31 October, 2017

André Lichnerowicz


André Lichnerowicz was a noted French differential geometer and mathematical physicist of Polish descent.

Theodor Paleologu


Theodor Paleologu is a Romanian historian, diplomat and politician. An independent who was formerly a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the People's Movement Party (PMP) and the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L), he was a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Bucharest from 2008 to 2016. Additionally, in the first two Emil Boc cabinets, from December 2008 to December 2009 he was Minister of Culture, Religious Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

Alexandru Paleologu


Alexandru Paleologu was a Romanian essayist, literary critic, diplomat and politician.

Karl-Heinz Funke


Karl-Heinz Funke is a German politician. He was from 1998 to 2001 Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Forestry, and a local politician in the district of Friesland in Lower Saxony.

Heinz Fischer


Heinz Fischer is an Austrian politician. He took office as 11th President of Austria on 8 July 2004 and was re-elected for a second and last term on 25 April 2010, leaving office on 8 July 2016. Fischer previously served as Minister of Science from 1983 to 1987 and as President of the National Council of Austria from 1990 to 2002. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), he suspended his party membership for the duration of his presidency.

Robert W. Wood


Robert Williams Wood was an American physicist and inventor. He is often cited as being a pivotal contributor to the field of optics and a pioneer of infrared and ultraviolet photography. Wood's patents and theoretical work shed much light on the nature and physics of ultra-violet radiation, and made possible the myriad uses of UV-fluorescence which became popular after World War I.

Gianni Brera


Giovanni Luigi "Gianni" Brera was an Italian sports journalist and novelist.


Brera was born in San Zenone al Po, near Pavia, the son of Carlo, a tailor, and Marietta Ghisoni. Among his ancestors was a Hungarian great-grandmother who married a Lombard sergeant of the Imperial Austrian Army.

He obtained his degree in Political Sciences at Pavia University in 1943, while on leave from his post as Lieutenant of the paratrooper division "Folgore". In late spring 1944 he joined the Italian Resistance movement and fought in the Ossola Valley. He took pride in having lived through World War II without ever shooting another human being.

In 1943 he married Rina Gramegna (a teacher, 1920–2000) and had four sons: Franco (1944-1944), Carlo (a painter, 1946–1994), Paolo (a novelist and journalist, 1949-), Franco (a musician, 1951-).

When he was discharged in 1945, he started working for La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy's first sports daily), eventually becoming Editor-in-Chief in 1949, the youngest-ever Editor-in-Chief of a national newspaper in Italy.

Brera wrote for La Gazzetta dello Sport, Il Guerin Sportivo, Il Giorno, Il Giornale, La Repubblica and several other publications. His articles were translated into several European languages. He often referred to himself as "Gioannbrerafucarlo" (a reference to Italy's long-foregone system of including the father's name in a citizen's complete name).

He also wrote a number of books (handbooks, essays and fictional works), a theatre play, and a couple of radio plays.

Brera died at middle-way between Codogno and Casalpusterlengo, in 1992, from injuries suffered in a car accident.

Raymond Queneau


Raymond Queneau was a French novelist, poet, critic, editor and co-founder and president of Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle), notable for his wit and cynical humor.

Kees van Dongen


Cornelis Theodorus Maria 'Kees' van Dongen was a Dutch-French painter who was one of the leading Fauves. Van Dongen's early work was influenced by the Hague School and symbolism and it evolved gradually into a rough pointillist style. From 1905 onwards - when he took part at the controversial 1905 Salon d'Automne exhibition - his style became more and more radical in its use of form and colour. The paintings he made in the period of 1905-1910 are considered by some to be his most important works. The themes of his work from that period are predominantly centered around the nightlife; he paints dancers, singers, masquerades and theatre. Van Dongen gained a reputation for his sensuous - at times garish - portraits of especially women.

Otto Kahn


Otto Hermann Kahn was a German-born American investment banker, collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts.

Johann Jaun


Johann Jaun was a mountaineer and Swiss guide, considered the most worthy successor of Melchior Anderegg.

Boris Artzybasheff


Boris Artzybasheff was an American illustrator of Russian origin active in the United States, notable for his strongly worked and often surreal designs.

Melchior Anderegg


Melchior Anderegg was a Swiss mountain guide and the first ascensionist of many prominent mountains in the western Alps during the golden and silver ages of alpinism. His clients were mostly British, the most famous of whom was Leslie Stephen, the writer, critic and mountaineer; Anderegg also climbed extensively with members of the Walker family, including Horace Walker and Lucy Walker, and with Florence Crauford Grove. His cousin Jakob Anderegg was also a well-known guide.

Michel Déon


Michel Déon was a French novelist and literary columnist. He published over 50 works and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Prix Interallié for his 1970 novel, Les Poneys sauvages (The Wild Ponies). Déon's 1973 novel Un taxi mauve received the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française. His novels have been translated into numerous languages.

Reuben Nakian


Reuben Nakian was an American sculptor and teacher of Armenian extraction. His recurring themes are from Greek and Roman mythology. Noted works include Leda and the Swan, The Rape of Lucrece, Hecuba, and The Birth of Venus. He was also commissioned to create portraits of Roosevelt's cabinet in the 1930s.

Gaston Monmousseau


Gaston Monmousseau was a French railway worker, trade union leader, politician and author, from a rural working-class background. He became an anarcho-syndicalist, then a communist, and played a leading role in the French Communist Party and in the national trade union movement both before and after World War II (1939–45).

León Rozitchner


León Rozitchner was a philosopher, writer, professor and Argentine intellectual. He taught at the University of Buenos Aires and was a teacher at the Free Faculty of Rosario. He is well known in his country for his commitment to the social and cultural context, and spoke primarily in the philosophical field, as well as the psychoanalytic one.

Jean-Pierre Otte


Jean-Pierre Otte is a Belgian writer and painter.

Pierre Dubois


Pierre Dubois is a French author, Franco-Belgian comics (bande dessinée) scriptwriter, storyteller and lecturer at the origin of renewed interest in fairies and little people in France.

Lyonel Trouillot


Lyonel Trouillot is a novelist and poet in French and Haitian Creole, a journalist and a professor of French and Creole literature in Port-au-Prince.

Paul Conrad


Paul Francis Conrad was an American political cartoonist and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning. In the span of a career lasting five decades, Conrad provided a critical perspective on eleven presidential administrations in the United States. He is best known for his work as the chief editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times during a time when the newspaper was in transition under the direction of publisher Otis Chandler, who recruited Conrad from the Denver Post.

At the conservative Times, Conrad brought a more liberal editorial perspective that readers both celebrated and criticized; he was also respected for his talent and his ability to speak truth to power. On a weekly basis, Conrad addressed the social justice issues of the day—poverty in America, movements for civil rights, the Vietnam War, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and corporate and political corruption were leading topics. 

Larry Gales


Lawrence Bernard Gales was an American jazz double-bassist.

Gales began playing bass at age 11, and attended the Manhattan School of Music in the late 1950s. In that decade and the beginning of the next he worked with J.C. Heard, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin, Herbie Mann, Junior Mance, and Joe Williams. From 1964 to 1969 he was a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet, where he recorded extensively and toured worldwide. After 1969, Gales relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked frequently on the local scene with Erroll Garner, Willie Bobo, Red Rodney, Sweets Edison, Benny Carter, Blue Mitchell, Clark Terry, and Kenny Burrell. He also recorded with Buddy Tate, Bennie Green, Sonny Stitt, Mary Lou Williams, Jimmy Smith, Sonny Criss, and Big Joe Turner, among others. His first session as a leader was released in 1990 on Candid Records; comprising one original and five Thelonious Monk tunes, the album was entitled A Message From Monk

Cesare Pascarella


Cesare Pascarella was an Italian dialect poet and a painter.

Pascarella was born in Rome and initially was a painter. His literary activity began in 1881 with the publication of sonnets in Romanesco dialect. In the same period he made friends with Gabriele D'Annunzio. He made a series of journeys through Africa, India and the Americas in 1882–1885. On his return to Rome he published the collection Villa Glori, who was hailed as a masterwork by Giosuè Carducci. Also well received was the imaginative La scoperta dell'America (1893).

In 1905 Pascarella began Storia nostra, a history of Rome which was planned as a sequence of 350 sonnets, but was left unfinished after 270 had been written.

He founded in 1904 with other artists, among which Giuseppe Ferrari, the group "XXV della campagna romana."

He was appointed to the Royal Academy of Italy in 1930.

Curt Goetz


Curt Goetz was a Swiss German writer, actor and film director.

Kurt Walter Götz was born in Mainz, Germany as the son of the Swiss wine examiner Bernhard Götz, and his German wife of Italian and French descent, Selma (born Rocco). His father died in 1890. His mother then went with the two-year-old Curt to Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, where she managed a private clinic.

In 1906 he completed the City High School in Halle, where he had played Franz Moor in The Robbers by Schiller.

His mother remarried, and his stepfather encouraged and financed his first steps in the theatre. He studied acting under the Berlin actor Emanuel Reicher, and in 1907 he made his stage debut at the Stadttheater in Rostock. In Rostock, he also wrote his first sketches for the stage. He then played at theatres in Nuremberg and then went to Berlin. In 1912 he played the lead in the silent movie Black Blood, directed by Harry Piel.

In 1914 he married Erna Nitter, whom he divorced in 1917. Goetz continued acting in silent movies, mainly thrillers, for example, Ich möchte kein Mann sein (I Don't Want To Be A Mann), directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1918. One of his colleagues from that time was the actor Max Landa.

In 1923 he married Valérie von Martens, whom he had got to know while acting in Vienna, in Berlin. He started going on tour with Valérie, acting with her in his own productions.

In 1939 he went to Hollywood to study film-making, and decided to remain there, along with Valérie, when war broke out. He worked with the director Reinhold Schunzel, among others, and several of his comedies were turned into films. Goetz obtained a contract with MGM and worked on a number of film scripts. After the success of the Greta Garbo movie Two-Faced Woman he was offered a 5-year contract. However, he refused this, saying he had had enough experience with the American film-industry. He and Valérie bought a chicken-farm in Van Nuys, California and proceeded (successfully) to breed chickens.

In California Goetz drafted his tale Tatjana and a new version of his Hokuspokus. He also re-worked an older play into The House in Montevideo, which he successfully produced in the Playhouse Theatre on Broadway in 1945.

They returned to Europe in 1945, living in Switzerland by Lake Thun, where Goetz wrote some successful novels. The couple later moved to Liechtenstein. He died in Grabs, St. Gallen, on September 12, 1960.

J. M. Simmel


Johannes Mario Simmel, also known as J. M. Simmel, was an Austrian writer.

He was born in Vienna and grew up in Austria and England. He was trained as a chemical engineer and worked in research from 1943 to the end of World War II. After the end of the war, he worked as a translator for the American military government and published reviews and stories in the Vienna Welt am Abend. Starting in 1950, he worked as a reporter for the Munich illustrated Quick in Europe and America.

He wrote a number of screenplays and novels, which have sold tens of millions of copies. Many of his novels were successfully filmed in the 1960s and 1970s. He won numerous prizes, including the Award of Excellence of the Society of Writers of the UN. Important issues in his novels are a fervent pacifism as well as the relativity of good and bad. Several novels are said to have a true background, possibly autobiographic.

According to his Swiss lawyer, Simmel died on 1 January 2009 in Lucerne, at 84 years of age.

Felix Timmermans


Leopold Maximiliaan Felix Timmermans is a much translated author of Flanders. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three times.

Timmermans was born in the Belgian city of Lier, as the thirteenth of fourteen children. He died in Lier at age 60. He was an autodidact, and wrote plays, historical novels, religious works, and poems. His best-known book is Pallieter (1916). Timmermans also wrote under the pen-name Polleke van Mher. He was a painter and drawer as well as an author.

During the first years of the Second World War, Timmermans was editor of the Flemish nationalist Volk. He also attended meetings of the Europäische Schriftsteller-Vereinigung (European Writers' League), which was initiated by Joseph Goebbels. Because of this, and because of the Rembrandt prize he received in 1942 from the University of Hamburg, he was wrongly seen as a collaborator, which may have caused health problems and premature death.

Jean-Luc Marion


Jean-Luc Marion is a French historian of philosophy, phenomenologist, and Roman Catholic theologian.

Marion is a former student of Jacques Derrida whose work is informed by patristic and mystical theology, phenomenology, and modern philosophy. Much of his academic work has dealt with Descartes and phenomenologists like Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl, but also religion. God Without Being, for example, is concerned predominantly with an analysis of idolatry, a theme strongly linked in Marion's work with love and the gift, which is a concept also explored at length by Derrida.

Jean-Rodolphe de Salis


Jean-Rodolphe de Salis was a historian, essayist, journalist, political columnist and Swiss professor.

André Héléna


André Héléna was a French writer who spent most of his life in Leucate (southern France) on the Mediterranean coast. 

Philip José Farmer


Philip José Farmer was an American author known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.

Farmer is best known for his sequences of novels, especially the World of Tiers (1965–93) and Riverworld (1971–83) series. He is noted for the pioneering use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for, and reworking of, the lore of celebrated pulp heroes, and occasional tongue-in-cheek pseudonymous works written as if by fictional characters. Farmer often mixed real and classic fictional characters and worlds and real and fake authors as epitomized by his Wold Newton family group of books. These tie all classic fictional characters together as real people and blood relatives resulting from an alien conspiracy. Such works as The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (1973) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973) are early examples of literary mashup.

Farmer was born in North Terre Haute, Indiana. According to colleague Frederik Pohl, his middle name was in honor of an aunt, Josie. Farmer grew up in Peoria, Illinois, where he attended Peoria High School. His father was a civil engineer and a supervisor for the local power company. A voracious reader as a boy, Farmer said he resolved to become a writer in the fourth grade. He became an agnostic at the age of 14. At age 23, in 1941, he married and eventually fathered a son and a daughter. After washing out of flight training in World War II, he went to work in a local steel mill. He continued his education, however, earning a bachelor's degree in English from Bradley University in 1950.

Farmer had his first literary success when his novella The Lovers was published by Samuel Mines in Startling Stories, August 1952. It features a sexual relationship between a human and an extraterrestrial and he won the next Hugo Award as "most promising new writer" (his first of three Hugos). Thus encouraged, he quit his job to become a full-time writer, entered a publisher's contest, and promptly won the $4,000 first prize for a novel, Owe for the Flesh, that contained the germ of his later Riverworld series. But the book was not published and Farmer did not get the money. Literary success did not translate into financial security so he left Peoria in 1956 to launch a career as a technical writer. He spent the next 14 years working in that capacity for various defense contractors, from Syracuse, New York to Los Angeles, while writing science fiction in his spare time.

He won a second Hugo for the 1967 novella Riders of the Purple Wage, a pastiche of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake as well as a satire on a futuristic, cradle-to-grave welfare state. Reinvigorated, Farmer became a full-time writer again in 1969. Upon moving back to Peoria in 1970, he entered his most prolific period, publishing 25 books in 10 years. His novel To Your Scattered Bodies Go (a reworked, previously unpublished version of the prize-winning first novel of 20 years before) won him his third Hugo in 1971. A 1975 novel, Venus on the Half-Shell, created a stir in the larger literary community and media. It purported to be written in the first person by one “Kilgore Trout,” a fictional character appearing as an underappreciated science fiction writer in several of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. The escapade did not please Vonnegut when some reviewers not only concluded that it had been written by Vonnegut himself, but that it was a worthy addition to his works. Farmer did have permission from Vonnegut to write the book, though Vonnegut later said he regretted giving permission.


In 2001 Farmer won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and the Science Fiction Writers of America made him its 19th SFWA Grand Master in the same year.

Farmer died on February 25, 2009.

Jean de Brunhoff


Jean de Brunhoff was a French writer and illustrator remembered for creating the Babar books, the first of which appeared in 1931.

De Brunhoff was the fourth and youngest child of Maurice de Brunhoff, a publisher, and his wife Marguerite. He attended Protestant schools, including the prestigious École Alsacienne. Brunhoff joined the army and reached the front lines when World War I was almost over. Afterwards, he decided to be a professional artist and studied painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. In 1924 he married Cécile Sabouraud, a talented pianist, and they had two sons Laurent and Mathieu in 1925 and 1926; a third son, Thierry, was born nine years later.

The Babar books began as a bedtime story that Cécile de Brunhoff invented for their children, Mathieu and Laurent, when they were four and five years old, respectively. She was trying to comfort Mathieu, who was sick. He turned it into a picture book, with text, which was published by a family-run publishing house, Le Jardin des Modes. Originally, it was planned that the book's title page would describe the story as told by Jean and Cécile de Brunhoff. However, she had her name removed. Due to the role she played in the genesis of the Babar story, many sources continue to refer to her as the creator of the Babar story.

After the first book Histoire de Babar (The Story of Babar), six more titles followed before Jean de Brunhoff died of tuberculosis at the age of 37. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Henry de Ségogne


Henry de Ségogne was a mountaineer most notably the leader of the first French expedition to the Himalayas in 1936, a senior civil servant (State Council, Commissioner General for Tourism) and a pioneer in the protection of the landscape and cultural heritage in La France.

Michel-Clément Payot


Michel-Clément Payot was a Chamoniard mountain guide.

A trained farrier, Michel Payot was one of the three sons of Jean Payot, a farmer and guide (he had notably guided Rodolphe Töpffer, Eugene de Savoie, Marshal Auguste Marmont and Don Pedro, Emperor of Brazil. His brothers Frederick and Alphonse were also guides. In 1858 he was chosen as porter by the guide Auguste Balmat to accompany to Mont Blanc John Tyndall and Alfred Wills, two British celebrities in the world of mountaineering. He joined the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix in 1863. In 1870, he met the English geologist James Eccles. In 1877 he made the first ascent of the southern slopes of Mont Blanc, July 30 and 31, by the ridge of Peuterey. The following year, with Eccles, he made the second ascent of Fremont Peak in the Rocky Mountains.

Louis Neltner


Louis Neltner was a French geologist, director of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines of Saint-Etienne from 1944 to 1971, a climber and an explorer. He was also part of the United Resistance Movements during WWII.

Neltner was born in Toulouse on July 9, 1903. He was a student of Pierre Termier at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines in Paris. He was a member of the first French expedition to the Himalayas (Karakoram) in 1936, led by Henry de Segogne, alongside Pierre Allain, Marcel Ichac, and Jean Carle.

Netlner died in Lyon on January 23, 1985.

Alexander Burgener


Alexander Burgener was a Swiss mountain guide and the first ascentionist of many mountains and new routes in the western Alps during the silver age of alpinism.

Together with Albert Mummery, he made the first ascent of the Zmuttgrat on the Matterhorn on September 3, 1879, and of the Grands Charmoz (1880) and the Aiguille du Grépon in the Mont Blanc Massif (August 5, 1881). With another British alpinist, Clinton Thomas Dent, he made the first ascent of the Lenzspitze (August 1870) and the Grand Dru (September 12, 1878),

He was killed by an avalanche on July 8, 1910 near the Berglihütte in the Bernese Alps. Six other climbers died in the avalanche, including Burgener's son Adolf.

Michel Croz


Michel Auguste Croz was a French mountain guide and the first ascentionist of many mountains in the western Alps during the golden age of alpinism. He is chiefly remembered for his death on the first ascent of the Matterhorn and for his climbing partnership (as a guide) with Edward Whymper.

Fernand Oury


Fernand Oury was a French pedagogue and creator of institutional pedagogy.

As a teacher in 1950, Oury reacted to what he saw as the deplorable state of the French educational system: "overloaded classes", "colossal school sizes", and "absurd regulations". Along with fellow educator Célestin Freinet, he worked with school leadership to reform organizational practice within urban schools. By 1958, following on the initiatives of Institutional Psychotherapy led by his brother Jean Oury, François Tosquelles, and Lucien Bonnafe, Fernand Oury founded the discipline of institutional pedagogy, the object of which would be the progressive analysis of liberating means of education. Perhaps the most well-known name in the field of institutional pedagogy, Oury maintained an open relationship with respect to defining the scope and practice of teaching.

By 1966, Oury and psychoanalyst Aïda Vasquez, along with the Groupe Techniques Éducatives (GET) begin to work out the practical and theoretical instruments institutional pedogagy would develop as a practice. This was accomplished primarily through the elaboration of monographs. The practice of publishing articles of analysis, case-studies and critiques also began to be encouraged.

In 1978, Oury and others established CEPI, the Collective of Teams of Institutional Pedagogy (French Le Collectif des Équipes de Pédagogie Institutionnelle), and the MPI, Association for the Support of Institutional Pedogagy (Association Maintenant la Pédagogie Institutionnelle), both still in existence. Their primary tasks are the publication and dissemination of institutional pedagogic literature, reports, analyses and case-studies, the promotion and activism in favour of progressive pedagogic practices, and the education of teachers, social workers and others in Institutional Pedagogic practices.

He recommended and practiced a "school of the people" methodology, in which children were no longer passive receivers, but actively participated in the management of their learning, methods, forms of relations and the everyday life of the class: all of which he called institutions (in the sociological sense). Some of the notable elements of this methodology were pupils' council, school funds and individualized curricula.

30 October, 2017

Enrico Donati


Enrico Donati was an Italian-American Surrealist painter and sculptor.

Enrico Donati studied economics at the Università degli Studi, Pavia, and in 1934 moved to the USA, where he attended the New School for Social Research and the Art Students League of New York. His first one-man shows were in New York in 1942, at the New School for Social Research and the Passedoit Gallery. At this stage he was clearly drawn to Surrealism. This was reinforced by meeting André Breton and coming into contact with Marcel Duchamp and the other European Surrealists in New York at the time. A typical work of this period, St Elmo’s Fire (1944; New York, MoMA), contains strange organic formations suggestive of underwater life.

Donati was one of the organizers of the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme held in Paris in the summer of 1947, to which he contributed a painting and two sculptures. In the late 1940s he responded to the crisis in Surrealism by going through a Constructivist phase, from which he developed a calligraphic style and drew onto melted tar, or diluted paint with turpentine. He also became associated with Spatialism, founded by Lucio Fontana. Thus began his long fascination with surface and texture, including mixing paint with dust, that culminated in the 1950s in his Moonscapes, a series that has similarities with the work of Dubuffet. The fossil became a major theme for Donati through the 1960s, and he gave new importance to color in his Fossil works, for example in Red Yellow Fossil (1964; Miami, Hills Col., see Selz, p. 19). In 1961, he was given a major retrospective at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and frequently exhibited at group shows in the USA and elsewhere. He held a number of important teaching and advisory posts, including Visiting Lecturer at Yale University (1962–1972).

Considered by some in the art world to be one of the last of the Surrealists, Enrico Donati died in his home in Manhattan on April 25, 2008, aged 99. Donati's health had been failing since involved, as a passenger, in a taxi accident in July, 2007. He eventually succumbed to complications sustained from his injuries.

François Bott


François Bott is a French author who after a long career as a journalist and literary critic became a writer of novels, one of which, Une minute d’absence (2001), won the Académie française's Prix de la Nouvelle. He continued as a literary critic, writing essays focused on other writers, especially Roger Vailland.

After a bachelor's degree in philosophy, Bott began as a journalist at France-Soir. He then directed the literary pages of L'Express and founded Le Magazine Littéraire in 1967. The following year he joined the newspaper Le Monde, where he directed Le Monde des livres from 1983 to 1991, replacing Jacqueline Piatier (fr). In 1995, he decided to leave journalism to devote himself to writing books.

Bott has authored some thirty books, including novels and literary essays, such as La Demoiselle des Lumières and Sur la planète des sentiments, works on writers and exceptional women. His Vel'd'Hiv' retells the story of the Vélodrome d'hiver, from a cycling track to a place of repression and torture during World War II. Bott was awarded the Académie française's Prix de la Nouvelle in 2001 for Une minute d’absence.

His most recent novel, Nos années éperdues (2015), was praised in the magazine Causeur for its portrayal of life in France in the 1950s, and particularly for the rendering of the correspondence between the two main characters.

A member of the jury of the Roger Vailland prize, Bott has regularly participated in events on the work of the writer, including a lecture on Roger Vailland et 325.000 francs, public reading of Drôle de jeu (fr), at La Table ronde publishing house entitled l'esprit de conquête (Vailland's work: Cortès, le conquérant de l'Eldorado). In particular, he published a reference book on Vailland: Les Saisons de Roger Vailland (fr).

He is a regular contributor to the literary magazine Service littéraire.

Claude Mossé


Claude Mossé  is the author of many books. He has long been a reporter for Radio Suisse Romande and Télévision Suisse Romande.

André Blavier


André Blavier was a literary and pictorial critic as well as a Belgian poet of French expression.

Abie Nathan


Avraham "Abie" Nathan was an Israeli humanitarian and peace activist. He founded the Voice of Peace radio station. When he died the president of Israel Shimon Peres said about him: "He was one of the most prominent and special people in the country... He is the man who dedicated his life for other people and for a better humanity."

Abie Nathan was born to a Jewish family in Abadan, Persia, on 29 April 1927 and spent his adolescent years in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. He became a pilot in the Royal Air Force in 1944. In 1948 he volunteered as a pilot in the Machal (volunteers in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War) and stayed in Israel thereafter. He worked for El Al airlines and later opened a restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Nathan led a party called Nes (Miracle) in the 1965 Knesset elections, but failed to cross the electoral threshold. After the results were published, he declared that he would fly to Egypt in his plane, which he named Shalom 1 ("Peace 1"), carrying a message of peace. He landed in Port Said on 28 February 1966, where he was arrested. He asked to meet Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to deliver a petition calling for peace between Israel and Egypt. He was refused and deported back to Israel, where he was arrested again for leaving the country by an illegal route.

In 1978, Nathan began his first hunger strike to protest against the construction of Israeli settlements. In the early 1980s, he began meeting officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). These meetings were later outlawed by the Knesset. In 1991, Nathan went on another hunger strike for 40 days to protest against that law, which prevented meetings with terrorist organizations. He stopped his hunger strike after President Chaim Herzog intervened. Nathan continued to meet with PLO head Yasser Arafat, however, and on 18 September 1991 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Herzog cut 12 months from the sentence, and Nathan was released after serving less than 6 months.

In 1973, Nathan founded the Voice of Peace radio station. He bought a ship with the help of John Lennon, named it the "Peace Ship", and sailed it outside Israeli territorial waters. The station broadcast 24 hours a day, mostly English-language programs that mainly included popular music, while promoting Nathan's political activities. At the same time, he was involved with disaster relief in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Biafra, Colombia, and Ethiopia. In another anti-war protest, he presided over the burial of smashed military toys.

Nathan founded, at the beginning of 1980, “Abie’s Angels” – an Organization of volunteers that helped each other when needed. In August of that year, together with the non-political movement for quality of life and society in Israel Am Yafe Am Ehad (One Beautiful People One Nation) he set up a trust for the elderly named “Keren Seva Tove” (a ripe old age) that provided clothes and household ware to old people in need. At the end of that year he received an award from the Knesset (Israeli parliament) for setting up a social lobby for the elderly.

On 1 October 1993, economic and legal difficulties forced Nathan to close the Voice of Peace station. One of the reasons for closing was that, with the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, Nathan felt that his message for peace and dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians had been spread. The Peace Ship was scuttled on 28 November 1993.

In 1997, Nathan suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He died in Tel Aviv on 27 August 2008 at age 81.

Gustave Courbet


Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. His independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th-century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work.

Courbet's paintings of the late 1840s and early 1850s brought him his first recognition. They challenged convention by depicting unidealized peasants and workers, often on a grand scale traditionally reserved for paintings of religious or historical subjects. Courbet's subsequent paintings were mostly of a less overtly political character: landscapes, seascapes, hunting scenes, nudes and still lifes. He was imprisoned for six months in 1871 for his involvement with the Paris Commune, and lived in exile in Switzerland from 1873 until his death.

Nino Ferrer


Nino Agostino Arturo Maria Ferrari, known as Nino Ferrer, was an Italian-French singer, songwriter, and author.

Nino Ferrer was born on August 15, 1934 in Genoa, Italy, but lived the first years of his life in New Caledonia (an overseas territory of France in the southwest Pacific Ocean), where his father, an engineer, was working. Jesuit religious schooling, first in Genoa and later in Paris, left him with a lifelong aversion to the Church. From 1947, the young Nino studied ethnology and archaeology in the Sorbonne university in Paris, also pursuing his interests in music and painting.

After completing his studies, Ferrer started traveling the world, working on a freighter ship. When he returned to France he immersed himself in music. A passion for jazz and the blues led him to worship the music of James Brown, Otis Redding and Ray Charles. He started to play the double bass in Bill Coleman's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. He appeared on a recording for the first time in 1959, playing bass on two 45 singles by the Dixie Cats. The suggestion to take up solo singing came from the rhythm 'n' blues singer Nancy Holloway, whom he also accompanied.

In 1963, Nino Ferrer recorded his own first record, the single "Pour oublier qu'on s'est aimé" ("To forget we were in love"). The B-side of that single had a song "C'est irréparable", which was translated for Italian superstar Mina as "Un anno d'amore" and became a big hit in 1965. Later again, in 1991, Spanish singer Luz Casal had a hit with "Un año de amor", translated from Italian by director Pedro Almodóvar for his film Tacones Lejanos (High Heels).

His first solo success came in 1965 with the song "Mirza". Other hits, such as "Cornichons" and "Oh! hé! hein! bon!" followed, establishing Ferrer as something of a comedic singer. The stereotyping and his eventual huge success made him feel "trapped", and unable to escape from the constant demands of huge audiences to hear the hits he himself despised. He started leading a life of "wine, women and song" while giving endless provocative performances in theatres, on television and on tour.

In Italy, he scored a major hit in 1967 with "La pelle nera" (the French version is "Je voudrais être un noir" ["I'd like to be a black man"]). This soul song, with its quasi-revolutionary lyrics imploring a series of Ferrer's black music idols to gift him their black skin for the benefit of music-making, achieved long-lasting iconic status in Italy.

"La pelle nera" was followed by a string of other semi-serious Italian songs, which included two appearances at the Sanremo Music Festival (in 1968 and 1970). In 1970, he returned to France and resumed his musical career there. Ferrer rebelled against the "gaudy frivolity" of French show business, filled with what he perceived as its "cynical technocrats and greedy exploiters of talent.” In his lesser-known songs, which the public largely ignored, he mocked life's absurdities. He agreed with Serge Gainsbourg and Claude Nougaro that songs are a "minor art" and "just background noise".

In 1975 he started breeding horses in Quercy, France. In 1989, Ferrer obtained French citizenship, which he explained as his "celebration of the bicentenary of the French Revolution." He went on to record the French national anthem, accompanied by a choir.

A couple of months after his mother died, Ferrer, on  August 13, 1998, two days before his 64th birthday, took his hunting gun and walked to a field of wheat, recently cut, near the neighboring village of Saint-Cyprien. There, he lay down in a grove nearby and shot himself in the chest. His wife Kinou, with whom he had two sons, had already alerted the gendarmerie after finding a farewell letter in the house. Next day, there were front-page headlines in most French and Italian newspapers, such as "Adieu Nino!", "Nino Ferrer Hung Up His Telephone", "Our Nino Has Left for the South." They called him the Don Quixote and the Corto Maltese of French show business.

Raymond Aubrac


Raymond Aubrac was a leader of the French Resistance during the Second World War and a civil engineer after the Second World War.

Hermann Max Pechstein


Hermann Max Pechstein was a German expressionist painter and printmaker, and a member of the Die Brücke group.

Pechstein was born in Zwickau, the son of a craftsman who worked in a textile mill. Early contact with the art of Vincent van Gogh stimulated Pechstein's development toward expressionism. After studying art first at the School of Applied Arts and then at the Royal Art Academy in Dresden, Pechstein met Erich Heckel and joined the art group Die Brücke in 1906. He was the only member to have formal art training. Later in Berlin, he helped to found the Neue Sezession and gained recognition for his decorative and colorful paintings that were lent from the ideas of Van Gogh, Matisse, and the Fauves. His paintings eventually became more primitivist, incorporating thick black lines and angular figures.

Beginning in 1933, Pechstein was vilified by the Nazis because of his art. A total of 326 of his paintings were removed from German museums. Sixteen of his works were displayed in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition of 1937. During this time, Pechstein went into seclusion in rural Pomerania.

He was a prolific printmaker, producing 421 lithographs, 315 woodcuts and linocuts, and 165 intaglio prints, mostly etchings.

Pechstein was a professor at the Berlin Academy for ten years before his dismissal by the Nazis in 1933. He was reinstated in 1945, and subsequently won numerous titles and awards for his work.

He died in West Berlin. He is buried on the Evangelischer Friedhof Alt-Schmargendorf in Berlin.

Havergal Brian


Havergal Brian was a British classical composer.

Brian was extremely prolific, his body of work including thirty two symphonies, many of them extremely long and ambitious works for massive orchestral forces. Stylistically, he wrote in a late romantic idiom, exhibiting the influence of Gustav Mahler in his ambitious orchestration and progressive tonality.

Brian enjoyed a period of significant popularity earlier in his career and rediscovery in the 1950s, though his music fell out of favor and since the 1970s he is vary rarely studied and performed. Still, he continued to be extremely productive late into his career, composing large works even into his nineties, many of which remain unperformed. Today, he is often remembered for his First Symphony which calls for the largest orchestral force demanded by any conventionally structured concert work.

William Brian was born in Dresden, a district of Stoke-on-Trent, and was one of a very small number of composers to originate from the English working class. After attending an elementary school he had difficulty finding any congenial work, and taught himself the rudiments of music. For a time he was organist of Odd Rode Church just across the border in Cheshire. In 1895, he heard a choir rehearsing Elgar's King Olaf, attended the first performance and became a fervent enthusiast of the new music being produced by Richard Strauss and the British composers of the day. Through attending music festivals he made the lifelong friendship of his near-contemporary composer Granville Bantock (1868–1946).

In 1907 his first English Suite attracted the attention of Henry J. Wood, who performed it at the London Proms. It was an overnight success and Brian obtained a publisher and performances for his next few orchestral works. Why he never succeeded in maintaining his success is a matter for debate, but it was probably due to his shyness with strangers and lack of confidence on public occasions. Whatever it was, the offers of performance soon dried up.

In 1898, Brian married Isabel Priestley, by whom he had five children. One of his sons was named Sterndale after the English composer Sir William Sterndale Bennett. At this point (1907) a development unusual in British 20th century musical history transformed Brian's life; whether for better or for worse has never been decided. He was offered a yearly income of £500 by a local wealthy businessman, Herbert Minton Robinson, to enable him to devote all his time to composition. It seems Robinson expected Brian soon to become successful and financially independent on the strength of his compositions. This never happened. For a while Brian worked on a number of ambitious large-scale choral and orchestral works, but felt no urgency to finish them, and began to indulge in hitherto-undreamt-of pleasures, such as expensive foods and a trip to Italy.

Arguments over the money and an affair with a young servant, Hilda Mary Hayward, led to the collapse of his first marriage in 1913. Brian fled to London and, although Robinson deeply disapproved of the incident, he continued to provide Brian with money until his own death, though most of the allowance went to Brian's estranged wife. The affair with Hilda turned into a lifelong relationship: Brian and she began living together as man and wife, and after Isabel's death in 1933 they were married. Hilda had already borne him another five children. In London, Brian began composing copiously, to alleviate the fact of living in conditions of the most basic poverty. On the outbreak of World War I he volunteered for the Honourable Artillery Company but saw no service before he was invalided out with a hand injury. He subsequently worked at the Audit Office of the Canadian Expeditionary Force until December 1915. The family then moved to Erdington, near Birmingham, Warwickshire, until May 1919 and then spent several years in various locations in Sussex. Brian eventually obtained work of a musical kind, copying and arranging, and writing for the journal The British Bandsman. In 1927, he became assistant editor of the journal Musical Opinion and moved back to London. In 1940 he retired, and from then on devoted himself to composition, living firstly in London, and then in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex.

His brief war service gave him the material for his first opera The Tigers. In the 1920s he turned to composing symphonies, though he had written more than ten before one of them was first performed in the early 1950s. This was due to his discovery by Robert Simpson, himself a significant composer and BBC Music Producer, who asked Sir Adrian Boult to programme the Eighth Symphony in 1954. From then on Brian composed another twenty-two symphonies, many of the later ones short, single or two-movement works, and several other pieces.

He died on November 28, 1972 at the age of 96.

Vagn Holmboe


Vagn Gylding Holmboe was a Danish composer and teacher who wrote largely in a neo-classical style.

Vagn Holmboe was born into a merchant family of dedicated amateur musicians. Both parents played the piano. His father earned his living as a maker of colors and lacquers at Horsens. The Danish journalist Knud Holmboe was his elder brother.

From the age of 14 Vagn Holmboe took violin lessons. In 1926, at the age of 16, he began formal music training at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen on the recommendation of Carl Nielsen. He studied under Knud Jeppesen (theory) and Finn Høffding (composition).

After finishing his studies in 1929 he moved to Berlin where for a short period Ernst Toch became his teacher (Rapoport 2001). During his time in the German capital he met the Romanian-born pianist and visual artist Meta May Graf (1910-2003) from Sibiu/Hermannstadt. She had studied at the Musikhochschule Berlin since 1929, with Paul Hindemith as one of her teachers. The couple married in 1933 and left Berlin for Romania, where they visited obscure and remote villages and studied Transylvanian folk-song. Subsequently, they moved to Denmark, settling in the capital, Copenhagen, in 1934. While his wife Meta gave up her musical career to pursue her passions in the visual arts, photography in particular, Vagn gave music lessons privately and began composing during this period. Many of the early compositions have never been performed. Similar to the research he had already done in Romania, he pursued his studies of folk-song with much field-work throughout Denmark including the Faroes and Greenland. Many overtly folk-linked compositions, including the Inuit Songs, are a result of these activities.

From 1941 to 1949 he was a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Blind, and from 1950 to 1965 he taught at the Royal Conservatory in Copenhagen, being appointed a Professor there in 1955. Prior to that he had also worked as a music critic for the Danish daily Politiken from 1947 to 1955.

Vagn Holmboe's students included Per Nørgård, Ib Nørholm, Bent Lorentzen, Arne Nordheim, Egil Hovland and Alan Stout. See: List of music students by teacher: G to J#Vagn Holmboe.

Vagn and his wife Meta had bought a piece of land at Lake Arresø in Ramløse/Zealand in 1940, where they set up a farm, "Arre Boreale", in the 1950s and spent the rest of their lives together there. Vagn Holmboe was a keen nature-lover, who lived in the countryside until his death in 1996.


Gediminas Kirkilas


Gediminas Kirkilas is a Lithuanian politician who was Prime Minister of Lithuania from 2006 to 2008. He was confirmed by the Seimas on 4 July 2006 after Zigmantas Balčytis, the provisional Prime Minister, failed to gather the required support from the parliament. He stepped down on  November 27, 2008 after the 2008 parliamentary elections, and gave way to Andrius Kubilius to start his term as the prime minister.

Kirkilas was born in Vilnius in 1951. After returning from mandatory military service, from 1972 to 1978 he worked on several cultural monuments, restoring their interior and especially rolled gold and moldeling. In 1978–1982 he studied political science. After graduation, he joined the Communist Party of Lithuania and took various posts there. When Algirdas Brazauskas was appointed the secretary of the party, Kirkilas became his press secretary.

Since independence was declared on March 11, 1990, Kirkilas was involved in the state matters and was elected to the Seimas seven times, representing the Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania (in 1992, 1996 and 2000) and the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania (in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016). He was appointed the Minister of National Defence of Lithuania on December 7, 2004.

Ernest John Moeran


Ernest John Moeran was an English composer who had strong associations with Ireland.

Moeran was born in Heston (now in the London Borough of Hounslow), the son of the Rev Joseph William Wright Moeran, an Irish-born clergyman, and his wife Ada Esther (born Whall). The family moved around for several years as his father was appointed to various parishes but they eventually settled in Bacton, on the coast of Norfolk.

Moeran studied the violin and the piano as a child. He was educated from an early age at home, by a governess. At the age of ten, he was sent to Suffield Park Preparatory School in Cromer, North Norfolk. In 1908, he was enrolled at Uppingham School where he spent the next five years. He was taught music by the director Robert Sterndale Bennett (grandson of Sir William Sterndale Bennett), who greatly encouraged his talents. On leaving Uppingham in 1913, he studied piano and composition at the Royal College of Music with Charles Villiers Stanford. He was also a member of the prestigious Oxford & Cambridge Musical Club.

When war broke out Moeran enlisted in the Norfolk Regiment, in which he was later commissioned. In 1917 Moeran went to France, where he was attached to the West Yorkshire Regiment, and wounded at Bullecourt on 3 May. His army records refer to a 'small gunshot wound' to the side of the neck, and a piece of shrapnel in his back, later removed. By the middle of August Moeran was declared 'free from any inconveniences' by a medical board and seconded to the Bedfordshire Regiment, at this time on garrison duty in Ireland around Boyle and County Roscommon. It was here that Moeran came to be bewitched by the Irish landscape which would later inform many of his best compositions. In October 1918 he tried out for the newly formed Royal Air Force, but after two months was returned to a reserve battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, and discharged in January 1919.

After the war he returned for a few months to Uppingham School, where he was employed as a teacher of music. This role did not satisfy him and he returned to the Royal College of Music to resume his composition studies, now with John Ireland, who had been a pupil of Moeran's earlier teacher Charles Villiers Stanford.

His first mature compositions, songs and chamber music, date from this time. He also began collecting and arranging folk music of Norfolk and other regions. He collected about 150 folk songs in Norfolk and Suffolk. His preferred method was to sit in a country pub and wait until an old man started singing. He noted the song down and then asked for more. According to the biography The Music of E. J. Moeran by Geoffrey Self (1986), he spent time living with gypsies, but no further details are available. He spent some time after the war living at Kington, Herefordshire.

By the mid-1920s, Moeran had become close friends with Peter Warlock and they lived for some years in Eynsford, Kent, notorious among the locals for their frequent drunken revelry. For the rest of his life, Moeran had problems with alcohol, later joined by mental instability. After Warlock's death in 1930, Moeran became interested in his Irish roots and began spending much of his time in Kenmare, County Kerry.

As a person, E. J. Moeran was greatly influenced by a number of people. However, it was the time spent with Peter Warlock in Eynsford that had the greatest impact on his life. While Warlock was seemingly capable of drinking alcohol to excess without any apparent long-term effects, Moeran developed a dependency which handicapped him for the remainder of his life. His later problems have been attributed to his war wound to the head, but this is incorrect. By 1930, Moeran had become an alcoholic.

Although English and middle-class, Moeran was at ease in a bar surrounded by local characters from local farms. Indeed, until 2007, "Moeran's Bar" at the hotel in Kenmare where he lived was named after him. He was looked on with affection by all who knew him, and his gauche, bumbling personality belied a very sharp-witted character who was quick to learn and take up new approaches to music. He also had an encyclopedic knowledge of trains and train timetables.

He married the cellist Peers Coetmore on 26 July 1945 and inspired two of Moeran's finest late works, the Cello Concerto and Cello Sonata. He died suddenly in 1950 at the age of 55. He was found in the Kenmare River and it was at first assumed he had drowned. However, an inquest later established that he had died before falling into the water.