The Downfall of Oscar Wilde

On Valentine’s Day in 1895, the most famous playwright in the English speaking world, Oscar Wilde, presented his new play, The Importance of Being Earnest, in London at St. James Theatre.…

What Voltaire Meant by 'One Must Cultivate One's Own Garden'

It is crucial to note the subtitle of 18th century Europe’s most famous novel, written in three inspired days in 1759: ‘Candide – or Optimism’. If there was one central target…

James Baldwin

James Baldwin was a novelist, essayist and activist whose writings on racism and the idea of self-acceptance in 20th century America challenged readers to investigate their innermost thoughts and beliefs.

Camus and The Plague

Camus was drawn to his theme because, in his philosophy, we are all - unbeknownst to us - already living through a plague: that is a widespread, silent, invisible disease that…

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

People have always had trouble pronouncing his name. The 19th-century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, was once mocked in Parliament for getting it wrong. If you don’t speak German, it’s not…

Charles Dickens  

Charles Dickens was the most famous writer in the English language during the nineteenth century and he remains one of the best selling authors of all time. He can seem remote:…