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Jack Ker­ouac (born Jean-Louis Kérouac (though he called him­self Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac); March 12, 1922 – Octo­ber 21, 1969) was an Amer­i­can nov­el­ist and poet of French-Cana­di­an descent. He is con­sid­ered a lit­er­ary icon­o­clast and, along­side William S. Bur­roughs and Allen Gins­berg, a pio­neer of the Beat Gen­er­a­tion. Ker­ouac is rec­og­nized for his method of spon­ta­neous prose. The­mat­i­cal­ly, his work cov­ers top­ics such as Catholic spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, jazz, promis­cu­ity, Bud­dhism, drugs, pover­ty, and trav­el. He became an under­ground celebri­ty and, with oth­er beats, a prog­en­i­tor of the hip­pie move­ment, although he remained antag­o­nis­tic toward some of its polit­i­cal­ly rad­i­cal ele­ments.

Joseph Con­rad (born Józef Teodor Kon­rad Korzeniows­ki; 3 Decem­ber 1857 – 3 August 1924) was a Pol­ish-British writer regard­ed as one of the great­est nov­el­ists to write in the Eng­lish lan­guage. He joined the British mer­chant marine in 1878, and was grant­ed British cit­i­zen­ship in 1886.

Lawrence George Dur­rell (27 Feb­ru­ary 1912 – 7 Novem­ber 1990) was an expa­tri­ate British nov­el­ist, poet, drama­tist, and trav­el writer. Born in India to British colo­nial par­ents, he was sent to Eng­land at the age of eleven for his edu­ca­tion. He did not like for­mal edu­ca­tion, but start­ed writ­ing poet­ry at age 15. His first book was pub­lished in 1935, when he was 23. In March 1935 he and his wife, and his moth­er and younger sib­lings, moved to the island of Cor­fu. Dur­rell spent many years after­ward liv­ing around the world.

Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694), born then Mat­suo Chūe­mon Mune­fusa, was the most famous poet of the Edo peri­od in Japan. Dur­ing his life­time, Bashō was rec­og­nized for his works in the col­lab­o­ra­tive haikai no ren­ga form; today, after cen­turies of com­men­tary, he is rec­og­nized as the great­est mas­ter of haiku (then called hokku). He ele­vat­ed haiku to the lev­el of seri­ous poet­ry in numer­ous antholo­gies and trav­el diaries. Basho trav­eled in order to seek deep­er enlight­en­ment through his one­ness with nature.

Leon Ray Liv­ingston (1872 – 1944) was a famous hobo and author, trav­el­ling under the name “A-No.1” and often referred to as “The Ram­bler.” He per­fect­ed the hobo sym­bols sys­tem, which let oth­er hobos know where there are gen­er­ous peo­ple, free food, jobs, vicious dogs, and so forth. He was not a poor man; he sim­ply pre­ferred a life of trav­el­ling the coun­try by train to sit­ting at home. In his mem­oir The Ways of the Hobo, Liv­ingston admit­ted that he was une­d­u­cat­ed, but began his self-edu­ca­tion at the age of 35.

John Grif­fithJackLon­don (born John Grif­fith Chaney; Jan­u­ary 12, 1876 – Novem­ber 22, 1916) was an Amer­i­can nov­el­ist, jour­nal­ist, and social activist. A pio­neer in the world of com­mer­cial mag­a­zine fic­tion, he was one of the first writ­ers to become a world­wide celebri­ty and earn a large for­tune from writ­ing. He was also an inno­va­tor in the genre that would lat­er become known as sci­ence fic­tion.

Györ­gy Faludy (Sep­tem­ber 22, 1910, Budapest – Sep­tem­ber 1, 2006, Budapest) was a Hun­gar­i­an-born poet, writer and trans­la­tor. He was best known for Vil­lon bal­ladái (1937), his lyri­cal rein­ter­pre­ta­tions of the verse of 15th-cen­tu­ry French bal­ladeer François Vil­lon, and for his auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal nov­el My Hap­py Days in Hell (1962), which detailed his impris­on­ment (1950 – 53) in a labour camp as a sus­pect­ed Amer­i­can agent. He trav­eled exten­sive­ly, served in the U.S. Army dur­ing World War II, and even­tu­al­ly set­tled in Toron­to in 1967.

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 Jan­u­ary 1950), bet­ter known by his pen name George Orwell, was an Eng­lish nov­el­ist, essay­ist, jour­nal­ist and crit­ic whose work is marked by lucid prose, aware­ness of social injus­tice, oppo­si­tion to total­i­tar­i­an­ism and out­spo­ken sup­port of demo­c­ra­t­ic social­ism.