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Dictionary of World Biography
from about 1899 and in the 1920s her partnership
with Maurice *Chevalier at the Folies Bergère and
elsewhere made her world famous.
Mistral, Frédéric (1830–1914). French poet,
born near Avignon. He lived in Provence, and the
Provençal language was both the object of his study
and the instrument of his creative work. The rural
epic Miréio (1859) was the most popular of his books
but with Nerto (1883), a novel in verse about Avignon
in the years of papal residence, he achieved almost
equal success in another field. In his longer works he
showed narrative skill and a great sense of character,
while his lyrics are often exquisite. Mistral won the
Nobel Prize for Literature (1904).
Mitchell, Margaret (1900–1949). American novelist,
born in Georgia. In 1936 she published Gone with the
Wind, which won her the Pulitzer Prize (1937) and
sold 28 million copies. The film (1939), with Clark
Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard, produced by
David O. *Selznick was even more successful.
Edwards, A., The Road to Tara. 1983.
Mitchell, Sir Thomas Livingstone (1792–1855).
Scottish soldier, explorer and collector, born in
Grangemouth. He served in the Peninsular War as
a surveyor, arrived in Sydney in 1827 and became
Surveyor-General of New South Wales 1828–55,
leading four major expeditions to explore the interior,
in 1831, 1835, 1836 and 1845–46.
Mitchell, William Lendrum (1879–1936).
American soldier and airman. After World War I, in
which he rose to be chief of air operations, he carried
out a vigorous campaign against official failure to
realise the importance of air power. When he attacked
a superior for ‘almost treasonable incompetence’, he
was court-martialled and had to resign. In one of his
many books on air warfare he predicted the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor. Nine years after his death he
was vindicated by Congress, posthumously promoted
to the rank of Major General and awarded the Medal
of Honor.
Mitchell, R., My Brother Bill, the Life of General ‘Billy’
Mitchell. 1953.
Mitford, Nancy Freeman- (1904–1973). English
novelist and biographer. Eldest of six daughters of
David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, 2nd
Baron Redesdale (1878–1958), she was educated at
home. Her romantic comedies of upper class manners
were widely popular and her historical biographies
well regarded. In 1956 she edited Noblesse Oblige,
a catalogue of class mannerisms which defined
behaviour as ‘U’ (Upper class) or ‘Non-U’. Her
best known novels are probably The Pursuit of Love
(1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949). Her
biographies include The Sun King (a study of *Louis
XIV, 1966). Her sisters were celebrated in their own
right: Diana (1910–2003) married Oswald *Mosley,
582
Unity (1914–1948) had an unrequited passion for
*Hitler, Jessica (1917–96), an investigative journalist
in the US, was firmly identified with radical causes
and Deborah Vivien (later Cavendish) (1920–
2014) became Duchess of Devonshire and wrote
extensively.
Hastings, S., Nancy Mitford. 1985.
Mithradates VI (‘the Great’) (c.132–63 BCE). King
of Pontus (c.120–63). Sixth ruler of a Hellenised state
in Anatolia, bordering on the Black Sea, he succeeded
his father and in 115 deposed his mother who had
ruled as regent. He added Crimea and Colchis to
his kingdom, but when he occupied Bithynia and
Cappadocia he clashed with Rome and in 92 he
was forced by *Sulla to withdraw and pay a large
indemnity. When Rome became involved in civil
war, Mithradates felt it safe to refuse to pay and so
provoked the First Mithradatic War (89–84). He
began it by overrunning Asia Minor and sending
troops to Greece to raise that country against Rome.
Sulla, victorious in the political struggle at home,
went to Greece where he defeated Mithradates at
Chaeronea and Orchomenos. Having crossed to Asia
Minor he found that the Roman army sent by his
opponents was already victorious, and was thus able to
impose a settlement by which Mithradates renounced
his conquests. The Second Mithradatic War (83–81),
a minor affair provoked by an irresponsible act of
aggression by the Roman legate left in command,
made Mithradates angry and suspicious and he began
to make preparations for a renewal of the struggle by
forming alliances with Egypt, Cyprus and Roman
malcontents. To anticipate him, Rome declared war
(74). Mithradates won an early naval victory, but
the Roman commander *Lucullus forced him to the
defensive, and he took refuge with his son-in-law
Tigranes of Armenia. A mutiny among the Roman
troops allowed him to return to Pontus (67), but
*Pompey completely defeated him. According to
legend, Mithradates, from his youth, took increasing
quantities of poison to render himself immune from
murder: at his end, in the Crimea, he ordered a
soldier to kill him.
Mitropoulos, Dimitri (1896–1960). GreekAmerican conductor, born in Athens. Also a composer
and pianist, he studied with *Busoni and *Kleiber,
conducted the Minneapolis Symphony 1937–47
and the New York Philharmonic 1949–59. Leonard
*Bernstein was a disciple.
Mitscherlich, Eilhardt (1794–1863). German
chemist. A pioneer of crystallography, he recognised
isomorphism, dimorphism, and stated (1819) the
law of isomorphism which bears his name, i.e. that
substances that crystallise in the same crystal form
have similar chemical compositions. This law was of
great value during the early 19th century in fixing the
formulae of newly discovered compounds. Professor