Born: Niihara Ryunosuke in Tokyo, Japan, 1 March 1892; adopted by uncle and given the family name Akutagawa. Education: Educated at Tokyo Imperial University, 1913-16, degree in English. Family: Married Tsukamoto Fumi in 1918; three sons. Career: Member of literary staff, Shinshicho [New Thought Tides], university magazine, 1914, 1916-17; English teacher, Naval Engineering College, Yokosuka, […]


Born: Henri Alban Fournier in La Chapelle d’Angillon, France, 3 October 1886. Education: Educated at the Lycee Voltaire, Paris, 1898-1901, lycee in Brest 1901-03; lycee in Bourges, 1902-03, baccalaureat, 1903; Lycee Lakanal, Paris. Military Service: Served in the French cavalry and infantry 1907-09, 1911, 1913-14; second lieutenant. Career: Secretary and translator for wallpaper factory, London, […]

ALBERTI, Rafael (Merello) (LITERATURE)

Born: Puerto de Santa Maria, near Cadiz, Spain, 16 December 1902. Education: Educated at the Jesuit Colegio de San Luis Gonzaga, Puerto de Santa Maria, 1912-17; studied painting in Madrid, 1917, and lived at the Residencia de Estudiantes. Family: Married Maria Teresa Leon c. 1930; one daughter. Career: Worked as an impressionist and cubist painter […]


Born: Tehran, February 1923. Education: Finished his preliminary and high education in Tehran (Dar al-Fonun); Faculty of Letters, Theran Teachers’ College, 1943-1946. Family: Married the writer Simin Daneshvar in 1950. Career: Studied English and French on his own and used his competence in translating major western works into Persian and carrying out research in sociology, […]


Born: Seville, Spain, 26 April 1898, Family moved to Malaga, 1900, and to Madrid, 1909. Education: Educated at the Colegio Teresiano, Madrid, 1909-13; entered Central School of Commerce and the University of Madrid (Faculty of Law), 1914, licence in law and diploma in business administration, both 1919. Career: Lecturer in mercantile law, Central School of […]


Born: Asti, Italy, 16 January 1749. Education: Educated at Royal Academy, Turin, 1759-66. Military Service: Served as an ensign, 1766 (resigned commission, 1774). Career: Travelled extensively in Europe, 1767-72; began lifelong relationship with Luisa Stolberg, Countess of Albany, 1777; fled from revolutionary Paris with the Countess, 1792, settled in Florence; left Florence during the French […]

AL-HARIRI, al-Qasim ibn ‘Ali Abu Muhammad al-Basri (LITERATURE)

Born: Mashan, near Basra, Iraq, in 446 ah/1054 ce. Family: One known son, ‘Abd Allah. Career: Oversaw the date palm plantation that he inherited in Mashan; held a position in the intelligence branch of the central government of the Caliphate in Basra; and studied, taught, and wrote literary and grammatical works in Basra and Baghdad; […]


Name means ”snub-nosed” or ”the gazelle.” Born: Tamadir bint Amr bin al-Harith b. al-Sharid b. Mudar, c. 575 AD, from the tribe Sulaym and the clan al-Sharid. Family: Married 1) her cousin Rawaha b. Abd al-’Aziyy al-Salmi; 2) Murdas Bin Abi ‘Amer; four children. Career: Mukhadrama poetess who lived prior to and after the revelation […]

AL-MUTANABBI, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn Abu al-Tayyib al-Ju’fi al-Kindi (LITERATURE)

Born: Kufa, Iraq, in 303 ah/915 ce. Education: Educated in Kufa, Iraq, and Syria. Family: One known son, Muhassad. Career: Worked as a minor panegyrist in Baghdad; led a political and religious Bedouin revolt in Syria and was imprisoned in 322 ah/933 ce; worked as a panegyrist for the Hamdanid ruler Sayf al-Dawlah in Aleppo, […]


Also known as Imru’ al-Qais, Imr al-Qays, Imru’ al-Qays. Born: Probably in Yemen, c. AD 497. Education: Introduced to poetry by his uncle al-Muhalhil, his mother’s younger brother; also self-taught. Family: Married a woman named Jundhub while in exile; one known daughter although it is unclear whether Jundhub is her mother. Career: Exiled twice by […]