spots. The relentless persecution of these conventicles and attempts to break them up by military force had led to open revolt. The story is told from the point of view of Henry Morton, a moderate Presbyterian, who is unwittingly drawn into the conflict and barely escapes summary execution.

In writing Old Mortality Scott drew upon the knowledge he had acquired from his researches into ballads on the subject for The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.[Scott’s background as a lawyer also informed his perspective, for at the time of the novel, which takes place before the Act of Union of 1707, English law did not apply in Scotland, and afterwards Scotland has continued to have its own Scots law as a hybrid legal system. A recent critic, who is a legal as well as a literary scholar, argues that Old Mortality not only reflects the dispute between Stuart’s absolute monarchy and the jurisdiction of the courts, but also invokes a foundational moment in British sovereignty, namely, the Habeas Corpus Act (also known as the Great Writ), passed by the English Parliament in 1679.

Scott’s next novel, Ivanhoe, is an entertaining escapist romance, with a political subtext which is set in 12th-century England during the era of the creation of the Magna Carta, which political conservatives like Walter Scott and Edmund Burke regarded as rooted in immemorial British custom and precedent. This novel was Based partly on Hume’s History of England and the ballad cycle of Robin Hood, Ivanhoe was quickly translated into many languages and inspired countless imitations and theatrical adaptations. Ivanhoe depicts the cruel tyranny of the Norman overlords (Norman Yoke) over the impoverished Saxon populace of England, with two of the main characters, Rowena and Locksley (Robin Hood), representing the dispossessed Saxon aristocracy and end up being captured and imprisoned by a Norman baron. Ivanhoe was published when the English Parliament, fearful of French-style revolution in the aftermath of Waterloo, had passed the Habeas Corpus Suspension acts of 1817 and 1818 and other extremely draconian measures.

Ivanhoe was also remarkable in its sympathetic portrayal of Jewish characters: Rebecca, considered by many critics the book’s real heroine, does not in the end get to marry Ivanhoe, whom she loves, but Scott allows her to remain faithful to her own religion, rather than having her convert to Christianity. Likewise, her father, Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, is shown as a victim rather than a villain. In Ivanhoe, which is one of Scott’s Waverley novels, religious and sectarian fanatics are the villains, while the eponymous hero is a bystander who must weigh the evidence and decide where to take a stand. Scott’s positive portrayal of Judaism, which reflects his humanity and concern for religious toleration, also coincided with a contemporary movement for the Emancipation of the Jews in England.

Scott’s fame grew as his explorations and interpretations of Scottish history and society captured popular imagination. Impressed by this, the Prince Regent (the future George IV) permitted Scott to search for the Crown Jewels (“Honours of Scotland”). Which had been hidden away, but had subsequently been used to crown Charles II. They were not used to crown subsequent monarchs, but were regularly taken to sittings of Parliament, to represent the absent monarch, until the Act of Union 1707. When they were stored in Edinburgh Castle, but the large locked box in which they were stored was not opened for more than 100 years, and stories circulated that they had been “stolen”. So In 1818, Scott and a small team of military men opened the box, and “unearthed” the honours from the Crown Room in the depths of Edinburgh Castle. A grateful Prince Regent granted Scott the title of baronet, and in March 1820 he received the baronetcy in London, becoming Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet.

After George’s accession to the throne, the city council of Edinburgh invited Scott, at the King’s behest, to stage-manage the 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland. Scott created a spectacular pageant, designed not only to impress the King, but also in some way to heal the rifts that had destabilised Scots society. The King was dressed in tartan, and was greeted by his people, many of whom were also dressed in similar tartan ceremonial dress. This form of dress, proscribed after the 1745 rebellion against the English, became one of the seminal, potent and ubiquitous symbols of Scottish identity.

Although he continued to be extremely popular and widely read, Scott’s critical reputation declined in the last half of the 19th century as serious writers turned from romanticism to realism, and Scott began to be regarded as an author suitable for children. This trend accelerated in the 20th century. In his study Aspects of the Novel E. M. Forster harshly criticized Scott’s clumsy and slapdash writing style, “flat” characters, and thin plots. In contrast, the novels of Scott’s contemporary Jane Austen, once appreciated only by the discerning few (including, Scott himself) became more popular. Nevertheless, Scott’s importance as an innovator continued to be recognized. He was acclaimed as the inventor of the genre of the modern historical novel. Scott’s Waverley novels played a significant part in the movement (begun with James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle) in rehabilitating the public perception of the Scottish Highlands and its culture, which was formerly suppressed as barbaric, and viewed in the southern mind as a breeding ground of hill bandits, religious fanaticism, and Jacobite rebellions.

Scott served as chairman of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was also a member of the Royal Celtic Society. His own contribution to the reinvention of Scottish culture was enormous. It is a testament to Scott’s contribution in creating a unified identity for Scotland that Edinburgh’s central railway station, opened in 1854 by the North British Railway, is called Waverley. The fact that Scott was a Lowland Presbyterian, rather than a Gaelic-speaking Catholic Highlander, made him more acceptable to a conservative English readers. At the time Scott wrote, Scotland was poised to move away from an era of socially divisive clan warfare to a modern world of literacy and industrial capitalism. Through novels such as Waverley Scott helped Scotland move on from the violent religious and political conflicts of the country’s recent past. Scott’s advocacy of objectivity and moderation and his strong repudiation of political violence on either side also had a strong, though unspoken, contemporary resonance when many conservative English feared a violent revolution in Britain. Scott’s involvement in King George IV’s visit to Scotland, in 1822, was a pivotal event intended to inspire a view of his home country that, in his view, accentuated the positive aspects of the past allowing a peaceful future. A revival of critical interest began from the 1960s. Postmodern tastes were more favourable to Scott’s work than Modernist tastes. Scott is now seen as an important innovator and a key figure in the development of Scottish and world literature, and particularly as the principal inventor of the historical novel.

Walter Scott sadly died on 21 September 1832. Scott was buried in Dryburgh Abbey, where his wife had earlier been interred. Nearby is a large statue of William Wallace, one of Scotland’s many romanticised historical figures. Abbotsford later gave its name to the Abbotsford Club, founded in 1834 in memory of Sir Walter Scott. All of his novels including Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor continue to remain popular and many have been adapted for film and television. Besides his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession, and throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire. He was also A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society and served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–32).

Scott is memorialised at The Scott Monument on Edinburgh’s Princes Street and the Scott Monument in Glasgow’s George Square. During his lifetime, Scott’s portrait was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer and fellow Scots Sir Henry Raeburn and James Eckford Lauder. Scott is also commemorated on a stone slab in Makars’ Court, outside The Writers’ Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, along with other prominent Scottish writers; quotes from his work are also visible on the Canongate Wall of the Scottish Parliament building in Holyrood. There is a tower dedicated to his memory on Corstorphine Hill in the west of the city and, as mentioned, Edinburgh’s Waverley railway station takes its name from one of his novels. The annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction was created in 2010 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Sir Walter Scott. At £25,000, it is one of the largest prizes in British literature.

The award has been presented at Scott’s historic home, Abbotsford House. Scott has been credited with rescuing the Scottish banknote. In 1826, there was outrage in Scotland at the attempt of Parliament to prevent the production of banknotes of less than five pounds. Scott wrote a series of letters to the Edinburgh Weekly Journal under the pseudonym “Malachi Malagrowther” campaigning to allow Scottish banks to issue their own banknotes. During and immediately after World War I there was a movement spearheaded by President Woodrow Wilson and other eminent people to encourage patriotism in American school children, especially immigrants, and to stress the American connection with the Literature of Great Britain and. Scott’s Ivanhoe continued to be required reading for many American high school students until the end of the 1950s. His influence on other European and American novelists is profound, and his reputation remains secure. However.

Berthold Brecht

Influential German poet, playwright, and theatre director Bertolt Brecht sadly died on 14 August 1956 of a heart attack at the age of 58 . He 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.

Danielle Steel

Prolific Best selling American romance novellist Danielle Steel was born August 14, 1947. in New York City. Her father, John Schulein-Steel, was a German-Jewish immigrant and a descendant of owners of Löwenbräu beer. Her mother, Norma da Camera Stone dos Reis, was the daughter of a Portuguese diplomat. She spent much of her childhood in France, where from an early age she was included in her parents’ dinner parties. Steel started writing stories as a child, and by her late teens had begun writing poetry. Raised Catholic, she thought of becoming a nun during her early years.A 1963 graduate of the Lycée Français de New York, she studied literature design and fashion design, first at Parsons School of Design and then at New York University.

In 1965 Steel married French-American banker Claude-Eric Lazard in 1965 at age 18. While a young wife, and still attending New York University, Steel began writing, completing her first manuscript at the age of 19. After the birth of their daughter Beatrix, Steel worked for a public-relations agency in New York called Supergirls. A client (Ladies’ Home Journal editor John Mack Carter) encouraged her to focus on writing having been impressed with her freelance articles. He suggested she write a book, which she did. She later moved to San Francisco, and worked as a copywriter for Grey Advertising. Steel and Lazard divorced. In 1972 and her first novel, Going Home, was published. The novel contained many of the themes that her writing would become known for, including a focus on family issues and human relationships. The heroine of Going Home was a divorced single mother.

While still married to Lazard, Steel met Danny Zugelder while interviewing an inmate in a prison near Lompoc, California, where Zugelder was also incarcerated. He moved in with Steel when he was paroled in June 1973, but returned to prison in early 1974 on robbery and rape charges. After receiving her divorce from Lazard in 1975, she married Zugelder in the prison canteen. She divorced him in 1978, however the relationship spawned Passion’s Promise and Now and Forever, the two novels that launched her career. Steel married her third husband, William George Toth, the day after her divorce from Zugelder was finalized. She was already 8​1⁄2 months pregnant with his child. With the success of her fourth book, The Promise, she became a participant in San Francisco high society while Toth, a former drug addict, was left out. They divorced in March 1981

Steel married for the fourth time in 1981, to vintner John Traina. Traina subsequently adopted Steel’s son Nick and gave him his family name. Together they had an additional five children, Samantha (April 14, 1982), Victoria, Vanessa a fashion stylist, Maxx and Zara. Steel became a near-permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestsellers lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times Bestseller List for the most consecutive weeks of any author—381 consecutive weeks at that time. Since her first book was published, every one of her novels has hit bestseller lists in paperback, and each one released in hardback has also been a hardback bestseller. During this time Steel also contributed to her first non-fiction work. Having a Baby was published in 1984 and featured a chapter by Steel about suffering through miscarriage she also published a book of poetry, Love: Poems. Steel has also written a series of 10 illustrated books for young readers, known as the “Max and Martha” series, which aim to help children face real life problems: new baby, new school, loss of loved one, etc. In addition, Steel has authored the “Freddie” series. These four books address other real life situations: first night away from home, trip to the doctor, etc.

In 1993 Steel sued a writer who intended to disclose in her book that her son Nick was adopted by her then-current husband John Traina, despite the fact that adoption records are sealed in California. A San Francisco judge made a highly unusual ruling allowing the seal on Nick’s adoption to be overturned, although he was still a minor and the book was allowed to be published. Nicholas Traina, tragically committed suicide in 1997. Traina was the lead singer of San Francisco punk bands Link 80 and Knowledge. To honor his memory, Steel wrote the nonfiction book His Bright Light, about Nick’s life and death. Proceeds of the book, which reached the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List were used to found the Nick Traina Foundation, which Steel runs, to fund organizations dedicated to treating mental illness. To gain more recognition for children’s mental illnesses, Steel has lobbied for legislation in Washington, and previously held a fundraiser every two years (known as The Star Ball) in San Francisco.

In 1998 Steel married for a fifth time, to Silicon Valley financier Thomas Perkins, but the marriage ended after four years in 2002. Steel has said that her novel The Klone and I was inspired by a private joke between herself and Perkins.In 2006, Perkins dedicated his novel Sex and the Single Zillionaire to Steel. In 2003 Steel opened an art gallery in San Francisco, Steel Gallery, exhibitting contemporary work together with paintings and sculptures of emerging artists. The gallery closed in 2007. She continues to curate shows a few times a year for the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco. In 2002, Steel was decorated by the French government as an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, for her contributions to world culture. She has also received the Induction into the California Hall of Fame, The. Distinguished Service in Mental Health Award” (first time awarded to a non-physician) from New York Presbyterian Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and Columbia University Medical School and Cornell Medical College, The “Outstanding Achievement Award” for work with adolescents from Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. The “Service to Youth Award” for improving the lives of mentally ill adolescents and children from the University of San Francisco Catholic Youth Organization and St. Mary’s Medical Center, November 1999. The “Outstanding Achievement Award” in Mental Health from the California Psychiatric Association Distinguished Service Award” from the American Psychiatric Association and launched a new perfume, Danielle by Danielle Steel With Elizabeth Arden. Many of Steel’s novels have also been adapted for film and television.

Follow the yellow brick road

The musical fantasy the Wizard of Oz was released in cinemas, on 15 August 1939. It was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.The film stars Judy Garland; Terry the dog, billed as Toto; Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, with Charley Grapewin and Clara Blandick, and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins, with Pat Walshe as leader of the flying monkeys. Notable for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score and unusual characters, over the years it has become one of the best known of all films and part of American popular culture. It also featured in cinema what may be for the time the most elaborate use of character make-ups and special effects.

Amazingly It was not a box office success on its initial release, earning only $3,017,000 on a $2,777,000 budget, despite receiving largely positive reviews. Kadoozies mahboozies The “Beg Pemp” was MGM’s most expensive production at that time, and did not recoup much of the studio’s investment until subsequent re-releases.It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture to Gone with the Wind. It did win in two other categories including Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow.” The song was ranked first in two list: the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs and the Recording Industry Association of America’s “365 Songs of the Century”.

The 1956 Television broadcasts of the film re-introduced the film to the public and subsequent broadcasts have made it an annual tradition staple and one of the most known films in cinema history. The film was named the most viewed motion picture on television syndication in history by the Library of Congress who also included the film in its National Film Registry in its inaugural year in 1989. Designation on the registry calls for efforts to preserve it for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”. It is often included in the Top 10 Best Movies of All Time by critics’ and public polls. It is the source of many quotes referenced in modern popular culture. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. The songs were by Edgar “Yip” Harburg (lyrics) and Harold Arlen (music). The incidental music, based largely on the songs, was composed by Herbert Stothart, with interspersed renderings from classical composers.