Archive for March, 2007

Iceberg Technique

The iceberg technique became also known as “minimalism”. Hemingway believed that, like an iceberg, which only reveals one-eighth of itself above water, a story should also only reveal the most essential information and the reader completes the story with its own phantasy.

“A writer should show only the tip of what may be a huge conflict.”

The stylistics call it implication (the nonsaid is included) or underdetermination (less than the logical necessary informations is expressed).



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Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on 21 July 1899 in Oak Park (Illinois). He was considered as the most successfull and most popular US-author of the 20th century but he was also a reporter and a war correspondent.

The works of Hemingway are the image of his life, and the key of his life is adventure. In E.M.Hemingwayhis youth, his father, a physician in Oak Park (Illinois) had taken him on many fishing and hunting trips in the Michigan Woods. When World War I broke out, he ran away from home to serve in the army. In 1918 he was serverely wounded on the Italian front. His war experiences are laid down in his later novel “A Farewell to Arms” (1929). Then he became a journalist. He also earned money in Paris as a porter and in Spain as a toreador. The latter period is described in his novel “The Sun Also Rises” (1926). In the 30s he joined the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, the literary outcome of which was another novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940). He became a reporter again, visited China and hunted in Africa. In World War II he joined in the French resistance movement. Having invaded Paris on his own initiative, he was expelled from the army, but later honoured. In 1954, he was involved in two plane crashes in Africa. On 2 July 1961 he died accidentally while cleaning his gun in Ketchum (Idaho).
Besides his great novels, he wrote a lot of short stories, the most famous of which are “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1935) and “The Old Man and the Sea”(1952).

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Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens – better known by his pseudonym Mark Twain – was born on 30.11.1835 in FloridaMark Twain (Missouri). His father died in 1847 and that is why Mark Twain had to drop out in the age of 12 and why he trained as typesetter. Since 1852 the writer has travelled through the East and the Midwest and has also visited St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C. where he wrote his first travel letters which were published in the Hannibal Journal.

From 1857 until 1860 Mark Twain was a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi. His famous penname Twain adopted from the call (“Mark twain!” – meaning by the mark of two fathoms) used when sounding river shallows. He had also satirized an older writer, Isaiah Sellers, who called himself Mark Twain. The Civil War put an end to the boat traffic so he went to Nevada in 1861 where he tried his luck as a gold-miner. In 1864 he lived in San Francisco and 1866 he went to Hawaii as a reporter. From 1867 til 1894 Mark Twain travelled through Europe, Palestine and founded a publishing company which he had to close in 1894. Since that time he has done a journey round the world and gave lectures.

Mark Twain died on 21.04.1910 in Redding (Connecticut).

Some of Mark Twains works:
1869 The Innocents Abroad
1876 The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer
1876 A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage
1884 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
1897 The Awful German Language
1907 Is Shakespeare Dead?

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Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 in Edinbourgh (Scotland). The Doyles were a prosperous Irish-Catholic family, who had a prominent position in the world of Art. His father Charles, a chronic alcoholic, was the only member of his family, who apart from fathering a brilliant son, never accomplished anything of note. Charles married Mary Foley, a vivacious and very vell educated young woman of seventeen. Mary Doyle had a passion for books and was a master storyteller. Arthur’s touching description of his mother’s beneficial influence is also emotional described in his biography

“In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clear that they obscure the real facts of my life.”

After Arthur reached his ninth birthday, the wealthy members of the Doyle family offered to pay for his studies. He was in tears all the way to England, where for seven years he had to go to a Jesuit boarding school. Arthur loathed the bigotry surrounding his studies and rebelled at corporal punishment, which was prevalent and incedibly brutal in most English schools of that epoch. During those grueling years, Arthur’s only moments of happiness were when he wrote to his mother, a regular habit that lasted for the rest of her life, and also when he practiced sports, mainly cricket, at which he was very good. It was during these difficult years at boarding school, that Arthur realized he also had a talent for storytelling. He was often found, surrounding by a bevy of totally enraptured younger students, listening to the amazing stories he would make up to amues them.

Arthur Conan DoyleBy 1876, graduating at the age of seventeen, Arthur Doyle, (as he was called, before adding his middle name “Conan” to his surname), was a surprisingly normal young man. With his innate sense of humor and his sportsmanship, having ruled out any feelings of self-pity, Arthur was ready and willing to face the world and make up for some of his father’s shortcomings.

He studied medical science and after his graduation he worked as a doctor. The young medical student met a number of future authors who were also attending the university, such as for instance James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. But the man who impressed and influenced him, was without a doubt, one of his teachers, Dr. Joseph Bell. The good doctor was a master at observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis. All these qualities were later to be found in the persona of the celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes. A couple of years into his studies, Arthur decided to try his pen at writing a short story. Although the result called “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley” was very evocative of the works of Edgar Alan Poe and Bret Harte, his favorite authors at the time.

The year 1887 was the birth of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Since 1891 he has worked as a free author. In 1901/02 the story “The Hound of Baskerville” was published and he wrote “The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct” for which he was given a peerage. On 7 July 1930 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in Crowborough (Sussex) and leaved four novels and 56 short stories.

Some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works:
1879 The Mystery of Sasassa Valley
1884 The Captain of the Polestar
1887 A Study in Scarlet
1900 The Great Boer War
1902 The Hound of the Baskervilles
1902 The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct
1906 Sir Nigel
1915 The Lost World
1926 History of Spiritualism
1926 The Land of Myst

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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born on 19 January 1809 in Boston (Massachusetts). He was educated in Virgina and England as a child. It was during his later years at West Point that he showed a remarkable propensity for writing prose. Indeed, Edgar Edgar Allan Poeallan Poe’s first love was poetry, although he was unable to make a living at it early on, he was able to publish two small volumes during these early years.

Only after becoming an assistant editor in Richmond, Virginia, in 1835 did Poe’s literary talents start to blossom. It was at this time in his life that Poe fell in love with his 13-year-old cousin Virginia. Their marriage forced him to find a source of income. When the editor of the Messenger offered employment, Poe eagerly accepted. During his tenure at the Messenger, Edgar Allan Poe was an editor as well as a contributor. In early 1836, Poe was credited with between 80 and 90 reviews, six poems, four essays and three stories, not to mention editiorials and commentaries.

In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe began working for a man named George Graham. At this time, Poe was preparing his famous work, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” for publication. It was during these years in Philadelphia that Poe published such trademark horror tales as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Pit and The Pendulum”. It was not until the 1845 publication of Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” that he achieved the true rise to fame that had been denied him until then. The public’s reaction to the poem brought Poe to a new level of recognition. In February 1847, Poe’s young wife died of consumption. Poe was devastated by her death and penned these words:

“Deep in earth my love is lying and I must weep alone.”

During the following years Poe’s life was taking a steady turn downward. He suffered through a suicide attempt, several failed romances and engagements, and a largely unsuccessful attempt to resurrect his failing career after a long bout with alcoholism and depression. Edgar Allan Poe died at the age of 40 on 7 Ocobter 1849 in Baltimore. Although the exact circumstances of his death remain unknown, it seems clear that his death can be attributed to the effects of alcoholism.


Some of Edgar Allan Poe’s works:
1839 The Fall Of The House Of Usher
1841 The Murdes In The Rue Morgue
1843 The Gold-Bug
1843 The Black Cat
1843 The Tell-Tale Heart
1845 The Raven
1850 Eleonora

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