I have to do a Research paper for English. For the paper I choose an author, and correlate the life of the author to his/her work. This paper is not to be my own ideas, rather I paraphrase and quote other peoples thoughts, ideas, and critiques on the author (and create my paper off that). So I’m inclined to choose an author that has had a lot written about them, and their work. Any ideas for a good author to do my paper on?
The early life of Charles Dickens correlates closely to his early/middle works, and there have been about 100,000 or so books written about him, so plenty of reference material…
T.S. Eliot. There’s boatloads of stuff out there - I waded through a ton of it writing my own English term paper way back when. Edgar Allen Poe or Mark Twain would work pretty well, too.
If you can do Russian authors (does it have to be an English nationality writer?) then I say Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, or Gogol.
Raymond Chandler. More out there about him than when I wrote a paper and loads of fun to read. Plus much cooler than Dickens.
I find Alexander Pope’s life to be very interesting. Also, because he wrote satire, it’s all about the society around him as well as his life and how he was sometimes persecuted (for his crippled nature and for his biting satire). I’ve read a couple of books on him, and I imagine there is quite a lot on him, mainly because of his importance to his time period.
Well, here’ the Scottish in me coming out, but I might also suggest Scottish Bard Robert Burns. I’ve researched his life before, and there’s a lot written on him. Also, his poetry reflects rather well where he was in life when he wrote it. The poems, because of the language used, might be a little difficult to get through if you aren’t familiar with them.
Twain I think is also a great suggestion, as is Dickens for that matter. I also would mention Lewis Carroll as an interesting author.
Rudyard Kipling was very big in his time. I haven’t read much of his work but I do know he was very big on “jingoism” and the glories of the British Empire and wrote a lot about soldiers. He was devastated when his sons were killed in WWI and it would be interesting to see a dramatic change in his writing after that. I think his post-war writing would reflect a lot of personal guilt and depression for having glorified war.
On a lighter note… how about Dr. Seuss?
Theodore Geissel’s (I’m not certain if that is spelled correctly)primary job was as a political cartoonist. Many of his childrens books deal with major world issues (arms race, tolerance, various environmental issues etc.) in simple ways.
I’ve read one excellent biography on him, and there are probably others. Of course if this is supposed to be a fairly long project (or your teacher has issues about the value of children’s literature) it might not be exactly what you are looking for.
He is a still living poet from Montreal - there is lots of stuff about him on the net, and his poems have been made into incredibe songs, even a movie!
Brendan Behan or Oscar Wilde
I have had to do two research papers while I was in high school. The people I did them on was Oscar Wilde and Ogden Nash.
I asked my dad who I should do, and he suggested those two because Oscar Wilde’s life story and correlation to his works can be shocking. He was a raging homosexual in the 1890’s when it wasn’t accepted at all. He was also arrested and imprisoned for sodomy with his boyfriend, who was part of the aristocracy. He has an array of interesting works and peoms. His quotes have such a wry sense of humor too.
Ogden Nash on the hand was a poet for the New Yorker. he wrote amusing, and sometimes ridiculous poetry. He was well published, so there is much to write about him.
What’s the Use?
Sure, deck your limbs in pants;
Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance –
Have you seen yourself retreating?
Reflection on the Fallibiity of Nemesis
He who is ridden by a conscience
Worries about a lot of nonscience;
He without benefit of scruples
His fun and income soon quadruples.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
“No gentleman ever has any money.” - oscar Wilde (my husband’s favorite)
“Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong.” -Oscar Wilde
Thise are just a few things. I would look them up on the internet. They were a lot of fun to write about. And my teachers were impressed with my unique subjects.
How 'bout Henry Miller " American writer, whose antipuritanical books did much to free the discussion of sexual subjects in American writing from both legal and social restrictions." The film ‘Henry and June’ was about him and his torrid affair.
Definitely Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath. Both were confessional poets, which means that they pretty much wrote ABOUT their lives. You can work in a lot about the nature of mental illness and suicide, and if you end up presenting it in class, the chicks will totally dig it. Anne Sexton’s poetry is slightly more accessible for newbies, but I’d imagine there are more biographies of Plath sitting around. Do some research into it, though.