Publishers Weekly is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians and literary agents. Published continuously since 1872, it has carried the tagline, "The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling". With 51 issues a year, the emphasis today is on book reviews; the magazine was founded by bibliographer Frederick Leypoldt in the late 1860s, had various titles until Leypoldt settled on the name The Publishers' Weekly in 1872. The publication was a compilation of information about newly published books, collected from publishers and from other sources by Leypoldt, for an audience of booksellers. By 1876, Publishers Weekly was being read by nine tenths of the booksellers in the country. In 1878, Leypoldt sold The Publishers' Weekly to his friend Richard Rogers Bowker, in order to free up time for his other bibliographic endeavors; the publication expanded to include features and articles. Harry Thurston Peck was the first editor-in-chief of The Bookman, which began in 1895.
Peck worked on its staff from 1895 to 1906, in 1895, he created the world's first bestseller list for its pages. In 1912, Publishers Weekly began to publish its own bestseller lists, patterned after the lists in The Bookman; these were not separated into fiction and non-fiction until 1917, when World War I brought an increased interest in non-fiction by the reading public. Through much of the 20th century, Publishers Weekly was guided and developed by Frederic Gershom Melcher, editor and co-editor of Publishers' Weekly and chairman of the magazine's publisher, R. R. Bowker, over four decades. Born April 12, 1879, in Malden, Melcher began at age 16 in Boston's Estes & Lauriat Bookstore, where he developed an interest in children's books, he moved to Indianapolis in 1913 for another bookstore job. In 1918, he read in Publishers' Weekly, he applied to Richard Rogers Bowker for the job, was hired, moved with his family to Montclair, New Jersey. He remained with R. R. Bowker for 45 years. While at Publishers Weekly, Melcher began creating space in the publication and a number of issues dedicated to books for children.
In 1919, he teamed with Franklin K. Mathiews, librarian for the Boy Scouts of America, Anne Carroll Moore, a librarian at the New York Public Library, to create Children’s Book Week; when Bowker died in 1933, Melcher succeeded him as president of the company. In 1943, Publishers Weekly created the Carey–Thomas Award for creative publishing, naming it in honor of Mathew Carey and Isaiah Thomas. In 2008, the magazine's circulation was 25,000. In 2004, the breakdown of those 25,000 readers was given as 6000 publishers. Subject areas covered by Publishers Weekly include publishing, marketing and trade news, along with author interviews and regular columns on rights, people in publishing, bestsellers, it attempts to serve all involved in the creation, production and sale of the written word in book, audio and electronic formats. The magazine increases the page count for four annual special issues: Spring Adult Announcements, Fall Adult Announcements, Spring Children's Announcements, Fall Children's Announcements.
The book review section of Publishers Weekly was added in the early 1940s and grew in importance during the 20th century and through the present time. It offers prepublication reviews of 9,000 new trade books each year, in a comprehensive range of genres and including audiobooks and e-books, with a digitized archive of 200,000 reviews. Reviews appear two to four months prior to the publication date of a book, until 2014, when PW launched BookLife.com, a website for self-published books, books in print were reviewed. These anonymous reviews are short, averaging 200–250 words, it is not unusual for the review section to run as long as 40 pages, filling the second half of the magazine. In the past, a book review editorial staff of eight editors assigned books to more than 100 freelance reviewers; some are published authors, others are experts in specific genres or subjects. Although it might take a week or more to read and analyze some books, reviewers were paid $45 per review until June 2008 when the magazine introduced a reduction in payment to $25 a review.
In a further policy change that month, reviewers received credit as contributors in issues carrying their reviews. There are nine reviews editors listed in the masthead. Now titled "Reviews", the review section began life as "Forecasts." For several years, that title was taken literally. Genevieve Stuttaford, who expanded the number of reviews during her tenure as the nonfiction "Forecasts" editor, joined the PW staff in 1975, she was a Saturday Review associate editor, reviewer for Kirkus Reviews and for 12 years on the staff of the San Francisco Chronicle. During the 23 years Stuttaford was with Publishers Weekly, book reviewing was increased from an average of 3,800 titles a year in the 1970s to well over 6,500 titles in 1997, she retired in 1998. Several notable PW editors stand out for making their mark on the magazine. Barbara Bannon was the head fiction reviewer during the 1970s and early 1980s, becoming the magazine’s executive editor during that time and retiring in 1983, she was, the first reviewer to insist that her name be appended to any blur
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust; the trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to shareholders; the current editor is Katharine Viner: she succeeded Alan Rusbridger in 2015. Since 2018, the paper's main newsprint sections have been published in tabloid format; as of November that year, its print edition had a daily circulation of 136,834.
The newspaper has an online edition, TheGuardian.com, as well as two international websites, Guardian Australia and Guardian US. The paper's readership is on the mainstream left of British political opinion, its reputation as a platform for liberal and left-wing editorial has led to the use of the "Guardian reader" and "Guardianista" as often-pejorative epithets for those of left-leaning or "politically correct" tendencies. Frequent typographical errors in the paper led Private Eye magazine to dub it the "Grauniad" in the 1960s, a nickname still used today. In an Ipsos MORI research poll in September 2018 designed to interrogate the public's trust of specific titles online, The Guardian scored highest for digital-content news, with 84% of readers agreeing that they "trust what see in it". A December 2018 report of a poll by the Publishers Audience Measurement Company stated that the paper's print edition was found to be the most trusted in the UK in the period from October 2017 to September 2018.
It was reported to be the most-read of the UK's "quality newsbrands", including digital editions. While The Guardian's print circulation is in decline, the report indicated that news from The Guardian, including that reported online, reaches more than 23 million UK adults each month. Chief among the notable "scoops" obtained by the paper was the 2011 News International phone-hacking scandal—and in particular the hacking of the murdered English teenager Milly Dowler's phone; the investigation led to the closure of the News of the World, the UK's best-selling Sunday newspaper and one of the highest-circulation newspapers in history. In June 2013, The Guardian broke news of the secret collection by the Obama administration of Verizon telephone records, subsequently revealed the existence of the surveillance program PRISM after knowledge of it was leaked to the paper by the whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In 2016, The Guardian led an investigation into the Panama Papers, exposing then-Prime Minister David Cameron's links to offshore bank accounts.
It has been named "newspaper of the year" four times at the annual British Press Awards: most in 2014, for its reporting on government surveillance. The Manchester Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by cotton merchant John Edward Taylor with backing from the Little Circle, a group of non-conformist businessmen, they launched their paper after the police closure of the more radical Manchester Observer, a paper that had championed the cause of the Peterloo Massacre protesters. Taylor had been hostile to the radical reformers, writing: "They have appealed not to the reason but the passions and the suffering of their abused and credulous fellow-countrymen, from whose ill-requited industry they extort for themselves the means of a plentiful and comfortable existence, they do not toil, neither do they spin, but they live better than those that do." When the government closed down the Manchester Observer, the mill-owners' champions had the upper hand. The influential journalist Jeremiah Garnett joined Taylor during the establishment of the paper, all of the Little Circle wrote articles for the new paper.
The prospectus announcing the new publication proclaimed that it would "zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious Liberty warmly advocate the cause of Reform endeavour to assist in the diffusion of just principles of Political Economy and support, without reference to the party from which they emanate, all serviceable measures". In 1825 the paper merged with the British Volunteer and was known as The Manchester Guardian and British Volunteer until 1828; the working-class Manchester and Salford Advertiser called the Manchester Guardian "the foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners". The Manchester Guardian was hostile to labour's claims. Of the 1832 Ten Hours Bill, the paper doubted whether in view of the foreign competition "the passing of a law positively enacting a gradual destruction of the cotton manufacture in this kingdom would be a much less rational procedure." The Manchester Guardian dismissed strikes as the work of outside agitators: " if an accommodation can be effected, the occupation of the agents of the Union is gone.
They live on strife "The Manchester Guardian was critical of US President Abraham Lincoln's conduct during the US Civil War, writing on the news that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated: "Of his rule, we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty " C. P. Scott ma
Roland Deschain of Gilead is a fictional character and the protagonist of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. He is the son of Steven and Gabrielle Deschain and is descended from a long line of "gunslingers", peacekeepers and diplomats of Roland's society. Roland becomes a gunslinger at the unheard-of age of 14 after being manipulated into taking the "trial of manhood" by Marten Broadcloak, his father's adviser and an alias of Randall Flagg. Marten has an affair with Roland's mother and makes sure Roland finds out about it, prompting Roland to request his trial in order to gain his guns and exact revenge on Marten. In the trial, Roland must defeat his teacher, using a weapon of his choosing, he chooses a hawk named defeats Cort. Roland sacrifices David to win the fight. Despite Roland's victory and Roland's father convince Roland to bide his time before seeking retribution. Not long after, Roland's father sends him on a mission to the town of Hambry in the Outer Barony of Mejis with his friends Alain Johns and Cuthbert Allgood, who will form the basis of his first ka-tet.
While there, he meets Susan Delgado. He comes into the possession of a pink crystal ball, one of 13 magical artifacts referred to as "Maerlyn's Rainbow." It was while looking into this artifact that Roland first discovered his destiny to quest for the Dark Tower. Roland is a 30th-generation descendant of his world's version of King Arthur, referred to in the series as Arthur Eld. In Wizard and Glass, during a flashback to Roland's time in the Barony of Mejis, a letter from his father identifies Steven Deschain as a 29th-generation descendant of Arthur Eld from a side lineage, his guns were made of the melted-down metal from the legendary Excalibur sword. It is hinted that one must possess this sword, or another sign of the Eld in order to open the door at the foot of the Tower. According to a supplemental prose story by Robin Furth included in The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born, Roland's ancestry traces back to Arthur Eld and Emmanuelle Deschain, the daughter of his seneschal, Kay Deschain, while the Crimson King's ancestry traces back to an affair between Arthur and the Crimson Queen.
Roland is alone following the way of ka, a variant of destiny. The term ka-tet is used for a group of people who are bonded to one another through ka; the eight-book series is about the completion of his quest. Roland is the last surviving gunslinger and is possessed by a quest to reach The Dark Tower, the axis upon which infinite numbers of parallel worlds rotate; the Dark Tower is under assault by the Crimson King, Lord of Discordia, a Satanic figure bent on destroying the Dark Tower by undermining the "Beams" that support it. In the first novel, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Roland's original desire is to climb to the Dark Tower's top to question whatever god dwells there, but ka has greater plans for him; the ka-tet he acquires during the series bears many resemblances to his childhood ka-tet, who were all killed trying to help Roland on his quest. How he treats his new ka-tet when faced with decisions between their lives and his quest is a key component of the novels, his ka-tet represents a chance for redemption and a means by which he can change his own ka.
At the end of the seventh novel, it is revealed that he is trapped in a repetitive reincarnation, his "damnation" for his crimes and killings However, it is suggested that this eternal repetition is not quite eternal. Roland's chief enemy is a villain who appears in many of King's works. Flagg's character appears in many different incarnations throughout the series, he is a minion of the Crimson King himself, though he is hoping to overthrow him. He is at the heart of most conflicts with Roland throughout the Gunslinger's lifetime, his relationships with his ka-tet change over the course of the story. When he first'draws' Eddie from the reader's world, Roland dislikes him for being a drug addict and complaining about his plight. After Eddie beats his addiction, however, he starts to care for him more and more and Roland regards him as something between a son and a brother, his relationship with Susannah follows the same pattern: though he is wary of her second personality, after her personalities'merge' into Susannah he gets to know her better and grows to care for her.
His relationship with Jake is the deepest seeing the boy as a trustworthy and strong companion, but regarding him as his true son. Roland scarred by the deaths of all his childhood friends — who all died helping him to get closer to the tower — he is shown to be devastated by Eddie's and Jake's death, weeping openly. Rola
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, extraterrestrials in fiction. Science fiction explores the potential consequences of scientific other various innovations, has been called a "literature of ideas." "Science fiction" is difficult to define as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. James Blish wrote: "Wells used the term to cover what we would today call'hard' science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to known facts was the substrate on which the story was to be built, if the story was to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."Isaac Asimov said: "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology." According to Robert A. Heinlein, "A handy short definition of all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world and present, on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and that the reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no delineated limits to science fiction."
Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it." Mark C. Glassy described the definition of science fiction as U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart did with the definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Science fiction had its beginnings in a time when the line between myth and fact was arguably more blurred than the present day. Written in the 2nd century CE by the satirist Lucian, A True Story contains many themes and tropes that are characteristic of contemporary science fiction, including travel to other worlds, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, artificial life; some consider it the first science-fiction novel. Some of the stories from The Arabian Nights, along with the 10th-century The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter and Ibn al-Nafis's 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus contain elements of science fiction. Products of the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Johannes Kepler's Somnium, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, Cyrano de Bergerac's Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and The States and Empires of the Sun, Margaret Cavendish's "The Blazing World", Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Ludvig Holberg's Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum and Voltaire's Micromégas are regarded as some of the first true science-fantasy works.
Indeed, Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan considered Somnium the first science-fiction story. Following the 18th-century development of the novel as a literary form, Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science-fiction novel. Brian Aldiss has argued. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several stories considered science fiction, including "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" which featured a trip to the Moon. Jules Verne was noted for his attention to detail and scientific accuracy Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which predicted the contemporary nuclear submarine. In 1887, the novel El anacronópete by Spanish author Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau introduced the first time machine. Many critics consider H. G. Wells one of science fiction's most important authors, or "the Shakespeare of science fiction." His notable science-fiction works include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds. His science fiction imagined alien invasion, biological engineering and time travel.
In his non-fiction futurologist works he predicted the advent of airplanes, military tanks, nuclear weapons, satellite television, space travel, something resembling the World Wide Web. In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decade-long planetary romance series of Barsoom novels, set on Mars and featuring John Carter as the hero. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback published the first American science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in which he wrote: By'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision... Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading—they are always instructive, they supply knowledge... in a palatable form... New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow... Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written...
Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well. In 1928, E. E. "Doc" Smith's first published work, The Skylark of Space, written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in Amazing Stories. It is called the first great space opera; the same year, Philip Francis Nowlan's original Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419 appeared in Amazing Stories. This was followed by the first serious science-fiction comic. In 1937, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction, an event, sometimes conside
Horror is a genre of speculative fiction, intended to frighten, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or frightens the reader, or induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an frightening atmosphere. Horror is supernatural, though it can be non-supernatural; the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society. The horror genre has ancient origins with roots in folklore and religious traditions, focusing on death, the afterlife, the demonic and the principle of the thing embodied in the person; these were manifested in stories of beings such as witches, vampires and ghosts. European horror fiction became established through works by Ancient Romans; the well-known 19th century novel about Frankenstein was influenced by the story of Hippolytus, where Asclepius revives him from death.
Euripides wrote plays based on Hippolytos Kalyptomenos and Hippolytus. Plutarch's "The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Cimon describes the spirit of a murderer, who himself was murdered in a bathhouse in Chaeronea. Pliny the Younger tells the tale of Athenodorus Cananites. Athenodorus was cautious. While writing a book on philosophy, he was visited by a spectre bound in chains; the figure disappeared in the courtyard. The earliest recording of an official accusation of Satanism by the Church took place in Toulouse in AD 1022 against a couple of clerics. Werewolf stories were popular in medieval French literature. One of Marie de France's twelve lais is a werewolf story titled "Bisclavret"; the Countess Yolande commissioned a werewolf story titled "Guillaume de Palerme". Anonymous writers penned two werewolf stories, "Biclarel" and "Melion". Much horror fiction derives from the cruellest personages of the 15th century. Dracula can be traced to the Prince of Wallachia Vlad III whose alleged war crimes were published in German pamphlets.
A 1499 pamphlet published by Markus Ayrer is most notable for its woodcut imagery. The alleged serial killer spree of Giles de Rais have been seen as the inspiration for "Bluebeard"; the motif of the vampiress is most notably derived from the real life noblewoman and murderess, Elizabeth Bathory, helped usher in the emergence of horror fiction in the 18th century, such as through László Turóczi's 1729 book Tragica Historia. The 18th century saw the gradual development of the Gothic horror genre, it drew on the written and material heritage of the Late Middle Ages, finding its form with Horace Walpole's seminal and controversial 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto. In fact, the first edition was published disguised as an actual medieval romance from Italy and republished by a fictitious translator. Once revealed as modern, many found it anachronistic, reactionary, or in poor taste — but it proved popular. Otranto inspired Vathek by William Beckford, A Sicilian Romance, The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian by Ann Radcliffe and The Monk by Matthew Lewis.
A significant amount of horror fiction of this era was written by women and marketed towards a female audience, a typical scenario being a resourceful female menaced in a gloomy castle. The Gothic tradition blossomed into the genre modern readers call horror literature in the 19th century. Influential works and characters that continue resonating in fiction and film today saw their genesis in the Brothers Grimm's "Hänsel und Gretel", Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Jane C. Loudon's "The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century", Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Thomas Peckett Prest's Varney the Vampire, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the works of Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, Bram Stoker's Dracula; each of these works created an enduring icon of horror seen in re-imaginings on the page and screen.
A proliferation of cheap periodicals around turn of the century led to a boom in horror writing. For example, Gaston Leroux serialized his Le Fantôme de l'Opéra before it was a novel in 1910. One writer who specialized in horror fiction for mainstream pulps such as All-Story Magazine was Tod Robbins, whose fiction deals with themes of madness and cruelty. Specialist publications emerged to give horror writers an outlet, prominent among them Weird Tales and Unknown Worlds. Influential horror writers of the early 20th century made inroads in these mediums; the venerated horror author H. P. Lovecraft, his enduring Cthulhu Mythos pioneered the genre of cosmic horror, M. R. James is credited with redefining the ghost story in that era; the serial murderer became a recurring theme. Yellow journalism and sensationalism of various murderers, such as Jack the Ripper, lesser so, Carl Panzram, Fritz Haarman, Albert Fish, all perpetuated this phenomenon; the trend continued in the postwar era renewed after the murders committed by Ed Gein.
In 1959, Robert Bloch, inspired by the murders, wrote Psycho. The crimes committed in 1969 by the Manson family influenced the slasher theme in horror fiction of the 1970s. In 1981, Thomas Harris wrote Red Dragon. In 1988, the sequel to tha
The tarot is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot and Austrian Königrufen. Many of these tarot card games are still played today. In the late 18th century, some Tarot packs began to be used in parallel for divination in the form of tarotology and cartomancy and specialist packs were developed for such occult purposes. Like common playing cards, the tarot has four suits; each suit has ten pip cards numbering from one to ten and four face cards. In addition, the tarot has a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may be played to avoid following suit; these tarot cards, without occult symbology, are still used throughout much of Europe to play card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are not played tarot cards are used for divinatory purposes using specially designed packs; the cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century.
The word tarot and German Tarock derive from the Italian tarocchi, the origin of, uncertain but taroch was used as a synonym for foolishness in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The decks were known as trionfi during the fifteenth century; the new name first appeared in Brescia around 1502 as tarocho. During the 16th century, a new game played with a standard deck but sharing a similar name was becoming popular; this coincided with the older game being renamed tarocchi. In modern Italian, the singular term is tarocco, which, as a noun, means a type of blood orange, and, as an adjective, means'fake, counterfeit'. Playing cards first entered Europe in the late 14th century, most from Mamluk Egypt, with suits of Batons or Polo sticks, Coins and Cups; these suits were similar to modern tarot divination decks and are still used in traditional Italian and Portuguese playing card decks. The first documented tarot packs were recorded between 1440 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack.
These new decks were called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, the additional cards known as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English. The earliest documentation of trionfi is found in a written statement in the court records of Florence, in 1440, regarding the transfer of two decks to Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta; the oldest surviving tarot cards are the 15 or so Visconti-Sforza tarot decks painted in the mid-15th century for the rulers of the Duchy of Milan. A lost tarot-like pack was commissioned by Duke Filippo Maria Visconti and described by Martiano da Tortona between 1418 and 1425, since the painter he mentions, Michelino da Besozzo, returned to Milan in 1418, while Martiano himself died in 1425, he described a 60-card deck with 16 cards having images of the Greek gods and suits depicting four kinds of birds. The 16 cards were regarded as "trumps" since in 1449 Jacopo Antonio Marcello recalled that the now deceased duke had invented a novum quoddam et exquisitum triumphorum genus, or "a new and exquisite kind of triumphs".
Other early decks that showcased classical motifs include the Sola-Busca and Boiardo-Viti decks of the 1490s. In Florence, an expanded deck called; this deck of 97 cards includes astrological symbols and the four elements, as well as traditional tarot motifs. Although a Dominican preacher inveighed against the evil inherent in cards in a sermon in the 15th century, no routine condemnations of tarot were found during its early history; because the earliest tarot cards were hand-painted, the number of the decks produced is thought to have been small. It was only after the invention of the printing press; the expansion of tarot outside of Italy, first to France and Switzerland, occurred during the Italian Wars. The most important tarot pattern used in these two countries was the Tarot of Marseilles of Milanese origin; the original purpose of tarot cards was to play games. A cursory explanation of rules for a tarot-like deck is given in a manuscript by Martiano da Tortona before 1425. Vague descriptions of game play or game terminology follow for the next two centuries until the earliest known complete description of rules for a French variant in 1637.
The game of tarot has many regional variations. Tarocchini has survived in Bologna and there are still others played in Piedmont and Sicily, but in Italy the game is less popular than elsewhere; the 18th century saw tarot's greatest revival, during which it became one of the most popular card games in Europe, played everywhere except Ireland and Britain, the Iberian peninsula, the Ottoman Balkans. French tarot experienced a revival beginning in the 1970s and France has the strongest tarot gaming community. Regional tarot games—often known as tarock, tarok, or tarokk are played in central Europe within the borders of the former Austro-Hungarian empire; these were the oldest form of tarot deck to be made, being first devised in the 15th century in northern Italy. The so-called occult tarot decks are based on decks of this type. Three
Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of the dramatic monologue made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. His poems are known for their irony, dark humour, social commentary, historical settings, challenging vocabulary and syntax. Browning's early career collapsed; the long poems Pauline and Paracelsus received some acclaim, but in 1840 the difficult Sordello, seen as wilfully obscure, brought his poetry into disrepute. His reputation took more than a decade to recover, during which time he moved away from the Shelleyan forms of his early period and developed a more personal style. In 1846, Browning married the older poet Elizabeth Barrett, went to live in Italy. By the time of her death in 1861, he had published Women; the collection Dramatis Personae and the book-length epic poem The Ring and the Book followed, made him a leading British poet. He continued to write prolifically, but his reputation today rests on the poetry he wrote in this middle period; when Browning died in 1889, he was regarded as a sage and philosopher-poet who through his writing had made contributions to Victorian social and political discourse.
Unusually for a poet, societies for the study of his work were founded. Such Browning Societies remained common in Britain and the United States until the early 20th century. Robert Browning was born in Walworth in the parish of Camberwell, which now forms part of the Borough of Southwark in south London, he was baptized on 14 June 1812, at Lock's Fields Independent Chapel, York Street, the only son of Sarah Anna and Robert Browning. His father was a well-paid clerk for the Bank of England, earning about £150 per year. Browning's paternal grandfather was a slave owner in Saint Kitts, West Indies, but Browning's father was an abolitionist. Browning's father had been sent to the West Indies to work on a sugar plantation, due to a slave revolt there, had returned to England. Browning's mother was the daughter of a German shipowner who had settled in Dundee in Scotland, his Scottish wife. Browning had Sarianna. Browning's paternal grandmother, Margaret Tittle, who had inherited a plantation in St Kitts, was rumored to have a mixed race ancestry, including some Jamaican blood, but author Julia Markus suggests she was Kittitian rather than Jamaican.
The evidence, however, is inconclusive. Robert's father, a literary collector, amassed a library of many of them rare; as such, Robert was raised in a household of significant literary resources. His mother, to whom he was close, was a devout nonconformist and a talented musician, his younger sister, Sarianna gifted, became her brother's companion in his years, after the death of his wife in 1861. His father encouraged his children's interest in the arts. By 12, Browning had written a book of poetry which he destroyed when no publisher could be found. After being at one or two private schools, showing an insuperable dislike of school life, he was educated at home by a tutor via the resources of his father's extensive library. By 14 he was fluent in French, Greek and Latin, he became a great admirer of the Romantic poets Shelley. Following the precedent of Shelley, Browning became an vegetarian. At 16, he left after his first year, his parents' staunch evangelical faith prevented his studying at either Oxford or Cambridge University, both open only to members of the Church of England.
He had inherited substantial musical ability through his mother, composed arrangements of various songs. He ignored his parents' remonstrations, dedicating himself to poetry, he stayed at home until the age of 34, financially dependent on his family until his marriage. His father sponsored the publication of his son's poems. In March 1833, "Pauline, a Fragment of a Confession" was published anonymously by Saunders and Otley at the expense of the author, Robert Browning, who received the money from his aunt, Mrs Silverthorne, it is a long poem composed in homage to Shelley and somewhat in his style. Browning considered Pauline as the first of a series written by different aspects of himself, but he soon abandoned this idea; the press noticed the publication. W. J. Fox writing in The Monthly Repository of April 1833 discerned merit in the work. Allan Cunningham praised it in the Athenaeum. However, it sold no copies; some years probably in 1850, Dante Gabriel Rossetti came across it in the Reading Room of the British Museum and wrote to Browning in Florence to ask if he was the author.
John Stuart Mill, wrote that the author suffered from an "intense and morbid self-consciousness". Browning was rather embarrassed by the work, only included it in his collected poems of 1868 after making substantial changes and adding a preface in which he asked for indulgence for a boyish work. In 1834, he accompanied the Chevalier George de Benkhausen, the Russian consul-general, on a brief visit to St Petersburg and began Paracelsus, published in 1835; the subject of the 16th century savant and alchemist was suggested to him by the Comte Amédée de Ripart-Monclar, to whom it was dedicated. The publication had some commercial and critical success, being noticed by Wordsworth, Landor, J. S. Mill and the famous Tennyson, it is a monodrama without action, dealing with the problems confronting an intellectual trying to find his role in society. It gained him access to the London literary world; as a result of his new contacts he met Macready, who invited him to wr