Quiz of the Month – November 2013

1,000 Years

This is the second part of the quiz based on 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking the Men and Women Who Shaped the Millennium (1998) by Agnes Hooper Gottlieb, Henry Gottlieb, Barbara Bowers and Brent Bowers.  They came up with their own list of nominees, and then asked many others to contribute their lists of nominees.  Finally they came up with what they called a BioGraph which consisted of five categories – each with a maximum number of points – by which they rated the nominees.  The five categories, as well as the maximum number of points available in each are: Lasting influence (10,000 points), Effect on the sum total of wisdom and beauty in the world (4,000 points), Influence on contemporaries (2,000 points), Singularity of contribution (3,000 points), and Charisma (2,000 points).  And finally they combined the point scores in each of the five categories and ranked the nominees accordingly.  The highest possible score was 24,000, but no one got it.

Below you will find 25 clues concerning the identities of people listed in the book.  Keep in mind that everyone listed had some tie to writing.  It might have been their main occupation, or might have been the outgrowth of thinking or research they did in their occupations.  I will also include the points that each received, and their ranking.  I will start about half way down the list and move to the very top.

In addition, at the bottom of the quiz you will find a list of 10 people who almost made the list, but didn’t.

You will find the answers to the quiz on my Quiz Answers page.

  1. This 19th century French sci-fi writer wrote books about men who traveled beneath the earth, beneath the sea, and even to the moon.  He influenced such writers as H. G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clark.
  2. She is possibly the best known victim of the holocaust.  She lived in Amsterdam and is known for the diary she kept while she and her family were hiding from the Nazis. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp the year WW II ended.
  3. He was the son of former slaves.  He managed to get a good education and to found a black university in Alabama that is very well known.  He and W. E. B. Dubois were at odds concerning how black men and women should act in order to progress in a white dominated society.
  4. She was a prominent British novelist during the first half of the 20th century, a feminist, and a prominent member of the Bloomsbury group.  She wrote the novel Mrs. Dalloway, and gave a series of lectures which became a nonfiction book called A Room of One’s Own.  She battled mental illness through much of her life, and finally, in despair, filled her pockets with rocks, and drowned herself in a river.
  5. He is often called the father of the essay.  In life he was a wealthy Frenchman who had thoughts about many, many things – including friendship, how to live, and even cannibals – and wrote about them over many years.  He would often go back to previously completed essays and revise them to reflect his changing thoughts.
  6. Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, had a tremendous impact on how we think about the chemicals we use to control pests – both plants and animals – and on the entire field of environmental science.  She also wrote a popular book entitled The Sea Around Us.
  7. He created the first English language translation of the Bible, and was an early critic of certain teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.  He died from a stroke in 1384.  The Council of Constance (1415) declared him a heretic and banned his writings.  His body was exhumed and destroyed.
  8. He is remembered for his often macabre short stories, and for his poems.  He is also credited with creating a Sherlock Holmes-like detective before Sherlock Holmes ever existed.  Many of his short stories are staples of anthologies, and most people have read his poem about a certain black bird.
  9. This Prague-born author’s last name with –esque added to it denotes something that is surreal, complex or nightmarish.  His most famous short story is about a man who wakes one morning to find that he has turned into a giant bug.  He asked a friend to burn his unpublished works when he died, but – lucky for us – his friend decided not to carry out the authors wishes.
  10. He invented dynamite only to see it used in war instead of for peaceful purposes that would benefit mankind.  When his brother died, newspapers mistakenly reported that he, not his brother, had died.  He was stunned by the negative things that people said about him before the erroneous obituary was corrected.  He used part of his fortune to set up a number of prestigious prizes including one in literature.
  11. This Cambridge don is best known for his theories – and published works – in the field of economics.  One of his theories is that government should increase spending during a time of recession in order to counter the loss of activity in the private sector.
  12. Most people would agree that any alteration in the Western Canon that would add women writers would absolutely have to include this British novelist.  Her best known novel, first published 200 years ago this year, has been filmed for television and the movies well over a dozen times.
  13. Faust (especially part 1) is considered one of the greatest of literary works, and this brilliant German writer and thinker wrote it.  He led a long productive life, and was in love with love up until the very moment of his death at age 82.
  14. This great British thinker was an early proponent of using a scientific method in order to properly investigate the world around us.  He proposed the use of inductive reasoning – in which we go from the specific to the general – in all investigations.  His two principal works were The Advancement of Learning and Novum Organum (which he never completed).  While investigating the use of snow to preserve meat he became chilled, and died.
  15. He was a crusader for social reform in Great Britain, but he made his points through the novels he wrote, not through blistering speeches.  He has created some of the most memorable characters in English literature, and is probably regarded second only to his fellow countryman William Shakespeare in the hearts of those who love literature.
  16. We remember him as one of the founding fathers, but that was only one of this Renaissance man’s fields of interest.  He was a scientist, an able diplomat, a printer, and an author among other things.  It was he who fine-tuned Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, wrote an almanac which contained sayings that we still use, and wrote a brief autobiography.
  17. The mother of Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) this woman is remembered principally as an early fighter in the battle for women’s rights.  In 1792, long before the women’s suffrage movement began, she wrote a book entitled Vindication of the Rights of Women which encouraged women to resist domination by men.
  18. This Russian is one of the most famous writers who ever lived.  He was also a religious fanatic, and firmly believed that the Russian peasants should be treated better.  His complicated, contradictory life makes one wonder how he was able to see so clearly into the psyches of the characters he wrote about.
  19. He was a native of Florence, Italy, and when he wrote his masterpiece – a magnificent three part poem about a man’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise – he wrote it in his native dialect rather than in Latin because he was writing it for the common people, not for scholars.  Modern Italian is based on that dialect.
  20. This man had great influence in two radically different fields: mathematics and philosophy.  In mathematics his major contribution was the development of the Cartesian coordinates, a system for graphing equations.  In philosophy his major work was his Meditations in which he declares, “I think, therefore I am.”
  21. No one before him ever explored the human mind the way this man did.  He is the father of modern day psychology and psychiatry.  He had many disciples who broke away from his thinking, and developed their own theories.  However, it can be argued that they might not have given the human psyche so much thought if their mentor had never existed.  He wrote many works including The Interpretation of Dreams and Civilization and Its Discontents.
  22. At one time half the world was ruled by people who followed the philosophy of this German philosopher and champion of the common man.  Though we may disagree with his beliefs, without a doubt he is one of the most influential people who ever lived.
  23. When it comes to theology, there are few men who have had as much influence as this man whose major work, Summa Theologica (written between 1265 and 1274), harmonized the thoughts of the great philosophers with the teachings of the Catholic Church.  He remains the Church’s most important philosopher.
  24. This German priest developed grave doubts about some of the Catholic Church’s teaching concerning indulgences, the validity of some of the sacraments, and the role of the Church in a nation’s politics.  His actions set off a chain of events that would be known as the Protestant Reformation.
  25. Only because of this goldsmith’s invention did the ideas of the people in this quiz receive wide dissemination.  To the authors of 1,000 Years, 1,000People, the invention of movable type and the printing press is the most important achievement of the last 1,000 years, and its inventor deserves the prize.  And what book lover would dare to disagree?

_ _ _

Ten Who Almost Made It, but Didn’t

  • Lady Godiva
  • Amerigo Vespucci
  • Pocahontas
  • Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
  • Ronald Reagan
  • John Kennedy
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • William Gates
  • Carl Ripken, Jr.
  • Diana, Princess of Wales
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