I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. Oscar Wilde, author and poet, born October 16, 1864.
The Wanderer above the Mists (1817-18) | Caspar David Friedrich
The person stands before a daunting, mountainous landscape and deep valleys filled with mist. Although some claim that this man ‘conquers’ the landscape with his position over the misty gorges, he is still dwarfed by the immensity of the wilds before him. He is not called a hero or conqueror in the title, but a wanderer. The mountains are a solid and impenetrable fortress before him. Although he has reached a peak where he can view the landscape around him, there are still even greater elevations, mountains and wildernesses that are unknown to him at his position. The human is present and given importance, but the landscape within the piece is still there to evoke the sublime.
Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky in Milan, Italy during WWI.
Agnes worked as a nurse who cared for nineteen-year-old Hemingway after he had been wounded. He fell in love with her and she became the inspiration for Catherine Barkley in A Farewell To Arms.
Khalil Gibran is considered to be the third best-selling poet of all time. Behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tsu, his widely popular work The Prophet has been translated in over forty languages and has never been out of print. It sells five thousand copies on average per week to this day.
While writing his prose poem A Season in Hell (1873), Arthur Rimbaud travelled through England and Belgium with his friend and fellow poet Paul Verlaine. Their relationship was so tumultuous that Verlaine ended up shooting Rimbaud’s hand with a revolver in a drunken rage.
Allen Ginsberg reading to a crowd at Washington Square Park, New York, 1960