The Canterbury Tales contains only a fraction of the stories Chaucer had planned, and Bach's The Art of Fugue cuts off so abruptly that it was long thought that he died while composing it. Sometimes, it is not the artist but the subject whose death prevents a work's completion, as was the case with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died just hours after a painter began his portrait. What other unfinished works leave us wondering what they would have been like had they been completed?
L. Frank Baum
Back in the day
Though Darnley's murder remains an unsolved mystery, one certainty is that at the time of his death, he was not well-liked. In line for the English throne, he infuriated Queen Elizabeth by marrying Mary Queen of Scots. He then alienated Mary by accusing her of infidelity and stabbing her secretary to death in front of her. Mary distanced herself from him, and shortly thereafter, his house exploded. He was found dead—but not from the blast. How was he killed, and who is suspected of his murder?
Born on a day like today
Brecht was a German playwright and poet whose brilliant wit and revolutionary theatrical experiments made him a vital and controversial force in modern drama. In 1928, he displayed his hostility toward capitalism as well as his bittersweet compassion for humanity in The Threepenny Opera. With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, he went into exile, first in Scandinavia and then in the US. One of Brecht's most important theories was the concept of Verfremdungseffekt, which means what?