Happy Birthday, Beckett! Celebrate the (Absurd) “Waiting for Godot” Author

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Samuel Beckett was a most interesting man—a fact that can be immediately confirmed by the author’s influential contributions to the Absurdist Movement (but we’ll get to what that is in a moment).

Though born and raised in Ireland, Beckett fell in love with Paris in his 20s after graduating from Trinity College with a B.A. in modern languages and setting out on a cycling tour of France. There the young author befriended and made a pseudo-father-figure of fellow author and Irishman James Joyce, who provided a great deal of encouragement and assistance to Beckett and his work. Continue Reading ›

How To Live a Life That Matters: Maya Angelou on Love and Attitude

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Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 and is true to the title of her own poem, a “Phenomenal Woman.” Few people can say they have been a novelist, actress, singer, director, scholar, researcher, poet, and brothel madam, yet Angelou has filled all of these roles and many more, including being an integral part of the civil rights movement.

Decades after her time on Earth, many of us still hold I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsAnd Still I Rise“Amazing Peace,” and her other works close to our hearts. As a survivor of poverty, familial discord, and a harrowing childhood, Angelou was able to turn her remarkable, tumultuous life into creative inspiration that is still inspiring us today. Continue Reading ›

Jack Kerouac: American Literary Baddie to the Stars

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Today we’re going to talk about an American legend: Jack Kerouac. Jack was a pretty amazing writer, not just in the work he created but also in his methodology for doing so. Like so many of us, he was not a big fan of the revision and re-write process. He was also invested in the New York Jazz scene, and at the time that was about as cool as having backstage passes to a Justin Bieber concert, amirite? (I don’t actually know what the cool kids listen to…I still like jazz.)

Read on to learn a bit about this literary icon, his books, and what makes him continue to be a big name on the list of American writers. Continue Reading ›

Exquisite Commencement Speeches by Famous Authors

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A lot of the literary geniuses who penned the eNotes top one hundred literary works are dead—but a surprising number of them aren’t, and have thankfully stuck around long enough to see the invention of YouTube.

Check out the funny, profound, tragic, and sometimes surprising revelations offered by the authors you think you know in their commencement addresses. Continue Reading ›

A Writer’s Haven: 5 Authors’ Writing Spaces Reimagined

As bibliophiles can attest, we are all intrigued by the private lives of our favorite authors, often wondering about the ways that they worked creatively, and especially where they chose to write. For many, the choice was obvious, their office or bedroom – a personal space for reflection and inspiration.

At eNotes, we are really interested in embracing creativity and developing tips for success in school and work spaces. Time and time again we encounter articles noting the importance of having an organized, inspiring space to get to work. As we meditate on how to improve our own spaces, we’ve found ourselves wondering how our favorite authors might decorate their offices today. With this in mind, we created today’s blog post: A Writer’s Haven.

We’ve gone through and selected five famous authors from various time periods and have translated their individual preferences into modern takes on their offices. We had a lot of fun putting these together, and we hope you enjoy checking them out and finding inspiration for your own space. Check ’em out below!

Jane Austen:

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For Jane’s office we imagined a light and airy space with lots of natural light and creature comforts. We acknowledged her English roots and incorporate a tea pot, because we think that if any of our favorite authors would have had a tea pot in their office, it would have been her. We like to imagine that if Jane were here today, she would be a bit of an introvert, anxious to re-read the great number of books in her built-in bookcase.

Want to learn more about Jane Austen and her writing? Check out this link: http://www.enotes.com/topics/jane-austen

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Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez Dead at 87

Celebrated Colombian author Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez died today at the age of 87 after a recent hospitalization for multiple infections. His death comes two years after it was reported he was suffering from dementia.

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“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

In his extroadinary lifetime Márquez received widespread acclaim for his novels and short stories, including One Hundred Years of SolitudeLove in the Time of Cholera and Chronicle of a Death ForetoldOne Hundred Years in particular became incredibly popular, selling more than 50 million copies worldwide in over 25 languages. With his works Márquez stood as an ambassador for Latin American literature, and the father of magical realism.

When he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, he dedicated his lecture to the spirit of Latin America, and revealed to the world its inextricable ties to his particular writing style:

We have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.

Márquez is survived by his wife Mercedes and his two sons. He died at home in Mexico City. His memoirs remain unfinished.

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Works of Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez:

Love in the Time of Cholera

One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Autumn of the Patriarch

“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”

The General in His Labyrinth

and more found here.

 

How to Write Like Jane Austen

Here’s a tip: keep some sheep leather and blue gauls handy…

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Yesterday we brought you the recipes to two authors’ favorite meals, so today I give you the recipe to one authoress’ writing success: a good leather bound book and a batch of homemade ink. For those Austen enthusiasts feeling particularly crafty, here is the exact recipe for the ink Jane Austen used, provided by her sister-in-law:

Take 4 ozs of blue gauls [gallic acid, made from oak apples], 2 ozs of green copperas [iron sulphate], 1 1/2 ozs of gum arabic. Break the gauls. The gum and copperas must be beaten in a mortar and put into a pint of strong stale beer; with a pint of small beer. Put in a little refin’d sugar. It must stand in the chimney corner fourteen days and be shaken two or three times a day.

This iron gall ink would then be applied to the page with an old-fashioned quill. But on the quality of the pages themselves, Austen was quite particular. One of her favorites was “a quarto stationer’s notebook… bound with quarter tanned sheep over boards sided with marbled paper. The edges of the leaves [were] plain cut and sprinkled red.” 

Better find yourself some quarter tanned sheep. No self-respecting Austenite would be caught dead without a sheep leather notebook!

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