The Horse Stealer weaves a dark comedy tale about a drunken hospital assistant named Yergunov. On his return from getting supplies for the hospital he worked at, he gets caught in a wintery storm and loses his way, and ends up in a local tavern. The inhabitants of the tavern are Kalashnikov and Merik, well-known horse stealers, and a young woman name Lyubka. During the festivities, the story pivots around the conversations of the group, Yergunov’s exclusion from the inner circle, and the ultimate loss of his horse and hospital supplies. Chekhov weaves humor and tragedy to highlight the social divisions at the time, providing a provocative sense of who deserves societal privilege and value.
Anton Chekhov (29 January 1860–15 July 1904) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer who is considered to be one of the greatest writers of all time. His career as a playwright produced well-known classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov is referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theatre. Chekhov was a physician by profession. “Medicine is my lawful wife”, he once said, “and literature is my mistress.”
The Festival is a short story by the American author H.P. Lovecraft, written in 1923 and published by Weird Tales in 1925. It is significant within the context of Lovecraft’s body of work and the broader genre of horror fiction. The story showcases Lovecraft’s distinctive writing style, characterized by its imaginative use of horror, the occult, and supernatural elements, as well as its rich descriptions of ancient and otherworldly settings.
The Festival is representative of Lovecraft’s concept of “cosmic horror,” which involves a sense of awe and terror inspired by the realization of the insignificance of humanity in the face of an uncaring and monstrous universe. The story draws upon the extensive mythology that Lovecraft created over the course of his writing, which includes the Ancient Ones, a group of powerful extraterrestrial beings who predate humanity and threaten its existence. Overall, The Festival is considered a classic of horror fiction and a seminal work in the development of the cosmic horror genre. It continues to be widely read and appreciated by fans of horror and weird fiction.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American writer of supernatural horror fiction. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and began writing fiction as a teenager.
He is best known for his works of cosmic horror, in which humanity is threatened by beings and forces beyond its understanding or control. Some of his most famous works include “The Call of Cthulhu” and “At the Mountains of Madness.” Lovecraft’s writing has had a profound and lasting impact on the horror genre, and he is considered one of the most important authors of weird fiction of the 20th century.
Despite his lack of recognition and financial success during his lifetime, Lovecraft’s works have been widely influential. They have been adapted into various media, including films, comic books, and video games.
HE is a short story by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in August 1925, and first published in Weird Tales, in September 1926. The story HE was written after an all-night tour of the remnants of Old New York. By 7 a.m. the next morning, Lovecraft had reached Elizabeth, New Jersey by ferry, where he bought a dime composition book and wrote the story in Elizabeth’s Scott Park. The court off Greenwich Village’s Perry Street actually exists. Lovecraft learned of its existence in a New York Evening Post article of August 29, 1924. The stranger’s house is apparently based on a mansion on the block bounded by Perry, Bleecker, Charles, and West 4th streets, built as early as 1744 and demolished in 1865.
Lovecraft had moved to New York City in March 1924 for his short-lived marriage to Sonia Greene. He moved back to Providence, Rhode Island in April 1926, having developed a thorough aversion to New York. The opening paragraphs of HE are believed to be largely autobiographical, expressing Lovecraft’s own feelings about the city.
A suggested literary model for “He” is Lord Dunsany’s The Chronicles of Rodriguez, in which a wizard displays visions of past and future wars in successive windows.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American writer of weird, science, fantasy, and horror fiction. He is best known for his creation of the Cthulhu Mythos.
He became active in the speculative fiction community and was published in several pulp magazines. and later became the center of a wider group of authors known as the “Lovecraft Circle”. They introduced him to Weird Tales, which would become his most prominent publisher. Lovecraft’s literary corpus is based on the idea of cosmicism, which was simultaneously his personal philosophy and the main theme of his fiction. Cosmicism posits that humanity is an insignificant part of the cosmos, and could be swept away at any moment. He incorporated fantasy and science fiction elements into his stories, representing the perceived fragility of anthropocentrism. This was tied to his ambivalent views on knowledge. His works were largely set in a fictionalized version of New England.
Civilization’s decline also plays a major role in his works, as he believed that the West was in decline during his lifetime. Lovecraft’s early political opinions were conservative and traditionalist. Following the Great Depression, Lovecraft became a socialist, no longer believing a just aristocracy would make the world a fairer place.
The path to redemption is intricately told in this beloved and well-known holiday story by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge is a tight-fisted old man, with not a bit of kindness in his icy heart. But one night Scrooge is visited by his dead partner, Jacob Marley who foretells the visits of three spirits. These three spirits visit Scrooge in succession to show him a glimpse of his own Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. Listen to this wonderful and heartwarming tale to see if the supernatural visits change the heart of Scrooge and save him from the chains that grip Marley.
This English novelist is considered one of history’s greatest novelists, known for his rich storytelling and memorable characters. He is a rare form of writer that actually achieved massive worldwide popularity in his own lifetime. Some of his other famous novel works include David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and the Adventures of Oliver Twist.
The Gift of the Magi is a short story by O. Henry first published in 1905. The story tells of a young husband and wife and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been popular for adaptation, especially for presentation at Christmas time. The plot and its twist ending are a classic example of irony in literature, a technique in which an expectation of what is supposed to occur differs greatly from the actual outcome.
William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910), better known by his pen name O. Henry, was an American writer known primarily for his short stories, though he also wrote poetry and non-fiction. His works include “The Gift of the Magi”, “The Duplicity of Hargraves”, and “The Ransom of Red Chief”, as well as the novel Cabbages and Kings. Porter’s stories are known for their naturalist observations, witty narration, and surprise endings.
The Night Before Christmas has been called arguably the best-known verse ever written by an American. It is the quintessential holiday poem telling of a visit from Santa Claus, complete with eight reindeer and a bundle of presents, and is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. The Santa Clause concept has had a massive effect on the history of Christmas gift-giving. Before the poem gained wide popularity, American ideas had varied considerably about Saint Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors.
Clement Clarke Moore composed the poem for his children on a snowy winter’s day during a shopping trip on a sleigh. His inspiration for the character of Saint Nicholas was a local Dutch handyman as well as the historic Saint Nicholas. Moore originated many of the features that are still associated with Santa Claus today while borrowing other aspects, such as the use of reindeer. The poem was first published anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel on 23 December 1823, having been sent there by a friend of Moore, and was reprinted frequently thereafter with no name attached. It was first attributed in print to Moore in 1837. Moore himself acknowledged authorship when he included it in his own book of poems in 1844.
Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 – July 10, 1863) was an American writer and Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature as well as Divinity and Biblical Learning at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in New York City.
He is credited and is most widely known as the author of the Christmas poem originally known as A Visit from St. Nicholas, first published anonymously in 1823. It later became widely known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and has been published in numerous illustrated versions in various languages.
The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from Saint Nicholas)
by Clement Clarke Moore
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
The philosopher king is a hypothetical ruler in whom political skill is combined with philosophical knowledge. The concept of a city-state ruled by philosophers is first explored in Plato’s Republic, written around 375 BC. Plato argued that the ideal state – one which ensured the maximum possible happiness for all its citizens – could only be brought into being by a ruler possessed of absolute knowledge, obtained through philosophical study.
Plato was a Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
Plato is widely considered a pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle. He has often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality, Western political philosophy, and greatly influenced Christianity.
This story represents one of the archetypal and sorrowful dilemmas of an artist, which is the inability to live out their creative life on a realistic plane. As we follow the story we find the artist talking grandiosely about his magnificent artwork ideals, the values of what encompasses great works and his intimate studies of the great works as it relates to his own life. Sadly we find out that execution was not a part of his romantic plan. Then as you follow this modern tragedy what you will find is the enduring quality of the artistic soul as it clashes with the reality of modernity.
Henry James was an American-born British author who is regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism. James relocated to Europe as a young man, and eventually settled there, finally becoming a British citizen in 1915, a year before his death. James was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912, and 1916.
This is a short story about Georg Bendemann and his relationship with his aging father. While Georg is telling his father about his friend in Russia his father goes into a rage, ridiculing and degrading his son. Then at the end of his rant, he issues his final judgment – death by drowning.
Franz Kafka was a Czechoslovakian writer who lived from 1883-1924. Though virtually unknown during his lifetime, Kafka has come to be known as one of the most influential writers of his century. His writings have been recognized as symbolizing modern man’s anxiety-ridden and grotesque alienation in an unintelligible, hostile, or indifferent world.
The idea of perpetual youth has always been part of human mythos epitomized by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon searching for the Fountain of Youth in 1513. As age descends on us all, every individual looks back at their youth as the golden age of life. Every person wishes that science would develop a miracle cure for aging so they could live their youthful days in perpetuity. There is never a thought given to the downside of perpetual youth. Kurt Vonnegut takes a nose shot at the youthful mythos in The Big Trip Yonder.
The original story is set in 2185 A.D., 102 years after the invention of a medicine called Anti-Gerasone, which halts the aging process and prevents people from dying of old age as long as they keep taking it. As a result, generations are crammed into one apartment, where the only sense of space is Gramp’s bedroom. Somehow the idyllic concept of perpetual youth takes a nosedive as the futuristic story unfolds.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was an American writer known for his satirical and darkly humorous novels. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, 3 short-story collections, 5 plays, and 5 nonfiction works; further collections have been published after his death.