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Authors, Poets & Novelists ~

Alex de Tocqueville
J. R. R. Tolkien

Leo Tolstoy
Jean Toomer

Charles-Alexis-Henri Clerel de Tocqueville (1805-59) 1850, Giclee Print
Alexis de Tocqueville
Giclee Print

Charles-Alexis-Henri Clerel de Tocqueville
b. 7-29-1805; Paris, France
d. 4-16-1859; Cannes

Political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocquevile “explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies” in Democracy in America, which was published after his travels in the United States.

de Tocqueville quote ~
• “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Alexis de Tocqueville quote on Civil Rights

J. R. R. Tolkien, Print
J. R. R. Tolkien,

J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien
b. 1-3-1892; Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa
d. 9-2-1973; Bournemouth, England

Writer, poet, philologist (study of historic linguistics) and professor J. R. R. Tolkien is best remembered his classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Tolkien was close friends with author C.S. Lewis.

J.R.R. Tolkien quotes ~
• “Not all those who wander are lost.”
• “It is the job that is never started that takes longest to finish.”
• “The world is full enough of hurts and mischance without wars to multiply them.”

Portrait of Leo Tolstoy Poster
Leo Tolstoy
Giclee Print

Leo Tolstoy
b. 9-9-1828; Yasnaya Polyana, Russian Empire
d. 11-20-1910; Astapovo

Leo Tolstoy, best remembered as the author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina, was also an “educational reformer”, founding schools for the serfs on the family estate.

Tolstoy was also a “teacher” of Gandhi who called Tolstoy “the greatest apostle of non-violence that the present age has produced”.

Leo Tolstoy quotes ~
• “School is established, not in order that it should be convenient for the children to study, but that teachers should be able to teach in comfort. The children’s conversations, motion, merriment are not convenient for the teacher, and so in the schools, which are built on the plan of prisons, ... are prohibited.”
• “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
• “All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.”
• “A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.”
• “Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”
• “The subject of history is the life of peoples and of humanity. To catch and pin down in words–that is, to describe directly the life, not only of humanity, but even of a single people, appears to be impossible.”

Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy
The Last Station

Stars of the Harlem Renaissance - Jean Toomer Poster
Stars of the Harlem Renaissance - Jean Toomer Poster

Jean Toomer
b. 12-26-1894; Washington, DC
d. 3-30-1967, Doylestown, PA
“O people, if you but used
Your other eyes
You would see beings.”

Jean Toomer is one of the most interesting and puzzling figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nathan Eugene Toomer was born into a prominent mixed-race family and raised in white neighborhoods by his mother after his father left. When Toomer was just 11 years old, his mother died and he went to live in a black neighborhood in Washington, D.C. with his grandfather P.B.S. Pinchback, who had served as governor of Louisiana. It was the first time Toomer had actually lived around other African Americans.

This experience and his time as the principal of a school in Georgia provided Toomer with ideas for stories and poems. Toomer, who now called himself “Jean,” sent his writings to several important Harlem-based magazines, which published them and asked for more. In 1923 his work was collected and published as the book Cane, and Harlem, in the words of one writer, “went quietly mad.” Cane, a mix of poetry and short stories, is regarded as the first great literary work of the Harlem Renaissance.

Everyone hailed Jean Toomer as the next great black literary hero – everyone except Jean Toomer himself. He was angry with his publisher for calling him a “Negro” writer. He said he was “neither white nor black, but simply an American.” Toomer devoted the rest of his life to studying and teaching philosophy, and although he wrote many books after Cane, none of them was ever published for the general public. He was largely forgotten when in died in 1967, but when Cane was reprinted two years later, its reputation as a classic was quickly restored.

Jean Toomer Bio
“Cane” by Jean Toomer

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