If a picture speaks a thousand words, a love letter or a poem speaks a thousand more... Even in this age of e-mail, faxes, and instant messaging, nothing has ever replaced the power of a love letter or that of a poem. LIST OF POEMS: 1. Lord Byron - She Walks in Beauty 2. Christina Rossetti - I Loved You First: But Afterwards Your Love 3. Walt Whitman - A Glimpse 4. W.Shakespeare - Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds 5. John Donne - The Good-Morrow 6. K.Gibran - Love One Another 7. Robert Browning - Meeting At Night 8. E.Dickinson - My River 9. P.B. Shelley - Love's Philosophy 10. Alfred Tennyson - Maud 11. E.A. Poe - Annabel Lee 12. J.Keats - Bright Star 13. Andrew Marvell - To His Coy Mistress 14. E.A. Poe - To Helen 15. R.Tagore - Unending Love 16. Elizabeth B. Browning - How Do I Love Thee? 17. Ella W. Wilcox - I Love You 18. E.Dickinson - Wild Nights 19. Sara Teasdale - I Am Not Yours 20. E.A.Poe - A Valentine 21. George Etherege - Sylvia 22. W.Shakespeare - My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun 23. Michael Drayton - Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part 24. Samuel T. Coleridge - Love 25. R.Burns - A Red, Red Rose 26. T.Wyatt - Whoso List To Hunt 27. Patience Worth - Who Said That Love Was Fire? 28. W.Shakespeare - Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day? 29. E.Dickinson - That I Did Always Love 30. C.Brennan - Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her 31. O.Wilde - We Are Made One with What We Touch and See 32. C.Marlowe - Who Ever Loved That Loved Not At First Sight? 33. E.Dickinson - Come Slowly, Eden 34. W.Shakespeare - My Love Is As A Fever, Longing Still 35. Unknown - The Maiden's Song 36. P.B. Shelley - Indian Serenade 37. E.A. Poe - A Dream Within A Dream 38. W.Morris - Love Is Enough 39. John Clare - First Love 40. P.B. Shelley - Music When Soft Voices Die (To --) 41. Thomas Moore - Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms 42. R.L. Stevenson - Love What Is Love 43. Anne Bradstreet - To My Dear And Loving Husband 44. John B. O'Reilly - A White Rose 45. Ralph W. Emerson - Give All To Love 46. Leigh Hunt - Jenny Kiss'd Me 47. Dante G. Rossetti - A Little While 48. W.Scott - Lochinvar 49. John Wilmot - Love And Life 50. Robert Herrick - Sweet Disorder LIST OF LOVE LETTERS Ludwig van Bethoveen - The Immortal Beloved Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas Emma Darwin to Charles Darwin Vita Sackville-West & Virginia Woolf - Love Letters Honoré de Balzac to Countess Ewelina Haska Napoleon Bonaparte to Joséphine de Beauharnais John Keats to Fanny Brawne Lord Byron to Teresa Guiccioli Voltaire to Olympe Dunover Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn Leo Tolstoy to Valeria Arsenev Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet Nathaniel Hawthorne to Sophia Hawthorne Jack London to Anna Strunsky Johann von Goethe to Charlotte von Stein James Joyce to Nora Barnacle Abigail Adams to John Adams Sullivan Ballou to Sarah Ballou Harriet B. Stowe to Her Husband, Calvin Pietro Bembo to Lucrezie Borgia Charlotte Brontë to Constantin Heger Lewis Carroll to Gertrude Chataway Catherine Of Aragon to Henri VIII Mark Twain to Olivia Langdon John Constable to Maria Oliver Cromwell to Elizabeth Cromwell Ninon De L'Enclos to One Of Her Lovers Alfred de Musset to Amantine Aurore Dudevant Zelda Fitzgerald to F. Scott Fitzgerald Mary Wollstonecraft to William Godwin Heloise - Letter to Peter Abelard Count Gabriel Honore de Mirbeau to Sophie Lyman Hodge to Mary Granger, His Fiancee King Henry IV Of France to Gabrielle d'Estrées Franz Liszt to the Countess d'Agoult Katherine Mansfield to John Middleton Murry Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his wife Constanze Thomas Otway to Mrs Barry Ovid to his wife Robert Schumann to Clara Wieck Vincent Van Gogh to Theo, his brother Tsarina Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas II Of Russia Laura Lyttleton - Letter to Alfred, Her Husband
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William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564. The date of his birth is unknown but is celebrated on 23 April, which happens to be St George's Day, and the day in 1616 on which Shakespeare died.
Aged eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. They had three children. Around 1585 William joined an acting troupe on tour in Stratford from London, and thereafter spent much of his life in the capital. By 1595 he had written five of his history plays, six comedies and his first tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. In all, he wrote thirty-seven plays and much poetry, and earned enormous fame in his own lifetime in prelude to his immortality.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a celebrated American poet, chiefly known for his controversial and highly original poetry collection Leaves of Grass. Born in 1819 on Long Island, he worked as a journalist, teacher, government clerk, and volunteer nurse during the Civil War.
Whitman published his seminal work in 1855 with his own money, soon becoming one of the world's most popular and influential poets. After suffering a stroke in 1873 he retired to Camden, New Jersey, where he died nineteen years later - just two months after the final edition of Leaves of Grass appeared on sale.
Poet, philosopher and artist, Kahlil Gibran was born in 1883 near Mount Lebanon, a region that has produced many prophets. His poetry has been translated into more than twenty languages. His drawings and paintings have been exhibited in the great capitals of the world and compared by Auguste Rodin to the work of William Blake. Kahlil Gibran died in 1931.
Poet, philosopher and artist, Kahlil Gibran was born near Mount Lebanon. The millions of Arabic-speaking peoples familiar with his writings in that language consider him the genius of his age, but his fame and influence spread far beyond the Near East. His poetry has been translated into more than twenty languages and his drawings and paintings have been exhibited all over the world.
His many works include The Prophet, his masterpiece of religious inspiration; The Garden of the Prophet; The Storm: Stories and Prose Poems; The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart; Jesus: The Son of Man; The Voice of Kahlil Gibran, an anthology of his writings; The Vision: Reflections on the Way of the Soul; and Spirit Brides. He was for many years the leader of a Lebanese literary circle in New York, where he died in 1931.
Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886) lived in almost complete isolation from the outside world, but maintained many correspondences and read widely.
Upon her death, Dickinson's family discovered 40 handbound volumes of her poems, which she had assembled herself.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is one of America's greatest and best-loved writers.
Known as the father of the detective story, Poe is perhaps most famous for his short stories particularly his shrewd mysteries and chilling, often grotesque tales of horror he was also an extremely accomplished poet and a tough literary critic.
Poe's life was not far removed from the drama of his fiction. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by a foster family. As a young man, he developed problems with gambling, debts, and alcohol, and was even dismissed from the army.
His love life was marked by tragedy and heartbreak. Despite these difficulties, Poe produced many works now considered essential to the American literary canon.
John Keats (1795-1821) was one of the most important poets of the Romantic period.
A doctor by training before, he was the author of some of the most widely-loved poems in the English language, including "Ode to a Nightingale", "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and "The Eve of St. Agnes."
Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) was an English playwright and poet, who through his establishment of blank verse as a medium for drama did much to free the Elizabethan theatre from the constraints of the medieval and Tudor dramatic tradition.
His first play Tamburlaine the Great, was performed that same year, probably by the Admiral's Men with Edward Alleyn in the lead. With its swaggering power-hungry title character and gorgeous verse the play proved to be enormously popular; Marlowe quickly wrote a second part, which may have been produced later that year. Marlowe's most famous play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, based on the medieval German legend of the scholar who sold his soul to the devil, was probably written and produced by 1590, although it was not published until 1604. Historically the play is important for utilizing the soliloquy as an aid to character analysis and development.
The Jew of Malta (c. 1590) has another unscrupulous aspiring character at its centre in the Machiavellian Barabas. Edward II (c. 1592), which may have influenced Shakespeare's Richard II, was highly innovatory in its treatment of a historical character and formed an important break with the more simplistic chronicle plays that had preceded it.
Marlowe also wrote two lesser plays, Dido, Queen of Carthage (date unknown) and The Massacre at Paris (1593), based on contemporary events in France. Marlowe was killed in a London tavern in May 1593. Although Marlowe's writing career lasted for only six years, his four major plays make him easily the most important predecessor of Shakespeare.
William Morris (1834-1896) was one of the most influential thinkers and artists of his time. At Oxford, with the painter Burne-Jones, he fell under the influence of Ruskin and Rossetti.
Preoccupied with the poverty of modern design he taught himself at least thirteen crafts and founded his own design firm, Morris & Co.
In the late 1870s he became active in political and environmentalist matters and converted to socialism in 1883, helping to found the Socialist League a year later.
Thomas Moore is the author of the New York Times bestselling Care of the Soul and 19 other books on cultivating a deeper, soulful life. He was a monk for 12 years, a musician, a university professor and a psychotherapist. Today, he lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, psychotherapy and the arts.
Oprah Winfrey referred to him as one of the top elders of the spirituality movement in our time. He has been awarded numerous honours, including the Humanitarian Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
Three of his books (The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, Dark Nights of the Soul and Writing in the Sand) have won the prestigious Books for a Better Life award. He is a patron of Re-Vision, a London centre of spirituality and counselling, and is on the board of Turning Point, a bereavement counsellors training programme in Dublin, Ireland. He writes regular columns for Resurgence, Spirituality & Health and The Huffington Post.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied law but preferred writing and in 1881 was inspired by his stepson to write Treasure Island.
Other famous adventure stories followed including Kidnapped, as well as the famous collection of poems for children, A Child's Garden of Verses. Robert Louis Stevenson is buried on the island of Samoa.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803-April 27, 1882) was a famous lecturer, philosopher, poet, and writer. He led the transcendentalist movement of the 1800s, mentored Henry David Thoreau, and was a pioneer of multiculturalism in American writing.
Charles Darwin (1809–19 April 1882) is considered the most important English naturalist of all time. He established the theories of natural selection and evolution.
His theory of evolution was published as On the Origin of Species in 1859, and by the 1870s is was widely accepted as fact.
Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882. After her father's death in 1904 Virginia and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to Bloomsbury and became the centre of ‘The Bloomsbury Group’. This informal collective of artists and writers exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture.
In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a writer and social reformer. Three years later, her first novel The Voyage Out was published, followed by Night and Day (1919) and Jacob's Room (1922). Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to The Waves (1931).
She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography. On 28 March 1941, a few months before the publication of her final novel, Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf committed suicide.
Vita Sackville-West was born in 1892 at Knole in Kent, the only child of aristocratic parents. In 1913 she married diplomat Harold Nicolson, with whom she had two sons and travelled extensively before settling at Kent’s Sissinghurst Castle in 1930, where she devoted much of her time to creating its now world-famous garden.
Throughout her life Sackville-West had a number of other relationships with both men and women, and her unconventional marriage would later become the subject of a biography written by her son Nigel Nicolson.
Though she produced a substantial body of work, amongst which are writings on travel and gardening, Sackville-West is best known for her novels The Edwardians (1930) and All Passion Spent (1931), and for the pastoral poem The Land (1926), which was awarded the prestigious Hawthornden Prize. Sackville-West died on 2 June 1962 at her Sissinghurst home, aged seventy.
Voltaire (1694 1778) was a French man of letters and a leading figure of the Enlightenment, known for his outspokenness and polemical writings.
The philosophical novellas Candide and Zadig are among his most celebrated works.
Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.
Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.
Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”
Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.
Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a distinguished surgeon and a doctor's daughter. After three unhappy years of studying law in Paris, an epileptic attack ushered him into a life of writing. Madame Bovary won instant acclaim upon book publication in 1857, but Flaubert's frank display of adultery in bourgeois France saw him go on trial for immorality, only narrowly escaping conviction.
Both Salammbo (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) were poorly received, and Flaubert's genius was not publicly recognized until Three Tales (1877). His reputation among his fellow writers, however, was more constant and those who admired him included Turgenev, George Sand, Victor Hugo and Zola. Flaubert's obsession with his art is legendary: he would work for days on a single page, obsessively attuning sentences, seeking always le mot juste in a quest for both beauty and precise observation.
His style moved Edmund Wilson to say,'Flaubert, by a single phrase - a notation of some commonplace object - can convey all the poignance of human desire, the pathos of human defeat; his description of some homely scene will close with a dying fall that reminds one of great verse or music.' Flaubert died suddenly in May 1880, leaving his last work, Bouvard and Pécuchet, unfinished.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote the bulk of his masterful tales of American colonial history.
His career as a novelist began with The Scarlet Letter (1850) and also includes The house of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun.
Jack London (1876 - 1916), lived a life rather like one of his adventure stories. He was born John Chaney, the son of a travelling Irish-American fortune-teller and Flora Wellman, the outcast of a rich family. By the time Jack was a year old, Flora had married a grocer called John London and settled into a life of poverty in Pennsylvania. As Jack grew up he managed to escape from his grim surroundings into books borrowed from the local library - his reading was guided by the librarian.
At fifteen Jack left home and travelled around North America as a tramp - he was once sent to prison for thirty days on a charge of vagrancy. At nineteen he could drink and curse as well as any boatman in California! He never lost his love of reading and even returned to education and gained entry into the University of California. He soon moved on and in 1896 joined the gold rush to the Klondyke in north-west Canada. He returned without gold but with a story in his head that became a huge best-seller - The Call of the Wild - and by 1913 he was the highest -paid and most widely read writer in the world. He spent all his money on his friends, on drink and on building himself a castle-like house which was destroyed by fire before it was finished. Financial difficulties led to more pressure than he could cope with and in 1916, at the age of forty, Jack London committed suicide.
Titles such as The Call of the Wild, The Sea-Wolf and White Fang continue to excite readers today.
James Joyce was born in Dublin on 2 February 1882, the eldest of ten children in a family which, after brief prosperity, collapsed into poverty. He was none the less educated at the best Jesuit schools and then at University College, Dublin, and displayed considerable academic and literary ability.
Although he spent most of his adult life outside Ireland, Joyce's psychological and fictional universe is firmly rooted in his native Dublin, the city which provides the settings and much of the subject matter for all his fiction.
He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922) and its controversial successor Finnegans Wake (1939), as well as the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). James Joyce died in Zurich, on 13 January 1941.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1811, the seventh child of a well-known Congregational minister, Lyman Beecher. The family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she met and married Calvin Stowe, a professor of theology, in 1836.
Living just across the Ohio River from the slave-holding state of Kentucky, and becoming aware of the plight of escaping slaves, led her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in book form in 1842. She wrote the novel amidst the difficulties of bringing up a large family of six children.
The runaway success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin made its author a well-known publish figure. Stowe died in 1896.
The eldest of the famous sisters, Charlotte Bronte (1816–55) is best known as the author of Jane Eyre. The Brontes' first book - a collection of their poems, published under pseudonyms and at their own expense - met with scant notice.
Yet despite their remote Yorkshire residence, far from the London literary scene, and their tragically brief lives, all three achieved immortality with their individual novels. Charlotte's works are particularly prized for their moving and articulate depictions of the plight of educated but impoverished women in Victorian society.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri.
Writing grand tales about Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Mark Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy, and a sharp eye for truth. He became nothing less than a national treasure.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) was an educational, political and feminist writer who early in her life worked as a companion, teacher and governess.
In 1788 she settled in London as a translator and reader for the publisher Joseph Johnson, becoming part of the radical set that included Paine, Blake, Godwin and the painter Fuseli. Her great work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was published in 1792.
She lived in Paris during the French Revolution and had a child by the American Gilbert Imlay, who deserted her. She returned to London in 1795 and, following her attempted suicide, became involved with Godwin, whom she married in 1797, shortly before the birth (which proved fatal) of her daughter, the future Mary Shelley. She left several unfinished works, including Maria.
Katherine Mansfield, short-story writer and poet, was born Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp in 1888 in Wellington. At 19, she left for the UK and became a significant Modernist writer, mixing with fellow writers such as Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot and DH Lawrence.
She wrote five collections of short stories, the final one being published posthumously by her husband, the writer and critic John Middleton Murry, along with a volume of her poems and another of her critical writings, and subsequently there have been collections of her letters and journals.
She died of tuberculosis at the age of 34 at Fontainebleau. Although New Zealand settings do feature in her works, she looked to European movements in writing and the arts for inspiration, and also wrote stories with a European setting.
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