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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Graces

In Roman mythology the Graces (Plural of Grace) are the trio of minor deities representing joy, charm, and beauty. Originally, however, the Graces were simply considered as the goddesses of fertility and fecundity, including vegetation and animal life. In Greek mythology they are known as the Charites (Plural of Charis). In some accounts, Charis was not merely the singular form of the Charities rather it was the name of a single member of this group of deities. The Graces are also called Gratiae (Plural of Gratia), Kharites (Plural of Kharis), and Charitae.

1st century fresco from the House of Apollo in Pompeii, now in the Naples Museum of Archeology


In majority accounts, the Graces are the offspring of Zeus (Roman equivalent: Jupiter; also called: Jove) and the nymph Eurynome. Some other myths however, associate a few other mothers such as, Hera (Roman equivalent: Juno), Eurydome, Eurymedousa, and Euanthe. In minority myths they were also considered the daughters of Dionysus (also called: Bacchus; Roman equivalent: Liber) and Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus); or Helios (Roman equivalent: Sol) and Aegle, the Naiad or Okeanid nymph.

Different Graces

The exact number of the Graces varies in different accounts. Homer (c. 800 BC-c. 700 BC), for example tells about either single or infinite number of unnamed Graces. Hesiod (c.700 BC), on the other hand restricted their number in three with individual names. Eventually, like Hesiod, nearly all myths motioned three sisters, who were namely:
  • Aglaia: she was the goddess of beauty, adornment, splendour, magnificence, and glory. In his Theogony, Hesiod (945) wrote that Aglaia was the youngest of the Graces and that she was the wife of Hephaestus (Roman equivalent: Vulcan). She was the mother of the four younger Graces named Good-Repute, Praise, Eloquence and Welcome. She was also named Kharis (the Grace) and Kale (Beauty). In Iliad (xviii. 382) instead of giving her a name Homer indirectly called her the wife of Hephaestus.
  • Euphrosyne: She was the second of the three sisters. She was the goddess of joy, mirth and merriment. Her name derives from the Greek word euphrosynos, meaning "merriment". She was also called Euthymia. She was the companion, or in a different opinion, the wife of Acratus (Greek: Akratos), the god of unmixed wine and incontinence.
  • Thalia: she was the eldest of all Graces. She was the goddess of festive celebrations and rich and luxurious banquets.
The members of the Graces differed from region to region. For instance, in some part of Greece people assigned three other deities to the Graces: Cleta (sound), Pasithea (shining), and Peitho (persuasion). Again, in Sparta, Thalia was disregarded as one of the Graces and was replaced by Cleta. As per legends Pasithea, was married to Hypnos (Roman equivalent: Somnus), the primeval god of sleep.

Presentation in Arts

Over the centuries, the presentation of the Graces had undergone significant transformations. In classical sculptures and mosaics they were presented clothed but in Hellenistic artworks they were presented either nude or wearing transparent clothing. They were sometimes crowned with myrtle and held sprigs of myrtle in their hands.

Ceiling of the Ballroom of Compiègne Castle, Dance of the Graces Directed by Apollo by  the French artist Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767 –1824)
Since the Graces were minor deities, not a single myth presented them independently. They always appeared as attendants of other gods or goddesses, most notably of Venus (Greek equivalent: Aphrodite) and Cupid (Greek equivalent: Eros). Besides, they also appeared among the attendants of Apollo, Dionysus, and Hermes (Greek equivalent: Mercury). Together with the Nymphs and the Muses, they entertained the gods by dancing around in a circle by holding hands to Apollo's music.

Primavera (c. 1482) by the Italian Painter Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445–1510)

Three Graces: Roman copy of Greek 2nd Century BC statue in the Borghese Collection at the Louvre

Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces (1824) at (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium) by the French Artist Jacques Louis David (1748-1825)

The Three Graces (1856) by the British Painter William Edward Frost (1810–1877)

The Three Graces (1639) by the Flemish Painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

The Three Graces (1835) by the British Painter William Etty (1787 –1849)

The Three Graces (1899) by the French Painter Edouard Bisson (1856 - 1939)


“Charities.” Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Sep 2015

  “Charities.” Greek-Gods.Info. 2015. Greek-Gods.Info. 4 Sep 2015

 Khan, Farhad. An Encyclopedia of Classical Literature. Dhaka: Protik, 1996.

 “Graces.” Myths Encyclopedia. 2015. Advameg, Inc. 4 Sep 2015

 “Grace: Greek Mythology.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2015. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 4 Sep 2015

 “The Graces.” Greek Mythology. 2015. 4 Sep 2015

 “The Gratiae.” Journeying to the Goddess. 2015. Journeying to the Goddess. 4 Sep 2015

 “The Charities.” La Audacia de Aquiles. 2015. Aquiles. 4 Sep 2015


Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Fates

The Fates are the three mythological deities who determined human life and destiny. The Fates are known as Moirai. (plural of Moira) in Greek and Parcae (plural of Parca) or Fata (plural of Fatum) in Latin. The Fates have been drawn in literature different ways by different authors. The most authentic description of the Fates has been passed out by the attic poets Homer and Hesiod.

The Three Fates (1558) by Giorgio Ghisi (1520–1582) Italian

Homeric Portraiture

In The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer relates of Fate (Moira) rather than Fates (Moirai). In his view, the Fate is a single impersonal power which is basically concerned with the cessation of life. Surprisingly, in The Iliad, Homer also mentioned it in plural form, albeit only for once. In Homeric description, the Fate acted independently from the gods and Zeus (Roman equivalent: Jupiter, also called: Jove) was the sole god who could control it. Zeus used to weigh human fates in his measuring scale, and when someone’s lot weighed down, he died according to the Fate. Moreover, Zeus had the authority to save the would-be victims from their imminent fate. Therefore, in Homeric description, Zeus appears as the guider and the apportioner of destiny. Still from another angle, this impersonal force could be interpreted simply as the will of the gods. In this way, Zeus is somewhat the personification of this abstract power. However, many scholars held that the Homeric portrayal ofthe Fate is incomplete since it lacked personification, attribution or parentage.

Hesiodic Portraiture

With a sharp contrast to Homer, Hesiod provides a much complete picture of the Fates with compelling details on their appearance, attribution, and parentage. He even named the trio individually. In his Theogony, Hesiod initially writes that the Fates are the daughters of Erebus, the god of the darkness and Nyx, the goddess of the night. However, later in the same poem he tells that they are the daughters of Zeus and Themis (Roman equivalent: Lustitia), the Titan goddess of law and divine order. Hesiod personified the Fates by portraying them as three old weavers spinning the threads of human destiny from birth to death. He further conceived that one of these threads was allocated to every person, and that each goddess played her role in controlling this thread:
  • Clotho (Roman equivalent:: Nona): She was the youngest amongst the three Fates. Her role was that of a spinner who spun the thread of lifefrom her distaff onto her spindle. Clotho used to decide when gods and mortals were to born and when they were to be saved or allocated to death.
  • Lachesis (Roman equivalent: Decima): She was the second of the three sister deities. Lachesis was the drawer of lots of death. With her measuring rod she used to measure the thread of life, which spun on Clotho's spindle. The length of the string determined the life span of a certain individual. As per mythological accounts, she appeared with her sisters within three days of a baby's birth to decide its fate.
  • Atropos (also called Aisa; Roman equivalent: Morta): She was the eldest of all sisters. Atropos was the cutter of the life-thread. She used to decide how an individual’s life will end. When a person’s life-thread reached the designated length, she cut it with her shears.
In Hesiod's view, the Fates are independent and their decisions could not be altered. Zeus, as well as the other gods and mortals had to submit to them. They carefully observed that the Fate assigned to every individual might finish its course without hindrance.

Dispute over Parentage

The origin or the parentage of the Fates is still a matter of great dispute. For instance, in the tenth book of The Republic (c. 380 B.C.), Plato has pointed out that the Fates are the daughters of Anake, the primeval goddess of inevitability, compulsion and necessity. Again, some sources speculate that the Fates were born to Zeus and Anake. In Roman mythology they have been identified as the daughters of Uranus, the primeval god of the sky and Gaia, the primal goddess of the Earth. Still another claim asserts that they are the daughters of Chaos (also called Chaos, Haos, Khaos, Arche), the primordial void, out of which everything was created, including the universe and the gods.

Debate over Nature of Power

Although several mythographers have insisted that the decision passed by the Fates were irreversible and that neither god nor mortal could modify them, one myth, however, indicates that the Fates could even be persuaded to withdraw rigidity. As per this myth, Apollo adopted a clever ruse against the Fates to prolong the life of his friend Admetus, the king of Pherae. Having inebriated the Fates, Apollo convinced them to spare the king’s life if he could persuade someone else from his family to die in place of him. Accordingly, Admetus could able to escape death when his beloved wife Alcestis voluntarily accepted to die.

Reference in Literature

As a relatively common subject, fate greatly influenced the writings of all ages. In Greek literature fate has been manifested in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex (c.430 B.C.), Homer’s The Iliad (c.750 B.C.), and The Odyssey (c.800 B.C.), and Hesiod's Theogony (c. 700 B.C.). In English literature the presence of fate is apparent in Shakespeare's Macbeth (1606), Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Samuel Beckett's Endgame (1957). In German literature this concept has been employed by Hermann Hesse in Siddharta (1922), and Das Glasperlenspiel (1943).

The Fates by Friedrich Paul Thumann (1834–1908) German
The Fates Gathering in the Stars ( 1887) by Elihu Vedder ( 1836-1923) American
The Three Fates (1525) by Il Sodoma (1477–1549) Italian
The Three Fates by Godfrey Sykes (1855) British
The Three Fates (1985) by Jacob Matham (1571–1631) Flemish


 “Fate.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2015. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 15 Oct 2015

 “Fates at a Glance.” Mythography. 2008. 15 Oct 2015

 “The Fates.” Greek Mythology. 2015. 15 Oct 2015

 Khan, Farhad. An Encyclopedia of Classical Literature. Dhaka: Protik, 1996.

 “Moirai.” Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 Oct 2015

 “Moirai.” Theoi. 2015. Theoi. 15 Oct 2015 <>.

“The Fates” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ernest Hemingway Quick Facts

Ernest Hemingway is a Nobel Prize winning 20th century American novelist and notable journalist.

Ernest Hemingway

  • Name: Ernest Hemingway
  • Birth Name: Ernest Miller Hemingway
  • AKA: Ernest M. Hemingway
  • Nickname: Papa, Ernestoic, Tatie, Tiny, Ernie, Hem, Wemedge, Hemmy
  • Date of Birth: July 21, 1899
  • Place of Birth: Cicero (now in Oak Park), Illinois
  • Zodiac Sign: Cancer
  • Death: July 2, 1961
  • Place of Death: Ketchum, Idaho
  • Cause of Death: Suicide by gunshot
  • Place of Burial: Ketchum Cemetery in Ketchum, Idaho.
  • Height: 6 ft
  • Father: Clarence Hemingway (1871-1928)
  • Mother: Grace Hall Hemingway (1872-1951)
  • Siblings: 5
    • Sister: Marcelline Hemingway (1898-1963)
    • Sister: Ursula Hemingway (1902-1966)
    • Sister: Carol Hemingway (1911-2002)
    • Sister: Madelaine Hemingway (1904-1995)
    • Brother: Leicester Hemingway (1915-1982)
  • Spouse: 4; Offspring: 3
    • Wife 1: Elizabeth Hadley Richardson (1891-1979), married 1921, divorced 1927
    • Son: John Hadley Nicanor "Jack" Hemingway (1923-2000)
    • Wife 2: Pauline Marie Pfeiffer (1895-1951), married 1927, divorced 1940
    • Son: Patrick Hemingway (b. 1928)
    • Son: Gregory Hancock Hemingway (1931 –2001)
    • Wife 3: Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998), married 1940, divorced 1945
    • Wife 4: Mary Welsh (1908-1986) married 1946, till his death
  • Education: Oak Park and River Forest High School
  • Known for: his body of works reflecting his experiences with war, death, and particularly his dissatisfaction with the modern culture
  • Criticised for: being sexist and homophobic
  • Influences: Theodore Roosevelt, Paul Cézanne, Anton Chekhov, Robert Louis Stevenson, Gertrude Stein
  • Influenced: Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Charles Bukowski, John Updike


The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. — Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Major Themes

  • Love
  • War
  • Wilderness
  • Loss

Major Works

  • The Torrents of Spring (1925)
  • The Sun Also Rises (1926)
  • A Farewell to Arms (1929)
  • To Have and Have Not(1937)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
  • Across the River and Into the Trees (1950)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
  • Adventures of a Young Man (1962)
  • Islands in the Stream (1970)
  • The Garden of Eden (1986)
  • Death in the Afternoon (1932)
  • Green Hills of Africa (1935)
Short Story Collections
  • Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923)
  • In Our Time (1925)
  • Men Without Women (1927)
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1932)
  • Winner Take Nothing (1933)
  • The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938)
  • The Essential Hemingway (1947)
  • The Hemingway Reader (1953)
  • The Nick Adams Stories (1972)

Did you know?

  • In 1953 Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.
  • Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his novel The Old Man and the Sea in 1954.
  • The Old Man and the Sea was made into a film in 1958.
  • He was married four times, and dedicated a book for each wife at the time of marriage.
  • Hemingway served in World War I as an ambulance driver in the Italian Army.
  • Hemingway was awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery for his exemplary service in the Italian Army.
  • Within a year of his service as an ambulance driver, Hemingway was severely wounded and this event provided him the materials for his prominent work A farewell to Arms.
  • Hemingway used to drink in Paris with the Irish novelist James Joyce.
  • Grace Hemingway had a strong obsession for a pair of twin girls, so she used to dress young Hemingway and his older sister in matching pink dresses and called him Ernestine.
  • His father was a country physician and his mother was a religiously puritanical woman.
  • Hemingway was the second of six children to his parents.
  • Hemingway was born into the hands of his physician father.
  • Hemingway’s father increased his interest in history and literature as well as hunting and fishing.
  • Hemingway’s mother used to abuse his father.
  • In 1923 Hemingway published his first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems.
  • In 1928 Clarence Hemingway committed suicide by using his father's Civil War pistol.
  • After his father’s suicide Hemingway began to have premonitions that he would end his life by his own hand.
  • In July 2, 1961 Hemingway committed suicide with a shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho out of depression, alcoholism, and numerous physical ailments.
  • His son, Gregory Hemingway underwent sex reassignment surgery in the mid 1990s and from then on he was known as Gloria Hemingway.
  • Many of his works were published posthumously such as, Islands in the Stream (1970), The Garden of Eden (1986), True at First Light (1999).
  • His posthumous publications were edited by his fourth wife, Mary Welsh and by his son Patrick Hemingway.

Photo Gallery

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway with a rifle at the Club de Cazadores del Cerro in Rancho Boyeros

Eernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn

Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer

Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer

Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffe

Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffe

Hemingway with Elizabeth Hadley Richardson

Hemingway with Mary Welsh

Hemingway with Mary Welsh

Hemingway with Mary Welsh

Hemingway with his Son John Hadley Nicanor "Jack" Hemingway


“Biography of Ernest Hemingway.” GradeSaver. 2015. GradeSaver LLC. 20 May 2015

“Ernest Hemingway.”Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 20 May 2015

“Ernest Hemingway.”Bio. 2015. A&E Television Networks. 20 May 2015
< >.

“Ernest Hemingway Facts.” Shmoop. 2015. Shmoop University. 20 May 2015

“Ernest Miller Hemingway.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. 20 May 2015 <>.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Grammar Translation Method


The Grammar Translation Method (also known as the classical method, the traditional method, the prussian method), is a method of foreign language teaching in which the primary focus is on the study of the target language grammar, vocabulary and ultimately the translation of native language texts or sentences into the target language.

Main Principles

The underlying assumptions of the Grammar Translation Method are as follows:
  • Translation interprets the words and phrases of the foreign languages in the best possible manner.
  • The phraseology and the idiom of the target language can best be assimilated in the process of interpretation.
  • The structures of the foreign languages are best learned when compared and contrasted with those of mother tongue.


The Grammar Translation Method (GTM) is reportedly the oldest and the most traditional method of foreign language teaching. Although the history of the Grammar Translation Method is not well-documented, it is generally assumed that the method stemmed from the teaching methods of Latin and to a lesser extent from Greek (Howatt, 1984). In the early 15th century Latin was the major foreign language due to its extensive usage in the government, academic, and business sectors. However, in the 16th century due to political upheavals the importance of Latin gradually declined and some other languages such as French, Italian, and English gained prominence. In the 18th century these languages were included in the curriculum of educational institutions of Europe. The first country to adapt Grammar Translation Method was Germany, especially by Prussia, for which this method is also referred to as the Prussian Method. This teaching method was modelled after the same principles followed in the teaching of Latin; hence formerly it was also called the Classical Method. The method saw its heyday in the 19th century and came to be known as the Grammar Translation Method. However, its practice gradually ceased after the emergence of the Direct Method.

Major Characteristics

The major characteristics of the Grammar Translation Method as per Prator and Celce-Murcia (1979, p3) are as follows:
  1. Classes are taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target language.
  2. Much vocabulary is taught in the form of list of isolated words.
  3. Long elaborate explanation is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.
  4. Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words.
  5. Reading of classical texts is begun early.
  6. Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis.
  7. Often the only drills are drills in translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue.
  8. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.
Although Richard and Rogers (1986, p5) claimed that the Grammar Translation Method has no theoretical basis, it is possible to describe the method in terms of customary levels of Approach, Design, and Procedure:
Theory of Language:
The theory of language underlying the Grammar Translation Method is Traditional approach to linguistics. The proponents of Traditional Linguistics mainly stressed on the written form of language. Their attitude towards rules was prescriptive as they gave priority to the usage to the use. They held that only the languages used by the great writers are the correct forms and any deviant variety was impure. They also maintained that the Latin models could be used to describe any languages of the world.

Theory of Learning:
The theory of learning underlying the Grammar Translation Method is Faculty Psychology, which claims that the human mind has separate faculties to perform various tasks. Each faculty could be individually trained to attain proficiency. Under the assumptions of Faculty Psychology, understanding and memorization of complicated grammatical rules of languages were considered to be an important prerequisite for development of the human mind.
The principal objectives of the Grammar Translation Method are as follows:
  • To enable the students to read, write, interpret, and translate the target language literature.
  • To make the students aware of their native language structure and vocabulary.
  • To improve the students’ reading, writing and translation skills through rote learning of vocabulary lists and grammar rules of the target language.
  • To develop the students’ general mental discipline.
The Syllabus:
The Grammar Translation Method follows a Structural Syllabus since the primary focus is to master the grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language.

Teacher Roles:
In the Grammar Translation Method the teacher is the sole authority in the classroom as he controls and determines everything such as the content, tasks, etc. Furthermore, the teacher also provides the students with correct answers/feedbacks when they make errors.

Learner Roles:
The students are passive receiver of knowledge as they blindly follow whatever the teacher instructs them to do. The students are rarely allowed to start any interaction with the teacher. Whatever interaction occurs it is generally initiated by the teacher.

The Role of Teaching/Learning Materials:
The role of teaching/learning/instructional materials according to this method is to provide literary texts and encourage students to practice translation exercises. The texts also incorporate vocabulary lists and grammar rules for the students to memorize necessary for developing reading, writing and translation skills rather than listening and speaking.
In the Grammar Translation Method the classroom procedure include: a presentation of a grammatical rule, followed by a list of vocabulary and, finally, translation exercises from selected texts (Stern 1983, p453). Other activities and procedures can be the following:
  • reading comprehension questions about the text;
  • identifying  antonyms and synonyms from words in the text;
  • memorising vocabulary selected from the reading texts;
  • forming sentences with the new words;
  • recognising and memorising cognates and false cognates;
  • practicing fill-in-the-blank exercises;
  • writing compositions from a given topic.


Although the Grammar Translation Method has been violently criticized under multiple grounds, yet it is not devoid of positive traits. The advantages of the Grammar Translation Method are as follows:
  1. As the classes are carried out in the mother tongue, teaching takes less effort and time, while the students can also learn much comfortably. Moreover, the teacher can assess whether the students grasped the lessons or not.
  2. The translation exercises help the students to compare the native language with the target language, which in turn enhance their ability to understand meaning of words and complicated sentences. In this way they can learn the target language grammar in a relatively easy way.
  3. The focus on understanding of the target language literary texts increases the students’ reading and writing skills.
  4. The Grammar Translation Method also enables the students to understand how the mother tongue functions, in order to give them the capacity to communicate its thought.
  5. The memorization of grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language provides the students with good mental exercise which helps to develop their mind.
  6. As this method chiefly stresses on developing reading and writing skills, the teacher does not necessarily need to be fluent in the target language.
  7. The study of target language literature helps the students to learn the best forms of language.
  8. The emphasis on accuracy enables the students to learn the correct grammar of the target language.


Despite its wide acceptance, the Grammar Translation Method has been criticized for a number of shortcomings:
  1. The overemphasis on accuracy leads to repeated corrections of errors which hinders the consistency of learning.
  2. This method overemphasizes accuracy to fluency.
  3. It is a teacher-centered method since the role of student is passive.
  4. It ignores communicative competence as the goal of learning.
  5. Little or no emphasis is given on listening and writing skills.
  6. The students often fail to speak in real life situations since they are familiarized with the target language culture through reading passages rather than by direct interaction with the target language elements.
  7. Learning often gets dull and tiresome since the students need to memorize lots of vocabulary items and grammar rules.


Although the Grammar Translation Method is greatly devoid of any reference to the present day language usage, still today it is used in foreign language teaching, especially in the third world countries. Much of its popularity stems from its relatively simple teaching requirements. Anyone with good reading and writing skills can teach language as per the Grammar Translation Method, no fluency in the target language is required. Therefore, it is apparent that this method will always occupy its place in the field of foreign language teaching to some extent and its use will not cease that abruptly either.






Barman, Dr. Binoy, Zakia Sultana, and Bijoy Lal Basu. ELT: Theory and Practice.
Dhaka: FBC, 2006.

“Faculty Psychology.” Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 6 January 2015

“Grammar-translation method.” Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 6 January 2015

“Grammar Translation Method.” English is not difficult, Guys. 2015.
Fhary Ar Rachman. 6 January 2015
“Grammar Translation Method.” Grishamareetu. 2015. Grishamareetu. 6 January 2015

“Grammar Translation Method.” Methodology (ELT). 2015. 6 January 2015

 “History of English Language Teaching.” EnglishClub. 2015. EnglishClub. 6 January 2015


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

John Donne Quick Facts

John Donne
John Donne, a 17th century English poet, prose writer, and clergyman, considered the greatest of the metaphysical poets and one of the greatest writers of love poetry.
  • Full Name: John Donne
  • Born: c. 1572
  • Place of Birth: Bread Street, London, England
  • Death: March 31, 1631
  • Place of Death: London, England
  • Cause of Death: Stomach Cancer?
  • Buried at: St Paul's Cathedral, St Paul's Churchyard, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Epitaphs: “He lies here in the dust but beholds Him, whose name is Rising”
  • Father: John Donne
  • Mother: Elizabeth Heywood
  • Siblings: 5
    • Brother: Henry Donne (d. 1593)
    • Sister: Mary Donne (d. 1581)
    • Sister: Katherine Donne (d. 1581)
  • Marriage: 1601
  • Spouse: Anne More (d. 1617)
  • Number of Children: 12
    • Daughter: Constance Donne (b. 1603)
    • Son:  John Donne III (b. 1604, d. 1662)
    • Son: George Donne (b. 1605)
    • Son: Francis Donne (b. 1607 d. 1614)
    • Daughter: Lucy Donne (b. 1608)
    • Daughter: Bridget Donne (b.1609)
    • Daughter: Mary Donne (b. 1611, d. 1614)
    • Stillborn: 1612
    • Son: Nicholas Donne (b. 1613, d. 1614)
    • Daughter: Margaret Donne (b. 1615)
    • Daughter: Elizabeth Donne (b. 1616)
    • Stillborn: 1617
  • Education: University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Known for: for both his sensitive and realistic portrayals of romantic love and his remarkable expressions of religious devotion
  • Criticised for: NA
  • Influences: NA
  • Influenced: Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Merton


''But I do nothing upon myself, and yet am mine own executioner.''  John Donne

Major Themes:

  • Love
  • Women
  • Sexuality
  • Religion
  • Death

Notable Works:

  • The Anniversaries (1611-12)
  • Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)
  • Songs and Sonnets (1633)

Did you know?

  • Donne’s father, a prosperous London merchant was also named John.
  • Donne was the third of six children of his parents.
  • His father deceased when Donne was only four years old.
  • During marriage his wife Anne More was only 16 years old.
  • After his father’s demise Donne’s mother married a prominent physician.
  • Donne’s wife Anne spent most of her married life either pregnant or nursing.
  • Anne bore 12 offspring, including two stillbirths.
  • Donne’s wife died after giving birth of the 12th child.
  • In 1593, John Donne’s brother, Henry, was convicted of Catholic sympathies and died of a fever in prison.
  • Critics place Donne, along with the English poets George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, and Richard Crashaw, in the metaphysical school of poets.
  • Donne’s greatness as a poet was not acclaimed until the 20th century.
  • T.S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats did much to establish him as a great metaphysical poet.
  • After his wife’s death Donne quit writing love poems and concentrated more on religious subjects.
  • Donne was educated at home by Roman Catholic tutors until he was twelve years old.
  • In 1615 Donne was ordained a priest.
  • Although it is much debated how Donne died, many believed that he suffered from stomach cancer.


“John Donne.” Bio. 2015. A&E Television Networks. 6 April 2015

“John Donne.” 2015. HighBeam™ Research, Inc. 6 April 2015

 “John Donne Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2015. Advameg, Inc. 6 April 2015

 “John Donne Facts.” YourDictionary. 2015. LoveToKnow, Corp. 6 April 2015


Monday, March 9, 2015

John Osborne Quick Facts

John Osborne, a leading 20th century English playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter.
  • Full Name: John Osborne
    John Osborne
  • Birth Name: John James Osborne
  • Birth: December 12, 1929
  • Place of Birth:London, England, United Kingdom
  • Death: December 24, 1994
  • Place of Death: Clun, Shropshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Cause of Death: Complications of Diabetes
  • Buried: St. George Churchyard in Clun, Shropshire, England
  • Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
  • Nationality: English
  • Height: 6 ft
  • Father: Thomas Godfrey Osborne
  • Mother: Nellie Beatrice Grove Osborne
  • Siblings: NA
  • Spouse:
-Pamela Lane (1951–1957)
-Mary Ure (1957–1963)
-Penelope Gilliatt (1963–1968)
-Jill Bennett (1968–1977)
-Helen Dawson (1978–till Osborne’s demise)
  • Number of Children: 1 daughter: Nolan Osborne
  • Education: Bellmont College
  • Known for: initiating the “Angry Young  Man” movement in British drama
  • Criticised for: the ornate violence of his language against his family members
  • Influences: Bertolt Brecht, Max Miller, Kingsley Amis
  • Influenced: Joe Orton, Edward Albee, Mike Leigh


“I want people to see life through my mirror, to feel my image. If it gets as far as that, if they feel, then I've made my contribution. What they do with those feelings afterwards is somebody else's business. Politicians.Journalists.Those sort of people.”John Osborne

Major Works:

Title Type Year
The Devil Inside Him Theatre 1950
The Great Bear Theatre 1951
Personal Enemy Theatre 1955
Look Back in Anger Theatre 1956
The Entertainer Theatre 1957
Epitaph for George Dillon Theatre 1958
The World Of Paul Slickey Theatre 1959
A Subject of Scandal and Concern TV 1960
Luther Theatre 1961
Plays for England Theatre 1962
The Blood of the Bambergs Theatre 1962
Under Plain Cover Theatre 1962
Tom Jones Screenplay 1963
Inadmissible Evidence Theatre 1964
A Patriot for Me Theatre 1965
A Bond Honoured Theatre 1966
The Hotel In Amsterdam Theatre 1968
Time Present Theatre 1968
The Charge of the Light Brigade Screenplay 1968
The Parachute TV 1968
The Right Prospectus TV 1970
West of Suez Theatre 1971
A Sense Of Detachment Theatre 1972
The Gift Of Friendship TV 1972
Hedda Gabler Theatre 1972
A Place Calling Itself Rome Theatre 1973
Ms, Or Jill And Jack TV 1974
The End Of Me Old Cigar Theatre 1975
The Picture Of Dorian Gray Theatre 1975
Almost A Vision TV 1976
Watch It Come Down Theatre 1976
Try A Little Tenderness Theatre 1978
Very Like A Whale TV 1980
You're Not Watching Me, Mummy TV 1980
A Better Class of Person Book 1981
A Better Class of Person TV 1985
God Rot Tunbridge Wells TV 1985
The Father Theatre 1989
Almost a Gentleman Book 1991
Déjàvu Theatre 1992

Media Gallery:

John Osborne

John Osborne

John Osborne

John Osborne

John Osborne

John Osborne and Jill Bennett in 1969

Jill Bennett at their wedding in 1968

Osborne and Mary Ure in August 1957

Osborne, Mary Ure, Vivien Leigh and Olivier


Did you know?

  • John Osborne’s father was a copywriter, and his mother was a Cockney barmaid.
  • Osborne’s father died in 1941 when he was only 11 years old.
  • Osborne's first important work, The Devil inside Him was performed in 1950.
  • With his Look Back in Anger (1956), John Osborne changed the face of the British Theatre.
  • Look Back in Anger established Osborne as a leading writer for the British Theatre.
  • Look Back in Anger was the first well-known example of "Kitchen Sink Drama".
  • In 1963, Osborne secured an Academy Award for his screenplay for Tom Jones (1963).
  • Osborne had countless affairs over the course of his life.
  • He was married five times.
  • Osborne frequently mistreated his wives and lovers.
  • Nolan was Osborne’s only offspring by his third wife Penelope Gilliatt.
  • Osborne had an abusive relationship with his daughter: he cast her out of his house when she was seventeen; they never spoke again.
  • Osborne remained angry until the end of his life.
  • It is said that many women fell in love with Osborne being attracted to his anger!
  • The suicide of his fourth wife, Jill Bennett is generally believed to have been a result of Osborne's rejection of her.
  • Despite the great success of his early plays, Osborne was in debt at the time of his death.


“John Osborne Biography.” 2015. Television Networks, LLC. 5 March 2015

“John Osborne Facts.”Your Dictionary. 2015. LoveToKnow. 5 March 2015

“John Osborne.”New World Encyclopedia. 2015. New World Encyclopedia. 5 March 2015

“John Osborne.”Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 5 March 2015


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Herman Melville Quick Facts

Herman Melville, a 19th century American novelist, poet and writer of short story, who is remembered mostly for his novel Moby Dick.
  • Full Name: Herman Melville
    Herman Melville
  • Pseudonyms: L.A.V.; Salvator R. Tarnmoor
  • Birth: August 01,1819
  • Place of Birth: New York City, USA
  • Zodiac Sign: Leo
  • Nationality: American
  • Death: September 28, 1891
  • Cause of Death: Unknown
  • Buried at: He is buried beside his wife in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx
  • Father: Allan Melvill (1782–1832)
  • Mother: Maria Gansevoort Melvill (1791–1872)
  • Siblings:
    • Brother: Gansevoort Melville (1815-1846)
    • Sister: Helen Maria Melville Griggs (1817-1888)
    • Sister: Augusta Melville (1821-1876)
    • Brother: Allan Melville (1823-1872)
    • Sister: Catherine Gansevoort Melville Hoadley (1825-1905)
    • Sister: Frances Priscilla Melville (1827-1885)
    • Brother: Thomas Melville (1830-1884)
  • Spouse: Elizabeth Knapp Shaw (1822–1906)
  • Children:
    •  Son: Malcolm Melville (1849-1867)
    •  Son: Stanwix Melville (1851-1886)
    •  Daughter: Elizabeth Melville (1853-1908)
    •  Daughter: Frances Melville (1855-1938)
  • Known for: his ability to probe deep into the human psyche
  • Allegation: NA
  • Influenced: William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Jorge Luis Borges, D. H. Lawrence, Cornel West
  • Influences: William Shakespeare, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Carlyle, Luís de Camões


"With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me." Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”

Major Works:

Title of Novel Published
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life 1846
Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas 1847
Mardi: And a Voyage Thither 1849
Redburn: His First Voyage 1849
White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War 1850
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale 1851
Pierre: or, The Ambiguities 1852
Isle of the Cross 1853(?)
Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile 1855
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade 1857
Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative) 1924

Short Story

Title of Short Story Published
"Bartleby, the Scrivener" 1853
"Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!" 1853
"The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles" 1854
"Poor Man's Pudding and Rich Man's Crumbs" 1854
"The Happy Failure" 1854
"The Lightning-Rod Man" 1854
"The Fiddler" 1854
"The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids" 1855
"The Bell-Tower" 1855
"Benito Cereno" 1855
"Jimmy Rose" 1855
"The 'Gees" 1856
"I and My Chimney" 1856
"The Apple-Tree Table" 1856
"The Piazza" 1856
"The Two Temples" 1924
"Daniel Orme" 1924

Did You Know?

  • Melville was the third of eight children.
  • Melville Married Elizabeth Shaw in 1847.
  • His masterpiece Moby Dick (1851) was a commercial failure but it became a masterpiece posthumously.
  • After his father’s death, Melville’s mother supplemented the “e” at the end of the family name.
  • Melville's writing was greatly influenced from his travels at sea.
  • His father was a successful importer of dry goods.
  • When Melville was 12, his father entered into bankruptcy and died suddenly.
  • After his father’s death Melville worked in his uncle’s farm, clerked in a local bank, and taught at local schools to support his family.
  • Melville was not financially successful as a writer, having earned just over $10,000 for his writing during his lifetime.
  • When Melville deceased, his death was noted in only one local newspaper.
  • Melville was aligned with the greatest American writers after his demise (not until 20th century).


 “Herman Melville.” Wikipedia. 2015. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 March 2015

 “Herman Melville.” Shmoop. 2015. Shmoop University. 4 March 2015

“Herman Melville.” 2015. Bio and the Bio. 4 March 2015



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