Christopher Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, England on April 13, 1949. He was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and wrote for numerous other publications throughout his lifetime. He was the author of numerous books including No One Left to Lie To, For the Sake of Argument, Prepared for the Worst, God Is Not Great, Hitch-22: A Memoir, and Arguably. He died due to complication from esophageal cancer on December 15, 2011 at the age of 62.
Nadine Gordimer was born in Gauteng, South Africa on November 20, 1923. She attended the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa for one year. She is a novelist and short-story writer whose major theme is exile and alienation. Her first short story collection, The Soft Voice of the Serpent, was published in 1952 and her first novel, The Lying Days, was published in 1953. Her other short story collections include Jump, Why Haven't You Written: Selected Stories 1950-1972, and Loot. Her other novels include A World of Strangers, A Guest of Honour, Burger's Daughter, July's People, A Sport of Nature, My Son's Story, None to Accompany Me, The Pickup, and Get a Life. She has received numerous awards including the Booker Prize for The Conservationist in 1974, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, and the French Legion of Honour in 2007. She died on July 13, 2014 at the age of 90.
Robert Browning was the son of a well-to-do clerk in the Bank of England. He was educated by private tutors and from his own reading in his father's library and elsewhere. Browning's first publication was Pauline (1833). The work made no stir at all. The following year Browning went to St. Petersburg and from there to Italy. On his return to England in 1835 he published Paracelsus, a dramatic poem based on the life of the fifteenth-century magician and alchemist. Browning next attempted a play. Strafford was the first of the poet's dramatic failures; it ran only five nights at Covent Garden in 1836. An obscure and difficult poem, Sordello, appeared in 1840. It did a great deal toward giving Browning a reputation for being unintelligible and for limiting the circles of his readers. The most important event in Browning's life occurred in 1846, when he married Elizabeth Barrett. The marriage brought a new lightness and openness of voice to Browning's verse during the next 21 years, resulting in the great dramatic monologues of Men and Women in 1855 and the epic The Ring and the Book in 1867. It is not that these are the most beautiful poems of the Victorian Age, but they are the most perceptive; they reveal more clearly the men and women who speak the monologues, and the poet who conceived them, than any comparable works of the century. In the last two decades of his life Browning produced only a few great poems but much were grotesque and fantastic. He turned, too, to translations and transcriptions from the Greek tragedies; in spite of some powerful passages, these were not highly successful Robert Browning died in Italy in 1889. His body lies in Westminster Abbey.