Ah, the passage of time. Every author hopes his works will stand the test thereof. Well, the start of 20th century is over 100 years behind us. And in the year 1915, the world saw several major works debut, so we thought we’d look at some of the biggest hits (or something like that).
Actually, one of these books was written around 1915 but wasn’t actually published until 1971. Another wasn’t even written until 1923…but maybe the author THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING that book in 1915. Yes. That’s it. It could happen. I mean, it’s Bambi. You love Bambi! Then again, you probably haven’t read it, either. That’s OK! Go get a copy and some coffee, and see the other books still standing after one hundred years.
Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world. Those letters, still a fresh source of inspiration and insight, are accompanied here by a chronicle of Rilke's life that shows what he was experiencing in his own relationship to life and work when he wrote them.
We follow Maurice through public school and Cambridge, and into his father's firm. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way—except that he is homosexual. Written during 1913 and 1914, immediately after "Howards End", and not published until 1971, "Maurice" was ahead of its time in its theme and in its affirmation that love between men can be happy.
The story of Philip Carey, a sensitive orphan born with a club foot who is eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief spell in Paris as a would-be artist, he settles in London to train as a doctor where he meets Mildred, the loud but irresistible waitress with whom he plunges into a tortured and masochistic affair. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom.
Before becoming the patron of Lost Generation artists, Gertrude Stein established her reputation as an innovative author whose style was closer to painting than literature.
There are enough Swiftian touches in Akutagawa to show his hatred of stupidity, greed, hypocrisy, and the rising jingoism of the day. But Akutagawa's artistic integrity kept him from joining his contemporaries in easy criticism or naive introspection. What he did was question the values of his society. This Rashomon is also a basis for Kurosawa's legendary film adaptation.
Yes, this is the basis of a certain beloved animated movie. However, it's also Salten's allegory of human nature and survival. You'll feel like you just read the original Grimm fairy tales: a little surprised, and wondering where those cute animals are.