April 21, 2016

Thomas Hardy

English novelist and poet of the naturalist movement.
Thomas Hardy


  • Full Name: Thomas Hardy
  • AKA: Thomas Masterson Hardy
  • Date of Birth: June 2, 1840
  • Place of Birth: Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, United Kingdom
  • Zodiac Sign: Gemini
  • Death: January 11, 1928
  • Place of Death: Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom
  • Cause of Death: Unknown
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Religion: Anglican
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial:
1. Heart- Stinsford parish church
2. Ashes- Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey
  • Father: Thomas Hardy (1811-1892)
  • Mother: Jemima Hardy (née Hand) (1813-1904)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister- Mary Hardy (1841-1915)
2. Brother- Henry Hardy (1851-1928)
3. Sister- Kate Hardy (1856-1940)
  • Spouses:
1. Emma Lavinia Gifford (b. 1840–d. 1912; m. 1874, until her death)
2. Florence Dugdale (b.1879–d. 1937; m. 1914, until his death)
  • Children: None
  • Alma Mater: Mr. Last's Academy, King's College London
  • Known for: his contribution in the naturalist movement
  • Criticized for: his frank treatment of sexuality as well as his empathetic treatment of a fallen woman in Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891)
  • Influences: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), John Milton (1608–1674),  Thomas Gray (1716 –1771), Charles Dickens (1812–1870), William Wordsworth (1770 –1850), Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 –1860), William Barnes (1801-1866), Charles Darwin (1809 –1882), Charlotte Brontë (1816 –1855), Emily Brontë (1818 –1848), George Meredith (1828–1909), Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
  • Influenced: Robert Frost (1874 –1963), Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917), Ezra Pound (1885 –1972), D.H. Lawrence (1885 –1930), Dylan Thomas (1914–1953)


“It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

Major Themes

  • Human misery
  • Alienation/ Loneliness
  • Uncaring universe
  • Chance/Fate
  • Disappointment
  • Love
  • Nature
  • War

Notable Works

  • Desperate Remedies  (1871)
  • Under the Greenwood Tree (1872)
  • A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873)
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
  • The Hand of Ethelberta  (1876)
  • The Return of the Native (1878)
  • The Trumpet-Major (1880)
  • A Laodicean (1881)
  • Two on a Tower (1882)
  • The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid (1883)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891)
  • The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892)
  • Jude the Obscure (1895)
Short Story
Wessex Tales
  • The Three Strangers (1883)
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four (1882)
  • The Melancholy Hussar of The German Legion (1890)
  • The Withered Arm (1888)
  • Fellow-Townsmen (1880)
  • Interlopers At The Knap (1884)
  • The Distracted Preacher (1879)
Life's Little Ironies
  • An Imaginative Woman (1894)
  • The Son's Veto (1891)
  • For Conscience' Sake (1891)
  • A Tragedy Of Two Ambitions (1888)
  • On The Western Circuit (1891)
  • To Please His Wife (1891)
  • The Fiddler of the Reels (1893)
  • A Few Crusted Characters (1891)
-Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver
-The History of the Hardcomes
-The Superstitious Man's Story
-Andrey Satchel and the Parson and Clerk
-Old Andrey's Experience as a Musician
-Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir
-The Winters And The Palmleys
-Incident in the Life of Mr. George Crookhill
-Netty Sargent's Copyhold
A Group of Noble Dames (1891)
  • The First Countess of Wessex (1889)
  • Barbara Of The House Of Grebe (1890)
  • The Marchioness of Stonehenge (1890)
  • Lady Mottisfont (1890)
  • The Lady Icenway (1890)
  • Squire Petrick's Lady (1890)
  • Anna, Lady Baxby (1890)
  • The Lady Penelope (1890)
  • The Duchess of Hamptonshire (1878)
  • The Honourable Laura (1881)
A Changed Man
  • A Changed Man (1900)
  • The Waiting Supper (1887-1888)
  • Alicia's Diary (1887)
  • The Grave By The Handpost (1897)
  • Enter a Dragoon (1900)
  • A Tryst At An Ancient Earthwork (1885)
  • What The Shepherd Saw (1881)
  • A Committee-Man of 'The Terror' (1896)
  • Master John Horseleigh, Knight (1893)
  • The Duke's Reappearance (1896)
  • A Mere Interlude (1885)
  • The Romantic Adventures Of A Milkmaid (1883)
Excluded and Collaborative Stories
  • How I Built Myself A House (1865)
  • Destiny and a Blue Cloak (1874)
  • The Thieves Who Couldn't Stop Sneezing (1877)
  • Our Exploits At West Poley (1892-1893)
  • Old Mrs. Chundle (1929)
  • The Doctor's Legend (1891)
  • The Spectre of the Real (1894)
  • Blue Jimmy: The Horse Stealer (1911)
  • The Unconquerable (1992)
  • (As sung by Mr. Charles Charrington in the play of The Three Wayfarers)
  • (Greek Title)
  • A Broken Appointment
  • A Christmas Ghost Story
  • A Commonplace Day
  • A Confession To A Friend In Trouble
  • A Man (In Memory of H. of M.)
  • A Meeting With Despair
  • A Sign-Seeker
  • A Spot
  • A Thunderstorm In Town
  • A Wasted Illness
  • A Wife In London
  • Additions
  • After Schiller
  • Afterwards
  • Ah Are You Digging On My Grave?
  • Amabel
  • An Ancient To Ancients
  • An August Midnight
  • An Autumn Rain-Scene
  • Architectural Masks
  • At A Bridal
  • At a Hasty Wedding
  • At a Lunar Eclipse
  • At An Inn
  • At Castle Boterel
  • At Lulworth Cove A Century Back
  • At The Railway Station Upways
  • At the War Office London
  • Beeny Cliff
  • Between Us Now
  • Between Us Now
  • Birds at Winter Nightfall (Triolet)
  • By the Earths Corpse
  • Cardinal Bembos Epitaph on Raphael
  • Catullus: XXXI
  • Channel Firing
  • De Profundis
  • Departure
  • Ditty
  • Domicilium
  • Doom and She
  • Drummer Hodge
  • During Wind And Rain
  • Embarcation
  • Epitaph On A Pessimist
  • Fragment
  • Friends Beyond
  • From Victor Hugo
  • Genoa and the Mediterranean
  • George Meredith
  • God-Forgotten
  • Gods Funeral
  • Hap
  • He Never Expected Much
  • Heiress And Architect
  • Her Death And After
  • Her Dilemma
  • Her Immortality
  • Her Initals
  • Her Late Husband (Kings-Hintock 182-.)
  • Her Reproach
  • Heredity
  • His Immortality
  • How Great My Grief (Triolet)
  • I Have Lived With Shades
  • I Have Lived With Shades
  • I Look Into My Glass
  • I Need Not Go
  • I Said To Love
  • I Said to Love
  • In A Eweleaze Near Weatherbury
  • In A Museum
  • In a Wood
  • In Tenebris
  • In The Moonlight
  • In The Old Theatre Fiesole
  • In The Vaulted Way
  • In Time Of The Breaking Of Nations
  • In Vision I Roamed
  • Last Words To A Dumb Friend
  • Lausanne In Gibbons Old Garden: 11-12 p.m
  • Leipzig
  • Let Me Enjoy
  • Lines On The Loss Of The Titanic
  • Long Plighted
  • Mad Judy
  • Men Who March Away
  • Middle-Age Enthusiasms
  • Midnight On The Great Western
  • Mismet
  • Moments Of Vision
  • Mute Opinion
  • My Cicely
  • My Spirit Will Not Haunt The Mound
  • Natures Questioning
  • Neutral Tones
  • Night In The Old Home
  • No Buyers
  • On a Fine Morning
  • On an Invitation to the United States
  • Postponement
  • Revulsion
  • Rom: On the Palatine
  • Rome at the Pyramid of Cestius Near the Graves of Shelley and Keats
  • Rome: Building a New Street in the Ancient Quarter
  • Rome: On the Palatine
  • Rome: The Vatican-Sala Delle Muse
  • San Sebastian
  • Sapphic Fragment
  • Satires of Circumstance in Fifteen Glimpses VIII: In the St
  • She At His Funeral
  • She Hears The Storm
  • She To Him
  • She to Him I
  • She to Him II
  • She To Him III
  • She To Him IV
  • Shelleys Skylark (The neighbourhood of Leghorn: March)
  • Song From Heine
  • Song of Hope
  • Song of the Soldiers Wifes
  • Tesss Lament
  • The Alarm
  • The Bedridden Peasant to an Unknown God
  • The Bridge of Lodi
  • The Bullfinches
  • The Burghers
  • The Caged Thrush Freed and Home Again (Villanelle)
  • The Casterbridge Captains
  • The Cave Of The Unborn
  • The Choirmasters Burial
  • The Church-Builder
  • The Colonels Solilquy
  • The Comet at Valbury or Yellham
  • The Contretemps
  • The Convergence Of The Twain
  • The Coquette and After (Triolets)
  • The Dame of Athelhall
  • The Dance At The Phoenix
  • The Darkling Thrush
  • The Dead Drummer
  • The Dead Man Walking
  • The Dream-Follower
  • The Fallow Deer At The Lonely House
  • The Farm Womans Winter
  • The Fire At Tranter Sweatleys
  • The Ghost Of The Past
  • The Going
  • The Going of the Battery Wives. (Lament)
  • The House Of Hospitalities
  • The Impercipient
  • The Inconsistent
  • The Ivy-Wife
  • The Kings Experiment
  • The Lacking Sense Scene.--A sad-coloured landscape Waddon Vale
  • The Last Chrysanthemum
  • The Levelled Churchyard
  • The Lost Pyx: A Mediaeval Legend
  • The Man He Killed
  • The Masked Face
  • The Milkmaid
  • The Mother Mourns
  • The Oxen
  • The Peasants Confession
  • The Phantom Horsewoman
  • The Pity Of It
  • The Puzzled Game-Birds
  • The Rambler
  • The Respectable Burgher on The Higher Criticism
  • The Roman Road
  • The Ruined Maid
  • The Seasons of Her Year
  • The Selfsame Song
  • The Self-Unseeing
  • The Sergeants Song
  • The Sick God
  • The Sleep-Worker
  • The Slow Nature
  • The Souls of the Slain
  • The Subalterns
  • The Sun On The Bookcase
  • The Superseded
  • The Supplanter: A Tale
  • The Temporary The All
  • The Tenant-For-Life
  • The To-Be-Forgotten
  • The Tree: An Old Mans Story
  • The Two Men
  • The Voice
  • The Well-Beloved
  • The Widow
  • The Years Awakening
  • Then And Now
  • Thought Of Ph---a At News Of Her Death
  • Thoughts Of Phena
  • To A Lady
  • To An Orphan Child
  • To An Unborn Pauper Child
  • To Flowers From Italy in Winter
  • To Life
  • To Lizbie Browne
  • To Outer Nature
  • Transformations
  • Under The Waterfall
  • Unknowing
  • V.R. 1819-1901 (A Reverie.)
  • Valenciennes
  • Waiting Both
  • Weathers
  • When I Set Out For Lyonnesse
  • Winter in Durnover Field
  • Wives in the Sere
  • Zermatt to the Matterhorn

Did You Know?

  • Hardy was the eldest of the four children of Thomas Hardy and Jemima Hardy.
  • His father, Thomas was a self-employed master mason and building contractor.
  • Hardy’s mother, Jemima was a former maidservant and cook.
  • His mother’s love for reading inspired him to grow interest in literature.
  • He was also very fond of reading romances and his favourite authors include William Harrison Ainsworth, Walter Scott, and Alexander Dumas.
  • Hardy received his initial education from his mother at home until the age of eight when he went to school for the first time. After schooling he became an apprentice in 1856 to a local architect, John Hicks. He worked there with a specialization in the restoration of Churches until 1862.
  • In April 1862, Hardy decided to suspend his architectural apprenticeship and left for London to study architecture at King's College. Despite achieving a prize-winning performance in studies, he decided to take writing as a career.
  • Hardy's experience from architectural apprenticeship is evident in many of his poetry and fiction. For instance, the character of Jude in Jude the Obscure (1895), is a stonemason.
  • Before moving to London he proposed and been rejected by a Dorchester girl, Mary Waight, who was older than him.
  • In 1870, Hardy met Emma Lavinia Gifford. Although the couple deeply fell in love with each other, they married after four years. But surprisingly, none of Hardy’s family attended the wedding ceremony.
  • The first years of their marriage were quite happy. The couple spent their honeymoon in Paris and travelled a lot. However, in later years Emma felt more and more isolated from her husband, and got mentally unstable, which culminated into her sudden death in 27th November 1912.
  • Emma kept a secret private diary in which she recorded her remarks and her complaints about her husband. Moreover, she also discussed various sides of their marriage with a few acquaintances.
  • Emma’s death put Hardy into complete dismay but at same time inspired him to write a number of poems which recalled his happy time with Emma when they were young.
  • On 6 February 1914, he married Florence Dugdale, who was almost forty years younger than him. Sadly, his second marriage also proved to be unhappy, because Hardy preferred spending much time in study rather than with Florence. Consequently, like Emma she also felt lonely most of the time.
  • Hardy did not have any children with either of his wives.
  • In March 1865 his first short story was published in Chambers's Journal.
  • When his novel Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) appeared anonymously in the Cornhill Magazine, many attributed it to George Eliot.
  • Hardy anonymously published two of his early novels, Desperate Remedies (1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree (1872).
  • Due to unconventional presentation of women the publication of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895) created a public uproar. Disturbed by the public reaction Hardly decided to stop writing prose fictions.
  • Much of his works are set in the fictional region of Wessex, which is mostly inspired by Dorset, his birthplace.
  • Hardy's first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems was published in 1898.
  • In December 1927, Hardy fell sick with pleurisy and eventually died in January 1928. After the funeral on 16 January, his heart was buried with his first wife Emma and ashes in Poet's Corner.

Media Gallery

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Emma Lavinia Gifford

Thomas Hardy with Florence Dugdale

Thomas Hardy with Florence Dugdale



“Thomas Hardy.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 April 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hardy>.

“Thomas Hardy. A Biographical Sketch.” The Victorian Web. 2016. The Victorian Web. 15 April 2016
< http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/hardy/bio.html>.

“Thomas Hardy.” NNDB. 2014. Soylent Communications. 15 April 2016
< http://www.nndb.com/people/978/000084726/>.

“Thomas Hardy.” The Famous People. 2016. Famous People. 15 April 2016
< http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/thomas-hardy-32.php>.

“Hardy's Impact on Modern Poetry.” Gettysburg College. 2016. Gettysburg. 15 April 2016
< http://public.gettysburg.edu/academics/english/hardy/poetry/modernimpact.html>.

NB: This article was last updated on January 09, 2018

April 14, 2016

Virginia Woolf

20th century English novelist, essayist, publisher, and critic
Virginia Woolf


  • Full Name: Adeline Virginia Woolf
  • Birth Name: Adeline Virginia Stephen
  • AKA: Virginia Woolf
  • Date of Birth: 25 January 1882
  • Place of Birth: Kensington, Middlesex, England
  • Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
  • Physique: Slender
  • Height: 5 ft 7 in
  • Eye Colour: Grey
  • Hair Colour: Light Brown
  • Nationality: British
  • Death: 28 March 1941
  • Place of Death: River Ouse, near Lewes, Sussex, England
  • Epitaph: “Beneath this tree are buried the ashes of Virginia Woolf. Born January 25 1882, Died March 28 1941. Death is the enemy. Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding o Death! The waves broke on the shore.”
  • Cause of Death: Suicide
  • Place of Burial: Monk's House Grounds, Rodmell, East Sussex, England
  • Father: Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904)
  • Mother: Julia Jackson Duckworth (1846–1895)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister- Vanessa Stephen Bell (1879-1961)
2. Brother- Thoby Stephen (1880-1906)
3. Brother- Adrian Stephen (1883-1948)
5. Half- brother (mother's side): George Duckworth (1868-1934)
6. Half- sister (mother's side): Stella Duckworth (1869-1897)
4. Half- sister (father's side): Laura Makepeace Stephen (1870-1945)
7. Half- brother (mother's side): Gerald Duckworth (1870-1937)
  • Spouse: Leonard Woolf (b. 1880-d. 1969; m. 1912–1941till her death)
  • Children: None
  • Known for: founding the modernist movement in British literature, especially the feminist literary criticism.
  • Criticized for: writing by intuition and feelings rather than by a scientific, analytical or systematic method.
  • Influences: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 –1894), Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862), Walt Whitman (1819 –1892), James Russell Lowell (1819 –1891), Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Roger Fry (1866–1934)
  • Influenced: Bertrand Russell (1872 –1970), E.M. Forster (1879 – 1970), Leonard Woolf (1880 –1969), Lytton Strachey (1880 –1932), Clive Bell (1881 –1964), T.S Eliot (1888 –1965), Sylvia Plath (1932 –1963), Pat Barker (b.1943), Vanessa Grant, Annie Dillard (b. 1945), Rebeca Solnit (b. 1961), Toby Litt (b. 1968),


“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Major Themes

  • Life & Death
  • Passage of Time
  • Human Consciousness
  • Feminine Sensibility
  • Gender Relation
  • Consequences of War
  • Class Hierarchy
  • Sanity & Insanity
  • Loneliness
  • Complexity of human relationships
  • Exploration of the human personality

Notable Works

  1. The Voyage Out (26 March 1915, Duckworth; U.S. pub. by Doran, May 1920)
  2. Two Stories (1917)
  3. Kew Gardens (12 May 1919)
  4. Night and Day (20 Oct 1919, Duckworth; U.S. pub. Doran, 1920)
  5. Monday or Tuesday (7 April 1921; U.S. pub. Harcourt Brace, Nov. 1921)
  6. Jacob’s Room (27 Oct 1922; U.S. pub. Harcourt Brace, 1922)
  7. Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown (1923)
  8. The Common Reader (First Series, 23 Apr 1925)
  9. Mrs. Dalloway (14 May 1925; simultaneously in England and U.S.)
  10. To the Lighthouse (5 May 1927)
  11. Orlando (2 October 1928)
  12. A Room of One’s Own (24 Oct 1929)
  13. The Waves (October 1931)
  14. The Common Reader (Second Series, 1932)
  15. Flush (5 October 1933)
  16. The Years (13 March 1937]
  17. Three Guineas (4 June 1938)
  18. Roger Fry (25 July 1940)
  19. Between the Acts (17 July 1941)
  20. A Writer’s Diary (posthumously, UK 1953)
  21. Moments of Being (posthumously, US 1976, ed. Jeanne Schulkind)

Did You Know?

  • Virginia’s mother, Julia Jackson, died when she was only thirteen years old.
  • Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen was a prominent historian, author, critic, and a founding editor of the Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Both of her parents were married previously.
  • Her father was previously married to Harriet Marian (Minny) Thackeray (1840–1875), the daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray.
  • Although her brothers attended college, Virginia and her sisters did not receive a formal education.
  • Throughout her life Virginia suffered from bipolar disorder, which is characterized by alternating moods of mania and depression. That mental instability led her towards numerous suicide attempts.
  • In March of 1941 she drowned herself by filling her overcoat pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home.
  • In her suicide note she told Leonard that: “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”
  • Woolf's body was not found until 18 April 1941.
  • Although Leonard proposed Virginia for marriage in several occasions, she refused due to her phobia for physical intercourse. However, Virginia couldn’t discard his third proposal and married Leonard Woolf on 10 August 1912.
  • During their honeymoon Leonard first came to learn about Virginia’s apathy for sex, which probably ensued from traumatic sexual abuse as a child.
  • Although Virginia wanted to have children, her doctor advised her to abstain from motherhood due to her mental instability.
  • Once Virginia thought of marrying the British writer Lytton Strachey partially because he was a homosexual and she considered him more of a brother than a sexual partner.
  • After her father’s demise Virginia together with other writers and artists such as, Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Rupert Brooke, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Duncan Grant, Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, David Garnett, and Roger Fry forged the Bloomsbury Group.
  • In 1917 Leonard and Virginia founded the Hogarth Press, which basically interested in publishing books by young and unknown writers. Although depended on hand-printing, the Hogarth Press published many important books including Prelude by Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923), Poems by T. S. Eliot (1888–1965). Even much of Virginia’s works was self-published through the Hogarth Press.
  • Her last work A Writer's Diary was published posthumously in 1953.
  • Virginia contributed a lot in initiating the modernist movement in literature by abandoning the traditional narrative style and pioneering the use of stream of consciousness.

Media Gallery

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia and Leonard in 1912 during their engagement

Virginia and Leonard

Virginia and Leonard


" Virginia Woolf.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2 April 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Woolf>.

“Virginia Woolf.” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

" Virginia Woolf.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University. 2 April 2016
< http://www.shmoop.com/virginia-woolf/>.

April 5, 2016


“Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace; and America is just ourselves, with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly.”  ~ Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

 “The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

“Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

 “For what can give a finer example of that frankness and manly self- confidence which our great public schools, and none of them so much as Eton, are supposed to inspire, of that buoyant ease in holding up one's head, speaking out what is in one's mind, and flinging off all sheepishness and awkwardness, than to see an Eton assistant-master offering in fact himself as evidence that to combine boarding-house- keeping with teaching is a good thing, and his brother as evidence that to train and race little boys for competitive examinations is a good thing?”
~Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

“Time gives his hour-glass
Its due reversal.
Their hour is gone.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Consolation

 “But each day brings its petty dust
Our soon-chok'd souls to fill,
And we forget because we must,
And not because we will.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Absence

“But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us, to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.”
~ Matthew Arnold, The Buried Life

“Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Literature & Dogma

“Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace; and America is just ourselves, with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

“The men of culture are the true apostles of equality.”
~ Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

“Alas! is even love too weak
To unlock the heart, and let it speak?”
~ Matthew Arnold, The Buried Life

“And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well -- but 'tis not true!”
~ Matthew Arnold, The Buried Life

 ''The true meaning of religion is thus, not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.''
~ Matthew Arnold, Literature and Dogma

 ''One has often wondered whether upon the whole earth there is anything so unintelligent, so unapt to perceive how the world is really going, as an ordinary young Englishman of our upper class.''
~ Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

 ''The discipline of the Old Testament may be summed up as a discipline teaching us to abhor and flee from sin; the discipline of the New Testament, as a discipline teaching us to die to it.''
~ Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

April 4, 2016


“A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.” ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

 “There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.”
~ Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

 “My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

 “There is a wisdom of the head, and... there is a wisdom of the heart.”
~ Charles Dickens, Hard Times

 “‎And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “The broken heart. You think you will die, but you just keep living, day after day after terrible day.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Ask no questions, and you'll be told no lies.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “You are in every line I have ever read.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “It is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded.”
~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “There is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

 “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “I am what you designed me to be. I am your blade. You cannot now complain if you also feel the hurt”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“A man is lucky if he is the first love of a woman. A woman is lucky if she is the last love of a man.”
~ Charles Dickens

 “Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”
~ Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

 “No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 “I stole her heart away and put ice in its place.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Death may beget life, but oppression can beget nothing other than itself.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 “A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.”
~ Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

 “I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Moths, and all sorts of ugly creatures, hover about a lighted candle. Can the candle help it?”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “And I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place, bored to death with my life, bored to death with myself.”
~ Charles Dickens, Bleak House

“They are Man's and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“No varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“Life is made of so many partings welded together”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is the rule.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

  “Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seeds of rapacious licence and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “And a beautiful world we live in, when it is possible, and when many other such things are possible, and not only possible, but done-- done, see you!-- under that sky there, every day.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “It's in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

 “Women can always put things in fewest words. Except when it's blowing up; and then they lengthens it out.”
~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

 “Nothing that we do, is done in vain. I believe, with all my soul, that we shall see triumph.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts, exercises, even over the appearance of external objects. Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision.”
~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

 “Dreams are the bright creatures of poem and legend, who sport on earth in the night season, and melt away in the first beam of the sun, which lights grim care and stern reality on their daily pilgrimage through the world.”
~ Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

 “So, I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “Poetry makes life what lights and music do the stage.”
~ Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

 “It is not possible to know how far the influence of any amiable, honest-hearted duty-doing man flies out into the world, but it is very possible to know how it has touched one's self in going by.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “There were two classes of charitable people: one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.”
~ Charles Dickens, Bleak House

 “Constancy in love is a good thing; but it means nothing, and is nothing, without constancy in every kind of effort.”
~ Charles Dickens, Bleak House

“New thoughts and hopes were whirling through my mind, and all the colours of my life were changing.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 “There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
~ Charles Dickens

 “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “And O there are days in this life, worth life and worth death.”
~ Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

 “We need never be ashamed of our tears.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”
~ Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

 “Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 “In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”
~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

NB: This post was last updated on January 24, 2018

April 1, 2016

T.S. Eliot

American born English poet, literary critic and playwright of the 20th century.


  • Full Name: T.S. Eliot
    T.S. Eliot
  • Birth Name: Thomas Stearns Eliot
  • Nickname: Tom
  • AKA: Thomas Eliot
  • Date of Birth: September 26, 1888
  • Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
  • Zodiac Sign: Libra
  • Physique: Slender
  • Height: 5 in 1 ft
  • Eye Colour: NA
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British (American by birth; British from 1927)
  • Death: January 4, 1965
  • Place of Death: London, England, United Kingdom
  • Epitaph: "In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning."
  • Cause of Death: Emphysema
  • Place of Burial: Cremated, St. Michael and All Angels Churchyard, East Coker, Somerset, England
  • Father: Henry Ware Eliot (1843-1919)
  • Mother: Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843-1929)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister: Ada Eliot (1869-1943)
2. Sister: Margaret Eliot (1871-1956)
3. Sister: Charlotte Eliot (1874-1926)
4. Sister: Marian Eliot (1877-1964)
5. Brother: Henry Eliot (1879-1947)
6. Sister: Theodora Sterling Eliot (1886-1886)
  • Spouse(s):
1. Wife: Vivienne Haigh-Wood (?-1947), married 1915-1947
2. Wife: Esmé Valerie Fletcher (b. 1926), married 1957-1965
  • Children: None
  • Alma Mater: Harvard University, Smith Academy, Merton College, The Sorbonne
  • Known for: his leadership in the modernist rejection of conventional poetic forms and pompous, artificial language
  • Criticized for: anti-Semitism
  • Influences: Dante Alghieri (1265-1321), John Donne (1572–1631), John Dryden (1631-1700), Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809–1892), Baudelaire ( 1821 –1867), Jules Laforgue (1860 –1887), Ezra Pound (1885–1972)
  • Influenced: James Joyce (1882 –1941), Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), Allen Tate (1899 –1979), Hart Crane (1899 –1932), George Seferis (1900 –1971), Seán Ó Ríordáin (1916 –1977), Máirtín Ó Díreáin (1916 –1977), Russell Kirk (1918–1994), William Gaddis (1922 –1998), Ted Hughes (1930 –1998), Kamau Brathwaite (1930), Geoffrey Hill (1932), Seamus Heaney (1939 –2013)


  • Order of Merit (1948)
  • Nobel Prize in Literature (1948)
  • Officier de la Legion d'Honneur (1951)
  • Hanseatic Goethe Prize (Hamburg, 1955)
  • Dante Medal (Florence, 1959)
  • Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1960)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964)
  • Thirteen honorary doctorates (including Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and Harvard)
  • Tony Award in 1950 for Best Play: The Broadway production of The Cocktail Party
  • Two posthumous Tony Awards (1983) for his poems used in the musical Cats
  • Eliot College of the University of Kent, England, named after him
  • Celebrated on commemorative postage stamps
  • A star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame


“It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his contemporaneity.

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.” T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent

Major Themes

  • Religion
  • Isolation
  • Sex
  • Death & Resurrection
  • Anarchy and futility
  • Inhumanity
  • Decline of human values
  • Disillusionment, anxiety, frustration, despair, futility and  the fragmentation of material reality

Notable Works:

  • Collected Poems (1962)
  • The Complete Poems and Plays (1952)
  • Four Quartets (1943)
  • Burnt Norton (1941)
  • The Dry Salvages (1941)
  • East Coker (1940)
  • Ash Wednesday (1930)
  • Poems, 1909–1925 (1925)
  • The Waste Land (1922)
  • Poems (1919)
  • Prufrock and Other Observations (1917)
  • Religious Drama: Mediaeval and Modern (1954)
  • The Three Voices of Poetry (1954)
  • Poetry and Drama (1951)
  • Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1949)
  • The Classics and The Man of Letters (1942)
  • The Idea of a Christian Society (1940)
  • Essays Ancient and Modern (1936)
  • Elizabethan Essays (1934)
  • The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (1933)
  • After Strange Gods (1933)
  • John Dryden (1932)
  • Thoughts After Lambeth (1931)
  • Tradition and Experimentation in Present-Day Literature (1929)
  • Dante (1929)
  • For Lancelot Andrews (1928)
  • Andrew Marvell (1922)
  • The Sacred Wood (1920)
  • The Elder Statesman (1958)
  • The Confidential Clerk (1953)
  • The Cocktail Party (1950)
  • The Family Reunion (1939)
  • Murder in the Cathedral (1935)
  • The Rock (1934)
  • Sweeney Agonistes (1932)

 Did You Know?

  • Eliot was the last of six surviving children.
  • His parents were both 44 years old when Eliot was born.
  • His father, Henry Ware Eliot was a successful businessman.
  • His mother, Charlotte Champe Stearns was a social worker.
  • Eliot's first marriage to Vivienne Haigh-Wood was an unhappy one mostly due to her mental instability and poor health.
  • Vivienne was admitted  to the Northumberland House mental hospital for treatment in 1938. Although she remained there until her demise, Eliot never visited her.
  • It is assumed that he married Vivienne to gain residency in England
  • At the age of 68, Eliot married Esmé Valerie Fletcher, who was 38 years younger to him.
  • Fletcher was well-acquianted to Eliot since she served as his secretary at Faber and Faber since August 1949.
  • After Eliot's demise, Fletcher dedicated her time to preserving his legacy; she edited and annotated The Letters of T. S. Eliot.
  • Eliot was childless, he did not have children with either of his wives.
  • He took British citizenship in 1927.
  • Due to childhood health issues Eliot refrained from socializing, which in turn engendered his liking for literature.
  • He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.


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T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

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" T.S. Eliot.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 21 March 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._Eliot>.

“T. S. Eliot” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

" T.S. Eliot.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University. 21 March 2016
< http://www.shmoop.com/ts-eliot/>.

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