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The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) is one of the most famous navigators in history - he was the first man to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and led the first voyage to circumnavigate the globe, although he was killed en route in a battle in the Philippines.In this biography, Zweig brings to life the Age of Discovery by telling the tale of one of the era's most daring adventurers. In typically flowing and elegant prose he takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery ourselves.
Mary Stuart Queen of Scots, Queen of France and a claimant to the throne of England, was condemned for treason and executed at the age of forty-four. A potential threat to the stability of the English Crown, she was held captive for twenty years by her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England. From the moment of her birth until her execution, her life was spent embroiled in the power struggles that shook the foundations of Renaissance Europe.It has taken the free spirit and the immense talent of Stefan Zweig to justly reconstruct events in the life of a woman who was so cruelly united with destiny. With all the rigor of a scientist and the passion of an artist, Zweig has skillfully reconstituted the character of Mary Stuart and the turmoil that was her fate.
In 1837 Charles Dickens, then twenty-five years old, was asked to 'tidy up' Joseph Grimaldi's autobiography - he ended up re-writing most of it. Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), one of the greatest English clowns and pantomimes of all time, was born in London to an Italian ballet-master and a dancer in the theatre's corps-de-ballet. The death of Grimaldi's father when he was nine plunged the family into debt. He was introduced to the stage at the age of two and began performing at the Sadler's Wells theatre at the age of three. Grimaldi's fame as a pantomime clown was unequalled and he is credited as an innovator. He introduced the tradition of audience participation, of poking fun at spectators, and generally the modern concept of the clown as such. He died a poor and physically crippled man.
The Struggle with the Daemon is a brilliant analysis of the European psyche by the great novelist and biographer Stefan Zweig. Zweig studies three giants of German literature and thought: Friedrich Ho¨lderlin, Heinrich von Kleist and Friedrich Nietzsche - powerful minds whose ideas were at odds with the scientific positivism of their age; troubled spirits whose intoxicating passions drove them mad but inspired them to great works. In their struggle with their inner creative force, Zweig reflects the conflict at the heart of the European soul - between science and art, reason and inspiration.Both highly personal and philosophically wide-ranging, this is one of the most fascinating of Zweig's renowned biographical studies.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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