Leonard Norman Cohen(1934.9.21 ~ 2016.11.7)

 

was a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and painter. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.

 

Cohen pursued a career as a poet and novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s; he did not launch a music career until 1967, at the age of 33. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was followed by three more albums of folk music: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974). His 1977 record Death of a Ladies' Man was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, which was a move away from Cohen's previous minimalist sound. In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences. Perhaps Cohen's most famous song, "Hallelujah" was first released on his studio album Various Positions in 1984. I'm Your Man in 1988 marked Cohen's turn to synthesized productions and remains his most popular album. In 1992, Cohen released its follow-up, The Future, which had dark lyrics and references to political and social unrest.

 

Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. His eleventh album, Dear Heather, followed in 2004. After a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2010, Cohen released three albums in the final four years of his life: Old Ideas (2012), Popular Problems (2014) and You Want It Darker (2016), the last of which was released three weeks before his death.

 

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Hermann Hesse(1877.7.2 ~ 1962.8.9)

 

was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 

Hesse observed the rise to power of Nazism in Germany with concern. In 1933, Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann made their travels into exile, each aided by Hesse. In this way, Hesse attempted to work against Hitler's suppression of art and literature that protested Nazi ideology. Hesse's third wife was Jewish, and he had publicly expressed his opposition to anti-Semitism long before then. Hesse was criticized for not condemning the Nazi party, but his failure to criticize or support any political idea stemmed from his "politics of detachment  At no time did he openly condemn, although his detestation of their politics is beyond question." From the end of the 1930s, German journals stopped publishing Hesse's work, and the Nazis eventually banned it.

 

The Glass Bead Game was Hesse's last novel. During the last twenty years of his life, Hesse wrote many short stories and poems . Hesse also wrote ironic essays about his alienation from writing and spent much time pursuing his interest in watercolors. Hesse also occupied himself with the steady stream of letters he received as a result of the Nobel Prize and as a new generation of German readers explored his work. In one essay, Hesse reflected wryly on his lifelong failure to acquire a talent for idleness and speculated that his average daily correspondence exceeded 150 pages. He died on 9 August 1962, aged 85, and was buried in the cemetery at San Abbondio in Montagnola, where Hugo Ball and the great conductor Bruno Walter are also buried.

 

 

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Nagisa Oshima(大島 渚, 1932.3.31 ~ 2013.1.15)

 

was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. His films include In the Realm of the Senses (1976), a sexually explicit film set in 1930's Japan, and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), about Japanese WW2 prisoners of war.

 

In 1983 Oshima had a critical success with a film made partly in English, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, set in a wartime prison camp, and featuring rock star David Bowie and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, alongside Takeshi Kitano. The movie has become a cult classic.[citation needed] Max, Mon Amour (1986), written with Luis Buñuel's frequent collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, was a comedy about a diplomat's wife (Charlotte Rampling) whose love affair with a chimpanzee is quietly incorporated into an eminently civilised ménage à trois.

 

 

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Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud(1854.10.20 ~ 1891.11.10)

 

was a French poet who is known for his influence on modern literature and arts, which prefigured surrealism. Born in Charleville-Mézières, he started writing at a very young age and was a prodigious student, but abandoned his formal education in his teenage years to run away from home amidst the Franco-Prussian War. During his late adolescence and early adulthood he began the bulk of his literary output, but completely stopped writing at the age of 21, after assembling one of his major works, Illuminations.

 

Rimbaud was known to have been a libertine and for being a restless soul, having engaged in an at times violent romantic relationship with fellow poet Paul Verlaine, which lasted nearly two years. After the end of his literary career, he traveled extensively on three continents as a merchant before his death from cancer just after his thirty-seventh birthday. As a poet, Rimbaud is well known for his contributions to Symbolism and, among other works, A Season in Hell, which was a significant precursor to modernist literature.

 

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Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre(1905.6.21 ~ 1980.4.15)

 

was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism.

 

His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines.

 

Sartre was also noted for his open relationship with prominent feminist and fellow existentialist philosopher and writer Simone de Beauvoir. Together, Sartre and de Beauvoir challenged the cultural and social assumptions and expectations of their upbringings, which they considered bourgeois, in both lifestyle and thought. The conflict between oppressive, spiritually destructive conformity (mauvaise foi, literally, "bad faith") and an "authentic" way of "being" became the dominant theme of Sartre's early work, a theme embodied in his principal philosophical work Being and Nothingness (L'Être et le Néant, 1943). Sartre's introduction to his philosophy is his work Existentialism and Humanism (L'existentialisme est un humanisme, 1946), originally presented as a lecture.

 

He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused it, saying that he always declined official honours and that "a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution".

 

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