This spring, the beautiful city of Barcelona hosts the Battle of Nations, a competitive, costume-perfect reenactment of medieval combat that is one of the most amusing sporting events in Europe. We love stories about chivalrous knights who swear to protect the honor of their masters and their loved ones. It is a rare person who is not fascinated by the shining armor, the fancy dresses, and the overall spirit of the Middle Ages. While not everyone is able to swing a heavy sword, we all can enjoy reading the masterpieces which diligently depict this marvelous historic period.  

It was the fatal year of 1914 when Franz Ferdinand d'Este left his summer house in Chlum u Třeboně, and headed with his wife Sophie,  to Sarajevo. It also was here, a  few  days later, their three children learnt they had become orphans. Chlum u Třeboně can offer not just a rich trip into history, located in South Bohemia, near the Austrian border with a flat landscape filled with ponds, it offers  a beautiful summer vacation.

Many great artists have been connected to some sort of mental illness, and this has been a topic of debate for centuries. The act of creation is associated with an abnormal state of mind: during periods of inspiration, the mind is very tense and can experience a state that is borderline neurotic. Since ancient times, it has been thought that one can never be a brilliant artist without being prone to melancholy or depression, or at least have a deep need for time alone and quiet contemplation. Some say that is just a mystification of the artistic personality, but nonetheless studies have shown that people who are artists are more likely to have mental issues than other people. There is something very peculiar in many artists that cannot be defined – a uniqueness that allows them to create outstanding art by reaching higher spheres of knowledge and perceiving ordinary things in a new, extraordinary way. For this weekend’s reading we have prepared a list of works by five amazing authors who suffered from mental illness, and you can be the judge if this is reflected it their writings.

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