Biographies

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned at a young age when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer’s cadet at West Point,, Poe parted ways with the Allans. His publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to “a Bostonian”.

Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virgina Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem, “The Raven”, to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. He began planning to produce his own journal,The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.

“The Fall of the House of Usher” was first published in September 1839 in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. It was slightly revised in 1840 for the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. It contains within it the poem “The Haunted Palace”, which had earlier been published separately in the April 1839 issue of the Baltimore Museum magazine.

In 1928, Éditions Narcisse, predecessor to the Black Sun Press, published a limited edition of 300 numbered copies with illustrations by Alastair.

Claude Debussy

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Achille-Claude Debussy (French: 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. In France, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. Debussy was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.

Debussy’s music is noted for its sensory component and frequent eschewing of tonality. The French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.

Although Pelléas et Mélisande (1902) was Debussy’s only completed opera, he began several opera projects which remained unfinished, his fading concentration, increasing procrastination, and failing health perhaps the reasons. He had finished some partial musical sketches and some unpublished libretti for operas based on Poe’s The Devil in the Belfry (Le diable dans le beffroi, 1902–1912) and The Fall of the House of Usher (La chute de la maison Usher, 1908–1917) as well as considered projects for operas based on Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Joseph Bedier’s La Legende de Tristan.

Jean Epstein

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Jean Epstein (March 25, 1897, Warsaw – April 2, 1953, Paris) was a French filmmaker, film theorist, literary critic, and novelist. Although he is remembered today primarily for his adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Epstein directed three dozen films and was an influential critic of literature and film from the early 1920s through the late 1940s. He is often associated with French Impressionist Cinema and the concept of photogénie.

Epstein was born in Warsaw, Poland, to a French-Jewish father and Polish mother. After his father died in 1908, the family relocated to Switzerland, where Epstein remained until beginning medical school at the University of Lyon in France. While in Lyon, Epstein served as a secretary and translator for Auguste Lumière, considered one of the founders of cinema.

Epstein started directing his own films in 1922 with Pasteur, followed by L’Auberge rouge and Coeur fidèle (both 1923). Film director Luis Buñuel worked as an assistant director to Epstein on Mauprat (1926) and La Chute de la maison Usher (1928). Epstein’s criticism appeared in the early modernist journal L’Esprit Nouveau.

Charlie Barber

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Composer Charlie Barber has a deserved reputation for creating and producing innovative performance and touring projects. He has worked in a wide variety of musical genres: orchestral and chamber works, film, video, music-theatre and dance.

His music draws on a wide range of influences and models bringing these together in a highly personal synthesis. Although the music of the American minimalists in the late 70s formed a starting point for his own music, equally important was the use and deconstruction of the music of the past and the influence of World music.

An important and crucial element has been his work across a number of different artforms, including dance, film, installation and performance art. This has resulted in a rich series of collaborations with artists in other disciplines.

His recent recordings and touring projects include: Ludwig, a musical tribute to Beethoven; music for Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet, a surrealist classic of early cinema; Boulevard of Broken Dreams for string quartet; Salomé, for percussion quartet and voices written to accompany the 1923 film starring Alla Nazimova; and Afrodisiac, an exploration of ritual, love and magic through the cultures of Africa and the African diaspora.

Link to Charlie’s website

 

 

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