For any literary teenager in the '60s, reading Kerouac's "On the Road" was a must. But immediately following that came Hermann Hesse's study of the Buddha's early life, "Siddhartha." It comes as no surprise, for Hesse was one of the major literary influences on the Beat generation ("Siddhartha" was
In 1922, Rainer Maria Rilke was staying at the Chateau de Muzot in Switzerland. His masterwork, the "Duino Elegies," had lain unfinished for seven years, and the poet was hoping to find some peace and solitude in which to complete it. Rilke had recently come across a Renaissance painting of the mythi
Known to refer to herself on occasion as "Zora, Queen of the Niggerati," Zora Neale Hurston cut a provocative figure during the Harlem Renaissance, both in her person and in her writing. As folklorist, teacher, anthropologist, and author, Hurston was a champion of black heritage. She visited Haiti an
All writers struggle with the weight of moral responsibility, even if they profess to create an amoral art. Few writers, however, have carried this burden through the confluence of political and cultural rivers in the way Chinua Achebe has.
Achebe came of age in Africa's largest country, Nigeria,