Walter Spies Biography

Spies was an energetic and influential traveler among multiple cultures whose talents extended far beyond painting. He performed both Western and Indonesian musical styles, co-wrote a pioneering study of dance on the island of Bali, and stimulated new developments in Balinese art.

Rudolf Steiner Biography

The philosophy underlying those schools grew out of a lifetime of innovative thinking that encompassed fields as diverse as traditional philosophy, spiritualism, color theory, art, agriculture, medicine, music, and architecture. A trained philosopher and at the same time a mystic, Steiner believed that spiritual insights could be gained through systematic thought.

John Summerson Biography

Summerson was born on November 25, 1904, in Darlington, England. This town in northeast England had been known for nearly a century by then as the birthplace of the English railroad, and John's grandfather Thomas Summerson served as director of the local steel foundry that played a leading role in making the first locomotives for public transport.

Louise Juliette Talma Biography

The daughter of two American professional musicians, Talma was born on October 31, 1906, in Arcachon, France, a resort town near Bordeaux. Talma's father died while she was still a child; Talma's mother, a singer, moved with her daughter to New York City in the summer of 1914.

Emma Thompson Biography

Thompson was born into a family of actors on April 15, 1959, in London. Her father, Eric Thompson (1929–1982), was a television and stage actor, and during Thompson's childhood served as the narrator for a much-loved children's television series, an animated French import called The Magic Roundabout.

Elizabeth Tilberis Biography

Tilberis was born Elizabeth Jane Kelly on September 7, 1947, in Alderley Edge in Cheshire, England, near the city of Manchester. She was the first of three children in the family of Janet Stome Kelly, a cartographer, and Thomas Stuart-Black Kelly, an ophthalmologist.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer Biography

First it was Indonesia's Dutch colonizers who put Pramoedya in prison, then the independent country's first two rulers. For a 10-year period beginning in 1969 he was held in a notorious prison camp on the island of Buru, writing four novels while he was imprisoned, or narrating them orally when he had no access to writing materials.

Tokyo Rose Biography

Although Toguri did indeed work for Radio Tokyo during the war, her profession was by circumstance rather than by choice, and her later prosecution has come to be viewed as persecution. Charged with eight counts of treason, she was convicted in 1949 on only one count and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

P. L. Travers Biography

Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff on August 9, 1899, in Maryborough, in the Australian province of Queensland. She later took the surname Travers from the first name of her father, Travers Goff, a bank employee and an alcohol abuser who fell on hard times during her childhood; Pamela, a fashionable name in the years after World War I, was her own invention.

Michel Tremblay Biography

Tremblay's writing was motivated at first by his status as a closet homosexual, and some of his plays and prose works have addressed gay themes. But he first became well known for his portrayals of a larger outsider group: the working class residents of the province of Quebec itself.

Sarah Trimmer Biography

Trimmer was born Sarah Kirby on January 6, 1741, in Ipswich, England, to Sarah Bull and John Joshua Kirby, a landscape artist. She had one brother.

Suzanne Valadon Biography

Valadon was born Marie Clémentine Valadon on September 23, 1865, in the small town of Bessines, located in northeastern France. (Later in life, Valadon claimed her date of birth was July 23, 1867, although this date is not supported by records.) Her mother, Madeleine Valadon, worked as a sewing maid; the identity of her father was not known.

Wang Guangmei Biography

Wang Guangmei (in Chinese names, the family name is given first) was born in Beijing on September 26, 1921. Her family was old and distinguished, and her father, Wang Huaiquing, was a business executive who served as a senior official in the government of the Republic of China.

Dorothy West Biography

Dorothy West was born on June 2, 1907, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Isaac and Rachel Benson West. Though she was the couple's only child, West grew up among the numerous relatives from her mother's side of the family.

Opal Whiteley Biography

Everything about the literary genesis of The Story of Opal was strange. The manuscript consisted of many thousands of tiny, torn-up pieces when Whiteley first brought them to a magazine editor in a hat box.

Narcissa Whitman Biography

The daughter of a carpenter, Whitman was born Narcissa Prentiss on March 14, 1808, in Prattsburgh, New York, and was one of nine children in her family. The Prentisses were Presbyterians, but at the age of 11 Whitman converted to the Congregationalist faith, the Protestant group whose earliest American adherents were the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s.

Benjamin Lee Whorf Biography

The most famous of these ideas is the so-called Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, derived largely from Whorf's research among Native American tribes and the writings that resulted (indeed, it is sometimes simply called the Whorfian hypothesis). Simply stated, the hypothesis (never laid out as such by its supposed authors) proposed that language is not only a part of culture, influenced by the groups of human beings who construct it, but also an influence on culture and thought.

Bert Williams Biography

Williams, who wore blackface makeup over his own black face to conform to the racist theatrical stereotypes of the era, was in many ways a tragic figure. He worked in the genre of the blackface minstrel show, which was one of the key components of a longstanding attempt by white Americans to degrade Americans of African descent.

Henry Clay Work Biography

In the early 1950s, musicologist Richard S. Hill could point to a list of songs by Work "that would be instantly recognized by most Americans today—certainly more songs than by any other mid-nineteenth century writer with the possible exception of George F.

Tammy Wynette Biography

Born Virginia Wynette Pugh, May 5, 1942, in Itawamba County, Mississippi, she was the daughter of a local musician William Hollice Pugh, who recorded briefly in 1939 and 1940. When Wynette was only eight months old, her father died of a brain tumor.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Biography

An officer in the Indonesian army, but one regarded as a moderate with few links to the military's history of violent excesses, Yudhoyono found himself at the center of some of the world's biggest news stories of the mid-2000s. He faced the challenge of responding to an unprecedented series of natural disasters, including the devastating tsunami of 2004.

Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi Biography

Zarqawi had been cast by the administration of U.S. president George W.

Dieter Zetsche Biography

Dieter Zetsche (TSET-shuh) was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 5, 1953. His parents were German; his father was in Turkey to work in the field of bridge construction.

Zhang Yimou Biography

Several of Zhang's early films were banned in his homeland but gained strong viewership in the West as a result. Zhang grew cannier about dealing with Chinese censors as he grew older, and to some critics, both within and outside China, his later films seemed to have less of an edge.

Zinédine Zidane Biography

Amid the soccer euphoria, Zidane, a devout Muslim born to Algerian immigrants, was also embraced as an ethnic unifier. But Zidane left the game in disgrace in 2006.

Slavoj Zizek Biography

Zizek talks as fast as he thinks, and writes nearly as fast as he can talk (he has published as many as three books in the course of a single year), often making things even more difficult for the reader with a style of argument in which he often seems to contradict himself. James Harkin, writing in the London Guardian, called him "a one-man heavy industry of cultural criticism." Yet Zizek's fame rests on more than sheer mental agility.