Tag Archives: Marxism

Almanac – April 15

1452 – Leonardo da Vinci born.  Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.

His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination“.

 He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.

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1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy saw a “long belt” of daffodils, on a walk around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the Lake District,  inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud a couple of years later, inspired by Dorothy’s journal entry describing the walk –

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up — But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about & about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed and reeled and danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway — We rested again & again. The Bays were stormy & we heard the waves at different distances & in the middle of the water like the Sea.

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1894 – Bessie Smith born. American blues singer. Nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s, and is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on other jazz vocalists.

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1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers and crew on board survived.

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1980 – Jean-Paul Sartre died. French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic.

He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism.

His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines.

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Almanac – November 07

1492 – The Ensisheim Meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, struck the Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France.

The meteorite was an LL6 ordinary chondrite, weighing 127 kilograms; it was described as triangular in shape, and it created a 1 meter deep hole upon impact.The fall of the meteorite through the Earth’s atmosphere was observed as a fireball for a distance of up to 150 kilometres from where it eventually landed.

Sebastian Brant (1458–1521), satirist and author of “Das Narrenschiff” described the meteorite and its fall in the poem, “Loose Leaves Concerning the Fall of the Meteorite”

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1687 – William Stukeley born.  English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as “probably the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology”

Becoming involved in the newly fashionable organisation of Freemasonry, he also began to describe himself as a “druid”, and incorrectly believed that the prehistoric megalithic monuments were a part of the druidic religion. However, despite this he has been noted as being a significant figure in the early development of the modern movement known as Neo-druidry.

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1872 – The ship Mary Celeste sailed from New York, eventually to be found deserted.

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1879 – Leon Trotsky born. Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army.

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1908 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reportedly killed in San Vicente, Bolivia.
Two Americans certainly seem to have died in a shoot-out with the authorities, but their identities have never been confirmed, and there seems to be evidence that both outlaws returned to the USA and lived on at least into the 1930s.
Their real names, incidentally, were Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh.

Hollywood, of course, re-wrote history in time honoured tradition…

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1913 – Albert Camus born.  French pied-noir author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism.

He wrote in his essay “The Rebel” that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label. In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked…”

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1991 – Tom of Finland died.  Finnish artist notable for his stylized androerotic and fetish art and his influence on late twentieth century gay culture. He has been called the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images” by cultural historian Joseph W. Slade.

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