Biography and Mystery

Biography and Mystery

How can one person ever know another’s heart, especially long after she’s dead? Emily Dickinson’s a mystery, and so are her poems, and because she devoted her life to them, she and her poems are almost inseparable.

When I write my book, I want to spend a few pages talking about biography. It’s all conjecture, no matter how much “evidence” we may find. How close is the “I” in the poems to ED herself? It’s bound to be a continuum, and because she definitely had a flair for the dramatic (those white dresses!), what seems to be ED herself could still be an exaggeration, especially in the more forceful poems.

And then there are the letters, which are by their nature at least partly a performance, since when we write letters to other people, we want to hold their attention. And since her letters became her primary way of talking to people, and since she was a poet, we have to expect them to be more than everyday correspondence.

Plus there’s the character of the biographer. I’m not the first to claim that all writing is in some way autobiographical, so when someone writes a biography, we have to expect to find at least as much of her in the book as the subject. No two people interpret any encounter in the exact same way, so when you’re dealing with the life of another person, you can be sure that no two biographers will interpret that in the same way, not even close.

One of the reasons I decided to write my book for kids twelve and up is because I can talk about matters that become assumptions for adults. I can discuss the difference between primary and secondary sources, the effects of literary executors and editors on the writing, and–especially–the need for us readers to keep enough of a distance to be able to form our own judgments.

Parmenides Biography

Parmenides was born in the Greek city of Elea at a time that can only be guessed to be between 540 BCE and 515 BCE. This is because only one surviving work of his exists now today and it is a poem broken up into fragments. But much of his life and philosophy has been noted by other accredited resources such as Herodotus, Plato, and Socrates. It is agreeable though that Parmenides flourished before 500 BCE, during this time he began his reputation as one of the famous pre Socratic philosophers.

He started the school of Elea, also known as the Eleatic school, but this is often confused with Xenophanes as the originator. But this has also been confused with Parmenides possibly being Xenophanes' pupil, but it has been said that Xenophanes' philosophy has been influential on Parmenides. He was and still is a huge inspiration to readers all around, and is known as one of the first of western society's philosophers. Zeno was recognized as one of his greatest pupils, while Plato always spoke of Parmenides with high regard, even devoting a chapter to him entitled '‹Å"Parmenides'. Plato even mentions that Parmenides at 65 may have come across a young Socrates in Athens.

Parmenides main interests of philosophy were in metaphysics and ontology, his surviving work which only survived in fragmentary form, On Nature, describes two views of reality. In some fragments of the poem he speaks about the universe and all existence as '‹Å"never ending' and unchanging and considers this '‹Å"the way of truth.' And in other fragments of his poem he speaks of the entire universe as in just appearance that this appearance is deceitful and is wrong. He considers this as '‹Å"the way of opinion.' His work and philosophy that separated the duality of reality versus just appearance was the first of its kind.

Sources:

"Parmenides. Fragments and Commentaries ." By Arthur Fairbanks.

Xenophanes Biography

Not much can be said of Xenophanes through evidence in history. The majority of his works only survive in fragments mentioned by other philosophers throughout antiquity. Xenophanes was born in 570 BCE in Colophon and later died roughly around 480 BCE or 470 BCE. He was a pre-Socratic philosopher, poet and the founder of the Eleatic school of Philosophy, even though it is commonly disputed that Parmenides was the founder of the school. In his time, Xenophanes rejected the idea that gods and goddess resembled humans in form, saying "if oxen worshiped gods, they would worship gods that resembled oxen." He also rejected the idea of plurality in the gods and philosophized that there was one primordial god that is unchanging, universal, immobile and abstract. Fragments of his poetry are found criticizing the belief in the pantheon and the anthropomorphic belief of Greek gods. Alongside his rejections toward the Hesiod and Homeric opinions of deities and accepting a universal singular god, Xenophanes may have possibly been the root of monotheistic thought throughout Western civilization. It is also evident that Xenophanes took up teaching the Pythagorean School for a few years, accepting and adopting a mathematical perspective of philosophy and the world around us. It has been debated whether or not that Xenophanes should be considered an adequate philosopher since he is not an original philosopher like many other pre-Socratic philosophers, but mainly a poet. His attack on the polytheistic way of life and the introduction to a radical new way of thought that only accepted one god was very controversial to fellow Greeks of his time. Not until the 1950s was he seen as more of an important philosopher who was raising issues that were way beyond his time and focused mainly on the times of the modern age.

Sources:

"Xenophanes ." By N. S. Gill

"Xenophanes of Colophon ." The European Graduate School. Graduate and Post Graduate Studies

Heraclitus Biography

Heraclitus was born 535 BCE in Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was a Pre Socratic Greek Philosopher making his work to be considered some of the world's first philosophical work regarding western philosophy. Very little is known about his early life or where he received any of his education, but through his work he is described as self-taught and a pioneer of human wisdom. Not much can be traced of any type of education he may have received besides that he may have associated with other famous pre Socratic philosophers such as Xenophanes and Pythagoras. His topic areas of philosophy were in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. He even had an interest in the political side of life. The most notable works from Heraclitus is his philosophy on the unity of opposites and his idea of change being central to the universe. For example he mentioned that you cannot step in the same stream twice because it is ever flowing or '˜logos,' as well as that path that goes up and the path that goes down are one in the same. He was also known as the '˜weeping philosopher' and the '˜riddler' because of his unclear philosophy that made it seem as though someone capable should only be allowed to attempt it. Heraclitus spoke about the world around him from a philosophical perspective he felt that cannot be just taught through books but had to be taught through communication with others. Although most of Heraclitus's work only survives now in fragments quoted by other authors, he work did start the group known as Heracliteans. These were partisans of Heraclitus's philosophy that supported it and spread its popularity. Heraclitus lived to be around sixty years old and died in 475 BCE. He lived and flourished during the 69th Olympiad.

Sources:

Heraclitus. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Brock Lesnar’s Autobiography is Coming in May

Brock Lesnar’s Autobiography is Coming in May

Many Brock Lesnar fans will be very leased to know that the fighter has an autobiography coming out in May. That’s right, Brock Lesnar, who is usually a very private person, will be releasing his official autobiography come May. The autobiography will be for sale on May 24th. Brock Lesnar‘s autobiography is titled “Death Clutch: My story of determination, domination, and survival.” Fans who want to make sure they get a copy can actually go to Amazon and pre-order Lesnar’s book.

Brock Lesnar enlisted some help for his book. Lesnar had his book co-written by his friend Paul Heyman. Yes, the Paul Heyman who helped ECW rise in the 1990s. Fans who want to get an idea of what will be in Lesnar’s book can go to Heyman’s website, because throughout the next few weeks, Heyman will give a sneak peek of what will be in Lesnar’s book.

Brock Lesnar’s book is going to be interesting, and fans are eager to get a glimpse at Lesnar’s personal life. There are a lot of different topics that fans want to know about, and maybe a lot of these topics will be covered in Brock Lesnar’s autobiography. Paul Heyman is actually a very good writer, and his style of writing is great. I have a feeling that Lesnar’s book is going to sell a whole lot of copies, but I am wondering how people are going to react to Lesnar’s book. I think the reaction is going to be quite interesting, and good, with a lot of positive feedback. Then again I could be wrong, but once May gets here, we all will be able to pick up the book and read the many opinions that will come soon after Lesnar’s book release.

Are you going to pick up a copy of Lesnar’s autobiography? Are you looking forward to his book release. Leave an honest comment and let me know.

Herodotus Biography

Herodotus, also known as the "Father of History," was born in Halicarnassus, Caira (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived between 484 BCE and 425 BCE. The reason he is considered among many as the father of history is because he was one of the first historians to collect materials, test their accuracy and construct or arrange them into a systematic order by events that took place. His masterpiece and last surviving evidence of his work is a compilation of the Greco-Persian wars known as "The Histories." This book describes in vivid detail the events that took place during the reign of the Persian Empire. This includes ethnographical and geographical information, as well as reasoning for the rise and fall of the greedy empire. Because Herodotus was not there for every event, many of the recordings in The Histories can be considered inaccurate. Herodotus relied on much information passed down to him to supplement his work, hence beginning his own investigations to complete his book. Due to the contradictions and his tendency to over-exaggerate his tales, he was also entitled the "Father of Lies." Not a lot is known about the daily life of Herodotus during his time. It is a possibility he may have heard firsthand accounts of the beginning of the Persian invasion into Greece, since at that time his hometown was within the Persian Empire. Herodotus died in Calabria or Macedon around 425 BCE. He lived to be around 60 years old. Herodotus became a symbolic and respected image throughout the ages because of his collected works of human history. His works have inspired many other great authors and researchers and also have been the groundwork for many other great minds around the world. His reputation around the world is that of a historian with some of the world's greatest works.

Sources:

Herodotus. Hyper History. By Rit Nosotro

Biography Channel’s "I Survived" Increases Viewer Ratings

Biography Channel’s "I Survived" Increases Viewer Ratings

Biography channel’s hit show I Survived premiered its new season earlier this Spring and has once again proven why it is a notch above other shows of the same genre. Each episode of I Survived depicts three true stories of how ordinary people survived near death experiences at home, at work, in nature, or any other common circumstance. Unlike similar shows such as I Shouldn’t Be Alive on the Discovery Channel, I Survived includes no reenactments and, instead, uses the survivor’s own narration to account their experience. Short and subtle captions are used throughout the show to inform what may have been left out.

Each episode includes three different segments of multiple survivors — the first and last usually involving a violent gunman or intruder and the second follow people fighting against nature. Many of the survivors included on the show endured well known events such as 9/11, the Virginia Tech Massacre, and Hurricane Katrina.

Biography channel lives up to their mantra — specifically with this show — that truthful experiences are often more entertaining than fiction. I Survived takes viewers through a graphic, personal, and unfiltered narrative of horrific events that are nearly unbelievable.

One story in particular depicted two young boys, Ryan and John, who survived a plane crash that proved fatal to the other passengers on the aircraft. Through a harrowing tale of their struggle to keep their cell phone signal working long enough to be traced by ambulances, I Survived takes viewers through the victim’s nightmare. Throughout the episode, clips of the 9-1-1 phone calls are played — unapologetically displaying the grim reality of these near-death experiences.

The show has performed well with viewer ratings as the seasons have progressed. During Season 3, I Survived experienced a 29% increase in adult viewers from 29-54, a 25% increase in adults 18-49, and an overall 10% increase in the total viewers in comparison to Season 2.[Source: www.tvbythenumbers.com].