21 April, 2009

René Mayer


René Mayer was born on 4 May 1895, in Paris and died on 13 December 1972, in Paris. Mayer was a French Radical politician of the Fourth Republic who served briefly as Prime Minister during 1953. He led the Mayer Authority from 1955 to 1958.

Louis Seigner


Louis Seigner, born 23 June 1903 to Arcisse, hamlet of the commune of Saint-Chef in the Isère, and died on 20 January 1991, his apartment in Paris, is a french film, theater. He was a professor at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art and french dean of the Comédie-Française.

Louis de Cazenave


Louis de Cazenave was, at the time of his death, the oldest French poilu still alive. As of December 11, 2007, he was the fourth-oldest man in Europe and the eleventh-oldest man in the world as well, until his own death just 40 days later.

Born and raised in Saint-Georges-d'Aurac and mobilized at the end of 1916, he found himself on the colonial infantry front in the 5th Senegalese Tirailleur Battalion, and he took part in the battle of Chemin des Dames.

At the end of the war, de Cazenave returned to Haute-Loire and married in 1920 to Marie, a postmistress with whom he had three sons. He became a railwayman, joining the predecessor to the SNCF. His experiences led him to become a convinced pacifist; later on, he participated in the strikes and demonstrations of the Popular Front in 1936 before going into retirement in 1941. During the Nazi occupation of France, he subscribed to the banned left-wing libertarian journal La Patrie Humaine and was imprisoned by the pro-Nazi regime.

He lived in Brioude with his family. Although at first refusing any decorations, de Cazenave accepted the Légion d’honneur in 1995, along with several other veterans.

Jean-Pascal Delamuraz


Jean-Pascal Delamuraz was a Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council (1983-1998).

He obtained a degree in political science in 1960 and became that same year deputy director of the Swiss National Exhibition (Expo 64). He was a member of the Lausanne City Parliament for ten years (1960-70). In 1970, he was elected to the Municipal Council in charge of Public works.

After the election of Georges-André Chevallaz to the Federal Council, Delamuraz was appointed Mayor of Lausanne, and from 1981 to 1983 was a member of the Government of the Canton of Vaud in charge of the Department of Agriculture, Industry and Trade. He belonged to the National Council from 1975 until 1983, and was for two years chairman of the control committee. He fought for Switzerland's membership of the European Economic Area and of the World Trade Organisation, and played a decisive role in shaping the new Swiss agricultural policy.

Delamuraz was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on December 7, 1983, and handed over office on March 30, 1998. He was affiliated to the Free Democratic Party and served as secretary general of its Vaud (cantonal) section. He started the bilateral negotiations that led to the adoption of seven agreements with the European Union.

A very popular political figure, Delamuraz was elected honorary president of the New Swiss European Movement (NOMES). He died a few months after his resignation leaving a widow, Catherine Delamuraz, a son and a daughter.

During his time in office he held the following departments:

Federal Military Department (1984–1986)
Federal Department of Economic Affairs (1987–1998)
He was also President of the Confederation twice, in 1989 and 1996.

Otto Stich


Otto Stich is a Swiss politician.

He was elected to the Federal Council of Switzerland on 7 December 1983 and handed over office on 31 October 1995. He is affiliated to the Social Democratic Party.

During his time in office he held the Federal Department of Finance and was President of the Confederation twice in 1988 and 1994.

Arthur Honegger


Arthur Honegger was a Swiss composer, who was born in France and lived a large part of his life in Paris. He was a member of Les Six. His most frequently performed work is probably the orchestral work Pacific 231, which is interpreted as imitating the sound of a steam locomotive.

Born Oscar-Arthur Honegger (the first name was never used) in Le Havre, France, he initially studied harmony and violin in Paris, and after a brief period in Zurich, returned there to study with Charles Widor and Vincent d'Indy. He continued to study through the 1910s, before writing the ballet Le dit des jeux du monde in 1918, generally considered to be his first characteristic work. In 1926 he married Andrée Vaurabourg, a pianist and fellow student at the Paris Conservatoire. They had one daughter, Pascale, born in 1932. Honegger also had a son, Jean-Claude (1926-2003), with the singer Claire Croiza.

In the early 1920s Honegger shot to fame with his "dramatic psalm" Le Roi David ("King David"), which is still in the choral repertoire. Between World War I and World War II, Honegger was very prolific. He composed the music for Abel Gance's epic 1927 film, Napoléon. He composed nine ballets and three vocal stage works, amongst other works. One of those stage works, Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher (1935), a "dramatic oratorio", is thought of as one of his finest works. In addition to his works written alone, he collaborated with Jacques Ibert on both an opera, L'Aiglon (1937), and an operetta. During this time period he also wrote Danse de la Chèvre (1921), an essential piece of flute repertoire. Dedicated to René Le Roy and written for flute alone, this piece is lively and young, but with the same directness of all Honegger's work.

Honegger had always remained in touch with Switzerland, his parents' country of origin, but with the outbreak of the war and the invasion of the Nazis, he found himself unable to leave Paris. He joined the French Resistance and was generally unaffected by the Nazis themselves, who allowed him to continue his work without too much interference. However, he was greatly depressed by the war. Between its outbreak and his death, he wrote his last four symphonies (numbers two to five) which are among the most powerful symphonic works of the 20th century. Of these, the third, subtitled Symphonie Liturgique with its three movements evoking the Latin Mass (Dies Irae, De profundis clamavi and Dona nobis pacem), is probably the best known. Written in 1946 just after the end of the war, it has parallels with Benjamin Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem of 1940. In complete contrast with this work is the lyrical, nostalgic Symphony no. 4, subtitled "Deliciae Basilienses" ("The Delights of Basel") and written as a tribute to days of relaxation spent in that Swiss city during the war.

Honegger was widely known as a train enthusiast, and once notably said: "I have always loved locomotives passionately. For me they are living creatures and I love them as others love women or horses." His "mouvement symphonique" Pacific 231 (a depiction of a steam locomotive) gained him early notoriety in 1923.

His works were championed by his long time friend Georges Tzipine, who conducted the premiere recordings of some of them (Cris du Monde oratorio, Nicolas de Flüe).

In 1953 he wrote his last composition, A Christmas Cantata. Arthur Honegger died at home of a heart attack on November 27, 1955 and was interred in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris.

Paul-Émile Victor


Paul-Émile Victor was a French ethnologist and explorer.

Victor was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He graduated from École Centrale de Lyon in 1928. In 1934, he participated in an expedition traversing Greenland. After World War II he initiated the Expéditions polaires françaises to organize French polar expeditions. He died in 1995 on Bora Bora, to which he had retired in 1977.

Mount Victor, in the Belgica Mountains of Antarctica, is named for him.

Jean Rostand


Jean Rostand was a French biologist and philosopher.

Active as an experimental biologist, Rostand became famous for his work as a science writer, as well as a philosopher and an activist. His scientific work covered a variety of biological fields such as amphibian embryology, parthenogenesis and teratogeny, while his literary output extended into popular science, history of science and philosophy.

He was the son of playwright Edmond Rostand and poetess Rosemonde Gérard as well as the brother of novelist and playwright Maurice Rostand.

Following the footsteps of his father, Rostand was elected to the prestigious Académie française in 1959.

Rostand was a dynamic activist in several causes, in particular against nuclear proliferation and the death penalty. An agnostic, he demonstrated deep humanist convictions. He wrote several books on the question of eugenism and the responsibilities of mankind regarding its own fate and its place in nature.

Henri-Georges Clouzot


Henri-Georges Clouzot was a French film director, screenwriter and producer.

Clouzot was born in Niort, Deux-Sèvres. After studying classics at university, he first attempted to make his living as a journalist. However, in the 1930s, he worked as supervisor for a dubbing film company in Berlin, where he was exposed to the groundbreaking camerawork of the German cinema of the time. On his return to France, he began to work on film scripts, and then made his directorial debut with L'assassin habite au 21 (1942), which starred Pierre Fresnay and Suzy Delair. The film was made for the Continental Film Company, which had been set up in the occupied part of France at the behest of the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels intended the company to produce pure entertainment, in the hope of keeping French moviegoers content (Hollywood films were banned under the occupation).

Clouzot's next film for Continental, Le Corbeau (1943), also starred Pierre Fresnay alongside popular leading lady Ginette Leclerc. The movie is a noir thriller concerning a spate of poison pen letters in a small French town. Critics have seen this as a comment on life under the occupation, where denunciations were common.[citation needed] After the liberation in 1944, the film became the subject of controversy as to whether it was a subtle work of resistance or an act of collaboration; either way, the film defied Continental's remit for making films with limited intellectual content. Because of the scandal, Clouzot was temporarily suspended from his professional activities in 1945. When he returned to film directing, he won several awards at the Venice Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival with Quai des orfèvres (1947), Manon (1949), and Le Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear) (1952), all of which were also very popular with audiences.

Clouzot had a pessimistic view of society, as is shown in later films. These include Les Diaboliques (1954), a macabre thriller which presents an ambivalent and ambiguous pair of women, played by Simone Signoret and Véra Clouzot, who both appear to be plotting the murder of a sadistic headmaster (Paul Meurisse), the lover of the first and the husband of the second; Le Mystère Picasso (1956), a documentary on the method of the painter and the birth of few of his paintings; and La Vérité (1960), a drama starring Brigitte Bardot.

Henri-Georges Clouzot died in Paris on January 12, 1977.

Gustave Roud


Gustave Roud is a poet and a photographer romand Swiss born on 20 April 1897 at St. Légier in canton Vaud and died on 10 November 1976 at the hospital in Moudon.

He studied classics and obtained a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Lausanne and published his first poems in the book Waldenses (1915)

After an unfortunate attempt, he gives to education and settled permanently in Carrouge, and is dedicated to its activities: writing poetry, translation, art critic, and also photography.

His first book, Goodbye, seems at the Editions of Aquarius in Lausanne in 1927. It coordinates with Ramuz, from 1930 to 1932, the weekly magazine today where he became the secretary of the drafting. From 1936 to 1966 he worked in the reading panel editions of the Book Guild.

In the 1940s, he published his translations (Hölderlin, Novalis, Rilke and Trakl)
Gustave Roud was a talented and passionate photographer, who has made a real work, but remained little known in this field, having been removed from distribution. Cultural recognition and social, in fact, been limited to his poetry by a local environment which has not always appealed to the quality of his work considered as a secondary passion. It is one of the few creators binder so intimate writing and photography, for example in different registers, Lewis Carroll and Denis Roche.

In his search inside the landscapes that surround it and the beings that inhabit them, are a matter of questioning, their faces and their bodies in everyday life of days become the support of his intelligence, his sensitivity, its fragility, of his desire. This expression is the manifestation of the subtle relationship between one be torn and his surroundings.

Jean Giono


Jean Giono was a French author renowned for his works of fiction set in the Provence region of France.

He was born and lived for many years in Manosque, Haute Provence. After finishing his studies at the local high school, he worked as a bank employee until World War I, during which he served as a soldier. In 1919, he returned to the bank and a year later, married a childhood friend with whom he had two children. He left the bank in 1930 to dedicate himself to writing on a full-time basis, after the success of his first novel, Colline.

In 1953, he was the recipient of the Prince Rainier of Monaco literary prize, awarded for his lifetime achievements. He later became a member of the Académie Goncourt in 1954 and joined the Conseil Littéraire of Monaco in 1963.

Among his most famous writings are the three novels of his "Pan Trilogy", which allude to the Greek God Pan and pantheism: Colline, Un de Baumugnes, and Regain. He is also well known for the book Voyage in Italy and the short story The Man Who Planted Trees (1953).

The Man Who Planted Trees has a particular resonance in the early 21st century, with its strong ecological, human-scale sustainability message.

André Breton


André Breton was a French writer, poet, and surrealist theorist, and is best known as the main founder of Surrealism. His writings include the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as pure psychic automatism.

Born to a family of modest means in Tinchebray (Orne) in Normandy, he studied medicine and psychiatry. During World War I he worked in a neurological ward in Nantes, where he met the spiritual son of Alfred Jarry, Jacques Vaché, whose anti-social attitude and disdain for established artistic tradition influenced Breton considerably. Vaché committed suicide at age 24 and his war-time letters to Breton and others were published in a volume entitled Lettres de guerre (1919), for which Breton wrote four introductory essays.

In 1919 Breton founded the review Littérature with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. He also connected with Dadaist Tristan Tzara. In 1924 he was instrumental to the founding of the Bureau of Surrealist Research.

In The Magnetic Fields (Les Champs Magnétiques), a collaboration with Soupault, he put the principle of automatic writing into practice. He published the Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, and was editor of La Révolution surréaliste from 1924. A group coalesced around him — Philippe Soupault, Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard, René Crevel, Michel Leiris, Benjamin Péret, Antonin Artaud, and Robert Desnos.

Anxious to combine the themes of personal transformation found in the works of Arthur Rimbaud with the politics of Karl Marx, Breton joined the French Communist Party in 1927, from which he was expelled in 1933. During this time, he survived mostly off the sale of paintings from his art gallery.

Under Breton's direction, Surrealism became a European movement that influenced all domains of art, and called into question the origin of human understanding and human perceptions of things and events.

In 1935, there was a conflict between Breton and Ilya Ehrenburg during the first "International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture" which opened in Paris in June. Breton, had been insulted by Ehrenburg -- along with all fellow surrealists -- in a pamphlet which said, among other things, that surrealists were "pederasts". Breton slapped Ehrenburg several times on the street, which led to surrealists being expelled from the Congress. Crevel, who according to Salvador Dalí, was "the only serious communist among surrealists" was isolated from Breton and other surrealists, who were unhappy with Crevel because of his homosexuality and upset with communists as a whole.

In 1938 Breton accepted a cultural commission from the French government to travel to Mexico. After a conference held at the National Autonomous University of Mexico about surrealism, Breton stated after getting lost in Mexico City (as no one was waiting for him at the airport) "I don't know why I came here. Mexico is the most surrealist country in the world".

However, visiting Mexico provided the opportunity to meet Trotsky. Breton and other surrealists sought refuge via a long boat ride from Patzcuaro to the surreal town of Erongaricuaro. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were among the visitors to the hidden community of intellectuals and artists. Together, Breton and Trotsky wrote a manifesto Pour un art révolutionnaire indépendent (published under the names of Breton and Diego Rivera) calling for a "complete freedom of art", which was becoming increasingly difficult in the world situation of the time.

In 1939 Breton collaborated with artist Wifredo Lam on the publication of Breton's poem "Fata Morgana", which was illustrated by Lam.

Breton was again in the medical corps of the French Army at the start of World War II. The Vichy government banned his writings as "the very negation of the national revolution" and Breton and escaped with the help of the American Varian Fry to the United States and the Caribbean in 1941. Breton learned to know Martinican writer Aimé Césaire, and later penned the introduction to the 1947 edition of Césaire's Cahier d'un retour au pays natal. During his exile in New York City he met Elisa, the Chilean woman who would become his third wife.

In 1944, he and Elisa traveled to the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec, Canada, where he wrote Arcane 17, a book which expresses his fears of World War II, describes the marvels of the Rocher Percé and the northeastern end of North America, and celebrates his newly found love with Elisa.

Breton returned to Paris in 1946, where he intervened against French colonialism (for example as a signatory of the Manifesto of the 121 against the Algerian war) and continued, until his death, to foster a second group of surrealists in the form of expositions or reviews (La Brèche, 1961-1965). In 1959, André Breton organized an exhibit in Paris.

André Breton died in 1966 at 70 and was buried in the Cimetière des Batignolles in Paris.

Lionel Rose


Lionel Edward Rose is an Australian bantamweight boxer, now retired, who became the first Aboriginal in boxing history to win a world title.

Born and raised at Jackson's Track near the Victorian town of Warragul[1], Rose grew up in hardship, learning to box from his father, Roy, a useful fighter on the tent-show circuit. According to the boxing historian Grantlee Kieza, Rose "sparred with rags on his hands in a ring made from fencing wire stretched between trees".

At the age of 10, Rose struck up a friendship with a press photographer, Graham Walsh, who encouraged him and bought him his first pair of gloves. Aged about 15, he came under the tutelage of Frank Oates, a Warragul trainer. He won the Australian amateur flyweight title at age 15.

Rose began his professional boxing career on 9 September 1969, outpointing Mario Magriss over eight rounds. This fight was in Warragul, but the majority of Rose's fights were to be held in Melbourne. Along the way he was helped by Jack and Shirley Rennie, in whose Melbourne home he stayed, training every day in their backyard gym.

After five wins in a row, on 23 July 1965, he was rematched with Singtong Por Tor, whom Rose had beaten in a 12-round decision. Por Tor inflicted Rose's first defeat, beating him on points in six rounds. On 14 October of the same year, he had his first fight abroad, beating Laurie Ny by a decision in 10 rounds at Christchurch, New Zealand.

Over his next nine fights, he had a record of eight wins and one loss, with one knockout. The lone loss in those nine fights was to Ray Perez, against whom Rose split a pair of bouts. Then, on 28 October 1966, Rose met Noel Kunde at Melbourne, for the Australian bantamweight title. Rose won the title by defeating Kunde in a fifteen round decision.

He won one more belt in 1966, and eight in 1967 (including a thirteenth round knockout win against Rocky Gattelari to defend his Australian championship) before challenging Fighting Harada for the world's bantamweight title on 26 February 1968, in Tokyo. Rose made history by becoming the first Aboriginal to be a world champion boxer when he defeated Harada in a 15-round decision. This win made Rose an instant national hero in Australia, and an icon among Aboriginals. A public reception at Melbourne Town Hall was witnessed by a crowd of more than 100,000. On 2 July of that year, he returned to Tokyo to retain his title with a 15 round decision win over Takao Sakurai. Then, on 6 December, he met Chucho Castillo at the Inglewood Forum in Inglewood, California. Rose beat Castillo by decision, but the points verdict in favour of him infuriated many in the pro-Castillo crowd, and a riot began: 14 fans and fight referee Dick Young were hospitalised for injuries received.

Rose was Australian of the Year in 1968, the first Aboriginal to be awarded the honour. The same year he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

On 8 March 1969, Rose retained the title with a 15-round decision over Alan Rudkin, but five months later he returned to Inglewood, where he faced Ruben Olivares on 22 August. Rose lost the world bantamweight title to Olivares via a fifth-round knockout.

Rose continued boxing after his defeat against Olivares, but, after defeats against practically unknown fighters, many believed he was done as a prime fighter. However, he was far from finished: he upset future world lightweight champion Itshimatsu Suzuki on 10 October 1970 in a 10-round decision, and once again, he positioned himself as a world title challenger, albeit in the lightweight division, 17 pounds over the division where he crowned himself world champion.

Despite having lost to Jeff White for the Australian lightweight title, Rose got another world title try when he faced WBC world junior lightweight champion Yoshiaki Numata, on 30 May 1971, at Hiroshima. Numata beat Rose by a fifteen round decision, and Rose announced his retirement soon after.

In 1975, he came back, but after losing four of his next six bouts, including one against Rafael Limon, Rose decided to retire for good. Rose compiled a record of 42 wins and 11 losses as a professional boxer, with 12 wins by knockout.

Lionel Rose was able to manage his money and make good financial decisions, and he has enjoyed the monetary benefits his career brought him. Lionel was showcased in 2002 in the Ring Magazine section Where are they now?.

During his off time from boxing in the 1970s, Rose embarked on a successful singing career in Australia having hits with I Thank You and Please Remember Me in 1970.

In 1996, Rose presented young burns-attack victim Tjandamurra O'Shane with his world-title belt, hoping to speed the youngster's recovery. O'Shane, also an Aborigine, had been the victim of an horrific attack in Cairns the previous year.

In 2007 Rose suffered a stroke that left him with speech and movement difficulties.

Lars Ahlin


Lars Ahlin was an award winning Swedish author and aesthetician.

Ahlin left school when he was 13 to support his family, although he later attended several folk high schools. When he was 18, he had a mystical experience. He eventually moved to Stockholm, where he wrote two unpublished novels before his first success, Tåbb med manifestet (Tåbb with the Manifesto, 1943). The story, about a young proletarian who rejects the values of communism in favor of a secularized Lutheran theology where man is judged by his deeds, without preconceived notions, set the stage for his subsequent works. Critics have compared Ahlin to Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Thomas Mann. Among the awards he received are the Prize of the Nine in 1960, the Great Novel Prize in 1962, and the Small Nobel Prize in 1966.

Luigi Santucci


Luigi Santucci was a writer, novelist, poet and commediografo Italian.

Considered critical by Milan's main narrator of the second half of the twentieth century. He attended the Jesuit college in Milan Istituto Leone XIII. He graduated in literature, convinced anti-fascist, fled during the Second World War in Switzerland. Back in Italy taught letters in a school of Gorizia and then at the Catholic University of Milan. Falls in the tradition of Catholic writers lombardi (Carlo Bo called it "the most important Catholic writer of his time"), is deeply religious.

Finalist at Campiello Prize in 1964 with his novel The velocifero and winner in 1967 with the novel Orpheus in paradise.

Sir Eric Pearce


Sir Eric Pearce was a broadcaster and television pioneer in Australia.

Pearce started his career in England and worked for the BBC before moving to Australia. This led to him working at numerous radio stations in the pre-television era, in particular 3DB and 3XY in Melboure. He was also Manager of 5KA Adelaide.

When television came to Australia in 1956, many radio figures sought and achieved employment in the new medium. Sir Eric was no exception, moving to HSV Channel 7 in Melbourne working as newsreader and quiz show host. He felt news readers required credibility and that doing anything other than news for a job was ill-advised. When GTV Channel 9 offered him employment as chief news reader without him having to do any other shows, he took it.

For years he read the news to Melbournians with a catchphrase sign-off "God bless you, and you," the second "you" being directed at his wife. He is best regarded for his coverage of the Moon landing in 1969.

He was a patron for the Deaf Blind Association and an elderly person's home was named after his support.

Made a knight bachelor in 1979 for his services to television in the Commonwealth of Australia, he died on Saturday 12 April 1997, aged 92, still working for GTV Channel 9 as a news advisor and head of correspondence.

Alf Ahlberg


Alf Ahlberg was a Swedish writer, humanist and philosopher.

Ahlberg was born in 1892 in Laholm, Sweden, the son of Axel Ahlberg and Anna Lindskog, and the brother of the architect Hakon Ahlberg. He studied at the University of Lund and came to know in particular Sigfrid Lindstrom and Gunnar Aspelin. In the summer he stayed in Lund to read Schopenhauer in the botanical garden at the foot of Aagardhs statue. He took the MBA in 1911 and his Ph.D in 1917 with the thesis Material problems of Platonism: Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Bruno: a historical-critical study. Later was a senior teacher at a college in Stockholm and was a lecturer at the Arbetarinstitutet. In 1927, he became a teacher at the workers educational institute, Brunnsvik, and in 1932 he became the headmaster, which he remained until his retirement in 1959. For several years he wrote frequently in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. In 1933, he married Edith Larsson, who died in 1944. 1946 he remarried with MA Rut Davidsson.

Ahlberg was mainly known for his scientific works on philosophy. One of the most noted works, ”The social and political myths” (1937), is about Nazi propaganda and mythology. In ”Escape from loneliness” (1949) he investigated why the contemporary citizen is so susceptible to propaganda. His main work of the "History of philosophy" was excellent as it was the first of its kind and sold in several editions (the last and fifth revised edition was published in 1967). In 1935 it was followed up by History of Psychology. He also wrote several biographies on, for example, Augustine, John Malmberg, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, and made translations of José Ortega y Gasset.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alf_Ahlberg"

Richard Donner


Richard Donner is an American film director, film producer, and comic book writer. The production company The Donners' Company is owned by Donner and his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner. After directing the horror film The Omen Donner became famous for the hailed creation of the first modern superhero film, Superman, starring Christopher Reeve. The influence of this film eventually helped establish the superhero concept as a respected film genre. Furthermore, Donner reinvigorated the buddy film genre with Lethal Weapon and its sequels.

Donner was born Richard Donald Schwartzberg in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Hattie and Fred Schwartzberg; he has a sister, Joan. Donner started his career with hopes of acting but quickly moved into directing commercials and making business films. He moved into television in the late 1950s, directing some episodes of the Steve McQueen western serial Wanted: Dead or Alive and the Chuck Connors western The Rifleman.

He has worked on over twenty-five other television series including The Fugitive, Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone (most notably the famous "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" starring William Shatner), as well as the serial Danger Island from the children's program The Banana Splits. His first film, the low-budget military drama X-15 (1961) starring Charles Bronson, was not a great success, and he returned to television work.

His break-through film was in 1976 with The Omen, produced in the 'horror boom' following The Exorcist.

In 1978, Richard Donner directed the film Superman: The Movie, starring a then unknown Christopher Reeve. The film became a hit worldwide, projecting both Reeve and Donner to international fame. Armed with two scripts for Superman and the sequel Superman II, he shot principal photography for both films to save on set dressing and actor/crew overheads. However, the original ending for the first film where Superman flew from accident to disaster was deemed to be missing a certain something by the film's independent financiers Ilya Salkind and his father Alexander Salkind. The scripted time reversal ending of Superman II was taken to pad out and fulfill Superman once the film had been identified as a priority with a view to piece together an alternative end to the second film later.

After the first film's successful release in December 1978, Donner was offered the director's role a second time, but demanded that producer Pierre Spengler be removed from the project. Rather than give in to this demand, the Salkinds replaced him with director Richard Lester, who worked with them on The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers and as an uncredited producer on Superman. The decision to remove him from the film series, made by producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind, has been widely viewed by many fans[who?] as a huge mistake on the Salkinds' part, as the subsequent Superman films helmed by their preferred director Richard Lester, while still breaking the $100 million mark for domestic USA alone were perceived as being of poorer quality and quickly resulted in a downward spiral in popularity for the series.

The demands of Marlon Brando to receive the same percentage of cut for Superman II as he received for Superman regardless of how much previous footage was used exacerbated the Salkinds' position to at least walk away from a, by that time, five-year project with profit as Superman was still un-officially paying back creditors. A no-flexibility attitude from both Brando and Donner saw both removed from the series until 2006 when Donner's definitive (or at least, as close to definitive as possible) version of the movie, simply entitled Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was released on November 28, 2006 on the same date as to the DVD release of the summer hit, Superman Returns. The footage includes never-before-seen footage of Marlon Brando, a new opening, a new ending and approximately 83% of Donner footage. Some Richard Lester footage was used to fill in the gaps caused by Donner's never completing principal photography for the sequel before his removal. Michael Thau, the editor of the Richard Donner cut also made some minor use of CGI. However, he did not create CGI villains in order to complete the "villains rule the world scene" which was in the original script, but was never shot by Donner.

Donner has mixed commercial flops (Inside Moves, Radio Flyer) and successes (The Goonies, the Lethal Weapon series and Ladyhawke (1985) - which has enjoyed a large cult following). Donner has received little critical appreciation, although he has a strong following amongst genre fans. In the case of Superman, it was Donner who insisted the subject of the comic book superhero should be treated "straight" rather than "camp", an approach that strongly influenced later genre directors such as Bryan Singer, Tim Burton, and Christopher Nolan, who have made successful superhero films of their own. The influence of Superman: The Movie can, to this day, be seen in superhero films outside the Superman storyline, and even outside the DC Comics universe. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man film is debatably one of the strongest examples of that influence. In the early 1980s, Donner proposed to Warner Brothers a non-camp film version of Batman, to star Mel Gibson.

Giorgio Gaber


Giorgio Gaber was an Italian singer-songwriter, actor and playwright. He was also an accomplished guitar player and author of one of the first rock songs in Italian ("Ciao ti dirò", 1958). Together with Sandro Luporini, he pioneered the musical genre known as teatro canzone ("song theatre").

Born in Milan into a lower middle-class family of Gorizian Slovenian origin, Gaber began to play as rehabilitation for an injury to his hand which required constant but not strenuous activity to recover his motor skill. Since his health as a child was not the best and his older brother Marcello played guitar, he was encouraged to play as well. The outcome was good both in terms of his health and artistically, and at only fourteen years of age he was engaged to play at a New Eve's party and earned his first paycheck of 1,000 lire.

Subsequently he began to frequent the Santa Tecla, a venue in Milan where he had the chance to meet musicians of the time, including Luigi Tenco, Gianfranco Reverberi, Adriano Celentano, Ricky Gianco, and Mogol, who obtained a contract for Gaber with Dischi Ricordi. He then played with the Rocky Mountains Old Time Stompers (replacing Tony Dallara who had left to pursue a solo career) and with Rolling Crew.

Because neither Tenco nor Gaber were yet registered with the Italian Society of Authors and Editors they could not trademark the song "Ciao ti dirò" ("I'll Say Hi to You", inspired by Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock"), which was signed off by Giorgio Calabrese and Giampiero Reverberi despite being composed by Tenco and Gaber.

The two went on to continue writing music together, developing at the same time a close friendship. In 1958 they toured Germany together with Adriano Celentano, Enzo Jannacci, Paolo Tomelleri e Gianfranco Reverberi.

Gaber paired up with Enzo Jannacci as I Due Corsari ("The Two Privateers"), who made their debut at the end of 1958 with two vinyl singles - "Come Facette Mammeta", a classic song of Neopolitan humour, and "Non occupatemi il telefono" ("Don't Hog the Telephone"). They continued to release singles with Dischi Ricordi throughout the following year, and in 1960 released their first album, Giorgio Gaber - Enzo Jannacci.

After a sentimental-artistic companionship with singer and actress Maria Monti, he married Ombretta Colli in 1965, then a student of languages (Chinese and Russian) at the University of Milan.

He participated four times in Sanremo, with the songs "Benzina e cerini" ("Petrol and Matches") in 1961, "Così felice" ("So Happy") in 1964, "Mai, Mai, Mai Valentina" ("Never, Never, Never Valentina") in 1966 and "...E allora dai" ("...Well Come On Then!") in 1967.

In 1969 he set one of his best known successes, "Com'è bella la città" ("How Beautiful the City Is"), an example of the introduction of social matters in a song. The following year, he showed at Piccolo teatro his first ediction of Il Signor G ("Mister G"), a recital he repeated in many Italian squares.

In 1974 he was given the Premio Tenco in the first edition of that musical award. Later Gaber also received the Targa Tenco in 2001 for his song "La razza in estinzione" ("The Dying Race") and in 2003 for the album Io non mi sento italiano ("I Don't Feel Italian"). After the Tenco award Gaber abandoned television and began to tour only in theatres, as one of the founders of the teatro canzone genre. He will appear again in TV, although sporadically, only in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Giorgio Gaber died, after a long disease, the 1 January 2003 in his country house in Montemagno near Camaiore (Lucca, Tuscany). He is interred in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan.

Dizzy Gillespie


John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer, and composer. He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, the youngest of nine children. Dizzy's father, James, was a local bandleader, so instruments were made available to Dizzy. He started to play the piano at the age of 4. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

In addition to featuring in these epochal moments in bebop, he was instrumental in founding Afro-Cuban jazz, the modern jazz version of what early-jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton referred to as the "Spanish Tinge". Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and gifted improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. In addition to his instrumental skills, Dizzy's beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop. He had an enormous impact on subsequent trumpeters, both by the example of his playing and as a mentor to younger musicians.

Dizzy's first pro job was with the Frank Fairfax orchestra in 1935, after which he joined the respective orchestras of Edgar Hayes and subsequently Teddy Hill, essentially replacing his main influence Roy Eldridge as first trumpet in 1937. In 1939, Gillespie joined up with Cab Calloway's orchestra, with which he recorded one of his earliest compositions, the instrumental "Pickin' The Cabbage", in 1940 (originally released on the Vocalion label, #5467, on 78rpm - said 78rpm record backed with a co-composition with Cab's drummer at the time, Cozy Cole, entitled "Paradiddle"). After Dizzy left Calloway in late 1941, over a notorious incident with a knife, he freelanced with a few bands - most notably being Ella Fitzgerald's orchestra, composed of members of the late Chick Webb's band, in 1942. In 1943, Gillespie then joined up with the Earl Hines orchestra. The legendary big band of Billy Eckstine gave his unusual harmonies a better setting, and it was as a member of Eckstine's band that he was reunited with Parker, after earlier being members of Earl Hines's more conventional band.

With Charlie Parker, Gillespie jammed at famous jazz clubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House, where the first seeds of bebop were planted. Gillespie's compositions like "Groovin' High", "Woody n' You", "Salt Peanuts", and "A Night in Tunisia" sounded radically different, harmonically and rhythmically, than the Swing music popular at the time. One of their first (and greatest) small-group performances together was only issued in 2005: a concert in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945. Gillespie taught many of the young musicians on 52nd Street, like Miles Davis and Max Roach, about the new style of jazz. After a lengthy gig at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles, which left most of the audience ambivalent or hostile towards the new music, the band broke up. Unlike Parker, who was content to play in small groups and be an occasional featured soloist in big bands, Gillespie aimed to lead a big band himself; his first attempt to do this came in 1945, but it did not prove a success.

After his work with Parker, Gillespie led other small combos (including ones with Milt Jackson, John Coltrane, Lalo Schifrin) and finally put together his first successful big band. He also appeared frequently as a soloist with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. He also headlined the 1946 independently-produced musical revue film Jivin' in Be-Bop.

In 1948 Dizzy was involved in a traffic accident when the bicycle he was riding was bumped by an automobile. He was slightly injured, and found that he could no longer hit the B-flat above high C. He won the case, but the jury only awarded him $1000, in view of his high earnings up to that point.

On March 11, 1952 Gillespie left for France after being invited by Charles Delaunay to play on Salon du Jazz. Gillespie did not have any other commitments during his time in Paris and on his Blue Star sessions and started to assemble his third big band. Due to his prior success he could now record in the finest studios like Théatre des Champs-Elysées. In 1953 he returned to the United States after a series of successful concerts and recordings, and the 1953 line-up of the Dizzy Gillespie/Stan Getz Sextet featured Gillespie, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Max Roach. As well as his work with Getz, he also recorded on a couple of occasions with saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt.

In 1956 he organized a band to go on a State Department tour of the Middle East and earned the nickname "the Ambassador of Jazz".

He died of pancreatic cancer January 6, 1993, aged 75, and was buried in the Flushing Cemetery, Queens, New York.

Oscar Peterson


Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, "O.P." by his friends, and was a member of jazz royalty. He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest pianists of all time, who played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 65 years.

Peterson grew up in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy, Montreal. It was in this predominantly black neighbourhood that he found himself surrounded by the jazz culture that flourished in the early 20th century. At the age of five, Peterson began honing his skills with the trumpet and piano. However, by the age of seven, after a bout of tuberculosis, he directed all his attention to the piano. His father, Daniel Peterson, an amateur trumpeter and pianist, was one of his first music teachers, and his sister Daisy taught young Oscar classical piano. Young Oscar was persistent at practising scales and classical etudes daily, and thanks to such arduous practice he developed his astonishing virtuosity.

As a child, Peterson also studied with Hungarian-born pianist Paul de Marky, a student of Istvan Thomán who was himself a pupil of Franz Liszt, so his training was predominantly based on classical piano. Meanwhile he was captivated by traditional jazz and learned several ragtimes and especially the boogie-woogie. At that time Peterson was called "the Brown Bomber of the Boogie-Woogie."

At age nine Peterson played piano with control that impressed professional musicians. For many years his piano studies included four to six hours of practice daily. Only in his later years did he decrease his daily practice to just one or two hours. In 1940, at age fourteen, Peterson won the national music competition organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After that victory, he dropped out of school and became a professional pianist working for a weekly radio show, and playing at hotels and music halls.

Peterson resided in a two-storey house on Hammond Road in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, until his his death in 2007 of kidney failure.

Archie Shepp


Archie Shepp is a prominent American jazz saxophonist. Shepp is best known for his passionately Afrocentric music of the late 1960s which focused on highlighting the injustices faced by the African race, as well as for his work with the New York Contemporary Five, Horace Parlan, and his collaborations with his "New Thing" contemporaries, most notably Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane.

Shepp was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he studied piano, clarinet and alto saxophone before focusing on tenor saxophone (he occasionally plays soprano saxophone and piano). Shepp studied drama at Goddard College from 1955 to 1959, but after a lack of success in securing acting jobs after moving to New York, he turned to music professionally. He played in a Latin jazz band for a short time before joining the band of avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor, who at that time was just beginning to blossom from merely a very eccentric Thelonious Monk-influenced young upstart into one of the most important and controversial figures of the 1960s avantgarde. Shepp appeared on Air, The World Of Cecil Taylor and Cell Walk For Celeste, all of which remain defining Taylor recordings

His first notable forays into recording under his own name came with the New York Contemporary Five band, which included Don Cherry. John Coltrane's admiration led to recordings for Impulse!, the first of which was Four for Trane in 1964, an album of mainly Coltrane compositions on which he was sided by his long-time friend, trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Reggie Workman and alto player John Tchicai. The album Giant Steps had been one of Coltrane's best-known, and this collection of new versions on Coltrane's own label was a statement that jazz was not standing still. And Coltrane, Shepp and others were about to move it forward again.

Shepp participated in the sessions for Coltrane's A Love Supreme in early 1965 but none of the takes he participated in were included on the final LP release. However, Shepp, along with Tchicai and others from the Four for Trane sessions, then cut the massively influential and extremely avantgarde Ascension with Coltrane in 1965, and his place alongside Trane at the forefront of the avantgarde scene was epitomized when the pair split a record (the first side a Coltrane set, the second a Shepp set) entitled New Thing at Newport released in late 1965. Some critics felt Shepp was rather too heavily influenced by Coltrane, though Trane's influence at the time was so vast that nearly every saxophonist who was attaining stardom at the time was on the receiving end of this criticism at one point in their careers.

Beginning in 1971, Archie Shepp began a thirty year career as a professor of music at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Shepp's first two courses were entitled "Revolutionary Concepts in African-American Music" and "Black Musician in the Theater."

John Coltrane


John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

Starting in bebop and hard bop, Coltrane later pioneered free jazz. He influenced generations of other musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He was astonishingly prolific: he made about fifty recordings as a leader in his twelve-year-long recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis. As his career progressed, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension.

John Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926, grew up in High Point NC, and moved to Philadelphia PA in June 1943. He enlisted in the Navy in 1945, and played in the Navy jazz band. Coltrane returned to civilian life in 1946 and began jazz theory studies with Philadelphia guitarist and composer Dennis Sandole. Coltrane continued under Sandole's tutelage until the early 1950s. Contemporary correspondence shows that Coltrane was already known as "Trane" by this point, and that the music from some 1946 recording sessions had been played for Miles Davis — possibly impressing the latter.

John Coltrane went to Penn Griffin School for the Arts in High Point, NC.

An important moment in the progression of Coltrane's musical development occurred on June 5th, 1945, when he saw Charlie Parker perform for the first time. In "Coltrane on Coltrane" he recounted: "the first time I heard Bird play, it hit me right between the eyes." Parker became an early idol of his, and they played together on occasion in the late 1940s.

Although there are recordings of Coltrane from as early as 1945, his peers at the time did not recognize 'genius' in the young musician, though he was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early- to mid-1950s.

His main career spanned the twelve years between 1955 and 1967, during which time he reshaped modern jazz and influenced generations of other musicians.

Coltrane died from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital in Long Island, NY on July 17, 1967, at the age of 40.

Giuseppe Ungaretti


Giuseppe Ungaretti was an Italian modernist poet, journalist, essayist, critic and academic. A leading representative of the experimental trend known as ermetismo, he was one of the most prominent contributors to 20th century Italian literature. Influenced by symbolism, he was briefly aligned with futurism. Like many futurists, he took an irredentist position during World War I. Ungaretti debuted as a poet while fighting in the trenches, publishing one of his best-known pieces, L'allegria ("The Joy").

During the interwar period, Ungaretti was a collaborator of Benito Mussolini (whom he met during his socialist accession), as well as a foreign-based correspondent for Il Popolo d'Italia and La Gazzetta del Popolo. While briefly associated with the Dadaists, he developed ermetismo as a personal take on poetry. After spending several years in Brazil, he returned home during World War II, and was assigned a teaching post at the University of Rome, where he spent the final decades of his life and career. His fascist past was the subject of controversy.

Ungaretti was born in Alexandria, Egypt into a family from the Tuscan city of Lucca. As a child, he was nursed by a Nubian nurse named Bahita, and, as an adult, claimed that her influence accounted for his own exoticism. Ungaretti's father worked on digging the Suez Canal, where he suffered a fatal accident in 1890. His widowed mother, who ran a bakery on the edge of the Sahara, educated her child on the basis of Roman Catholic tenets.

Giuseppe Ungaretti's formal education began in French, at Alexandria's Swiss School. It was there that he became acquainted with Parnassianism and Symbolist poetry, in particular with Gabriele d'Annunzio, Charles Baudelaire, Jules Laforgue, Stéphane Mallarmé and Arthur Rimbaud. He also became familiar with works of the Classicists Giacomo Leopardi and Giosuè Carducci, as well as with the writings of maverick author Giovanni Pascoli. This period marked his debut as a journalist and literary critic, with pieces published Risorgete, a journal edited by anarchist writer Enrico Pea. At the time, he was in correspondence with Giuseppe Prezzolini, editor of the influential magazine La Voce. A regular visitor of Pea's Baracca Rossa ("Red House"), Ungaretti was himself a sympathizer of anarchist-socialist circles.

In 1912, the twenty-four year old Giuseppe Ungaretti moved to Paris, France. On his way there, he stopped in Rome, Florence and Milan, meeting face to face with Prezzolini. Ungaretti attended lectures at the Collège de France and the University of Paris, and had among his teachers philosopher Henri Bergson, whom he reportedly admired. The young writer also met and befriended French literary figure Guillaume Apollinaire, a promoter of Cubism and a forerunner of Surrealism. Apollinaire's work to be a noted influence on his own. He was also in contact with the Italian expatriates, including leading representatives of Futurism such as Carlo Carrà, Umberto Boccioni, Aldo Palazzeschi, Giovanni Papini and Ardengo Soffici, as well as with the independent visual artist Amedeo Modigliani.


Upon the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Ungaretti, like his Futurist friends, supported an irredentist position, and called for his country's intervention on the side of the Entente Powers. Enrolled in the infantry a year later, he saw action on the Northern Italian theater, serving in the trenches. In contrast to his early enthusiasm, he became appalled by the realities of war. The conflict also made Ungaretti discover his talent as a poet, and, in 1917, he published the volume of free verse Il porto sepolto ("The Buried Port"), largely written on the Kras front. Although depicting the hardships of war life, his celebrated L'Allegria was not unenthusiastic about its purpose (also if in the poem "Fratelli", and in others, he describes the absurdity of the war and the brotherhood between all the men); this made Ungaretti's stance contrast with that of Lost Generation writers, who questioned their countries' intents, and similar to that of Italian intellectuals such as Soffici, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Piero Jahier and Curzio Malaparte.

By the time the 1918 armistice was signed, Ungaretti was again in Paris, working as a correspondent for Benito Mussolini's paper Il Popolo d'Italia. He published a volume of French-language poetry, titled La guerre ("The War", 1919). In 1920, Giuseppe Ungaretti married the Frenchwoman Jeanne Dupoix, with whom he had a daughter, Ninon (born 1925), and a son, Antonietto (born 1930).

During that period in Paris, Ungaretti came to affiliate with the anti-establishment and anti-art current known as Dadaism. He was present in the Paris-based Dadaist circle led by Romanian poet Tristan Tzara, being, alongside Alberto Savinio, Julius Evola, Gino Cantarelli, Aldo Fiozzi and Enrico Prampolini, one of the figures who established a transition from Italian Futurism to Dada. In May 1921, he was present at the Dadaist mock trial of reactionary author Maurice Barrès, during which the Dadaist movement began to separate itself into two competing parts, headed respectively by Tzara and André Breton. He was also affiliated with the literary circle formed around the journal La Ronda.

The year after his marriage, he returned to Italy, settling in Rome as a Foreign Ministry employee. By then, Mussolini had organized the March on Rome, which confirmed his seizure of power. Ungaretti joined in the National Fascist Party, signing the pro-fascist Manifesto of the Italian Writers in 1925. In his essays of 1926-1929, republished in 1996, he repeatedly called on the Duce to direct cultural development in Italy and reorganize the Italian Academy on fascist lines. He argued: "The first task of the Academy will be to reestablish a certain connection between men of letters, between writers, teachers, publicists. This people are hungers for poetry. If it had not been for the miracle of Blackshirts, we would never have leaped this far." In his private letters to a French critic, Ungaretti also claimed that fascist rule did not imply censorship. Mussolini, who did not give a favorable answer to Ungaretti's appeal, prefaced the 1923 edition of Il porto sepolto, thus politicizing its message.

In 1925, Ungaretti experienced a religious crisis, which, three years later, made him return to the Roman Catholic Church. Meanwhile, he contributed to a number of journals and published a series of poetry volumes, before becoming a foreign correspondent for Gazzetta del Popolo in 1931, and traveling not only to Egypt, Corsica and the Netherlands, but also to various regions of Italy.

It was during this period that Ungaretti introduced Ermetismo, baptized with the Italian-language word for "hermeticism". The new trend, inspired by both Symbolism and Futurism, had its origins in both Il porto sepolto, where Ungaretti had eliminated structure, syntax and punctuation, and the earlier contributions of Arturo Onofri. The style was indebted to the influence of Symbolists from Edgar Allan Poe to Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé and Paul Valéry. Alongside Ungaretti, its main representatives were Eugenio Montale and Salvatore Quasimodo.

Despite the critical acclaim he enjoyed, the poet confronted himself with financial difficulties. In 1936, he moved to the Brazilian city of São Paulo, and became a Professor of Italian at São Paulo University. It was there that, in 1939, his son Antonietto died as a result of a badly performed appendectomy.

In 1942, three years after the start of World War II, Ungaretti returned to Axis-allied Italy, where he was received with honors by the officials. The same year, he was made a Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Rome. He continued to write poetry, and published a series of essays. By then, Ermetismo came to an end, and Ungaretti, like Montale and Quasimodo, had adopted a more formal style in his poetry.

At the close of the war, following Mussolini's downfall, Ungaretti was expelled from the faculty due to his fascist connections, but reinstated when his colleagues voted in favor of his return. Affected by his wife's 1958 death, Giuseppe Ungaretti sought comfort in traveling throughout Italy and abroad. He visited Japan, the Soviet Union, Israel and the United States.

In 1964, he gave a series of lectures at Columbia University in New York City, and, in 1970, was invited by the University of Oklahoma to receive its Books Abroad Prize. During this last trip, Ungaretti fell ill with bronchopneumonia, and, although he received treatment in New York City, died while under doctor supervision in Milan. He was buried in Rome.

Cesare Pavese


Cesare Pavese was an Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator; he is widely considered among the major authors of the 20th century in his home country.

Cesare Pavese was born in Santo Stefano Belbo, in the province of Cuneo. It was the village where his father was born and where the family returned for the summer holidays each year. He did start infant classes in San Stefano Belbo, but the rest of his education was in schools in Turin. As a young man of letters, Pavese had a particular interest in English-language literature, graduating from the University of Turin with a thesis on the poetry of Walt Whitman and translating American and British authors that were then new to the Italian public.

Pavese moved in antifascist circles. In 1935 he was arrested and convicted for having letters from a political prisoner. After a few months in prison he was sent into "confino", internal exile in Southern Italy, the commonly used sentence for those guilty of lesser political crimes. A year later he was back in Turin where he worked for the left wing publisher Giulio Einaudi, as editor and translator.

He was in Rome when he was called up into the fascist army, but because of his asthma he spent six months in a military hospital. When he returned to Turin, German troops occupied the streets and most of his friends had left to fight as partisans. Pavese fled to the hills around Serralunga di Crea, near Casale Monferrato. He took no part in the armed struggle taking place in that area.

After the war he joined the Italian Communist Party and worked on the party's newspaper, L'Unità. The bulk of his work was published during this time. Towards the end of his life, he visited frequently Le Langhe, the area where he was born, where he found great solace. However, love frustrations (Constance Dowling, to whom his last novel was dedicated) and political disillusionment led him to his suicide, by an overdose of barbiturates, in 1950 – the year in which he won the Strega Prize for La Bella Estate, comprising three novellas: 'La tenda', written in 1940, 'Il diavolo sulle colline'(1948) and 'Tra donne sole' (1949).

Leslie Fiedler wrote of Pavese's death "...for the Italians, his death has come to have a weight like that of Hart Crane for us, a meaning that penetrates back into his own work and functions as a symbol in the literature of an age." The circumstances of his suicide, which took place in a hotel room, grossly mimic the last scene of Tra Donne Sole (Among Women Only), his penultimate book. His last book was 'La Luna e i Falò', published in Italy in 1950 and translated into English as The Moon and the Bonfire by Louise Sinclair in 1952

Giorgio Bassani


Giorgio Bassani was an Italian novelist, poet, essayist, editor, and international intellectual.

Bassani was born in Bologna into a prosperous Jewish family of Ferrara, where he spent his childhood with his mother Dora, father Enrico (a doctor), brother Paolo, and sister Jenny. In 1934 he completed his studies at his secondary school, the liceo classico L. Ariosto in Ferrara. Music had been his first great passion and he considered a career as a pianist; however literature soon became the focus of his artistic interests.

In 1935 he enrolled in the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bologna. Commuting to lectures by train (third class) from Ferrara, he studied under the art historian Roberto Longhi. His ideal of the “free intellectual” was the Liberal historian and philosopher Benedetto Croce. Despite the anti-Semitic race laws which were introduced from 1938, he was able to graduate in 1939, writing a thesis on the nineteenth-century writer, journalist, radical and lexicographer Niccolò Tommaseo. As a Jew in 1939, however, work opportunities were now limited and he became a schoolteacher in the Jewish School of Ferrara in via Vignatagliata.

In 1940 his first book, Una città di pianura (“A City of the Plain”), was published under the pseudonym Giacomo Marchi in order to evade the race laws. During this period, along with friends he had made in Ferrara’s intellectual circle, he became a clandestine political activist. His activity in the anti-fascist resistance led to his arrest in May 1943; he was released on 26 July, the day after Benito Mussolini was ousted from power.

A little over a week later he married Valeria Sinigallia, whom he had met playing tennis. They moved to Florence for a brief period, living under assumed names, then at the end of the year, to Rome, where he would spend the rest of his life. His first volume of poems, Storie dei poveri amanti e altri versi, appeared in 1944; a second, Te lucis ante, followed in 1947. He edited the literary review Botteghe oscure for Princess Marguerite Caetani from its founding in 1948 until it halted publication in 1960.

In 1953 Passeggiata prima di cena appeared and in 1954 Gli ultimi anni di Clelia Trotti. In the same year he became editor of Paragone, a journal founded by Longhi and his wife Anna Band. Bassani’s writings reached a wider audience in 1956 with the publication of the Premio Strega-winning book of short stories, Cinque storie Ferraresi.

As an editorial director of Feltrinelli Bassani was responsible for the posthumous publication in 1958 of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo, a novel which had been rejected by Elio Vittorini at Mondadori, and also by Einaudi, but which became one of the great successes of post-war Italian literature. Bassani’s enthusiastic editing of the text, following instructions from Elena Croce (daughter of Benedetto) who had offered him the manuscript, later became controversial however; recent editions have been published which follow the manuscript more closely.

Also in 1958 Bassani’s novel Gli occhiali d’oro was published, an examination, in part, of the marginalisation of Jews and homosexuals. Together with stories from Cinque storie ferraresi (reworked and under the new title Dentro le mura (1973)) it was to be form part of a series of works known collectively as Il romanzo di Ferrara which explored the town, with its Christian and Jewish elements, its perspectives and its landscapes. The series also includes: Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (1962, Premio Viareggio prizewiner); Dietro la porta (1964); L'airone (1968) and L'odore del fieno (1972). These works realistically document the Italian Jewish community under Fascism in a style that manifests the difficulties of searching for truth in the meanderings of memory and moral conscience. In 1960 one of his novels was adapted as the film Long Night in 1943.

Bassani died in 2000 and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Ferrara.

Ernest Bloch


Ernest Bloch was a Swiss-born American composer.

Bloch was born in Geneva and began playing the violin at age 9. He began composing soon afterwards. He studied music at the conservatory in Brussels, where his teachers included the celebrated violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. He then travelled around Europe, moving to Germany (where he studied composition from 1900-1901 with Iwan Knorr at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt), on to Paris in 1903 and back to Geneva before settling in the United States of America in 1916, taking American citizenship in 1924. He held several teaching appointments in the U.S., with George Antheil, Frederick Jacobi, Bernard Rogers, and Roger Sessions among his pupils. In December 1920 he was appointed the first Musical Director of the newly formed Cleveland Institute of Music, a post he held until 1925. Following this he was director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music until 1930.

In 1941 Bloch moved to the small coastal community of Agate Beach, Oregon and lived there the rest of his life. He died in 1959 in Portland, Oregon, of cancer at the age of 78.

Giovanni Pascoli


Giovanni Pascoli was an Italian poet and classical scholar.

Pascoli was born at San Mauro di Romagna (rechristened "San Mauro Pascoli" after his death), into a wealthy family.

He had a tragic childhood, struck by the murder of his father and the early deaths of his mother, sister and two brothers, and the subsequent economical decline of the family. The father's assassination echoes in particular in one of his most popular poems, "La cavallina storna" . His whole first work, Myricae (1891), reflects his unhappy childhood.

In 1871 he moved to Rimini with six of his brothers. Here he made friends with Andrea Costa, and began to participate in Socialist demonstrations. This led to another key event in Pascoli's life, his brief imprisonment in Bologna's jail after a protest against the capture of the anarchist Giovanni Passannante.

Pascoli studied at the University of Bologna, and his teacher and mentor was Giosuè Carducci. He graduated there in 1882, and began to teach in high schools at Matera and Massa. Here he lived next to his sisters Ida and Maria, in an attempt to renew the original family, building a "nest" (as he called it) for the sisters and himself. It is widely accepted that he never married because of an immature and somewhat ambiguous relationship with his sisters. From 1887 to 1895 he taught in Livorno.

In the meantime he began to collaborate with the magazine Vita nuova, which published the first poems later collected in Myricae. In 1894 Pascoli was called in Rome to work for the Ministry of Public Instruction, and there he published the first version of the Poemi conviviali. Later he moved to several cities such as Bologna, Florence and Messina, but remained always psychologically rooted to his original, idealized peasant origins.

In 1895 he moved, together with his sister Maria, in their house at Castelvecchio, near Barga, in Tuscany, which he had bought with money gained from literary awards. The political and social turmoil of the early 20th century, which was to lead to Italy's participation in World War I and to the advent of Fascism, further streghtened Pascoli's unsafety and pessimism.

From 1897 to 1903 he taught Latin at the University of Messina, and then at Pisa. When Carducci retired, Pascoli replaced him as the recipient of the Literature Chair at the University of Bologna. In 1912, already ill of cirrhosis (caused by his frequent use of alcohol), Giovanni Pascoli died by liver cancer.

Norman Douglas


George Norman Douglas (December 8, 1868 - February 7, 1952) was a British writer, now best known for his 1917 novel South Wind.

Norman Douglas was born in Thüringen, Austria (his surname was registered at birth as Douglass). His mother was Vanda von Poellnitz. His father was John Sholto Douglas (1845-1874), manager of a cotton mill, who died when Norman was about six. Norman was brought up mainly at Tilquhillie, Deeside, his paternal home. He was educated at Uppingham School England, and then at a grammar school in Karlsruhe. Norman's paternal grandfather was the 14th Laird of Tilquhillie. Norman's maternal great-grandfather was General James Ochoncar Forbes (1765-1843), 17th Lord Forbes.

He started in the diplomatic service in 1894 but was placed on leave in unclear circumstances. In 1897 he bought a villa in Naples. The next year he married Elizabeth Louisa Theobaldina FitzGibbon, a cousin (their mothers were sisters, daughters of Baron Ernst von Poellnitz). They had two children, but divorced in 1903 on grounds of Elizabeth's infidelity. Norman's first book publication, (Unprofessional Tales (1901)) was written under the pseudonym Normyx, in collaboration with Elizabeth.

He moved to Capri, spending time there and in London, and became a more committed writer. Nepenthe, the fictional island setting of South Wind, is Capri in light disguise. In 1912-1914 he worked for The English Review. He met D. H. Lawrence through this connection. This led to a feud, after Lawrence in 1922 in Aaron's Rod based a character on Douglas. In late 1916 he jumped bail in London on a charge of indecent assault on a sixteen year old boy, and effectively then lived in exile. He himself wrote of this in self-exculpation: 'Norman Douglas of Capri, and of Naples and Florence, was formerly of England, which he fled during the war.

During Douglas's years in Florence, he was associated with the publisher and bookseller Pino Orioli, who published in Italy in his 'Lungarno' series a number of Douglas's books and also works by other English authors, many of which (such as the first edition of Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover), would have been prosecuted for obscenity if published in London. Douglas probably had a major hand in writing Orioli's autobiography, Memoirs of a Bookseller.

Further scandals led to Douglas leaving Italy for the south of France in 1937. During World War II Douglas left France, and on a circuitous journey to London, where he lived from 1942 to 1946, he published the first edition of his 'Almanac' in a tiny edition in Lisbon. He returned to Capri, where his circle of acquaintances included the writer Graham Greene and the food writer Elizabeth David. He died in Capri, apparently deliberately overdosing himself on drugs after a long illness.

Paul Spaniola


Paul T. Spaniola, named six-time world champion pipe smoker by the The International Association of Pipe Smokers’ Clubs, Inc. In 1952, Spaniola was recruited by Twentieth Century Fox Studios to teach Susan Hayward how to smoke a pipe for the movie The President’s Lady. Spaniola who has owned Spaniola Pipe & Tobacco Company which was started in 1928 in Saginaw Michigan. Spaniola has won numerous world championships in pipe smoking, he is a man who is greatly respected and admired.