Storyline: The genuine literary genius combines a windmill-tilting conservative consciousness with a penchant for incarceration and suffering in order to unleash his extraordinary capacity for capturing the full spirit of the human condition on paper in his ongoing role as creator of classic works.

Fyodor Doestoevski (Fyodor Mikhailovich Doestoevski) (1821-1881) - Russian writer. Outer: Father was a military surgeon, who was also alcoholic, avaricious and cruel. Sickly mother was good-natured and subservient. Oldest of six, with three younger sisters and two younger brothers. Raised in an autocratic home with a strong religious environment, and was an avid reader all his life. Educated by his parents, then attended private school, before completing his education at Military Engineers’ School. His mother died when he was 15, then father was killed by his own serfs when he was 18. Short and stocky. Became an officer, then a draftsman in the Engineer’s Corps, though retired a year later to devote himself fulltime to writing. Continually inept with money, which would start a lifelong pattern of gambling, failed business ventures and trying to support relatives, despite an adequate income from schooling onward. Suffered from epilepsy most of his life as well. His early work was praised by critics, but a lack of success with his short stories, turned him towards utopian socialism as a social panacea. Arrested for subversive activities in 1849, and spent 8 months in a dungeon under a death sentence. While standing on the scaffolding awaiting execution, he had his sentence transmuted to 4 years of hard labor in Siberia. Spent another 4 years in a military garrison and was given the rank of private, then finally had his commission restored. The period transformed him from a vain, literary prima donna into a serious artist, deepening his self-view, as well as his understanding of the world as a tragic stage for self-expression. His experiences would haunt him the rest of his life, while giving him an inexhaustible wealth of material. In his mid-30s, he married Maria Isaeva, the widow of a governmental official, and was permitted to return to Russia. Became a slavophile, and, also, because the Bible was the only literature allowed him during much of his exile, a devoted supporter of the Church. Visited western Europe, which confirmed his anti-western feelings, had a turbulent affair with a beautiful feminist writer, then returned to Germany and France to try to get help for his epilepsy. Traveled with his lover, who eventually spurned him, and gambled heavily, showing a pathological obsession with gaming, before coming home. In 1864 his wife and beloved brother died. Took on the responsibility for his stepson and brother’s family. Continued producing his extraordinary works, including the intensely psychological Crime and Punishment, and in his mid-40s, married his stenographer, a quarter of a century younger than himself, one daughter who died as an infant from the union, along with another daughter and two sons, with the second dying at three months. His wife, Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (Monique Wittig), was devoted to him, with the necessary strength and practicality to deal with his compulsive financial failings, particularly his compulsive gambling, which he finally gave up in 1871. Also evinced jealous rages around anyone paying any attention to her, which would invariably end in his begging her forgiveness. The duo traveled together a great deal, as he continued his output, often writing his novels as installments for Russian magazines. Best known for his last and greatest novel, "The Brothers Karamazov," a tale of Russia’s conflicting psychological archetypes. His last years were the most harmonious and successful of his life, and when he died from a lung hemorrhage, he was hailed as a great man. Probably the singular most impressive novelist in the entire western canon. Inner: Depressive, neurotic, humorless, with a great fear of being buried alive. Changed from radical utopian to conservative upholder of orthodoxy, with a sweeping view of humanity, thanks to his grim range of experience. Had an extraordinary insight into human condition, and was a master of the intricacies of the human mind. Great believer in the moral righteousness of the Christ, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church. Snake eyes lifetime of inner and outer turmoil as an ongoing prisoner of his extraordinary sensibilities, allowing him to become a unique voice of 19th century Russia and all its divergent psychosocial and psychological struggles, as well as a taleteller for the ages. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) - Spanish writer. Outer: Son of a noble but poor Castilian apothecary surgeon. 4th of 7 children. His father was imprisoned for debts when he was 4, which brought much hardship to his upbringing. An avid reader, he studied in various Spanish cities, although attended no universities, before going to Italy in the service of a Spanish prelate there who became a cardinal. Medium height, pallid, and stocky. Very impressed with the cultural atmosphere of Renaissance Italy, which his later works would reflect, although he found his position stifling. Soon became a soldier, and was involved in the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571, where he lost the use of his left hand, and was wounded in the chest. Spent 6 months in a hospital and then participated in various expeditions, before returning to Spain in his late 20s, only to be captured by pirates and taken to Algiers as a prisoner. Spent 5 years in captivity, trying repeatedly to escape. Bought and put on a galley heading for Constantinople when his ransom was finally paid by a friar and he was liberated. Returned home and married unhappily in his mid-30s to Catalina de Palacios, who was nearly 2 decades his junior, after having had a daughter by a mistress before the union. Despite military service and slavery, he was forced to earn a living as a tax collector and commissary. Exhibiting little skill for business, he was excommunicated for excessive zeal in wheat dealings and twice imprisoned for irregularities in his accounts. Began his literary career in his early 30s, although did not show his true genius until his later work. A mediocre poet, he was slightly more talented as a playwright, with a gift for satire, making him more prolific and successful in his latter endeavors, although he lacked a sense of dramatic instinct. An irregularity in his tax accounts led to a prison term in 1597, during which time he began to conceive his masterwork, Don Quixote de la Mancha, the tale of an errant knight tilting after windmills, which would become a world classic over the subsequent centuries. This meditation on realism and idealism, totally failed to impress the critics and the intellectual elite, but was popular in its day with the common reader, allowing it to go through several printings, and has continued unabated as one of the great works of the ages. The first part was published in 1605, and the second a decade later. Joined the Tertiaries of St. Francis just before his death, and seemingly achieved a serenity of spirit. Buried in the robes of that order. Inner: Idealistic, insightful, with a profound understanding of the human condition, and a proclivity, as in most of his lives, for incarceration, the better to dive deep into himself. Windmill-tilting lifetime of financial ineptitude, imprisonment and novelistic genius, a trinity of traits, he would continue to carry unbroken into the modern world. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1916-2008) - Russian writer. Outer: Father was an artillery officer in WW I who died in a firearms accident while serving in the White Russian Army, 6 months before his son was born. Mother was a stenographer and typist, who refused to remarry, barely supporting herself and her son. Had a deprived childhood, but loved reading and felt a great desire to serve Russia as a his/storian. Serious, politically aware as a youth, with a fascination with military strategy. Isolated and lonely, while his mother was often ill from TB. Felt all he read was a lie. Tall, dour and barrel-chested. Graduated Rostov Univ. majoring in mathematics and physics, and served at the front during WW II as an officer. Married in 1940 to a professor and research chemist, Natalya Reshetovskaya, demanding absolute submission from her, since he wanted nothing to interfere with his work, including children. Enthralled by Marx & Lenin, but was arrested for criticizing dictator Joseph Stalin in a letter to a friend. Spent 8 years in labor camps, and then an additional 3 years in exile, before rejoining Soviet society, far more of an intractable moralist and far less of a Marxist. During that time, he contracted cancer and spent several months in Tashkent, where he began seriously putting pen to paper. After his release, he was a teacher of math and physics in a small town, at which time he divorced. His ex-wife married and divorced an editor, and was suspected of being an informer against him, before they remarried in 1957. Outraged when she made a suicide attempt in 1970, asking how dare she do such a thing to him, he divorced her for good 3 years later. His longtime sense of sexual repression was finally released by an academic colleague, although their eros eventually scared him away. His first submitted story, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, detailed his Siberian experience, and mirrored the de-Stalinizing mood of the 1960s. Became a celebrity both at home and abroad through it. Dependent on female helpers to organize his manuscripts, and smuggle his works out of the country, although easily discarded them when they were no longer useful to him. Abandoned teaching, joined the Union of Soviet Writers, and began collecting material that would be a written witness to the Soviet political prison system, The Gulag Archipelago. Expelled from the writer’s union for his work, and was violently attacked in the Soviet press, although he was viewed as heroic by non-Russians for his grim determination. Survived an attempt by poison by the KGB to silence him in 1971. Finally arrested and deported in 1974. Settled first in Zurich with his much younger 2nd wife, Dmitrievna Svetlova, a math teacher, and 3 sons, 2 of whom were born before their union, as well as a stepchild. Spent 20 years in exile in the United States, 18 of them in virtual isolation, sending out broadsides against both the West for its perceived moral poverty and the Soviet revolution for its failure to complete its Christian mission. Eventually abandoned his literary view and style to become a strident and cantankerous polemicist and nothing more. Returned to Russia with a symbolic train ride across Siberia, then launched a TV show, which was later canceled, largely because of the sheer negativity of his character. After relegation to obscurity once again, he enjoyed a final hurrah when his earlier work, The First Circle, was made into a TV series in 2006, and the same year, his complete works, some 30 volumes, began to be released by Russian publishers. Died at home of heart failure. Inner: Fierce nationalist, stern, scolding, anti-Western. Far too serious and self-important for his own growth, drawing on his own hard experience for his insight, instead of the brilliant sense of psychological projection he would develop in later lives in earlier times in this series. Strong patriotic sense of the past. Self-imprisoning lifetime of searching for his spirituality through his unusual relationship with his country, which, like a capricious lover, has alternately incarcerated, rejected, embraced and laughed at him, while he has not yet developed the internal tools or sense of compassion and eros to transcend its hyperemotional response to him. Aleksandr Radischev (1749-1802) - Russian writer. Outer: Born into the Russian landed gentry. Educated at home his first 7 years, then was brought to Moscow by his father, and finally graduated from a cadet training school in St. Petersburg. Capped his education with 4 years at the Univ. of Leipzig in Germany. Returned to Russia with an anti-autocratic attitude and began his career as a government official, while joining the cultural forces of the Russian Enlightenment. Married, with 4 children. Served in the Russian Senate for 2 years, beginning in 1771 and on the Empress’s advisory council, and then as a civilian military prosecutor, which tuned him into the demands of the Russian serfs, as well as revolutionary activity in general. After home-publishing A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, in which he limned a country of venality at the top and heartbreak at the bottom, he was jailed and forced to repent his apostasies immediately. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to death by an official inquiry, then pardoned by the Empress Catherine II (Indira Gandhi) and instead, sent into exile to a remote penal settlement in Siberia. Continued writing during his exile, and was finally liberated by the death of the Empress in 1796, who had personally found his works repugnant and revolutionary. Allowed to return to a village near Moscow, where he remained under a parole arrangement. Fully rehabilitated with the accession of Alexander I (Mikhail Gorbachev), he was invited to participate in a commission for the planning of new legislation, but was unable to compromise or face further exile. Instead, he drank a cup of nitric acid, and, after an agonizing day, died. His works, however, would live on and on as an emblem of hope for his beloved but long beleaguered country. Inner: Highly moral and principled. Strong identification with the oppressed, and a compulsive truth-teller, no matter the circumstance. Self-abnegating lifetime of beginning his fascination with incarceration as a means to release his formidable insight and storytelling skills. Fernando de Rojas (c1475-1541) - Castilian writer and lawyer. Outer: From a family of Jewish conversos, forced to convert to Christianity in order to stay in Spain, although they may have continued their Sephardic Hebraic practices in secret, which ultimately brought him to the attention of the Inquisition. Studied at the Univ. of Salamanca, and eventually got a Bachelor of Law degree. His tragic romance, “La Celestina” was a forerunner of the Spanish literary renaissance, which he would embody his next life in this series as Cervantes, with this work seen by many as second in importance only to “Don Quixote,” in the early Iberian canon. Originally published it as an extended novel called “The Tragicomedy of Calixto and Melibea” in 1499. The story, in dialogue and play form, concerns the previous named pair, who use a go-between named Celestina, and all three wind up tragically perishing. The work combined popular speech with a classical style, while playing the idealistic off the realistic, themes he would pursue to universal readership in his Cervantes go-round. Married Leonor Alvarez de Montalban, who was also the child of conversos. Seven children survived to adulthood. Settled in Talavera in 1507, where he worked as a lawyer, and eventually became mayor towards the end of his life. Known in his lifetime for his respectable position, rather than his authorship. Inner: Materially adept, with a scathing view of the Christian world, seeing greed and selfishness as prime motivators, per his view of a society that had lost its romantic moorings and had nothing with which to replace them. Last literary go-round where prison wouldn’t fit strongly into his sense of disconnected self. Tilting at windmills lifetime of acting the upstanding citizen, while using his extraordinary literary talents to expose the corrosive death of high-minded pursuits by a society interested in only its own narrow pleasures and passions. Gottfried von Strassburg (c1170-1215?) - German poet. Outer: Almost nothing known about his life. As a member of the higher middle class, he probably held some sort of academic position. Conversant with Latin and French and had a good knowledge of Greek mythology. His fame rests on a single work, Tristan und Isolde, a love poem which is descriptive rather than dogmatic, treating the psychology of its subjects without moral judgment. Some 3,000 lines, or an estimated 1/4, of the poem survives. Inner: Extremely inventive, with a sure sense of his own unusual imaginative skills. Excellent insight into the emotional human condition, with a refined writing technique and a worldly sense of esthetics. Foundation lifetime of working in medieval literary traditions to thoroughly ground himself in the poetic arts of insight and description.


Storyline: The philandering philosopher does continual battle with his extremes of behavior in trying to find a middle, moral ground through his ongoing obsessions with truth, light and darkness and his own larger-than-life vainglorious persona.

mLeo Tolstoy (Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy) (1828-1910) - Russian writer. Outer: Son of landed nobility. His father had married a wealthy heiress and princess to bolster the family fortunes. The latter died when he was 2, while his sire passed 7 years later, and he also lost a younger brother through drowning. Lived with 2 different aunts and was given home tutoring. A mediocre student, despite a high intelligence, he preferred the lessons of the natural world, exhibiting a lifelong affinity for nature. Enrolled at Kazan Univ., where he led a dissolute existence, then, dissatisfied with schooling, returned to the estate he had recently inherited in 1847. Wished to help his serfs, but soon grew bored with country life. Sat for his final exams at St. Petersburg Univ., but withdrew after passing 2 subjects. Joined the army in 1852, wrote his first story, and saw considerable action in the Crimean War, which he would write about. After resigning his commission, he went to St. Petersburg, where he met the literary world of the time, while gambling and pursuing a highly promiscuous course of existence. Soon returned to his estate, then took 2 grand tours of Europe, studying educational systems the second time. Started a school for peasant children in 1859, emphasizing spontaneity rather than grades. Plain-faced, with a long black beard, which eventually turned white. After tiring of his sexual profligacy, he began a systematic search for a wife, marrying Sonya Bers, a woman of noble birth in his mid-30s. His volatile relationship with his spouse, an insecure person, was carefully recorded in diaries by both. Their relationship had started with her as his secretary, and became, in turn, tempestuous, bitter, and recriminating. Showed her his diaries of earlier seductions, which enflamed her jealousy, while he felt strongly she should take a traditional role as wife. 13 children from union, 8 of whom reached maturity. His masterwork was War and Peace, published between 1865 and 1869, where he viewed individuals as makers of his/story. Began questioning the meaning of life and underwent a spiritual crisis. Thought of suicide, while becoming more and more estranged from his wife, who, in turn, aroused his antipathy by becoming ever more possessive of him. His quandary reached its peak in his early 60s. Stopped his literary output and began writing on his sense of faith, a de-dogmatized Christianity. Rejected violence, capitalism and civilization-at-large, preferring a Rousseauesque communion with simple labor and the natural world. Began dressing as a peasant, and living out his ideals. Drew followers to his estate, but still could not countenance his privileged existence with his ideals and aesthetics. At the age of 83, after titanic battles with his wife and her continual threat of suicide, he decided to give up his worldly possessions. Left home with his physicians, but caught a feverish chill, and was taken off his train, dying in the stationmaster’s house of nervous exhaustion. His writing was largely autobiographical, exploring different aspects of his complex character. Long considered a master of realism. Inner: Lordly, vain, with a sweeping view of humanity. Dual character, that of wealthy land owner, and also anarchic Christian, as well as holding a puritanical temper and a sensualist’s instincts. Loved exercise and the outdoors, saw life in totally biological terms. Rationalist, prideful, highly sexed, but also harbored a sense of moral disgrace about his wanton urges. At war with any sense of inner peace lifetime of bringing himself full circle, from dissolute sensualist to totally ascetic anti-materialist. mJohn Gardner (1933-1982) - American writer. Outer: Mother was a high school teacher of literature, father was a dairy farmer. His sire would sing poems to him to get him to sleep, while his mother would read Shakespeare aloud. Began writing at 8. At 12, he lost a younger brother, who died in a tractor accident that he caused. The incident opened his imagination, and he worked out his guilt through composing stories. Short, often engaged in suicidal fantasy throughout his life. Attended Washington Univ. in St. Louis and the the Univ. of Iowa. At 20, he married his 2nd cousin, Joan Patterson, a music teacher he had known his whole life. 2 children from the union, which ended when they separated after nearly a quarter century. His 2nd marriage to Elizabeth Rosenberg, a poet, also ended in divorce, thanks to his compulsive need for the approbation of seduction. Pursued a teaching career at the college level throughout the U.S., including San Francisco State, Oberlin College, Bennington College and the Univ. of Rochester. Wrote for 15 years before being published, feeling suicidal the whole time. Experimented with classic themes in his fiction, and was particularly concerned with the morality of art. Drew attention with Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf legend from the monster’s point of view. Also a gifted poet and critic, publishing several works on Old and Middle English Poetry. Stirred academic circles with his "On Moral Fiction," in 1978, in which he decried the pessimism in modern works, feeling that literature should be a celebration of life. A familiar long-haired figure on his motorcycle around campuses. Lifelong pipe smoker, considering it central to his creative output, wound up with colon cancer, and having it removed. Also an alcoholic, using it as fuel to feed his literary powers. Popular lecturer and gadfly, with a great love for Tolstoy’s work. Died in middle-age in a motorcycle accident, 4 days before he was to marry one of his graduate students, Susan Thornton. Inner: Rebellious, extremely opinionated, loved to tweak convention and stir controversy. Compelling, manipulative, charismatic and monstrously self-absorbed, particularly the more famous he became. Messianic about literature and the morality of art. Egregious ego lifetime of exploring themes that he would bring to the world stage by spinning back in time for a far more dramatic manifestations of himself, replete with the same early exiting brother. mJohn Wilmot, 2nd earl of Rochester (1647-1680) - English poet. Outer: Of noble birth, father was a close associate of Charles II (Peter O’Toole), during the English Civil Wars. Succeeded his sire to his earldom at the age of 9. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, received a pension from Charles II and traveled for 3 years on the continent. Returned to court, and became involved in numerous scandalous pranks, establishing himself as a wit and legendary rake, with numerous mistresses, as well as a fondness for inebriated states. Frequently banished from court because of his outspokenness, but always called back. Volunteered for naval service and served with distinction. Briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London for abducting an heiress, Elizabeth Malet, in 1665, whom he later married at 30, and was made gentleman of the bedchamber to the king, whose favorite he was. 4 children from the union. Also had a child with actress Elizabeth Barry (Ingrid Bergman). Despite his devil-may-care attitude, he was quite learned, with a devastatingly satirical pen. Wrote lyrical love poems, and numerous satires. Made ranger of Woodstock Forest, which gave him time to put quill to paper, but his earlier excesses had already ruined his health. Became more serious in later life, with strong interests in religion and philosophy. At life’s end, he experienced a religious conversion, recanted his past and burned his lewd writings, although that stance may have been the fanciful wish of his presumed converter, Gilbert Burnet (Harry S. Truman). Died of the ravages of syphilis, as well as other venereal diseases. Inner: Mixture of playboy, poet and philosopher, showing distinct talent for all 3. Roguish lifetime of spanning his behavioral bridge of debauchee, esthete and ascetic, while giving full play to his robust and fertile philosophic mind. Count mGiovanni Pico Della Mirandola (1463-1494) - Italian humanist and writer. Outer: Born in the castle of his noble family, which claimed descent from the Roman Emperor Constantine (Mohandas Gandhi) as the youngest son of the prince of Mirandola, a territory that was later absorbed into a larger duchy. His father died when he was 4 and he and his brothers went on to hold great antagonism towards one another, with periods of reconciliation. Evinced both intelligence and a remarkable memory, and was sent at 14 to the Univ. of Bologna to study canon law. Uninspired, he went instead to the Univ. of Ferrara, where he took up philosophy and theology and met many of his subsequent companions. Tall, handsome, and fair complexioned, with grey eyes and yellow hair, making him extremely attractive to one and all. Attracted to Neoplatonism and Greek culture, he became known for his brilliant public disputations with his professors. Also gained expertise in both languages and the Jewish Cabala, while wandering through the various schools of Italy and France. Accumulated a remarkable library on the latter subject, drawing public interest into a heretofore isolated system of thought. Moved to Florence in his early 20s, and evolved a mystical view of philosophy, interweaving pagan and Christian thought. After visiting France, he returned to Florence and presented his 900 theses on natural sciences, magic, theology and metaphysics. 13 of them were found heretical by the pope, and he was forced to retract them, but later retracted his retraction, defending himself in an Apologia to the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici (Abraham Lincoln). Fell under the influence of the reformer Savanorola (Martin Heidigger), and took up ascetic practices and meditation. After going to France, he returned and was given absolution by the pope’s more lenient successor, and was officially vindicated. Turned to a more traditional religious view, commenting on the Bible in his last writings. Three years before his death, he gave away his ancestral principality, and made plans to wander the world barefoot preaching his view of the Christ. Ultimately died under mysterious circumstances, probably poisoned by one of his servants, passing away in a state of sanctity, invested by Savonarola. Inner: Striking memory, excellent ability at codifying spiritual information. Cerebral lifetime of questing within the framework of medieval religious mystic traditions, from the Neoplatonic to the Judaic to the Christian. Leo VI (749-780) - Byzantine Basileus. Known as ‘Leo the Philosopher.’ Outer: Father was either Basil I (Maxim Gorki), or his predecessor Michael III (Johnny Weissmuller) since his mother, Eudokia Ingerina (Gloria Trevi), was simultaneously the mistress of the latter and wife of the former. Made co-emperor at the age of 4 along with his older half-brother, who died when he was 13. The loss of his favorite, which devastated his sire, made Basil actively and bitterly hate his new heir, since his true paternity was unknown. Well-educated, with a love for philosophy and theology, he showed far more of a propensity for scholarship than soldiering, as the empire came to reflect his lack of expertise in the latter realm. At 16, he was wed against his will to the excessively pious Theophano, who complained to his father that he refused to give up his mistress, Zoe Zaoutzaina, the daughter of a bureaucrat. Flogged to the point of bleeding by his outraged progenitor for the breach, while his inamorata was banished from the capital and married to another. Succeeded to the throne on his sire’s death in 886, with Theophano as his empress, although she retired to a convent in 893, leaving him open to marry his beloved when his wife passed on in 897. One daughter who died young from the union. His brother Alexander (Suge Knight) was co-ruler, but preferred spending his time in pursuit of pleasure, leaving him to lead alone. Liked to spend his leisure writing liturgical poems and hymns, as well as sermons and homilies, which he personally delivered from the pulpit during Church feasts. Raised his teenage brother, Stephen to the patriarchate of Constantinople, although he died six years later. Lost his second wife in 899, while she produced two daughters, still leaving him without a heir. Married a third time in 900 to Eudokia Baiana, although the union was technically illegal since Byzantine church law forbade third marriages. The following year she died giving birth to a stillborn son, leaving him once again without the desired dynastic heir. Took on a mistress, Zoe Carbonopsina, the relative of a well-known chronicler, and in 906 married her, after she had given birth to the future Constantine VII (Tupac Shakur) although the validity of the union, his fourth, went well beyond the pale of Church law, forcing him to wed via a priest, rather than the city’s patriarch. Spent most of his reign trying to stop incursions by the Arabs and Bulgars into Byzantine territory. Lost several key western possessions, including Sicily and Thessalonica, while the Aegean Sea was a predatory haven for Arab pirates. Strengthened the navy, but it had only had middling success under him. His real contribution was in letters and the law. Codified imperial law, which was written in Greek, and it became the legal basis for the empire. Wrote numerous decrees dealing with secular and ecclesiastical problems. Died in bed just as the Byzantine fleet suffered a devastating defeat. Succeeded by his brother, Alexander. Inner: Scholarly, with a genuine feel for legal order. Never much of an inspiring military leader, but had an excellent sense of administrative organization, leaving his empire stronger internally, while vulnerable externally. Pen-in-hand lifetime of acting far more the lawyer than the emperor, leaving a solid written testament to his inner achievements, while failing to protect his outer boundaries, and raising ecclesiastical hackles through his bending of custom and law to finally secure a heir. mDiogenes (c412-323BZ) - Greek philosopher. Outer: Little known about his life. Possibly sold into slavery, before becoming a teacher to his owner’s children. Later exiled. Became a Cynic philosopher, and a believer in anarchic utopia, adopting thoroughly unconventional stances for every aspect of life. Traditionally presented as searching for an honest man with a lantern in broad daylight. Rejected comforts, lived by begging, and purposeful homelessness, winning him the nickname of “Kyon, or ‘og,’ which translated into cynic. The repository of many eccentric traits, including living in a storage jar, which he rolled up and down the streets when everyone was preparing for war, so as to appear to be busy, too. Once publicly masturbated in the agora to show how admirably shameless he had become. When asked by the conqueror Alexander the Great, if there was anything he could do for him, he asked him to get out of his light. Writings lost, although he worked in numerous modes, mostly expostulating negative thoughts. Inner: Ascetic, highly unconventional, self-sufficient. Eccentric lifetime of living out his beliefs, and in doing so, becoming master of his ascetic self, rather than his circumstances, and a symbolic truth seeker for all times.


Storyline: The language-besotted lepidopterist has a perfect childhood then is cast adrift on the world’s landscape to slyly allow his memory and superb narrative skills to speak their piece on his impaling wit.

Vladimir Nabokov (Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov) 1899-1977) - Russian/American writer and entomologist. Outer: Pampered son of a wealthy jurist and statesman. Born on Shakespeare’s (William Butler Yeats) birthday. Eldest of 5, and tri-lingual as a child. Brought up in a St. Petersburg townhouse and country estate, and treated as if he were the center of the universe. Learned to speak and read English before he could read Russian. A lifelong fascination with butterflies began when he was 7. Handsome, talented, disciplined and competitive, as well as a good athlete. Became a multi-millionaire at 16 when an uncle left him his estate, then lost all of it when his family was forced into impoverished exile because of the Russian Revolution. Published his first book of verse at 17. Six years later, his father was assassinated at an emigre political meeting in Berlin shielding the lecturer. Went to Trinity College in Cambridge, then taught boxing, tennis and languages in Berlin. Married Vera Slonim, a Russian Jewish woman in his mid-20s, who later acted as co-translator of his Russian works, one son from their happy union. His wife fell passionately in love with his work and was his willing assistant and prime reader their entire half-century plus life together. Moved to Paris in 1937, then the U.S. in 1940, becoming an American citizen in 1945, after having been invited by Stanford Univ. to lecture on Slavic languages. Wrote in both Russian and English and did his own translations, using the pseudonym Sirin for his 9 Russian works. Did his writing like a crossword puzzle in little bits and pieces that would fill out sections, before compiling them together for the whole. Taught at Wellesley during the 1940s, and later at Cornell in the 1950s, earning a reputation as a charmingly eccentric professor. Also held a research fellowship at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, which he later described as the most thrilling period of his adult life. Had a famous feud with critic Edmund Wilson. His best known work was Lolita, exploring the infatuation of a middle-aged professor for a nymphet, which was turned down by numerous publishers, before causing a huge sensation when it finally saw print in 1955. The money from the book allowed him to retire from teaching and he returned to Europe at the end of the 1950s and established himself at the stately Palace Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland. Felt he had had a childhood that was so wondrous, itcould not be replicated, and so never established a permanent home once he moved to the west. Also probably did not want the revisited trauma of losing a home again. Avid butterfly collector and noted lepidopterist, who willingly cut himself off from the rest of the world at life’s end. Wrote his expanded autobiography, Speak Memory in 1966, and died of a viral infection a little over a decade later. Stipulated in his will that his private papers not be published until 50 years after the deaths of his wife and son. Had his hypothesis of the migration of Polyommatus blue butterflies from Asia to the New World via Siberia to Alaska in waves, confirmed through gene-sequencing technology years after his death, confirming his status as an amateur lepidoptrist extraordinaire. Inner: Guarded narcissist, revealing himself as little as he possibly could. Witty, learned, highly articulate, urbane, playful and aloof, with difficulties acknowledging his own feelings. Insomniac with a lifelong affliction of headaches. Passion for taxonomy, with a scientist’s sensibilities in his detailed dissection of butterflies. Monomaniacal in his pursuits. Felt he thought like a genius, wrote like a man of letters and talked like a child. Sweet butterfly of youth and then émigré adulthood lifetime of bringing his astute literary sensibilities to the world’s attention, while deliberately hiding both from himself and the curious public. Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) - Russian writer. Outer: Son of a handsome, impecunious ex-cavalry officer and a wealthy heiress, who was much older than her husband. One of 3 brothers. Endured an unhappy household through the capricious despotism of his mother, who did not spare the rod with him, causing him to think about running away, although never did. Educated at home, learning to speak German and French fluently. His family moved to Moscow when he was 9, then St. Petersburg after the death of his father in 1834. Educated at both universities, and became a friend of the poet Alexander Pushkin (Tupac Shakur). Went to Germany to continue his studies at the Univ. of Berlin and became a confirmed Westernizer, looking for radical reform in his homeland, a stance he pursued the rest of his life. Returned to Russia, worked in the civil service, then decided to devote his life to literature. His mother disapproved of his career, as well his involvement with a married French soprano and composer, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, who refused to leave her husband for him. The former withdrew all financial support, but when she died in his early 30s, he inherited a large fortune. Father of an illegitimate daughter by a seamstress in his mother’s employ, in a passing relationship. The child was raised by Viardot. His short stories were favorably received, but he was semi-arrested for an article written on Nikolai Gogol’s (Woody Allen) death, and, after a month in jail, spent 2 years in exile at his estate. The ongoing attachment to Viardot caused him to leave Russia in his late 30s, and he spent most of the rest of his life as an emigre abroad. Immensely popular in both France and England, with a host of culturati friends. Wrote 6 novels, all concerned with the social and political issues of Russia. His best known work was Fathers and Sons, published in 1862, a tale of generational conflict. A consummate craftsman with an extremely polished style. Although well-loved by foreigners, he had many enemies among the Russian writing community. Came back to his homeland in 1880 for ceremonies surrounding a monument to Pushkin, then returned to France, dying of cancer at the estate of Viardot, which he jointly owned with her and her husband, although he insisted before he went that he wished to be buried in his homeland. Inner: Tall, with an aristocratic mien, and a facility for making people feel uncomfortable. Tireless craftsman, continually polishing his body of work. Despised by many of his fellow Russian writers. Émigré lifetime of alternate alienation from and love for his homeland, making for a dual perspective from afar, which was reinforced by his unattainable love for a married woman. Alain Le Sage (1668-1747) - French writer. Outer: Father was a notary, advocate and registrar at the Royal Court of Rhuys. Probably educated by Jesuits, was called to the bar, and married in his mid-20s, at least 2 sons from union. Started out as a translator of Spanish plays, then began writing his own, finally enjoying success when he was near 40. Wrote about 100 plays, but is best known for his fiction. Often accused of plagiarism or lack of originality for borrowing heavily from foreign sources. Had a falling out with the Comedie-Francaise in 1709 over its elaborate acting style, and subsequently wrote in the genre of comedy of manners, often employing Oriental settings and using lyrics sung to popular airs. A fluid precise stylist, with a good-humored view of human foibles, although he never employed elevating themes, preferring to entertain rather than educate. Considered one of the first independent professional writers, receiving neither royal patronage or salon support. Spent a quiet life largely dedicated to his work. Inner: Excellent narrative abilities, with a gift for language. Independent lifetime of establishing his expertise in the rhythm of language as well as a fierce sense of autonomy to pursue his own literary and esthetic course. Alain de Lille (Alanus de Insulus) (c1128-1202) - French poet. Outer: Not much known about his life. Probably studied at Chartres, then became a teacher in Paris, winning fame for his prodigious learning. Attended the Lateran Council in 1179, Taught and preached in the south of France, probably in the Cistercian orders. Enjoyed a widespread reputation as a Doctor Universalis, and was an anti-scholastic mystic. Best known for an allegorical poem extolling nature as part of the perfection of the universe. Returned to Paris to continue writing and teaching, then retired to a Cistercian abbey in Citeaux where he died. Inner: Pious and learned, with an abiding faith in reason as a touchstone for the physical universe, and a reasonable belief in faith to see the rest of the unseen universe. Nature-besotted lifetime of using his considerable gifts at exposition to celebrate the wonders of the heavens in the earthly world he saw around him. Gregory II (669-731) - Italian pope. Outer: From a noble Roman family. Educated from childhood onward in the Lateran Palace at its choir school, so that he wound up spending his entire active life in the papal bureaucracy, after becoming a Benedictine monk. Ultimately served successive popes as almoner, treasurer and librarian, the first it is believed to have held the latter post. Ordained a deacon, then selected by Pope Constantine I as the most learned man of his time, when he accompanied him to Constantinople in 710. Proved his worth in dealing with the Byzantine emperor Justinian II (Adolf Hitler) in answering his questions, in an attempt to resolve differences between the eastern and western churches, and succeeded in getting the latter to accept Roman papal supremacy. Elected to the papacy in 715, and took on one of its most distinguished names, Gregory II. Forced to deal with a Lombard invasion on the city of Cumae, before getting Naples to intervene for him, for a large reward, when the former spurned all attempts on his part for peacekeeping. Initially established a good rapport with the newly enthroned Byzantine emperor Leo III (Michael Eisner), and held a council in Rome 721, issuing several canons around marriages and disciplines, while also sponsoring numerous missionary efforts to the Germanic tribes, while strengthening papal ties with the churches of Britain and Ireland. The latter effort elicited a huge increase in pilgrims to Rome from the British Isles, ultimately generating a church, cemetery and school of their own. Showed himself to be a gracious and kindly host for visiting dignitaries and monarchs, while, at the same time was protective of Roman authority, holding synods to correct abuses and halt heresies. Rebuilt a great portion of the walls of Rome to keep the city safe from Muslim attacks and restored many churches. When the Byzantine emperor Leo issued his anti-iconoclastic decrees, condemning all churchly images as graven, he excommunicated him, setting up Rome’s ultimate primacy over all issues Catholic in the centuries to come, following much contretemps between the two churches over their respective power and reaches. Following his mother’s demise, he converted his family mansion into a monastery. Seen as the greatest of the popes of his century, and was canonized following his death, with his feast day February 11th. Inner: Scholarly, saintly and solicitous of the aged and sick. Diplomatic, and strongly protective of the papacy, an institution he spent his entire life serving. Logophile lifetime of complete and utter identification with his calling, while using his communication skills to excellent effect in preparation for his future submersion into the world of letters as his ultimate raison d’etre


Storyline: The phobic wit turns his sharp, entertaining eye on everything but his true self in his ongoing struggle with his own horrors over the human comedy.

Woody Allen (Allan Stuart Koenigsberg) (1935) - American filmmaker and comedian. Outer: Of Russian, Lithuanian and Austrian Jewish descent. Father was a waiter and jewelry engraver, mother was a bookkeeper in a flower shop, whom he later characterized as abusive and negligent. The former ultimately lived to 100, despite a steady diet of meat and cigarettes. Had a lower middle-class Jewish upbringing, which he used repeatedly in many of his routines. His sister Letty Aronson, became a producer. Spent a lot of his childhood alone in his room practicing magical tricks, and playing his clarinet. Began writing jokes in high school for newspaper columnists and stage reviews, and became a writer on the original Sid Caesar TV show, while still a teenager. An indifferent student, with a lifelong fascination with film. Married Harlene Rosen, a 17 year old at the age of 20, divorced 6 years later. Reluctantly started performing his own material in Greenwich Village cafes, creating a stand-up comedy act around his own nebbishy, anxiety-ridden character, which led to writing for and acting in movies. 5’5”, wiry and bespectacled. Also wrote pieces for The New Yorker as well as several comedic books. In 1966, he married actress Louise Lasser, whom he met on his first film, the duo divorced in 1970. Wrote 2 Broadway comedies in the late 1960s which also were turned into films. Eventually became a filmmaker, initially as a jokester more interested in being funny then presenting any kind of true comic vision, and then expanding his deft wit to portray intimate interrelationships on screen, most notably in Annie Hall, which was not only a commercial success but was also given an Academy Reward for Best Picture in 1977. Had lifelong fascination with filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, his polar opposite on screen but neurotic parallel off it. An extremely disciplined writer, enabling him to create an extended body of work. Had a long ongoing relationship with actress Diane Keaton, who served as his muse in 8 of his films. A familiar NYC figure, playing clarinet every Monday eve for decades at Michael’s Pub, a jazz place, without ever acknowledging the audience. After casting her in A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy in 1982, he had a 12 year relationship with actress Mia Farrow, who became his subsequent primary screen focus on 13 films, while the two maintained separate abodes. The relationship produced a son, initially named Satchel, after legendary pitcher Satchel Paige, and later changed to Seamus, but the connection ended in 1992 when he made headlines with his involvement with her 21 year old adopted Korean daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, who eventually became his wife in 1997. The pair later had a child together, and then adopted a 2nd daughter. In the bitter aftermath, he was accused of molestation of MF’s adopted daughter Dylan, and denied custody of the children in a tabloid trial that did not seem to affect his ongoing career. His son would later change his name to Ronan to completely disconnect from his father, while proving fiercely Oedipal in his loyalty to his mother. Although only 3 of his films ever showed a clear profit, he was given a unique opportunity by the public over a 3 decade period to continue to explore himself through cinema because of his rare comedic gifts, churning out 34 films in 35 years, although his later works were mostly safe repetitions of formulae he had already explored, with younger and younger women inexplicably uniting with his continually aging self. A documentary called Wild Man Blues was made in 1998 of one of his European jazz tours, showing why he needs Soon-Yi’s practical grounding force to counter-balance his own fearfully funny take on existence. Appeared at the 2002 Academy Rewards, as well as the Cannes Film Festival, while completing his trifecta retreat from reclusiveness that year by suing his producing partner, claiming she had withheld $12 million from him, although he expressed a public desire their friendship continue, despite the acrimony involved, which was resolved in an out-of-court settlement. Directed his first Broadway play the following year, two one-acters called, “Writer’s Block,” and has toyed with a big-buck autobiography, insisting on a lot of money for the time spent on it. Won a record $5 million out-of-court settlement in 2009 over the parodic use of his image as a rabbi in a clothing ad without his permission. Won both an Oscar and Golden Globe in 2012 for best original screenplay for Midnight in Paris, and two years later was given a Lifetime Achievement Golden Globe award. Shortly afterwards, his adopted daughter Dylan brought up the molestation charges again, accusing Hollywood of coddling him and turning a blind eye to his true perverse nature. Agreed in 2015 to write and direct his first TV series for Amazon Studios, a streamline service, and immediately regretted the decision, drawing a complete blank about what he would do. The 2016 result, “Crisis in Six Scenes,” a retread look at the conflicts of the 60s, proved to be a limp shadow of his earlier works, reaffirming his earlier regret about the project. Has a net worth of $65 million.Inner: Study in contrasts. Pathologically shy, yet a highly public figure. Extreme sensitivity to the emotional webs of interrelationships, yet curiously callous to the repercussions of his involvement with his quasi-adopted daughter. Unable to relate directly with people, yet has a keen understanding of the power of pithy communication. Never rehearses his films, and loathes doing auditions, preferring spontaneity on the set, and believability in his characters. Extraordinary wit, yet deeply pessimistic. Highly circumscribed existence, with the same small circle of friends, the same daily routines, the same foods and same restaurants. Ongoing fascination with much younger women, perhaps as a salve to his own fears of aging and dying. Totally nonreligious. Monomaniacally neurotic lifetime of trying to work out his inner conundrums through the highly public medium of film, and allowed to do so by a selective public willing to support his obsessions with life, love and death for his entertaining and perceptive perspective on them. Andrey Bely (Boris Bugayev) (1880-1934) - Russian writer. Outer: Son of a math professor and rector of Moscow Univ. His father was known for his absent-mindedness and eccentricities, and his progeny’s conflicts with him, would give him the thematics of several of his subsequent works. Mother was 30 years younger, a beautiful, hysterical neurotic. Raised in an intellectual, albeit highly emotional, environment, studying under his sire. Received a math degree from his progenitor’s university, while studying the sciences and philosophy. Deeply involved in the philosophical issues of the day, he viewed life through the eyes of an aesthetic scientist, while being thoroughly imbued with the magic power of words. Fell in love with poet Alexander Blok’s (Yevgeny Yevtushenko) wife, Lyubov Mendeleev, and almost fought several duels over her, in his desire to save her from her husband. Wrote verse, and took on the pen name of Andrey Bely or ‘Andrew White,’ to avoid embarrassing his father. Tried to create a new literary form via a combination of prose, poetry, music and painting, during the century’s first decade, which he dubbed his ‘Symphonies,’ little realizing it was a reflection of film, which he would explore his next go-round in this series. Met his own self-perceived soul-companion at 30, Asia Turgenieva, the 18 year old grandniece of writer Ivan Turgenev (Vladimir Nabokov), and the duo were married the next year, although they eventually separated and divorced. His masterwork was the comic novel, Petersburg, the story of an inept revolutionary son of a public figure, whom he was assigned to assassinate, and fails to do so. It was the second part of a trilogy which was never completed. Became an adherent of Theosophist Rudolph Steiner, joining his colony in Switzerland during WW I for two years, although when he left, his wife remained. Returned to Russia right before the Bolshevik revolution, which he greeted enthusiastically, seeing it as a watershed for humanity, before realizing its excesses. Disillusioned, he left the country again after Blok’s death, returning in the early 1920s, only to have his works denounced by Leon Trotsky. In 1931, he married a second time, and spent his last years on his memoirs, limning Russian social and cultural life before, during and after the Revolution. His final work was a detailed study of the language and style of Nikolai Gogol, in an unconscious re-view of his previous life’s oeuvre, through his far more cerebral and mystic eyes. Inner: Quirky, intellectual, neurotic, paranoid. Ardent seeker after new truths, although had difficulty in dealing with criticism. Saw the feminine principle of Sofia as ruler of the world, and, as a positivist, felt that all true knowledge was scientific. Holy fool lifetime of searching for meaning, intellectual ideals and proper forms in which to express them, through a mathematical, rational and mystical consciousness, before delving into his disintegrative aspects, as a quester/jester forever in search of himself. Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) - Russian writer. Outer: Son of a provincial nobleman who was a small district landowner. His mother had lost two children in infancy before he was born. Had early feelings of nationalism and was a religious fanatic who was deeply disturbed by the Catholic background of some of his ancestors. His father was intelligent and cultured, having written some light comedies, while his mother was deeply pious with a touch of the mystic and had a profound effect on his development. Delicate and sickly through childhood, with little regard for school. Small, and round-shouldered, with a large nose. Known as a prankster although basically quiet and sullen. Acted in several school plays, and showed talent as a mimic. Went to St. Petersburg with the idea of becoming an actor but failed to be accepted by the Bolshoi Theater. His literary ambitions were also thwarted, and he decided to go to America, but got only to Germany before returning home. Obtained a civil service position and in his early 20s, he succeeded in finding an audience with his short stories based on the folk tales and superstitions of his home region, where his earlier poetry had failed. Began meeting eminent Russian literary figures and secured the post of teacher of his/story at a fashionable school for young women, which enabled him to resign his civil service post. Saw himself as a famous his/storian but only received a lectureship at the Univ. of St. Petersburg, which he soon resigned to devote himself entirely to literature in 1835. After a success with an insightful comedy, The Inspector General, he left Russia for a dozen years, spending most of his time in Rome, his favorite city. There he wrote his most famous work, Dead Souls, a dead-on look at Russian bureaucracy and the multi-levels of the country’s social framework, published in 1846, which was to be followed by a sequel that was never finished. After several more classically comedic short stories, his writing powers and imagination began to wane, as did his health, and he became obsessed with assuming responsibility for the salvation of Russian society. Went to the Holy Land to assuage his rising religious fanaticism, then returned to Russia to write the second part of Dead Souls, but was unable to do so. Instead, he withdrew more and more from the outside world, plagued by feelings of both guilt and a perpetual sensation of being cold. In an obsessive fit, he burned his manuscripts and, suffering from deep depression, lost all desire to live, dying shortly afterwards in Moscow. His last vision was of a ladder from heaven. Inner: Messianic, fanatical and obsessive, with a megalomaniacal distortion of his not inconsiderable powers of exposition. Amusing and highly entertaining, as well as a continual hypochondriac. Never married, with virtually no erotic interest in women, probably led a celibate life. Uberneurotic lifetime of never getting past adolescence, and, despite a brilliantly satirical sense of life around him, having little real connection to the real world, as a live soul with a curiously dead-end subconscious. Jakob Lenz (1751-1792) - German playwright, poet and critic. Outer: Son of a well-to-do pastor. Entered the Univ. of Konigsberg to study theology but left after three years to travel through Germany as a companion to two young nobles. Lived in Leipzig for five years, where he did all his important creative work, writing plays in the manner of William Shakespeare (William Butler Yeats). Showed a gift for lyrical writing, although none of his works were ever successful in the theater. Came under the influence of Johann Goethe (Thomas Mann) and became obsessed with outdoing him as a literary figure. Imitated Goethe to the point of absurdity, becoming a figure of ridicule. Journeyed to Weimar in his mid-20s in the hope of a state appointment, but a tactless lampoon caused his expulsion from the court. Lived for a time in Switzerland and then suffered an attack of madness, and for a year and a half was mentally deranged and under the care of Goethe’s brother-in-law. Taken home by his parents, who cared for him, although he lost his ability to write. Went to Moscow and lived in poverty there as a schoolmaster for eleven years, before being discovered dead on the street. Inner: Neurotic, unstable megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur. Quixotic and undisciplined. Self-inflated lifetime of being swallowed up and spewed out by his ungrounded grandiose sense of self. Romanus III Argyros (968-1034) - Byzantine Basileus. Outer: Great grandson of Byzantine emperor Romanus I (Jay-Z). From a prominent aristocratic family. Served as a judge, before becoming urban prefect of Constantinople under Constantine VIII (Kim Jong-il), who forced him to divorce his first wife, and marry his daughter and his own third cousin Zoe (Helena Rubinstein), as a means of bringing both of them to the throne, since he knew his time was exceedingly short, dying three days after the wedding. Had one daughter from his first union, and no children from his second. Harbored fantasies of being known as “the philosopher king,” a la much earlier Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Martin Heidigger), but possessed neither his martial skills nor his unique stoical philosophic bent. Spent lavishly on building, as well as the clergy, although his muddled tax policies weakened the treasury. Led a large army in 1030 against the Muslims, only to suffer a serious defeat through a surprise ambush. Other generals proved more successful, while his initial popularity waned with his ineptitude in the field. Reduced the taxes of his natural class, and reinstated privileges denied them, while showing a marked disregard for the empire’s peasantry, who suffered under him. Tried to curtail his wife’s spending, which further distanced her from him, since the pair had stopped sleeping with one another when it was obvious she could not conceive, despite all sorts of desperate measures taken on her post-menopausal body, which ultimately led to his undoing, after weathering earlier conspiracies against him by his sister-in-law, Theodora. Deliberately ignored his wife’s affair with the future Michael IV (Sun Myung-Moon), while conducting secret liaisons of his own, until told about it by a sister. Looked like a walking corpse at the end, with a grotesquely swollen face, and such halting breath, that he had to stop every few feet to rest, when walking. Grew increasingly irritable, losing his temper on the slightest provocation, in a reversal of personality from his earlier good-humored self. Drowned while swimming in the imperial bath, when, it was suspected, his head was held under water by members of his wife’s retinue. His body was found floating afterwards, barely breathing, as he was pulled out of the water. The empress viewed him in that state, with a brief show of pro forma grief, before departing, and he expired soon afterwards. No eyewitnesses saw the entire incident, only its end, so that his death remains speculative. Succeeded by Michael IV. Inner: Initially friendly and accessible, and easily moved to laughter, before the pressures of office and his own failures began wearing heavily on him, making him suspicious, intemperate and unhappy. Blinkered lifetime of seeing his lofty fantasies brought thuddingly down to Earth by his harsh realities, before ultimately drowning in his inability to perceive the personal dynamics around him.


Storyline: The worldclass wit turns alienation into a brilliantly droll tool in his ongoing apprenticeship as a good-humored scold of the world’s follies.

Mordecai Richler (1931-2001) - Canadian writer. Outer: Maternal grandfather was a Hasidic rabbi and peddler who escaped the Polish pogroms earlier in century. Father was a junk dealer. Only child. Had a traditional Jewish upbringing, with his grandfather held up as a model. His parents divorced when he was 13, and his mother took in borders. Attended George Williams Univ. in Montreal for 2 years, but, petrified of pursuing an academic career, he cashed in an insurance policy and went to live in Paris for an equal period, considering his sojourn a far more satisfactory university, where he was strongly influenced by the Existentialists. After contracting scurvy from a poverty-ridden existence, he returned to Montreal to work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and published his first novel 2 years later, before settling in England in 1954 for nearly 2 decades. Married twice, the first time to Catherine Boudreault, and the 2nd time in 1960, to Florence Wood, a Montreal model, 3 sons and 2 daughters from his 2nd union, with all involved in writing, broadcasting or cartooning. Cranked out TV scripts for money, as well as screenplays. Took 5 years to write St. Urbain’s Horsemen, then decided to return home afterwards, feeling he knew Montreal and Canada far better than he would ever know England. Made a brief Hollywood foray, then taught creative writing for 2 years at Carleton Univ. in Ottawa. His subsequent spate of works dealt directly with his growing up in quasi-poverty, and also the anti-Semitism he suffered while doing so. Did literary criticism and editorial work, while establishing himself as a world/class sardonic wit and satirist. Wrote 10 novels all told, as well as children’s books, magazine pieces and screenplays. Several of his books, including The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, an archetypal story of Jewish pushiness and chutzpah, have been turned into successful films. Spent 8 years on a convoluted Canadian his/story as seen through the eyes of Jewish strivers, Solomon Gursky Was Here, as a summation of his unique comic sensibilities. The book was based on the Bronfman family of Seagram’s fame. Served as a continual journalistic thorn, particularly towards Quebec separatists. Died of complications from cancer. Inner: Quiet, intense, and generous, with a warmth reserved for friends and close associates. Sardonic lifetime of coming into the world under alienating auspices, and subsequently turning his acute satiric eye to redressing his sense of social order. Anatole France (Francois-Anatole Thibault) (1844-1924) - French writer. Outer: Father was a bookseller and minor publisher, learning to read only as an adult. Mother was the illegitimate offspring of a miller’s daughter, who had been widowed prior to her marriage. Her stepfather was a financial drain on family. Grew up surrounded by books, and was known by his writing name from grammar school onward. Alienated from his father, showered with affection by his mother. Rejected the Church and its dogmas, despite the religiosity of his mother. Received a baccalaureate somewhat late, then was a school proctor, before becoming a publisher’s reader. Wrote verse since childhood, and began his literary career as a poet. In his late 30s, he married Valerie de Sauville, who was 13 years his junior, in a half-arranged union. One daughter whom he doted upon, though the 2 later became estranged because of her libertine tendencies. The marriage ultimately ended in divorce in 1892. Became the most prominent French literateur of his time. Best known for Penguin Island, a satire on French his/story. Half his work appeared in periodicals and newspapers. Moved from sentimentality to satire, while a near 30 year liaison with Armand de Caillavet, a mistress, spurred most of his work. Became far more political following the Dreyfus affair, strongly supporting the accused Jewish officer’s innocence. In 1920, he wed Emma Laprevotte. Elected to the French Academy and given the 1921 Nobel Prize for literature. Briefly a communist, with strong socialist leanings. Had many affairs, and married a 2nd time near life’s end. Inner: Skeptical, ironic, witty, naturally indolent. Left-leaning liberal, undogmatic socialist. Felt the need to instruct through his writings. Good-humored lifetime of serving as a teacher/writer, and champion of reason against irrationality. Jean Paul (Johann Paul Richter) (1763-1825) - German writer. Outer: Son of a schoolmaster and organist who eventually became a clergyman. Grew up in poverty which followed him into early manhood. Entered the Univ. of Leipzig to study theology, but had to leave after 3 years because of debts. Lived with his mother for 2 years, then became a private tutor. Established an elementary school, which he directed for 4 years, before winning recognition for his writing, which allowed him to live off of his craft. After the death of his mother, he lived briefly in several German cities before marrying in his late 30s and settling in Bayreuth, where he lived a quiet life. Celebrated the commonplace and the ordinary with humor and insight. Became more interested in politics and pedagogical concerns as he grew older. Enjoyed amazing popularity, probably the most widely-read author of his day, combining sentimentality, humor and insights. His death was cause for national mourning. Inner: Quiet, perceptive, sharp-witted. Benevolent lifetime of engaging the public with his insights into the ordinary, and reaping much literary love from his efforts. Mentzer (Johann Baptist Fischart) (1546-1589) - German writer. Outer: Parents were spice dealers. Educated at Strasbourg and Worms, then went to the Netherlands, Paris, Italy and England to continue his humanistic studies, before finally earning a doctorate in law in Basel. Pursued a legal career, married Anna Hertzog in his mid-30s, and took a bemused interest in the rigidity of the Swiss Calvinists. Wrote in conjunction with his brother-in-law, who was a printer. His pen name came from his longterm family connection to the German city of Mainz. Had an excellent eye for satire among all social classes. In later life he was made a magistrate at Forbach, in charge of the judiciary, forests and police. Because of his official duties, he wrote little the last part of his career. Inner: Humanistic, highly moral and a keen observer, who wrote directly about what he saw. Bench-warming lifetime of viewing society as literal judge and figurative judgment-maker.


Storyline: The perennial Other combines a love for unconventional adventure and devious deception with the ability to acutely express himself in his non-native tongue, but without the commensurate skill to penetrate his own heart of darkness.

Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991) - Polish/American writer. Outer: Son of a translator of technical manuals, mother was musically inclined. Because the family was Jewish, his parents felt their son would be safer alone when Germany invaded Poland at the beginning of WW II. Placed with a peasant woman near the border but she died, and he was left to fend for himself when he was 6. Later wrote the novel The Painted Bird, published in 1965, based on his experiences, although much of the book, which was grotesque in the extreme, may have been his own invention. Traumatized by being thrown by peasants in an offal pit, which left him mute. After the war, he was sent to a displacement camp, was recognized and reunited with his parents, who had pretended to be German. Split his head open in a skiing accident at 15, and after hospitalization, his voice returned. Earned 2 graduate degrees at the Univ. of Lodz, then was a sharpshooter in the Polish army. Escaped from Poland by fabricating a visa, and arrived in NYC in 1957 with a rudimentary knowledge of English. Got a grant for Columbia Univ. and supported himself with odd jobs. Wrote a best-seller, and through it, met Mary Weir, the widow of a steel magnate. The duo were married in his late 20s, and they lived quite lavishly on her money. Divorced and his wife, who was over a decade older than he, died of brain cancer 2 years later. Reputedly worked for the CIA because of his anti-communism, though the claim remains unproven. Began writing best-sellers, although was often accused of secretly being helped by others, since English was a 2nd language. Married Katherina von Fraunhofer, an advertising executive who was the daughter of a German baron. Taught at several universities, and continued his literary output, as well as writing for film. Had an unconventional but opulent lifestyle, traveling, playing polo, and socializing with the rich and famous. Stung by criticism and accusations, he also felt his health was irretrievably failing, and he eventually committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head in the bathtub. Inner: Fascinated with disguises and sexual depravity. Practical joker, and a connoisseur of vices, he loved challenging and stimulating people. Charming, conniving. Exile-in-extremis lifetime lived as an Other, built on fabrications within fabrications, until he probably no longer could countenance his own countenance, and drowned himself in his deceptions. Joseph Conrad (Jozef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) (1857-1924) - Polish/English writer and mariner. Outer: Family was highly cultivated and from the impoverished landed gentry with a reckless patriotic tradition. Only child of Apollo Korzenioski, a poet and translator, who was also a committed Polish patriot. When he was 5, his sire was jailed for anti-Russian activities, then both parents were sent into exile in northern Russia. Left with a maternal uncle, who was unsympathetic to his parents’ revolutionary ardor, as his guardian. His mother died from tuberculosis in exile when he was 7, and his father followed her 4 years later, despite being allowed to leave Russia because of poor health. The latter’s funeral subsequently served as a huge patriotic demonstration. Loved adventurous novels as a child, and was determined to be an adventurer himself. Educated in Cracow, then left Poland permanently at 17, save for a couple of later visits. Most of his relatives felt he had deserted Poland in its hour of great need, causing tremendous guilt on his part, which he would try to work out in his writings. Spent the next 4 years in France as a bohemian, a gunrunner to Spain and a sailor. Made a suicide attempt in his late 20s after losing money gambling, although later claimed the self-inflicted wound in the chest was as a result of a duel. Short, dark-haired, and graceful but nervous, with extremely expressive eyes. Began a 15 year career afterwards as a British merchant mariner, becoming its only Polish captain, and an official Briton in 1886. Traveled the world, visiting the exotic locales which would become the dark heart of his fiction, and began writing in his late 30s in his adopted tongue of English, which was superior to his Polish and French, although, in his perfectionism, he had to struggle mightily to bend it to his literary will. On the death of his guardian, he retired permanently from the sea, and devoted his full attention to literature, completing his first novel and meeting his future wife that same year. Despite his difficult facility in written English, he could barely be understood speaking the language. Published 7 novels over the next 15 years, including his best known works, Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, both tales of misplaced power and zeal, as well as a host of extraordinary short stories and 2 autobiographies. Married a typist and the daughter of a bookseller, Jessie Emmeline George, in his late 30s, had 2 sons and settled in England, where he found himself continually in debt because of a lack of receptivity to his work. In spite of obvious obstacles, he was determined to be a great writer. Extremely harsh to his wife, despite his complete dependence on her and her unwavering support, and his ongoing difficulties with friends, agents, publishers and critics. His wife eventually became extremely obese, rivaling him in their mutual invalidism. Had a gift for friendship, with an extraordinary group of English literati at his letter-writing behest, as well as Polish artists and intellectuals who all recognized his genius even if the public-at-large did not. Collaborated on several works with the far more facile Ford Madox Ford (Anthony Minghella), with the latter doing most of the writing. Continually borrowed money from publishers against books not yet written, while suffering periodic writer’s block, a crippling case of gout, ill health and ongoing depression, which was a lifelong affair. Finally achieved literary success in his late 50s, although his later work was of an uneven, lesser quality. Visited Poland prior to WW I, and made one visit to America a year before he died of cardiac failure at home, after earlier politely declining a knighthood. Inner: Neurotic high-strung paranoid, with uncontrolled anger, and a deep sense of betrayal and guilt. Great pride, as well as discomfort and defensiveness about his native country and having left it. Conservative, idealistic and skeptical. At sea lifetime lived as a continual Other, using his deep wounds, literary rejections, emotional imbalance and adventures as grist for an extremely telling body of work, a legacy he probably valued more than his very life. Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855) - Polish poet and playwright. Outer: Father was a lawyer and belonged to the local gentry, giving his son a broad view of people. Warmly attached to his mother, he also learned local folklore from servants and peasants. Educated at a Dominican run school, until his father died when he was 14, making finances precarious. 3 years later, he enrolled at the Univ. of Vilno, the top Polish school. Initially studied science, but turned to literature and language, while founding and leading the Philomaths, a small group who encouraged learning as a means of social progress and freedom, while secretly protesting Russian control of Poland. Wrote poetry in college, then became a teacher in Kowna, continuing his education through intensive reading. Fell in love with the daughter of a wealthy landowner, but she married someone else, and, incurable romantic that he was, he was forced to work out his dark feelings through poetry. In 1823, he was cruelly investigated and imprisoned by Russian authorities for his connection to the Philomaths and after a six month prison term, was condemned to exile in Russia. Went to St. Petersburg, but was not allowed to teach, despite being nominated for a professorship. Traveled to the Crimea, then settled in Moscow. Became a favorite of the liberal Russian intelligentsia, and a welcome guest in aristocratic drawingrooms. Continued his writings, from which his fame grew, than got permission to visit western Europe. Fell in love with another rich man’s daughter, which was, once again, unrequited. Following the Polish uprising against Russia in 1830, he waited a year before returning to his homeland, then followed the disarmed Polish soldiers to Germany, where he realized the defeated uprising was still valuable for European liberation. His further poetry showed radical sympathies with pan-European revolutionaries and had widespread international repercussions. Settled in Paris and took part in Polish émigré political activities. In his mid-30s, he unhappily married Celina Szymanowska, the daughter of a celebrated Polish pianist, several children from union, although the family lived on the brink of poverty. Wrote of his great love for Poland in his masterwork Pan Tadeusz. Failed in his attempt to write in French for the French theater, but became a professor of Latin literature at the Univ. of Lausanne, then 2 years later occupied the chair of Slavonic literature at the College de France, enjoying great success in both positions. His wife suffered a mental breakdown, then was cured by a Lithuanian, whom he briefly became a disciple of, until he was dismissed from his post for promulgating the healer’s doctrines. During the revolutionary year of 1848, he became highly active politically, gave impassioned speeches, organized a Polish legion in Italy and personally marched them from Rome to Milan. Played with the idea of forging “Jewish legions,” to fight alongside his fellow Poles, but it was never brought to fruition. Received by the pope, he founded a French newspaper which was subsequently liquidated by the government, and went to Turkey to personally inspect the Polish troops there, before dying of cholera during an epidemic in Constantinople. Solemnly buried in Paris, then, at century’s near end, he was brought back to Poland and interred in a national shrine. After his death, a son destroyed any and all documents that contradicted his heroic public image. Inner: Total romantic, with a highly emotional political sense. Viewed as a great spiritual and cultural leader, thanks to his mastery of the art of personal expression. Archetypal lifetime of establishing themes of exile from Poland and mastery of languages that he would continue to explore in his succeeding lives in this series. Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) - Polish poet and playwright. Outer: From a wealthy family. Educated at the Cracow Academy, and then traveled and studied in Germany, Italy, France. Returned to his homeland and served as a royal secretary before settling down on his family’s estate. In his mid-40s, he married and had a daughter who died when she was 4. Began his writing career in Latin, and then wrote in Polish, and soon became famous throughout Europe as the first great poet in the Slavic language, particularly for his songs, which were considered Renaissance lyric poetry of the highest order. Wrote erotic, philosophic, patriotic and religious poems. Died of a heart attack. Inner: Patriotic and worldly, with a lyrical sense of language. Also secretive and hidden. Peripatetic lifetime of travel, and, unlike other lives in this series, fashioned a return to Poland to bring to that country’s literary and cultural life, the humanistic spirit of the Renaissance.


Storyline: The cultural martyr rises from cerebral objectivity into passionate subjectivity, becoming a romantic hero to many, and a simple thug to others, in his ongoing evolution as a true poet of the people.

Tupac Shakur (Tupac Amaru Shakur) (1971-1996) - American singer/songwriter, producer, poet and actor. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother was a Black Panther activist, who spent part of her pregnancy in jail, after being accused and ultimately acquitted of conspiring to bomb department stores and a police station. His father was briefly her lover, although played no part in his son’s upbringing, and did not surface until his late progeny’s estate was contested. Made his acting debut at the age of 13 in “A Raisin in the Sun,” in a benefit for the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential bid. The family moved shortly afterwards to Baltimore, where he briefly attended the High School for the Performing Arts. Small and wiry and highly energetic. Began writing rap, then dropped out of school and moved to Oakland, where he engaged in the street life of the city, and where the criminals he befriended became father figures to him. Had the words ‘Thug Life’ tattooed across his abdomen. Made his rap debut with "2Pacalypse Now" in 1991. The following year, he was involved in a scuffle at a Marin County festival that left a 6 year old dead from a stray bullet. The next annum, he was accused, although never convicted, of shooting 2 off-duty Atlanta police officers to death over a traffic argument, and the following year, he was shot 5 times during a robbery in the lobby of a Manhattan recording studio, which he blamed on Notorious B.I.G. for failing to warn him, although later recanted, claiming the accusation was just to jack up record sales by creating a faux rift twixt east and west coast hip-hoppers. Much later it would come out that he inculpated Sean Combs’s associates over the deed, which was carried out for his disrespecting them by rejecting their business overtures. Accused with 2 others of sexual assault on a woman, and went to trial in a wheelchair. Became emblematic of the death’n’destiny violence of young black American males. Best known song was a Grammy award winner in 1995, ‘Dear Mama,’ in which he thanked his mother for all the sacrifices she made for him. Became a film star in his own right, and was preparing for superstardom as well as incarceration, at the time of his premature death. Died on a Friday the 13th of respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest, after being shot 4 times in an ambush, while riding in the same vehicle as Death Row Records co-founder and president, Marion ‘Suge’ Knight, who may have orchestrated his demise to save himself paying royalties. His last spoken words supposedly were to a white cop who found him and repeatedly asked him, “Who shot you?” Managed one final snarl at authority as his last benediction, “Fuck you,” before slipping off into permanent unconsciousness after having his right lung removed, and dying in a Las Vegas hospital. His prolific oeuvre continues being released, and he remains an authentic voice of his time, becoming even larger in death than he was in life. Cremated with his ashes scattered in his mother’s Georgia garden. Elected to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame with the class of 2017. Inner: Charismatic, hugely talented, with a questioning and questing sense behind his thug life facade. Well-read, compassionate and sensitive, but into the veneer of toughness. Extremely political, continually writing his entire life. Shake-it-up lifetime of experiencing jail in the womb, and then applying his revolutionary sensibilities to African-American street culture, before being violently removed from the scene, in his ongoing draw towards cultural martyrdom as a true poet of the people. Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) - Russian poet. Outer: His family had been nobility on his father’s side, but gradually lost its wealth and influence over the generations. Great-grandfather on his mother’s side was from Cameroon, and had been bought at a Constantinople slave mart as a gift to the czar, before ultimately marrying a Swede and becoming a general. The poet was fascinated with his African past, using it as future material. His father was an egotistical, incompetent, retired army officer, who wept a lot and displayed a strong temper. His mother was domineering, easily irritated, socially ambitious, and loved his younger brother far more than she did him. She would often go months without saying anything to him, which left her moody son to his own inner resources. The middle of three children, with an older sister and a younger brother. 5’6, swarthy, vigorous and highly energetic, with blue eyes and claw-like fingernails. His poetic talents were recognized early at school, and at 15 he published his first poem in an influential journal. After graduation, he toiled in the foreign office for 3 years in St. Petersburg, doing little at work and living a loose life with many affairs while managing to insult the authorities with his epigrammatic wit. Saved by friends from Siberia, and instead was sent to serve in the army corps in southern Russia. Eventually wound up in Odessa in 1813, as his poetic reputation burgeoned and his Byronic sense of romance led him to an ill-advised affair with the wife of the viceroy there. Also fathered a child with a serf, all the while writing away like a madman. Dismissed from public service and ordered to settle on his family’s estate. The following year, he was called to the capital, where he was put under close supervision, although by then much of his revolutionary ardor had dissipated, and he became a proto-militarist, while reclaiming the Orthodox faith of his youth. Wrote his masterwork, Eugene Onegin, a novel in verse about fate and upper-class love, later that decade before turning his extraordinary poetic sensibilities to drama. Fell passionately in love with Natalia Goncharov, a beautiful but empty 17 year old, whom he married in his early 30s, despite misgivings about the institution. His wife didn’t care for poetry and was jealous of her husband, who probably slept with her sister, while he in turn was equally distrusting of her. Two sons and two daughters from the union, which put him in financial difficulties. Made Gentleman of the Chamber by Nicholas I (Master P), and denied a passport, which chafed his style, although not his poetic and prose output. Started a literary magazine, while his flirtatious wife began a platonic affair with a young Frenchman, who was the adopted son of the Dutch ambassador. A duel was avoided when the Frenchman married his sister-in-law. After another secret meeting twixt his wife and his antagonist, he once more challenged him to a duel, which was fought with pistols at 20 paces. Gravely wounded on the first shot, he died 2 days later. His last words were, “It’s difficult to breathe, I’m suffocating.” Later sentenced to death for dueling, in a typical Russian irony. His body was secretly taken to his estate for fear of popular unrest surrounding questions around his demise. Buried in a monastery cemetery in Pskov Oblast. Inner: Restless, impulsive, boundless energy, as well as remarkable charm and wit. Manic-depressive, completely uninhibited, Heart-full, artful lifetime of violent passions and brilliant exposition to become Russia’s most beloved poet and a national treasure. Osip Mandelstam (Osip Emilyevich Mandlestam) (1891-1938) - Russian poet and essayist. Outer: From a cultured middle-class Jewish family who were not religious. Father was a successful leather merchant and mother was a music teacher. One of two brothers, with his younger sibling Alexander, an artist. Grew up in St. Petersburg, where only cultured Jews were allowed to live, and was taught by tutors and governesses. Educated in a prestigious local school, then Paris, Italy, and Heidelberg, where he studied Old French literature and finally the Univ. of St. Petersburg, where he studied philosophy for a year, but did not graduate, while hanging out with a fellow group of writers who called themselves ‘the Poets Guild.’ After his first collection of poems was published in 1913, he became a leader of the Acmeist school, which strove for concrete and clear expression, and also paid homage to the high cultural voices of the past. His work was impersonal, fatalistic and meticulously crafted, with a very strong intellectual resonance to it. Initially welcomed the Russian Revolution in early 1917, but then saw its excesses, and went to the south of Russia to weather its subsequent civil wars, finding his distinct lyrical voice. Found the work many of his contemporaries far too childish for his tastes, while his own reputation continued to grow with his further output. In 1922, he married Nadezhda Khazina, an art student who later followed him into exile, and memorized his poetry to keep it alive. During his mid-30s, he wrote no poetry, only prose, which was quite like his poetics, as well as criticism. Saw himself as an outsider, and identified strongly with Alexander Pushkin, little realizing he was one and the same with him. Visited Armenia in 1932, which occasioned the final cycle of poems published during his lifetime. Survived mostly by doing translations and through the generosity of friends. Arrested in 1934 for an uncomplimentary epigram written about dictator Joseph Stalin. Exiled to the Urals where he tried to commit suicide, after being driven half-insane through interrogations and abuse. Then was sent to Voronezh, where he continued to write, pouring forth the naked horror of his existence in rich, image-thick verse. Released in the middle of 1937, he returned to Moscow, but was denied anywhere to live and suffered 2 heart attacks, only to be rearrested while recuperating in a sanitarium and sentenced to 5 years at hard labor. His wife accompanied him on his unhappy hegira, while he continually moved from labor camp to labor camp, until he reached the far eastern edge of Russia, where he died of another heart attack. His body was either destroyed or lost afterwards. His widow later wrote two superb volumes of memoirs, and largely through her efforts, managed to keep his poetic spirit alive. Inner: Had a nostalgia for the world culture of the past. Did not oppose political changes in Russia, understood the epic quality of the revolution, but could not countenance the dark god of death at its helm. Martyred lifetime as a truth-teller, dooming himself to a slow suicidal death at the hands of a maniacal scourge, before spinning back in time to act out a far more passionate rebelliousness borne of having passively suffered his fate in this go-round. Mikhail Lomonsov (1711-1765) - Russian scientist, scholar and poet. Outer: Father was a prosperous peasant fisherman and trader. Followed his sire’s profession from the age of 10, while educating himself from the few books available to him. A thirst for knowledge sent him penniless and on foot to Moscow in his late teens, where he hid his peasant origins, and enrolled at a prestigious academy. Suffered extreme privation, but showed himself to be a superior student, despite being the object of scorn by his better-born classmates, and he was sent abroad with 2 others to Germany, after absorbing the 8 year course in 5 years and moving on to St. Petersburg Academy. At the Univ. of Marburg, he received advanced training in mathematics, science and philosophy, and also got married, while engaging in the rough-and-tumble student life there. Also fascinated by the arts, he came under the spell of mathematician Gottfried Leibniz (Bertrand Russell) who would influence him greatly. Returned to Russia in 1741 a bona fide scientist and scholar, although his temper got him arrested in 1743. 2 odes sent to the Empress Elizaveta (Helena Rubinstein) won him his release, after he used his prison time to work out the predominant ideas of his scientific agenda. In 1745, he was made a professor and member of the Russian Academy of Science, holding that position for the remainder of his life. Did both translations and original works on science, while conducting successful laboratory experiments in the face of considerable hostility and the jealousy of his colleagues. Drew up the plans for Moscow Univ., and in 1757, he instituted reforms to make the university an intellectual center, linked with the cerebral life of the country. Revered Russian czar Peter the Great (Yukio Mishima), and like him wanted to elevate Russia to the same standards as Europe. Popularized science, increased the efficiency of the Academy and improved education standards, using his prodigious energies to try to bring Russia into accord with the rest of the civilized world. Wrote 3 major works on the Russian language, giving foundation to the modern mother tongue, as well as inaugurating modern Russian poetry. Acted as the official Russian poet, glorifying Peter, the motherland and the power and glories of creation. A fount of energy, he centered his life around his house and the laboratory he had erected in his garden, but he was continually subject to the sniping of others, particularly after the death of Elizaveta in 1761. Finally worn down by his efforts, as well as the persecutions he suffered, he died exhausted. Buried with great honor, but afterwards his notes were confiscated, while his works were purged of their humanism and distorted to make him seem an upholder of orthodoxy, although his reputation and contributions were reinstated centuries later. Inner: Robust, extremely strong and intelligent, with a volatile temper, and a confrontational intellectuality that was willing to take on a whole country, as well as the entrenched scientific establishment of Europe in order to serve rational truth. High energy lifetime of getting down and dirty in the ivory towered trenches of academe, and proving himself a mind and spirit of the ages. Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (905-959) - Byzantine Basileus. Outer: His surname, ‘Porphyrogenitus,’ signaled he had been born in the official sanctioned purple chamber of the palace. Father was Leo VI (Leo Tolstoy), who married his mother, Zoe, a mistress, shortly after he was born, despite strong church opposition to what would be his 4th union, when even second marriages were suspect. As the singular male offspring, he was proclaimed co-emperor in 911, and the following year succeeded his father on the latter’s death, with his mother serving as regent until 919, before she was sent to a convent. Sickly and sensitive, he suffered a lonely childhood filled with unknowns, although he also possessed a lively mind and great curiosity, which would subsequently serve him well. Able to thwart a scheme of marrying him to the tsar of the Bulgarians, and through diplomacy and defense by his able admiral Romanus Lecapenus (Jay-Z), he held his position. In a marriage of convenience, he wed Helena, the daughter of Romanus, in 919, and crowned the admiral co-emperor the following year, losing much of his power to the latter’s family. His marriage would later prove harmonious, producing his successor, Romanus II (Notorious B.I.G.), along with one short-lived son and five daughters. Disinvolved himself from the politics of the empire, while maintaining his prestige and position, through the diplomatic maneuverings of his father-in-law, allowing him to work full-time on his scholarly pursuits, an interest he had inherited from his progenitor. Systematized knowledge and encouraged encyclopedic works, while leaving a strong legacy of writings which would prove to be an excellent primary source of information on the Byzantine empire. “”De Administrato Imperio,” a handbook on foreign policy, was his most important work, while “De ceremoniis” covered the minutiae of power behind Byzantium. Wished to write a whole his/story of the empire, although never had the time. Recruited scholars, dabbled in the fine arts, proving himself a skilled artist, while vastly preferring the company of intellectuals to court officials. By the time he reached adulthood, he was tall, bearded, blue-eyed and broad-shouldered, with none of the sickliness of his youth. In 944, he thwarted a powergrab by the emperor’s sons, and he banished them the following year, ruling alone until the end of his reign, continuing the policies of his former co-emperor, while crowning his son Romanus. Continued his scholarly pursuits, while his wife proved an enthusiastic administrator, as he delegated authority rather than being a hand’s on leader. Helped develop the empire’s system of higher education, while showing himself to be an astute judge of people, picking appropriate figures to head the various divisions of government, save for the eunuch monk, Polyeuctus, whom he made patriarch of Constantinople, to his subsequent regret. Able to retake some territory lost to the Arabs, while pursuing an active diplomatic life with various foreign courts. Died in his own bed after fourteen years of rule, surrounded by his grieving family. Succeeded by his son, Romanus II. Inner: Cerebral, scholarly and somewhat timid, using his high office to accrue to his own intellectual development, while evincing enough of a sense of state to weather the various crises thrown his way. Conscientious, competent and a hard worker, good-humored, and always courteous. Enjoyed both drinking and eating, but never overindulged himself in either. Always preferred diplomacy to war, and was a passionate collector of manuscripts and works of art. Pen-in-hand lifetime of utilizing high office to further his own sense of his/story and state, while leaving an impressive written legacy of his imperial stay, in preparation for delving full bore into the literary life in his subsequent go-rounds.


Storyline: The poetic provocateur whets his large appetite for self-destruction and notoriety with a keen esthetic sensibility that usually leads him down doomed paths.

Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) (1972-1997) - American musician. Outer: Parents were both Jamaican immigrants, mother was a pre-school teacher, close with latter, who ultimately wrote a book about him. Grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, 6’3” and well over 300 pounds. Dropped out of school at 17 and became a crack dealer, only to spend 9 months in a North Carolina prison in a deal-gone-sour. On his release, he borrowed a friend’s 4-track tape recorder, and pressed some rap tapes, which got airplay, and by 1993 he had released his first single, the inelegantly titled, “Party and Bullshit.” Signed by Puffy Combs to his Bad Boy records, and his first album, “Ready to Die,” which was released in 1994, established him as an authentic voice of hip-hop culture, while winning the title of Rapper of the Year at the 1995 Billboard Awards. Despite a wry wit and a gentleness that belied his huge frame, his calling demanded an act-out thuggery which saw him at variance with the authorities on several occasions for drugs, violence and weapons charges. Close friends with Tupac Shakur initially, the two became bitter enemies in 1994, after the latter was shot and robbed and blamed it on the former for failing to warn him about it. Their contretemps created a divisive hip-hop rift between east and west coasts, although Tupac later admitted he was just frothing publicity for both. Formed Junior M.A.F.I.A., which introduced several of his friends to the public, and married Faith Evans, a hip-hop artist in 1994, 2 children from union. A controversy remains whether he was in Las Vegas the day Tupac Shakur was killed. Met his own end, which he had predicted in song, the following year when he was gunned down in a drive-by in Los Angeles after a party. His public funeral caused a riot in Brooklyn, and his posthumous album, “Life After Death,” with the mordantly prescient line, “you’re nobody til somebody kills you,” further enhanced his reputation. Cremated afterwards, with his ashes given to his family. His killer has yet to be found. Only lived to see one of his albums released, despite the tremendous popularity of his subsequent post-mortem releases. Protracted court battles around cover-ups would continue long after his unsolved death. Assayed on film by Jamal Woolard in Notorious, a cinematic bio released in 2009. Inner: Witty, perceptive, with a gift for limning the life around him. Sacrificial life to the violent arena of his times, as he continues to explore abrupt endings and the more visceral side of existence, from a strongly outer male perspective. Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) - Russian poet. Outer: Father was an impoverished nobleman, who became a forester. Both parents were descended from Cossacks, mother was Ukranian. Youngest of 3. On his sire’s death of septicemia, when he was 13, the penniless family moved to Moscow. Joined the Bolshevik party at 15 and was arrested 3 times, while being dismissed from school in 1908, because his mother could no longer pay tuition. Began writing poetry the following year in solitary confinement, although his first efforts were all confiscated. Large and striking, with a perennial posture of adolescent braggadocio. On his release, he studied at the Moscow School of Painting, and became involved with the Futurists, while continuing his political activism. Moved to St. Petersburg and made his in-your-face public debut as a poet in 1912, attacking the cherished literary icons of the past, and in 1914, found himself dismissed from art school for his political insouciance. Rejected as a volunteer in the beginning of WW I, he spent the war working as a draftsman for a military automobile school. In 1915, he started an affair with a literary critic’s beautiful wife,Lilya Brik, who would figure in his subsequent verse. By that time, he was a recognized public voice, so much so, that 2 years later, he was made official poet of the fledgling Communist government. Wrote the first Soviet play where myth and biblical elements reflected on modern Russian life, while desiring to become a poet of the masses, without any real idea of how to do so. A self-proclaimed ‘13th apostle,’ he began working for the People’s Commissariat of Education and for the Russian Telegraph Agency, while both trying to conform to revolutionary ideals with his works and at the same time denouncing traditional aesthetics. Edited a controversial journal, and gave lectures and recitals throughout Russia and abroad, gaining a worldwide reputation, thanks to visits to the U.S., Mexico and Cuba, as well as Britain and Germany. While in the U.S., he unknowingly fathered a daughter, not to find out until 1929, when his inamorata, Elli Jones, met him secretly in France. Joined a more radical group of writers, declaring himself a tribune of the revolution, and eventually committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart as his final revolutionary act, because he felt the communist bureaucracy was too powerful to overcome, and saw his own creativity stifled by it. Had an incomparable gift for language, while writing of the trinity of love, God and revolution. Wished to take the place of God, while seeing love and revolution as key to humanity’s problems. Introduced ordinary speech and slang into poetry, and gave Russian poetic language a whole new direction. Inner: Vulgarian and sentimentalist. Continually falling in love with unattainable women. Totally self-involved, but also truthful, unselfish and loyal. Self-worshipping lifetime of playing the self-involved revolutionary to the hilt, before consuming himself in the passion of his beliefs. Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) - Russian poet and novelist. Outer: Son of a retired army captain, an ancestor had been a Scottish soldier of fortune in Muscovy employ. Mother was the child of a wealthy proprietress, and she died when he was 3, leaving him in the care of a wealthy grandmother who did continuous custody battle with his father over him. Received an excellent education from tutors, but was often ill as a child. At 14, his grandmother moved with him to Moscow so that he could attend the university there. Began writing lyric poetry, learned English, and was deeply affected by the English poet Lord Byron (Bernardo Bertolucci). Forced to leave school for disciplinary reasons, he entered a military school in St. Petersburg, and wrote several plays. Commissioned in the Hussars, he penned an elegy mourning Alexander Pushkin’s (Tupac Shakur) death by duel, and was arrested for it and briefly imprisoned. Afterwards, he was posted in the Caucasus and took part in fighting against the native tribes there. On his return to St. Petersburg, he finally won the fame he craved, but found the capital to be oppressive. Showed disrespect to the czar’s daughters, and after being arrested for dueling with the son of the French ambassador, he was sent in 1840 to a line regiment in the Caucasus on orders of the czar himself. Decorated for bravery and allowed, through the intercession of important friends, to return to St. Petersburg. Tried to retire from the army, but was sent to Piatigorsk instead, where his wit and need to be centerstage, occasioned a duel with an army officer, and he died as a result of it. Seen as 2nd only to Pushkin in his lyrical abilities. Best remembered for his novel, A Hero of Our Time, the tale of a doomed icon. Inner: Melancholic, pessimistic and witty, a classic romantic. Great love for nature, passionate. Anti-authoritarian lifetime of profound and belligerent alienation, producing some great literary works but ultimately being violently undone by his own vitriolic temper. Vasily Tredyakovsky (1703-1769) - Russian poet and scholar. Outer: Father was a priest who allowed him to study Latin with the Capuchin friars. Became obsessed with a desire to learn as much as he could and fled to Moscow at 20 to study at the Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy, then 2 years later went to the Hague, where he learned French from the Russian ambassador, after which he studied theology and humanities in Paris for 3 years. Returned home to find his family dead of the plague and his property stolen. Had to Moscow and then St. Petersburg, where he was appointed translator at the Academy of Sciences. Expected to write poems for solemn occasions, he was treated as a jester at the court and once beaten by a minister. In his late 30s, he married and afterwards received the rank of professor of Russian and Latin. Became the first professional Russian writer and one of the few commoners in early Russian literature. His early work was written in spoken Russian but his later oeuvre became obscure, grotesquely mixing the vernacular with the grossly elaborate. His work was inconsistent and verbose but touched on many of the innovations that would become standard in later Russian poetry. Because of his quarrelsome behavior, he made many enemies among his fellow intelligentsia and was virtually ostracized. 14 years later, he was forced to resign, and died in poverty and oblivion. Inner: Combination of humility and arrogance. Sensitive and indecisive. Insightful, but often mocked and parodied. Dualistic lifetime of taking his unintegrated character to the extreme of alienating one and all against his uneven but obvious talent. Romanus II (938-963) - Byzantine Basileus. Outer: Oldest son of Byzantine emperor Constantine VII (Tupac Shakur). Mother, Helena, was the daughter of the emperor Romanus I (Jay-Z), after whom he was named. Married as a child to the illegitimate daughter of the king of Italy, who changed her name to Eudokia. Crowned co-emperor at the age of 7. Lost his intended when he was 11, and petitioned his sire to chose his own bride, which turned out to be an innkeeper’s daughter named Anastaso, whose name was changed to Theophano when they wed in 956, and she would prove to be an extremely able ally to him. Four children from the union, including his successors, Basil II (Kim ll Sung) and Constantine VIII (Kim Jong-il) as well as two daughters, one of whom married the Grand Prince of Kiev, Vladimir (Godfrey Reggio), to add to the latter’s long list of wives and concubines, although he converted to Christianity to do so and mended his wicked, wicked ways. Succeeded to the throne in 959 for his own brief run, while rumors abounded he had committed patricide through poison. Purged the court of those he deemed unfavorable to both him and his wife, including his mother and four sisters who were all sent to convents. Had good people in key posts, allowing him to pursue his own pleasures, while the empire remained in the capable hands of his appointees, both at home and in the field, allowing him to recapture Crete from the Muslims in 961, which occasioned a huge massacre, and then liberate other Asia Minor cities, fattening his treasury considerably in the process. Died after being injured on a hunting expedition, and was succeeded by his most powerful general, Nicephorus II (Chiang Kai-shek). Inner: Pleasure-loving, with the instinctive ability to delegate authority to highly competent individuals, allowing him to enjoy the fruits of power, without having the crown weigh particularly heavy on his shoulders. Royal lifetime of overseeing a rebounding empire through dint of his appointments, rather than his actions, as prelude to his joining his predecessors in the world of letters, rather than politics, later on in the millennium.


Storyline: The introspective mystic investigates the divergent worlds of illusion and reality within the context of his deep love for the divine and his unfortunate placement in a martial world uninterested in the saving grace of its soul.

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) - German/Swiss novelist and poet. Outer: Father was a German religious journalist and publisher. Mother was the daughter of a Swabian and a French Swiss. Both parents had done missionary work in India, via their own progenitors, with his mother having been born there. Decided to become a poet at the age of 12, after reading Friedrich Holderlin (Bob Dylan). Grew up in a Pietist household and was rebellious as a youth, feeling his education was geared towards breaking his spirit. Expected to pursue a religious career, he studied theology at Seminar Maulbronn but was expelled from the Gymnasium at Camistadt, after taking up drinking and smoking, which ended his formal education. Apprenticed to a bookseller, he assisted his sire for 6 months, then apprenticed in a clock factory, before inaugurating his writing career in 1904 to great acclaim that would span 6 decades. Slender and erect. Married Maria Bernoulli, a Swiss photographer, in 1904, 3 sons from the union, as he moved to the countryside and began exploring Eastern religions. His early novels of romantic dreams and their conflicts with social dictates brought him lasting fame. During WW I, he was rejected for military service, then edited a periodical for prisoners of war and served as a volunteer worker through the German consulate in Switzerland on behalf of German prisoners of war. All the while he protested against German nationalism which led to the angry vituperation of his fellow citizens for doing so, as his continual calls for peace diminished his reputation in his home country. Had to publish his next work under a pseudonym, only to embarrassedly reveal its true authorship when it won a prize for new writers. In 1922, he wrote a poetical life of the Buddha, Siddhartha, and the following year became a Swiss citizen. Following his divorce after 19 years of marriage, he wed 20 year old singer Ruth Wenger the following annum, only to soon feel superfluous in a conflict over her many pets, in a tension-filled relationship. The duo officially divorced in 1927. His third wife, art his/storianNinon Auslander, was nearly 20 years his junior. They wed in 1931 and she became the manager of his business affairs, and was also the love of his life. Remained aloof from politics during the Weimar republic, then found his works banned in Nazi Germany, although published elsewhere. Best known for the novel The Bead Game, which he worked on for a decade before publishing it in 1943, as a reflection of his desire to reconcile the active and contemplative life. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946, although was too sick to attend the ceremony. Developed leukemia and died of a brain hemorrhage. Despite cliched writing and derivative thought, he has remained a popular author in both Europe and America. Inner: Wanted to escape the modern world through the celebration of nature and the mystical. German romantic, saw the external world as his enemy. Unhappy with the formal religions of the West, he looked to the East and within to resolve the conflict of living in a world where he held the belief, ‘God is dead.’ Felt at one point music would liberate him, but returned to language as his true creative strength. Also was an amateur painter and a violinist. Third eye lifetime of struggling with a strong sense of spirituality in a world seemingly untouched by true religiosity, while trying to resolve activism with contemplation as his true pathway. Edward Morike (1804-1875) - German poet. Outer: Mother was a preacher’s daughter with a lively sense of humor and creative imagination that she passed down to her son. Father was a physician. Had a relatively happy childhood and a rich inner life. His sire died when he was 13 and he was packed off to an uncle, whose intellectually stimulating household further stoked him. The following year he was sent to a Protestant seminary school in order to prepare for a clerical career. Despite being a mediocre student, he was imbued with the natural surroundings of the school, as well as love for a cousin. Went to the Univ. of Tubingen, had a passionate romance with a waitress, and fell in with the literary circle that hosted insane poet Friedrich Holderlin (Bob Dylan). After graduation, he spent the next 8 years as a country preacher, which he found extremely confining. Had a 4 year engagement with a pastor’s daughter, which was finally broken off because the family felt he wasn’t dedicated to his profession. Became a full pastor, living with his mother and sister, but was more interested in writing poetry and collecting rocks. Published his first volume of verse in his mid-30s, and 5 years later retired from his position on a small pension because his parishioners felt he neglected his duties. In his late 40s, he unhappily married Margarete von Speeth, a Catholic, after a long courtship, but the relationship deteriorated because of their religious differences and the continual presence of his devoted sister. Wrote a pastoral epic and his masterwork, Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag, based on a single incident in the life of composer Wolfgang Mozart (Stevie Wonder), to whom he felt a strong affinity. Wrote little in his last 2 decades, but was honored for his work, and spent a little over a decade as a professor of literature at a women’s college, while lecturing to women’s groups on literature. Frequently ill in his last years and plagued by domestic disputes, he finally separated from his wife and died shortly afterwards. Inner: Introspective and romantically imbued with nature and the passion of ideal romance. Alternately good-humored and irritable, using his duality as a creative spur. God-imbued lifetime of lack of commitment to anything save his own sense of poetic spirituality, and the release of his graceful and precise prose. Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) - German poet and dramatist. Outer: From an aristocratic family, father died when he was 5, mother passed on 7 years later. Afterwards, he lived with his older brother, a pastor, who sent him to school. Learned a host of languages, and while a student composed his first Latin poem. Supported himself afterwards by tutoring in Danzig, completing his education in the Gymnasium there. Returned to Silesia where he was a tutor for the children of a wealthy noble family, thoroughly enjoying his position until the death of his patron in 1638. Emigrated to Amsterdam and then Leiden, where he became a lecturer on a variety of subjects. Afterwards he traveled throughout the Netherlands, France and Italy. After turning down a summons to occupy a professorial chair, he returned to his native area in 1647. Suffered much from privation, as well as the incessant warfare in his homeland, which made him bitter and melancholy, and was reflected in his writing. Took the post of Landsybdujys in Glogau, holding it until his death. Particularly adept at sonnets, although his lasting fame came from writing in dramatic genres, in which he promulgated a view of religious constancy to the point of martyrdom. Called the father of German drama. Inner: Great seriousness of purpose, with a high artistic view of literature. Deeply religious sensibilities, with a continual interest in the dualities of illusion and reality. Melancholic lifetime of turning the unhappiness of his times and his person into his perception of great art.


Storyline: The Scandinavian Scheherezade carries her lost father in her slowly vanishing body, while spinning a web of tales around romances both lost and found, which she both acted out and imagined.

Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) (1885-1962) - Danish writer. Outer: Father was an adventurous, romantic naval officer who had lived for 3 years with Amerindians as a trapper. Later wrote about his experiences under his own name as well as his aboriginal name, ‘Bogaros.’ 2nd child, one of 3 sisters, and clearly her sire’s favorite. Tutored at home by a governesses. Her beloved father hanged himself when she was 10, and she became obsessed as a teenager that he lived on through her. Studied English at Oxford Univ., and painting at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, Paris and Rome. Had an unrequited love for her cousin, but eventually married his twin brother, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke, a philanderer, big game hunter and writer, in her late 20. Was malevolently gifted with syphilis by her husband, and suffered the lingering effects of the dis-ease the rest of her life. Went with him to manage a 6000 acre coffee plantation in British East Africa from 1913 to 1921. After her spouse died, she had an affair with Dennis Finch Hatton, a handsome English pilot and hunter who served as the first audience for her tales. Saw herself as Scheherazade, the exotic Arabian storyteller. Began writing, as the farm suffered continual financial setbacks under her direction. Forced to give it up in 1931 with falling coffee prices, and Hatton died just before she left Africa for home. The romance was later celebrated in the movie, Out of Africa, which was a compilation of 4 of her books. As skillful a writer in English as she was in Danish, using the pen name, Isak Dinesen. Ill health greatly hampered her creative output. Her manuscript for Winter’s Tales was smuggled out of the country during the Nazi occupation in 1942. After surgery in the 1950s, she was unable to eat properly again, and became emaciated, never weighing more than 85 pounds. Eventually died from her physical condition. Inner: Aristocratic, sophisticated, moody, as well as sentimental. Storybook lifetime of adventure and romance, only to succumb to a body that could no longer digest her full life experience. Sofia von Knorring (Sofia Zelow) (1797-1848) - Swedish novelist. Outer: Father was a military officer of Polish noble extract, who became Master of the Swedish Royal Household. Mother was of the lower nobility. Enjoyed a privileged upbringing, and was educated by governesses and private tutors. In her early 20s, she married a military officer from the petty nobility, from whom she took the title of baroness. Beautiful and witty, she was a star of the provincial salons she frequented. Anonymously published her first work, The Cousins, which delineated her world, and then wrote in rapid succession a whole series of novels under the pseudonym, “The Author of the Cousins,” while further chronicling her milieu of manners, manors and ballrooms, with the eros of romance at their core. She only once deviated from this pattern via the first Swedish peasant novel, and probably her best work. Her major theme was the struggle of a young woman between her duty as a wife and mother, and the romantic pull of forbidden love. Inner: Probably worked out her own inner conflicts of life in a stifling milieu, through her imaginatively acting out on paper instead of real life. Corseted lifetime of developing her literary skills, before coming back to act out her sense of romance far more directly in a much more open environment. Leonora Christina, Countess Ulfeldt of Schlewsig-Holstein (1621-1698) - Danish writer. Outer: Father was the king of Denmark, and her mother was his second wife. One of 5 daughters, and a son. Spent her first six years on the island of Fyn with her maternal grandmother. In 1630, her parents separated, and never saw one another again, while she was raised in the royal palace, becoming her father’s favorite, thanks to a combination of beauty and intelligence. Engaged at 9 and married at 15 to Corfitz Ulfeldt, a 30 year old, who was appointed Governor of Copenhagen by the king. Her husband was made Royal Seneschal 7 years later, and she was viewed as the country’s first lady. Despite their high position, her spouse lusted after even more power, and following the death of the king in 1559, her older half-brother assumed the throne, creating tensions galore twixt both couples, particularly by the queen towards her, for supporting her mate’s shenanigans. The duo and their family were forced to flee to Sweden, where her husband found a high court position, and continued to conspire not only against the Danish crown, but the Swedish one as well, resulting in a death sentence imposed upon him. The execution was delayed, and the duo and family fled back to Denmark, where they were promptly jailed. After giving up all his proprietary rights, they were released, but her compulsively conspiratorial spouse was soon at it again, and while he fled capture, she was caught in England in 1563, brought back and imprisoned in the Blue Tower of the palace. Although her husband died soon afterwards, she remained a gilded prisoner for 22 years, showing stoic courage and face, while composing hymns and religious songs, as well as a memoir, “Memory of the Misery of the Imprisoned Countess Leonora Christina,” which was written for her children, so that they would not think badly of their parents. After the death of the queen in 1685, she was released and spent the rest of her life in a cloister. Inner: Shackled lifetime of forced self-examination and expiation for the deeds of a conniving mate, in her own guilty need to punish herself for power sought through far less than noble aims.


Storyline: The shadowless outsider recreates vanished worlds and keeps them alive through his rare gifts at bringing the past to life by turning his/story into accessible song and story.

Isaac Bashevis Singer (Icek-Hersz Zynger) (1904-1991) - Polish/American writer. Outer: Son and grandson of rabbis. Mother was the daughter of a rabbi, and sharp-tongued and skeptical, while his rabbinical father was so pious, he never looked directly at women, and believed absolutely in Jewish law. His parents often exchanged roles, leaving their children to fend for themselves, while his older brother, whom he adored, became the noted Yiddish writer, Israel Joshua Singer, and his older sister, Hinde Esther, wrote as well. Grew up in a small village near Warsaw, and probably lied about his age to make himself too young for the draft, presenting 1904 as his birth year. In 1907, his father became head of the yeshiva at Radzimin. The following year, when the yeshiva burned down, they moved to the poor Jewish quarter of Warsaw. Fascinated as a child with mystic Jewish tales, and his home life was intellectual and sophisticated. 5’7”, 145 lbs, and a vegetarian the last 3 and 1/2 decades of his life. Grew up in Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto, which became the fount for his creative life, writing about the lives and concerns of Polish Jews. Did not read a secular book until he was 11. In 1917, he moved with his mother and brother to a shtetl or village, before rejoining his father in 1921, and studied for a time at a Rabbinical seminary in Warsaw, but did not see his father’s calling as his own. Gave Hebrew lessons back in his mother’s shtetl, and by his early 20s, saw himself as an abject failure before his brother brought him back to Warsaw as a proofreader on a literary journal. Began writing initially in Hebrew, then switched to Yiddish, the language of his childhood. In 1930, he married Alma Haiman, one son, whom he didn’t see for 20 years, after leaving both behind to come to America in 1935, joining his brother in NYC. Took him a decade to adjust to New World life, particularly among modern Jews, before he found his storyteller’s voice again. His first novel had been published in installments just before he left. Divorced, and in his mid-30s, he married a German refugee, 2 stepchildren from the union. Became a U.S. citizen in 1943. Wrote primarily in Yiddish, serializing his novels and stories in the Jewish Daily Forward. Remained obscure until the English translation of his novel, "Family Moskat" in 1950, then enjoyed a wide readership, particularly because of his ability to present the foibles and weaknesses of shtetl life, rather than an idealized version of it. Worked closely with his translators, realizing he needed to be an American writer to have a career in the U.S. Became the first translated author to appear in The New Yorker, and the first elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Lived modestly, wrote by hand most of his life, finally acquiring a typewriter. His longer novels chronicled the effect of the modern world on Jewish families, while his shorter ones dealt with the temptations of evil in various forms, although when he translated them into English, he made them simpler and far less dense. Won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1978. Recreated the lost world of Polish Jewry, with a touch of the supernatural, while acting as a recorder, rather than a commentator. Never truly comfortable with his elevated status as a wide-read author, he died after a series of strokes. Inner: Modest, forthright, intense, plain-spoken, and sharp-witted. Dualistic character, with a need to reinvent himself for a larger audience. Prickly and very fame-conscious. Capable of both cruelty and charm. Strong belief in a need for a belief in God, with whom he felt he had a personal relationship, although rejected religious orthodoxies. Saw his/story in terms of betrayal and self-betrayal. Never felt at home in the brave new world of the U.S., preferring an immigrant milieu. Imbued with a sense of charity for all living things, save his own son. Émigré lifetime of dealing with the longtime theme of displacement, while serving as a literary bridge between the vanished world of Jewish Poland and the modern world that ate it alive. Adelbert von Chamisso (Louis Charles Adelaide de Chamisso) (1781-1838) - French/German writer. Outer: Father was a French count. Born in the family’s ancestral castle. Suffered an unhappy childhood because of a strict governess, despite his warm family. At the onset of the French Revolution, their estate was burned and the family was forced to flee, first to Belgium, then Holland, then Germany. His father joined the émigré army, while the rest of the family was reduced to near destitution. Nearly apprenticed to a carpenter, became a page instead in the royal household in Berlin, where he was later joined by relatives. Attended a military academy, and was eventually commissioned a lieutenant in the infantry. His family returned to France under the general amnesty in 1801. Unhappy in the army, he plunged into literature, with a familiarity with both French and German letters. Wrote in German, beginning with a play, then poetry, following the model of the Teutonic romantics. Obsessed with a French widow, who made his life miserable and finally disappeared after nearly a decade. Fell in with a young crew of Berlin romantic poets and helped found the Nordsternbund, named for the romantic search of knowledge. Studied Greek to read the original classics, and also became familiar with German folk tales. Unable to leave the army for further studies, he put his frustrations into a short story and play fragment, exploring his basic life theme of interior freedom and exterior restrictions. Returned to France, but discovered he was far more German than he realized. Finally resigned his commission, in his late 20s. Further disillusioned by failing to get a coveted teaching post in Paris, he wound up doing translations, and through them working his way into the circle of salonist & writer Germain de Stael (Clare Booth Luce), with whom he was entranced. Began studying botany with her son, which proved to be his life’s work. Enrolled as a medical student in Berlin in his early 30s, then was forced to flee when war broke out. As a man without a country, he wrote his most famous work, Peter Schlemihl, about a man without a shadow. Freed himself through the story to pursue science. Returned to Berlin, then went on a 3 year Russian expedition around the world. Published his findings afterwards, established his name, and married Antonia Piaste, who was 20 years younger, and with whom he had 9 children. Employed by the Botanical Gardens in Berlin, eventually becoming its director. Continued writing poetry and unsuccessful plays, he outlived his wife by a year, and died soon after resigning his directorship. His poetry was always well-received, and was occasionally put to music. Inner: Perennial outsider, nonromantic view of the world, despite association with romantics. Filled with self-doubt and an equal questioning of the world and its limitations. Liberal, stoic, thought little of prestige or money. Bridge figure between romantics and naturalists. Shadowless lifetime of incarnating into privilege, rather than his usual humble circumstances, only to be humbled by circumstance and forced to do internal battle with his sense of misplacement, by scientifically objectifying the natural world. Hans Sachs (1494-1576) - German shoemaker, poet and dramatist. Outer: Father was a tailor. Attended Latin school, and then was apprenticed to a shoemaker. During his apprenticeship, he traveled widely throughout Germany, always visiting the local Singschulen wherever he went. During that time he was taught the Meisterlied by a weaver, enabling him later to become a master spinner of tales and stories. Song/storytelling had become the province of the artisans of the middle-class, after an earlier tradition of troubadours, gentry and knights as the holders of Germany’s culture. Established himself as a master shoemaker in Nuremberg in his mid-20s. Married Kunigunde Creutzerin 2 years later, and after his wife’s death, 40 odd years following, he wed Barbara Harscherin. Broke the rigidity of traditional storytelling through his tales, using classical, Biblical and medieval subjects with a strong overlay of Renaissance humanism. Strongly supported the German Reformation, whose ideals he used in some of his works. Extremely prolific, with over 4000 songs, 1700 tales and fables and 208 dramas to his credit. Best remembered for his Shrovetide plays, in which he probably was a performer. Inner: Meistersinger lifetime of bringing to life medieval Germany through his prolific imagination and the repetitive rhythms of his existence, before dipping into movement and misplacement as his primary song and storytelling motivation.


Storyline: The sci-fi seer sees far too much for his own good, in his unintegrated stays on a planet that can barely contain his imagination, let alone the wild musings and ramblings of his unfettered, but not unlettered, mind.

Philip K. Dick (Philip Kindred Dick) (1928-1982) - American science fiction writer. Outer: Of German descent. Father was a fraud investigator for the US Dept. of Agriculture. One of a pair of premature twins, he was separated from his sister Jane (Grete Trakl) after five weeks and she subsequently died in a hospital, reputedly from an allergy to their mother’s milk. Later blamed his mother for the tragedy, and it would remain a permanent scar on his psyche, leaving him feeling unfinished for the rest of his life. His parents separated and divorced when he was 5. Raised by his mother, first in Washington, DC, then Berkeley, where he finished high school, graduating with fellow future sci-fi superstar Ursula Le Guin, although the two never met. Made the San Francisco Bay area his base afterwards. Briefly went to UC Berkeley, majoring in German, but soon dropped out, because of an aversion to ROTC training. Worked in a record store, while claiming to have a hosted a classic music program on radio. In 1948, he made the first of five failed marriages to Jeanette Marlin, which ended after six months. In 1950, he wed Kleo Apostolides, a left-wing political activist, who drew the curiosity of the FBI, only to divorce in 1958. The same year he married Anne Williams Rubinstein, one daughter from the union, which ended in 1964. Published his first short story in 1951, and became a full-time writer afterwards. His first novel, “Solar Lottery,” saw print four years later. Over the next decade and a half, he produced 100 short stories and two dozen novels, many of them science fiction classics, while also making a stab at mainstream literature to little effect, publishing only one conventional work during his life. Won the Hugo Award for “The Man in the High Castle,” in 1962, an alternate reality tale where the U.S. loses WW II. In 1966, he married Nancy Hackett, one daughter from the union, which ended in 1970. His final marriage was to Tessa Busby in 1973, which produced a son, before ending in divorce, as well, in 1977, and a suicide attempt on his part. Won a second Hugo in 1974 for “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said,” another tale of a parallel universe. Continually haunted by poverty throughout his working life, he poured out his paranoid fantasies as if possessed by them, seeing conspiracies everywhere, while feeling impelled to keep writing to keep himself afloat, occasionally employing pen names, particularly Jack Dowland, because of a connection felt with early English composer John Dowland (Freddy Mercury). Although never noted as a stylist, his imaginative plots more than made up from his focus on story rather than wordsmanship. Felt he wrote with his hands, rather than his brain, and pounded out many of his stories at an astonishing rate of 80 to 100 words a minute. Kept himself heavily lubricated with amphetamines all during his working life, which would have a severe effect on not only his physical health, but his mental well-being as well. In 1971, his house was blown-up and papers stolen by groups unknown, which sent him down to Orange County in Southern California for his last decade, to be a stranger in a strange land. Often collapsed at the end of projects, and in 1974 had a schizophrenic breakdown, replete with visions for weeks, which convinced him that he was undergoing a profound religious experience, which he would continue to explore in all his later novels. Felt himself double-lifed at the time, as his own persona and as a Christian persecuted by the Romans, which would transmute into one of his most interesting and self-revealing works, “VALIS,” a gnostic attempt at explaining the larger dynamic of spiritual Earthlife through its connection to galactic channels. Had a heart attack in 1976, and died of a second one following a stroke, six years later. Buried next to his twin sister, uniting with her once more in death. Wound up with an even greater reputation posthumously than he ever enjoyed during his life, thanks in large part to the films made from his work beginning with Blade Runner, the year he died, which eventually led to the wholesale optioning of his works, and the explosion of his estate and his reputation to mega-proportions, a luxury he never enjoyed while breathing the perfervid air of the planet. Inner: Fascinated by deceptions and false realities, with many of his heroes discovering they had been operating under complete societal delusions. Saw dark forces controlling much of Earthly life, and continually questioned what most people took for granted as being tangible and real. Strongly metaphysical in his overview, as well as Jungian, while using his writings as a purge for his own feelings of incompleteness. Able to channel ancient languages at different points of his life, as someone who was neither limited by time nor space in his self-view. Twin soul lifetime of losing half of himself in the beginning of his go-round, and then spending the rest of his self-torturing existence searching for it through his writings and relationships. Georg Trakl (1887-1914) - Austrian poet. Outer: Of Hungarian and Czech descent. Grew up in comfortable middle-class circumstances, but his mother suffered depression throughout his childhood, which left him prone to the same debility, although she also influenced his taste in art and music. Father was an ironmonger. Had a sister, Grete, who was five years younger, and their all-abiding incestuous love would be a continual obsession and theme of his in his later writings. She would remain his closest companion, and like him, a drug addict as well, before becoming a pianist, and prematurely dying three years after he did. Although Protestant, he attended a Catholic elementary school, and began writing poetry at the age of 13. Began experimenting with opium two years later, as well as drinking and exploring his sexuality through prostitutes, who he used as an audience for his monologues, feeling a need to uplift and teach them. Showed little interest in his studies, and was viewed as a total misfit by his teachers, while displaying the signs of a divided self that would inform his entire life. Dropped out of school, and worked for a pharmacist for three years, while continuing his pursuit of altered states. Decided to become a pharmacist himself, although the choice may have been heavily tainted by his desire to keep his larder filled with drugs. Made an attempt at playwriting with two short pieces that failed to find an audience, while his poetry at this juncture was bland and impersonal. Also had a strong interest in architecture and painting, although did not pursue either discipline. In 1908, he moved to Vienna to study pharmacy and fell in with a crew of bohemians, who helped him publish some of his work. His father died shortly before he got his degree, and he enlisted in the army for a year, to find some sense of discipline. When he returned to civilian life, he found himself even more of a misfit, and in 1912, he reenlisted and became a military pharmacist in Innsbruck. Once again the artistic community there discovered him, and he found a patron in Ludwig von Ficker, the editor of an art journal, who began publishing him regularly. His first collected works, “Gedichte” or “Poems,” came out in 1913. Wrote in a spare, stark manner, which personalized the apocalyptic sense that the world that he saw all around him was about to implode. Ficker brought his work to the attention of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who agreed to support him so he could focus on his writing. Volunteered as a medical officer on Austria’s entry into WW I and was sent to Poland, but suffered a nervous breakdown while caring for the overwhelming number of wounded soldiers there. Confined to a hospital, where he wrote several poems on the evils of war, then began to fear an indictment and a court martial because of his collapse. Tried shooting himself, although was stopped, and placed under close observation. Slipped into the deepest of depressions, and subsequently killed himself with an overdose of cocaine, while Wittgenstein, who had been informed of his state, was in the process of rushing to his hospital, although arrived too late to save him. His work would have much biblical imagery in it, while showing a fascination with night, autumn and death. A posthumous collection of poems was issued the following year, “Sebastien im Traum,” and his high reputation has been consistent ever since, as yet another of Europe’s poetic lights cast into permanent darkness by the insensate horsemen of the apocalypse of WW I. Inner: Divided, depressive and extremely self-destructive. Constantly anxious about his sister, who served as his anima, and was the only true love of his life. Mine own worst enemy lifetime of trying to transmute his endless angst into high art, before predictably succumbing to a far lower draw, toward complete and utter self-obliteration. Francesco Borromini (Francesco Castelli) (1599-1667) - Swiss/Italian architect. Outer: Son of a stonemason. Trained in Milan as a mason, then pursued a career as a draftsman and stonemason in Rome in the workshop of his relatives, beginning in his early 20s. Quickly established himself as a talented carver and became head draftsman there, while becoming an experienced architectural designer, through intensive study. Changed his name to Borromini in 1627, perhaps in an effort to alter his hidden past, which may have seen him the victim of parental abuse. After the death of his uncle in 1629, the sculptor Gian Bernini (Michelangelo) was awarded many of his family’s undertakings by the pope. Provided invaluable assistance to the start of that sculptor’s extraordinary career, before eventually breaking with him in 1633. He then went on, on his own, to become a master of baroque architecture, a form he is credited with inventing, while executing numerous original works in an unorthodox style, and exerting enormous influence over Northern Italian architecture, employing Roman antiquity as one of his design bases. Best known for the small church, S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome, which gave him a European reputation. Always tried to work in the context of the larger urban designs around his buildings, so that they would be a piece of the grander city landscape. Despite many commissions, and many powerful patrons, including the papacy, he had great difficulty in relating to people and his own success. When the last pope who had patronized him died, his successor replaced him with a committee of more conventional architects. At the end of his life, he felt himself increasingly isolated through his alienating personality, and in a profound depression, took his own life by falling on a sword. Inner: Melancholic, celibate, solitary, suspicious and probably schizophrenic. Insisted on personally supervising his building, trusting no one else to erect them as he had designed them. Damaged goods lifetime of giving full artistic expression to his untapped genius, while allowing his unintegrated interior to ultimately undo him, an ongoing theme of his. Hiram Abiff (fl. 10th cent. BZ) - Phoenician architect. Outer: Largely a person of legend, with several conflicting stories appended to his name. Father had been a brassworker, who died early, and he was raised by his widowed mother, to become a master craftsman in a variety of metals. Sent by the king of Tyre to the court of King Solomon (Mark Zuckerberg) in Jerusalem, to become the principle architect of the First Temple there, which was constructed under the principles of sacred geometry to stand as a testament to the convergence of both heaven and Earth in one magnificent building. Acquitted himself most handsomely in completing the Temple as a grand master of his art, and then was murdered by a trinity of lessers, with three separate blows, to the throat, the chest and the forehead, as he raced in different directions to escape them, after he refused to divulge the secrets of Master Masonry to them. By eerie coincidence, those were the three areas in which John F. Kennedy was hit during his assassination, which also may have been a Masonic rite fashioned by an elite very much attuned to occult symbolism. His death would be emblematic of keeping sacred secrets hidden at all costs, and his legacy would serve as part of the rites and ceremonies of Free Masonry, which were adopted nearly two millennia later. Inner: Legendary lifetime of serving as both master and martyr of mystery, a role he has continued to assume for himself in a variety of creative disciplines.


Storyline: The apolitical aesthete feels forced to express his convictions in a police state and suffers the personal consequences of his love for the beautiful in a society that knows only the ugliness of control and conformity.

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) - Russian writer and poet. Outer: Father was a well-known Jewish portrait painter and friend of writer Leo Tolstoy. Mother was a performing pianist. One of four children, with two sisters, and a brother who became an architect. Only he and his brother would remain in Russia, with his parents and sisters migrating to England around the time of the Revolution. Raised in a highly cultivated environment, with the pianist Alexander Scriabin (Karlheinz Stockhausen) as a summer neighbor, who totally enthralled the young boy, and inspired him to try his inadequate hand at music. Alternately arrogant, moody and insecure as a youngster. Studied music, before realizing he didn’t have the gift for it, then philosophy at Moscow Univ., and also at Marburg in Germany. Joined the futurist group ‘Cetrifuge,’ while at school. Published several volumes of verse, and was looked upon as a poet’s poet, filled with an extremely sensitive sensibility. Confused, rather than enlightened by politics, he welcomed the 1917 Russian Revolution, as did many starry-eyed writers and artists, before coming to see its soul-crushing oppressiveness. Unfit for the military because of a broken leg in childhood, he was sent to a chemical factory in the Urals. Married painter Yevegnia Vladimirovna in 1923, divorced in 1931. Did translation work, most notably Shakespeare into Russian, as well as German, French, Armenian and Georgian poets. Enjoyed some immunity under dictator Joseph Stalin, despite the criticism of “formalism” and “privacy” of his apolitical works. Married again to Zinaida Nikolevna Neuhaus, a cool, brusque woman, who did not support his inner sense of spirit. Three sons from the union, a pianist, an engineer and a physics student. While working as an editor of a literary magazine, the beautiful, twice-divorced Olga Ivinskaya came into his life. The duo became lovers and she served as his inspiration for Lara in his later panoramic masterwork of self-resurrection, Doctor Zhivago, which was banned in Russia, and made him a subject of political controversy, although parts were published. Ivinskaya was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison in an attempt to silence his critical writings. The child that the duo created died in prison camp. Awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 1958, but was forced to reject it under pressure from the Soviet regime, after being expelled from the Writer’s Union. Became a broken man by the end of his life, suffering from a host of internalized afflictions, including a heart ailment, stomach bleeding and lung cancer. Following the poet’s death from the latter in his sleep, Ivinskaya was resentenced to the gulag as added punishment, but was eventually rehabilitated during the more liberal Gorbachev regime. Much later, lightning struck a pine tree near his grave, revealing a wire that ran to a bench opposite it that the KGB used as a bug, assuming all who visited it were less than reliable citizens. Inner: Highly cultured, with a deep esthetic sense. Felt all things were interrelated, and used diffuse rhymes and metaphors, combining the simplistic with the complex to allow his language its emotionality. Physically prudish, yet ecstatic in his emotions. Olympian lifetime of pursuing his own poetic sensibilities in a police state, only to be brought thuddingly down to Earth by it, while showing a curious ambivalence to virtually everything that did not smack of high art. Vasily Zhukovsky (1783-1852) - Russian poet. Outer: Son of a wealthy landowner and a captive Turkish girl. Got his name from his godfather, but was disconnected from the family after his father’s death. Attended the Boarding School for Nobility at the Univ. of Moscow, where he became interested in pietism and German & English literature. Began writing in a sentimental style and soon established himself with translations and ballads, introducing romanticism to Russian literature. Fell in love with his niece, which was reciprocated, but her mother felt the union would be sinful. She later married another, but the continuing platonic relationship served as a spur to his poetry of grief and resignation. Served at the epic battle of Borodino in 1812, and his poetic celebration of it made him the most famous poet in Russia. His reputation declined with the rise of Alexander Pushkin (Tupac Shakur), and a lack of interest by the younger generation in his Western-oriented work. Spent the rest of his career at court, as a reader to the dowager empress, and tutor to the future czar, which he found unsatisfactory. In his late 50s, he married the much younger daughter of a painter friend, after retiring from court, and settled in Germany, not to return to Russia. Wrote his major narrative works towards the end of his life, including a translation of the Greek epic The Odyssey, while becoming involved in German mystical thought. Died of dropsy. Viewed as the greatest Russian translator of his time, as well as the poet of Russian inner life. Inner: Kind, self-effacing, dreamy, meticulous craftsman. Melancholic lifetime of dealing with frustrations in love and work, which ultimately dictated a rejection of his native land, despite his literary service to it.


Storyline: The manipulative Marxist creates a theater of the engaged and enraged, while exploiting all those around him, after earlier having been summarily removed from this sphere for his cynical, apolitical nihilism.

Bertholdt Brecht (1898-1956) - German playwright and poet. Outer: Born into a well-to-do family. Mother was a Protestant, and daughter of a civil servant, while his father was a Catholic paper mill manager. Raised in the former’s religion, and was strongly influenced by the language of the Lutheran Bible. Began writing poetry as a boy, and was first published when he was 14. Entered the Univ. of Munich medical school with the intention of becoming a doctor, although later dropped out. Drafted during WW I and became an orderly at a military hospital. After the war, he performed his own songs in cabarets as an extremely seductive singer, while writing theater criticism for a left-wing paper. Had an illegitimate son, then married opera singer Marianne Zoff in 1922, only to divorce five years later. Won the Kleist prize and a national reputation the same annum, for Drums in the Night, and moved to Berlin two years later. His early works were extremely angry, focusing on the downtrodden struggling through a disorganized world, although he admitted not liking the teeming mass of humanity. Moved from realism to expressionism in his dramatic works, as he evolved what he called epic theater, combining narrative, montage and argument to arouse and stimulate his audiences. Used sets, lighting and music to theatrical advantage, working most memorably with composer Kurt Weill (Harmony Korine), in his best known work, The Threepenny Opera, based on an English play by John Gay (Donovan). Extremely hostile towards capitalistic social structures and an avowed Marxist, with the ability to transpose his political views into mesmerizing theater. Married his chief actress Helene Weigel, in 1928, 2 children from the union. In 1929, he aligned himself with the Communist Party, and toed their anti-Nazi line over the next 8 years. Thanks to his politics, he had his novels banned in the 1930s, while his plays were either interrupted or forbidden. As a Marxist, he was forced to flee Nazi Germany with his whole complement including his various mistresses, although instead of going to Russia, he lived in several Scandinavian countries. During WW II, he came to the U.S. and worked in Hollywood, where he failed to establish himself as a screenwriter, while finding the whole environment extremely uninspiring. Dressed as if he were part of a worker’s commune, and refused on any level to try to assimilate to American culture. During the war, he wrote his most enduring works, including Mother Courage and The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Left the U.S. in 1947 after questioning by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Returned to East Germany where he founded a theatrical company, lived like royalty, and directed the state-supported theater, which his wife continued after his death. Questions remain as to whether he wrote his own plays, or had women he was involved with help him, which seems more and more the case. Received the Stalin Peace Prize in 1955, and the following year contracted a lung inflammation and died of coronary thrombosis. Inner: Icy but magnetic persona, purposefully unwashed, rotting teeth, shabby dresser, but legendary lover. Mesmerizing personality, but used everybody to his own ends. Brilliant wit, with a revolutionary grasp of theater, compassionate in theory, but not at all in practice. Difficult to both work with and be with. Extremely unscrupulous, exploiting everyone with whom he collaborated, particularly women, ultimately becoming a millionaire off the combined labors of others. Seductive lifetime of using his dark character to enlighten the stage as one of the most provocative purveyors of 20th century drama. August von Kotzebue (1761-1819) - German dramatist. Outer: Son of a well-to-do lawyer. Studied law at 2 German universities, and followed his father’s profession at the age of 19. The following year, he was appointed secretary to the Governor-General in St. Petersburg, whom he also assisted as director of the German theatre. Served as a magistrate, then was ennobled and appointed to the High Court of Appeal. Married Friderike von Essen, the daughter of a general, and the first of 3 unions, one son became a well-known explorer. Began his literary career, and by the time he was his mid-20s, was able to retire and devote his entire time to literature. Dramatist at the court theater in Vienna for 2 years beginning in 1797. Became the most popular playwright in Germany, and greatly influenced the development of European theater. Extremely fertile, he wrote over 200 plays, with a particular affinity for melodrama. His works were deliberately superficial and artificial, while exposing and ridiculing traditional ideas of morality and behavior. Returned to Russia in his late 20s, and was arrested and sent to Siberia for life. Released soon after, however, and was given a valuable estate in Livonia, as well as named director of the German Theatre in St. Petersburg. After the death of the czar, he settled in Weimar, then Berlin, where he co-edited a journal that opposed both the classical & romantic literary movements. Returned to Russia, and wrote satirical articles against Napoleon Bonaparte. Became General-Consul in the Department of Foreign Affairs in his early 50s, and was later sent to Weimar to report on Germany, raising the suspicion he had become a spy, which was probably unfounded. Because of his witty contempt for the German democratic movement as well as other unpopular stances, he was well-hated for his intellectual nihilism, particularly by the young and progressive. Moved to Mannheim for his own safety but was fatally stabbed by a fanatical theology student. The royal government used his death as excuse to clamp down on youthful political exuberance. Inner: Egotistical, shallow and cynical. Extremely restless and contentious. Believed theater was solely for the purpose of entertainment. Surface-skimming lifetime of using his dark character to stir passions while exploring theater as a purely escapist phenomenon, a stance he would reverse later on in this series.


Storyline: The sado-masochistic sufferer conjoins with the archetype of that pathology and winds up living a free-wheeling existence exploring her own pathologies, before ultimately becoming trapped in an unhappy body that only offers her unremitting pain, as testament to her own overweening proclivities.

Jane Bowles (Jane Auer) (1917-1973) - American expatriate writer. Outer: Only child of 2nd generation Austro-Hungarian Jews. Her mother had been a teacher, while her father owned a garment company that failed, and eventually worked as insurance agent, before dying of a hypertension attack in the living-room when his daughter was 13. Her progenitor’s criticisms that she was a procrastinator and overly dramatic, haunted her for the rest of her life. Her mother was passionately devoted to her after her father’s death. Broke her right leg falling from a horse, and it never healed correctly. Developed TB of the knee, was sent to Europe for treatment, but walked with a limp afterwards. Attended public schools, then was tutored by a French professor in Switzerland. A confirmed lesbian, she nevertheless married writer Paul Bowles at 21, no children, and no sex after their first year of marriage. Claimed he was her enemy, and totally inimical to her. The duo had a sturm und drang relationship, and she was very promiscuous, while he was alternately abstemious and profligate. The pair often traveled together with a 3rd party. Made a half-hearted suicide attempt in mid-20s. Wrote her first novel in French, and proved to be largely an autobiographical writer. A heavy drinker, with one self-destructive infatuation after another. Enslaved herself to a North African woman who took most of her property, and probably some of her sanity. Traveled widely both with and without her husband. Lived in Central America, Europe, Mexico and NYC, before settling in Tangiers. Wrote novels and plays, then suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and stroke, which deprived her of the ability to read and write. A total invalid the last 16 years of her life, and cared for by her husband, before he had her institutionalized. Wound up comatose at the end of her unhappy existence. Inner: Neurotic, independently co-dependent. Flamboyant and self-doubting. Uninhibited lifetime of letting her wishes and desires run her, to see wherever they would take her, before sinking into herself as a total prisoner of her own body. Aurora Rumelin (1845-c1907) - German writer. Outer: Daughter of a gentleman’s servant. Met her future husband, Leopold Sacher-Masoch (Paul Bowles), under a street lamp in disguise when she came to retrieve a compromising packet of letters a friend of hers had written to him. Wrote under the name of Wanda von Dunachew, after one of his characters. The duo met again and she whipped him unmercifully, insuring his twisted love. In 1873, she decided to marry him for his socially prominent name, but the union was unhappy because of his pathological erotic nature. Continually pregnant by him, while he insisted on being thrashed daily with a nail-studded whip. Three sons from the union, with one short-lived and another dying as a teen. Due to his ongoing pathologies, he insisted she betray him, and eventually she ran off with one of his candidates, Armand Rosenthal, after 15 years of sharing his profound unhappiness. Wrote “Confessions of My Life,” which was published in French many years later, after she had moved to Paris, and spent her declining years in poverty and obscurity. Inner: Sado/masochistic lifetime of continued association with her longtime flagitious mate, until his excess finally proved too excessive for her and she escaped into the more lenient arms of another, then later celebrated her legendary self in her confessions.


Storyline: The peripatetic existentialist gives his name to cruelty, then operates at a deliberate remove to try to integrate his dark view of fate and the human condition with his lighter sensibilities, allowing his fantasy characters and the Otherness of his longtime mate to act out his views, so that he does not have to.

Paul Bowles (1910) - American expatriate writer. Outer: Son of a dentist, who did not want him. Forbidden to play with other children, he grew up profoundly alienated, dabbling in all the arts. Began writing and telling stories at the age of 4. A pretentious youth, he left the Univ. of Virginia for Paris at the age of 18, where he became a protege of Gertrude Stein (Sinead O’Connor), who firmly suggested he not consider poetry as his vocation. Thin, handsome, agile and formal. Continued to travel widely, and used a voluminous correspondence to ground himself, although his letters were astonishingly prosaic. Studied with composer Aaron Copland, and had a close association with composer Virgil Thomson, but he was largely a self-taught musician. Returned to New York, where he was a central figure in the NY theater world, writing the scores for a half dozen plays, creating chamber works and operas and collaborating with playwright Tennessee Williams on a series of songs. Also was the music critic for the New York Herald Tribune for 4 years. Went to Tangiers as the result of a dream in 1931, and settled there for the rest of his life in the late 1940s. Best known work was The Sheltering Sky, based loosely on his adventures in North Africa with his wife, the writer Jane Auer Bowles, whom he married in 1938. Sexually ambivalent, his wife was a lesbian, although the duo were seemingly conjoined in satisfactory manner from his viewpoint, despite only having congress their first year of union. Most of his friends were homophiles, while he alternately admitted to a life of licentiousness and abstinence. Became a focal figure for the Beat literary movement, as ‘Sky’ turned his primary mode of expression from music to literature and translation. Continued to travel widely, with Tangier as his base. Lived in a fifth floor apartment, but forbade having a phone there. Traveled in Europe, Africa, the near and far East, Mexico and South America, and for a short time owned an island off Sri Lanka. Returned only briefly to the U.S., usually in order to teach a writing course. From a highly gregarious beginning, he eventually lived a hermit-like existence, continually manifesting a dual character. Cared for his wife for the last 16 years of her life after she suffered a debilitating stroke. Slowed down by sciatica and cancer in his later years, taking to his bed for the last 2 decades + of his life, although his home was considered a mecca for literati, tourists and acolytes alike, and visitors were usually made welcome. Subject of several documentaries over the last decade of his life, as well biographies and letter collections. Wrote his autobiography, Without Stopping, in 1972. Spent his last several years suffering from a painful nerve ailment in his hips and legs, and a sciatica condition that kept him largely housebound. Died of a heart attack in Tangier’s Italian hospital. Inner: Courteous sensualist, very much into the present moment. Found boredom and monotony perfect inducements for writing, and cultivated those states. Unrevealing, kept himself largely hidden, but had a great curiosity about everything else. Enthusiast of kif, a Moroccan marijuana concoction. Light musician, but dark writer, expressing cruelty via the high esthetics of language, while limning his blocked feelings through the rhythmic charm of music. Witty, enchanting, seductive and elusive. Sheltering sky lifetime of the mind, exploring the dualities of existence through writing, thinking and music, with a longtime difficult mate to ground his soaring, highly esthetic sensibilities. Leopold Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) - Austrian/German writer. Outer: Father was chief of police, mother was the daughter of a prominent Ruthenian scholar. Oldest child of a wealthy Roman Catholic family that employed governesses, with at least one brother and several sisters. His wet nurse used to tell him dark, cruel tales of his/storical figures, where often the female was the tormentor and the male was the victim. At ten, he peeped on an illicit affair his aunt had, and was beaten afterwards, relishing the punishment. Later witnessed the 1848 uprising in Prague, after the family moved there and was also affected by his sire’s stories of cruelty, acting them out in his little puppet theater. Studied at the Universities of Prague and Graz, then became a privatdozent in his/story at the latter. After a successful initial novel in 1858, he gave up teaching to become a full-time writer, which was broken only by one other teaching post, and a stint in the army. Had an excellent eye for customs, manners and traditions of his native area, Galicia, and wrote of them in a graceful style, punctuated by an excellent sense of character. Best known for "Venus in Furs." Had several mistresses with whom he acted out his fantasies of torment, encouraging them to betray him with other lovers, as well as beat him with whips and birches, beginning in the early 1860s. Had an illegitimate daughter with Caroline Herold, and in 1873, he married a fellow writer, Aurora Rumelin (Jane Bowles), a servant’s daughter who wanted his name more than she wanted him. Despite her willingness to beat him, the union was unhappy and unfulfilling because of his masochistic erotic nature, and the duo later divorced after 15 years of marriage. One son died shortly after birth, and was postceded by two more, with a second dying as a young teen. Awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1883, for his literary output. The pathology of masochism was named after him by a German psychologist, because of its frequent appearance in his works. Extremely restless the last part of his life, moving often, while turning to journalism his final decades, editing several journals and newspapers in Germany. His later work declined, dribbling off into perversity, obscenity and sensationalism, and was written quickly in order to earn money. Eventually married Hulda Meister in 1890, a young German woman, who took care of him as his stability declined. Two daughters and a son from the union. Had many admirers and an equal number of enemies, mostly anti-Semites, for his literary battles against them, spending the latter part of his working life trying to raise awareness about his country’s pathological prejudices. His wife committed him to a sanitarium after he tried to strangle her, and there he lingered for another decade, dead in all but body. Wrote about 80 novels, 100 novellas and 8 dramas, in addition to numerous journalistic pieces. Inner: Pessimistic and masochistic, with an uninhibited imagination that degenerated from literary acuity to mere shock value. Socially aware and an active crusader, along with his various pathologies. Descent into personal hell lifetime of exploring the darker side of his sexuality through the exhibitionism of writing and his own sense of feeling unloved. John Hyrcanus II (?-30BZ) - Judean high priest and ruler. Outer: Son of Alexander Jannaneus (Kim Philby) and Salome Alexandra (Beryl Markham). Brother of Aristolubus II. Served in the family position of high priest, after his father’s violent rule and equally violent death in 76BZ. Following his mother’s far more benign succession and death in 67BZ, he assumed the rulership of Judea, to become the last of the Hasmonean rulers of that province. Driven from office after only 3 months by his brother, he sought the aid of Antipater (Alfred Krupp), the satrap of Idumaea, a province that his earlier namesake and grandfather, John Hyrcanus I (David Ben-Gurion) had conquered. The satrap, however, had his own agenda, and convinced him to wage war on his brother, which forced both to turn to the Roman general Pompey (Henry Luce). Seeing an opportunity to control Judea through him, Pompey restored him to his civil and spiritual authority, although he held no real power, and wound up a tool of succeeding Roman ambitions. Deprived of and then restored to his office, he finally lost all his power, with the appointment of Antipater’s sons Herod (Adolf Hitler) and Phasael as tetrachs of the newly-renamed Judaea. When Judaea was invaded in 40BZ by the Parthians, his ambitious nephew Antigonus (Reza Abdoh) had them cut off his ears so as to make him ineligible for the priesthood. Forced to go to Babylon, he was allowed to return to Judaea in 36BZ by Herod, only to suffer the ultimate indignity of execution 6 years later. Inner: Vacillating and weak-willed. His ears were symbolically removed as a signal of a land no longer willing to listen to its weaknesses. Self-flagellating lifetime of acting as the masochistic personification of a dying and unheard dynasty, as symbol of his own ongoing fascination with both passivity and pain as his twin statements of being.




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