Sunday, February 03, 2008

As One Abnormally Born

Last night I had the good fortune of watching "La Boheme" with a few of my friends in the Domain. It was a typically high-brow affair, allowing us the opportunity to sample some wine while talking philosophy and literature. For some reason, I made the fairly audacious claim that "nothing worthwhile really happened after the end of the nineteenth century". Of course, this was a deliberate exaggeration, and my friends were quick to come to the rescue of the twentieth century citing names such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. While I agree that my sweeping claim was rather unjustified, I still maintain that the twentieth century and the years beyond have been somewhat less prolific than the nineteenth century. It's worth having a look at some of the significant cultural, political and technological contributions made by this great era:

Novelists and Poets

Jane Austen
Charlotte and Emily Bronte
Charles Dickens
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Victor Hugo
John Keats
Alexander Pushkin
Arthur Rimbaud
Robert Louis Stevenson
Leo Tolstoy
Mark Twain
H.G. Wells
Walt Whitman
Oscar Wilde

Philosophers and Theologians

Charles Darwin
Georg Hegel
Soren Kierkegaard
Karl Marx
John Stuart Mill
Cardinal John Henry Newman
Fredreich Nietzsche
Fredreich Schliermacher

World Leaders and Prominent Politicians

Otto von Bismarck
Napoleon Buonaparte
Benjamin Disraeli
Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
Queen Victoria
William Wilberforce


Ludwig van Beethoven
Johannes Brahms
Frederic Chopin
Claude Debussy
Antonín Dvorak
Edvard Grieg
Franz Liszt
Piotr Tchaichovsky
Giuseppe Verdi
Richard Wagner


Paul Cezanne
Vincent van Gogh
Claude Monet
Edvard Munch
Pablo Picasso
Camille Pissarro
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Of course, there are many more individuals that could be added to this list. I haven't even mentioned Waterloo, the end of slavery, the invention of the telephone, the discovery of electricity, the American Civil War, the start of universal suffrage, Vatican I, the birth of the union movement and of course the start of cricket and the first test match. I've started to become quite fond of the nineteenth century and I'm starting to wonder whether I wasn't born at least a century later than I should have.

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