American Essay Writers Since the 18th Century

Over the years, essayists have used their skill to bring the reading public amazing insights into the world around them, complex philosophical issues and hopes for the future. Throughout history there have been a number of notable voices and here we’ve rounded up a few of the most influential.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the leaders of the Transcendentalist movement during the mid-19th century alongside fellow writers Henry David Thoreau, for whom Emerson was a mentor, and Frederic Henry Hedge.  Emerson wrote on a variety of subjects but focused mainly on nature and the nature of man.  His 1836 essay Nature was the basis for the entire Transcendentalist movement, a belief that God, or any divine being, is shown through every natural thing and that studying the world around us is the only way to truly understand spirituality.  Emerson remains popular today and the Transcendentalist movement remains a popular belief today.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May AlcottBest known for her novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott also wrote several essays and shorter works.  Her subjects included human rights, abolitionism and politics which provided a sharp contrast to her works of fiction.  Alcott’s writing style is more classic and refined which can make her essays a challenging reading.  Her approach on issues regarding human rights and feminism were considered extremely progressive at the time and, even today, her ideas, concepts and observations are keenly astute and remain timely.  Alcott’s essays can be harder to come by since she is more well known for her fictional works, but collections of her shorter writings are ideal for an audience with an interest in human relationships.

Mark Twain

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Twain changed his name after working on a river boat where ‘mark twain’ is jargon amongst the crew.  Twain used at least two other pen names before settling on his most famous and, as a result, a complete bibliography of his work can be difficult to find.  Twain wrote novels and essays and enjoyed injecting humor into all of his writing.  In an essay on advice to youth he recommends obeying your parents “when they are present” and to use caution with lying “otherwise you are nearly sure to get caught.”  Twain’s casual style of writing made both his essays and novels popular with the public at that time as well as today.  His self-depreciating approach has also made him an iconic writer.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F Scott FitzgeraldFrancis Scott Fitzgerald is well known for his books and short stories, especially since so many of them have been developed into movies.  Both The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Great Gatsby have been adapted recently as big budget movies and his stories and writing style are forever intertwined with the 1920s.  His essays aren’t so well known, but for the readers willing to take time and find them among other works, they are real treasure.  The most well-known collection of his essays and letters is called The Crack Up and it offers a poignant insight into the author’s transformation from celebrated author to an alcoholic.  This chronicle of the lowest part of his life ultimately served as his elegy as the collection was published shortly after his death.  Nevertheless, Fitzgerald’s ability to blend romance, opulence and gritty realism has made him one of the most iconic writers in history.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway has been compared to an Iceberg not only for his personality, but for his writing style.  Hemingway approached all of his subjects by challenging his readers to look beyond the surface and to consider old or common subjects in a new light.  The writer is particularly well known for his use of short, powerful sentences and was gifted at conveying larger than life stories and characters in a simple, stripped down voice which gave his words even more power.

Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, Miami Bookfair International, 1988When it comes to writers who have changed the landscape of American literature, Hunter Thompson rides at the head of the pack.  His own brand of immersive writing, known as Gonzo Journalism, redefined journalism and has become a common and popular approach in both printed journalism and television.  Thompson’s most iconic work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was originally published in 1971, was made into a successful movie in 1998, introducing a whole new generation to Thompson.  His essays are typically described as visceral, offensive and thought provoking.  Thompson’s style is especially attractive for young writers, thirsty for their work to make a difference.  Thompson’s political essays helped to bring the back-room drama of politics out into the open and his innovative style still resonates with readers today.

These writers are only a handful of the amazing essayists people enjoy.  Today, well known authors like David Sedaris, Jesse Bering, Sarah Vowell and John Jeremiah Sullivan continue to make essays contemporary, proving to readers young and old that the format is still as relevant as ever. Essayists give readers the opportunity to expand their minds, challenge their beliefs and reframe their thoughts, proving that a few thousand words can change a life.

Haley Osborne

Haley is a freelance writer and a blogger for essaytigers.com, a company providing essay writing solution. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Who Are You Really? The History of Identity Theft

It seems bad things always come with the good. And for many, the bad that came with the goodness of technology was identity theft. However, identity theft far predates the first online shopping experience.

Let’s take a look at how this criminal act has evolved over time.

Identity Theft in the Bible

This criminal act dates back to Biblical times. In fact, in the book of Genesis we discover the first recorded instance of identity theft.

Esau and JacobThough Esau and Jacob were twins, Esau was Dad’s favorite and Jacob was preferred by Mom. When the brothers suspected Dad was on his last leg, Esau asked for his blessing (which would impact the inheritance as well). His father consented, but asked Esau to prepare him a meal first.

Sneaky Mom wanted Jacob to get all the glory, so she whipped up a scam with her favorite boy. They both knew Dad could hardly see and would rely on touch to identify his favorite. Since Esau was a hairy fella, Jacob covered his arms with animal hair.

Jacob snuck in and presented his hairy arms to Dad while Esau was still getting dinner ready. When Dad felt the hairy arm, he believed Esau was in his presence and therefore gave Jacob the blessing.

Essentially, Jacob got all the financial and agricultural gains that were due to Esau because he lied about who he was. Thusly, identity theft began…

Wild West and Gangster Style Identity Theft Continue reading

Nietzsche – Philosophy In An Hour

Friedrich Nietzsche was born 15 October 1844, in Saxony, which was by this time a province of the increasingly powerful kingdom of Prussia. Nietzsche was descended from a long line of tradesmen, including hatters and butchers, but his grandfather and father were both Lutheran pastors. Nietzsche’s father was a patriotic Prussian who held his king, Friedrich

Wilhelm IV, in high esteem. When Ludwig Nietzsche’s first son was born on the king’s birthday, it was obvious that he had little chance of being named Otto. By an utterly meaningless coincidence, all three men were to die insane.

NietzscheThe Little Pastor

Nietzsche was now brought up in Naumburg in a house full of “holy women,” which included a mother, a younger sister, a maternal grandmother, and two slightly loopy maiden aunts. This appears to have affected Nietzsche’s attitude toward women in later life. At the age of thirteen he went to boarding school at nearby Pforta, one of the top private boarding schools in Germany.

Nietzsche, very much the product of his pious, mollycoddled upbringing, became known as “the little pastor” and carried off all the prizes. But he was so brilliant that eventually he couldn’t help thinking for himself. By the age of eighteen he was beginning to doubt his faith. The clear–sighted thinker couldn’t help noticing the square pegs in the round holes of the world about him. Typically this thinking appears to have been done in complete isolation. Throughout his life Nietzsche was to be influenced in his thought by very few living people (and not many dead ones either).

God is dead

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Clara Zetkin – a summary

Clara Zetkin was, during the late 19th and early 20th century, a prominent German communist. With a strong sympathy for the proletariat causes, Zetkin argued that only through a class revolution, one that would overthrow capitalism, could women finally be considered and treated equally. Most of her work was as a prominent supporter, but not member, as women were not permitted to join, of the German Social Democratic Party and, later, as a founder of the German Communist Party. With an ally in Vladimir Lenin, Zetkin was a feminist who advocated the liberation of women using Marxist reform.

Early Life

Clara ZetkinClara Zetkin was born Clara Eissner on 5 July 1857, the eldest of three to a schoolteacher and church organist father. She was raised in Wiederau, near Leipzig, in Germany. Her stepmother, previously the widow of the local doctor, influenced her from an early age. She learned of women’s education societies and became an activist for economic power and equal rights for women.

At the age of 15, Clara’s family moved to Leipzig and there, in 1875, she began formal studies at Schmidt and Otto’s Van Steyber Institute. She was influenced by the German Women’s Association and continued her studies while reading local periodicals and publications, and attending Association meetings.

Professional Life

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The Dieppe Raid – a summary

In August 1942, Winston Churchill, Great Britain’s wartime prime minister, flew to Moscow and there met for the first time the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. Fourteen months before, on 22 June 1941, Hitler had launched Operation Barbarossa, Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, the largest military invasion ever conducted. Almost immediately, Stalin was urging Churchill to open a second front by attacking Nazi-occupied Europe from the West, thereby forcing Hitler to divert troops to the west and alleviating in part the enormous pressure the Soviet Union found itself under. Now, as Churchill prepared to meet Stalin, German forces were bearing down on the strategically and symbolically important Russian city of Stalingrad.

Churchill knew that if Germany were to defeat the Soviet Union then Hitler would be able to concentrate his whole military strength on the west. But although tentative plans for a large-scale invasion were afoot, to act too quickly, too hastily, would be foolhardy. Churchill withstood Stalin’s pressure. There would be no second front for at least another year. But, in the meanwhile, Churchill was able to offer a ‘reconnaissance in force’ on the French port of Dieppe, with the objective of drawing away German troops from the Eastern Front. Whether Stalin was at all appeased by this morsel of compensation, Churchill does not say.

Operation Jubilee

Dieppe Raid German defenceThus, in the early hours of 19 August 1942, the Allies launched Operation Jubilee – the raid on Dieppe, 65 miles across from England. 252 ships crossed the Channel in a five-pronged attack carrying tanks together with 5,000 Canadians and 1,000 British and American troops plus a handful of fighters from the French resistance. Nearing their destination, one prong ran into a German merchant convoy. A skirmish ensued. More fatally, it meant that the element of surprise had been lost – aware of what was taking place, the Germans at Dieppe were now waiting in great numbers.

Pictured: German soldiers defending the French port of Dieppe against the Anglo-Canadian raid, 19 August 1942.

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A Quick Visitors’ Guide to Ancient Greece

With the remains of many temples, battlefields and ancient Greek cities dotted across the Greek countryside, it’s no surprise that so many flock to soak up the sights of Greece every year. As the original location of the Olympic Games, over 3,000 years ago, and home to the famous Parthenon, we explore some of the country’s top ancient sites.

Paestum

Located in southern Naples, Paestum consists of three ancient temples; the Temple of Neptune, Hera and Ceres, also known as the Temple of Athena. This historic site contains impressive defensive walls, a Roman forum, ancient tombs, plus the remains of an amphitheatre. Along with a fascinating local museum, the ancient Greek town of Paestum, originally founded in the 6th century BCE, is a tourist hotspot certainly worth visiting.

Olympia

Temple of ZeusHome to the most famous sporting event in history, Olympia was the birthplace of the Olympic Games back in 776 BCE. Athletes came from neighbouring lands and headed to Olympia to compete against each other in these epic games over 3,000 years ago, and now visitors can walk through the extraordinary ruins of the area. Not only that, Olympia is where the Temple of Zeus resides, one of the largest temples in the southern Greek peninsula of Peloponnese. Originally built with 104 columns, a mere 15 still stand today and are decorated intricately with mythical scenes.

Delphi Continue reading

The Kaiser’s War EPOS

Press release from a new digital magazine entitled EPOS:

EPOSOur first issue of EPOS, 1914-1918: The Kaiser’s War, chronicles the events of the First World War in a refreshingly new light. Illustrated by over two hundred historical photographs, interactive maps, authentic recordings of the time, and rare, and often colourized, film sequences.

The EPOS IOS App was launched in Germany this year and has had an energetic reception from readers all over the country. The iTunes App Store considered it to be the Best iPad App of the Month in May. This month we are launching an English version for our international audience.

EPOS is one of the first ever digital magazines which truly capitalizes on the phenomenon of user interaction through animated graphics, frequent scrolling and parallax effects, to fully immerse the reader in the content that is on offer to them.

Worth having a look, we think, and good value too:
Price: $7.99, €6.99, £5.49.

See more at: http://www.epos-mag.com/?lang=en_US

Two World Wars: The Hero Connection

Seventy years ago this past June, the armies of the Allies — young men who had grown up in the shadow of the previous war — landed on the beaches of Normandy to put an end to what had begun, in a sense, 30 Junes earlier on the streets of Sarajevo when Franz Ferdinand lost his life to an assassin’s bullet.

WW2 US heroesThe connections between the two world wars are myriad but one that most Americans never consider is this: both conflicts were fought with courage if not heroism. Americans make an immediate association between the concept of hero and the Second World War thanks, in part, to a continuous stream of related television and film productions featuring our Greatest Generation. But the First World War? Most of us know too little about it to make that connection.

And heroism requires a cause. World War II clearly had it. World War I did not, at least initially. The nationalism and related territorial claims that stirred Europe to war in 1914 hardly constituted a good vs. evil situation.

Brave Little Belgium

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Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife – a summary

As is the case with her husband, we know remarkably little about the life of William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. There is no record of either her birth or her baptism, but the inscription on her gravestone indicates that she was 67 years old when she died in 1623. This suggests she was born in 1556, which would make her eight years older than her husband.

Anne HathawayAnne was the eldest of eight children born to local farmer and landowner, Richard Hathaway. It is assumed that the first three children were borne by Richard’s first wife, and the woman listed as her mother, Joan Hathaway, was, in fact, Anne’s stepmother. We have no information as to the identity of Anne’s biological mother, nor do we know for sure if Richard had ever married her.

(Pictured: Drawing purportedly of Anne Hathaway).

Childhood

The family was raised in the village of Shottery, about a mile-and-a-half from Stratford-upon-Avon. Their home was a twelve-room farmhouse which has since become known as Anne Hathaway’s Cottage – a rather misleading nickname considering it is much larger than a cottage, and it never actually belonged to Anne. As the eldest girl, Anne would have been expected to help with the care of her younger siblings and with the upkeep of the farmhouse. We have no information about the education she received, although it is doubtful that she attended school. This does not necessarily mean, however, that Anne was illiterate, as has often been suggested. In fact, given that her family were ardent Protestants, it is likely she would have been taught to read, if only to enable her to study the Bible.

Hasty marriage to William Continue reading