Scientific Methods

Sunday, July 09, 2006

THE DA VINCI CODE: PART II: DAN BROWN

If you go to the website: http://www.danbrown.com/ it displays a webpage that states “The official website of #1 National bestselling author”. Other comments made on this introduction webpage are “One of the most intelligent and dynamic authors in the genre” by the library journal and “his research are impeccable” by the New York Daily News.

But who exactly is this man that is simultaneously so famous, but yet so ill-famed by others? Dan Brown was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, England, where he also spent his childhood, as the firstborn of three children to parents Richard and Constance (Connie) [1, 7]. Some sources state that his father was a secondary school mathematics teacher [1, 7], while other states that he was a professor in mathematics at Phillip Exeter Academy in New Hampshire [6, 8]. Nevertheless his father was a well-educated man. His mother was also well-educated as musician [1, 6, 8]. Dan has grown up in an academic (science) and Christian environment and both his parents were immaculate examples in society [1]. It is however being stated by some that the controversial themes of his novels, that mostly includes the paradox of religion versus science, is a direct consequence of his childhood exposure [1]. Dan himself was also very exemplary, attending church and Sunday school, singing in the Church choir and attending church camps [1, 2].

Currently he considers himself still a Christian, but also state clearly that he is an open-minded person that pursue new knowledge about religion and as he become more informed tends to ask more questions [9]. He also states that it should be kept in mind that Christianity is experienced differently by different people [9]. He obviously does not just accept what are stated in the Bible and “let sleeping dogs lie”.

He graduated from Phillips Exeter in 1982 whereafter he enrolled at the Amherst College and graduated in 1986 [1, 6, 7, 8]. During his college years he played squash and was a singer in the Amherst Glee Club [1]. Dan is also a keen hiker and tennis player at leisure [7]. During this time he also became interested in writing through the novelist Alan Lelchuk [3]. After college Dan seriously tried to established a musical career for himself (remember his mother was a professional musician) [1]. However, setting up a career in music was not that easy and part of his efforts were the establishment of a record company known as “Dalliance”, production of some CD’s, that included some for children such as “Happy frogs” and “Suzuki Elephants” [1]. During 1991 he moved to Hollywood, in an effort to promote his career [1]. Here Dan, as many others before him discovered that making a career does not just happen because you have moved to the place where all the action were supposed to be therefore he had to support himself as a preparatory teacher in Beverly Hills [1, 7]. However, Dan was a busy body and never waited for opportunities to come his way, but was always chasing them himself.

In Los Angeles he met his future wife, Blythe Newton, at the National Academy of Songwriters [1]. Although Blythe was 12 years older than Dan she seemed to be the perfect fit and they married in 1997 in his home town, New Hampshire [4]. Blythe is known to be an art historian and painter [6, 8]. Blythe played a very important role in Dan’s career, especially when he decided to shift music to the background and to become first an English teacher in 1993 at his alma mater Phillips Exeter Academy and later a full-time novelist writer in 1996 [1, 6, 7, 8]. Dan wrote a few books, like Angels & Demons, Digital Fortress, Deception point and some humorous ones that was co-authored by his wife Blythe, but they were all considered as intermediately successful on the sales market [1]. However, after writing his controversial book, The Da Vinci code, life changed very quickly for Dan and his books, and in one week’s time after the release of the book he had become universally well-known [1].

The main theme of all Dan’s books are that of cryptography, codes and secret agencies [5, 6]. The mystery and intrigues that accompany cryptography and codes have caught the attention of the public as his novels are currently available almost everywhere in the world [5, 6]. Part of their success seems to be a lot of time spend on doing research either by Dan or Blythe or both [6]. Dan also seems to have incredible respect for women as the themes of all his novels show clearly.

Interestingly enough Dan states clearly he does not believe in: “Crop circles, aliens and the Bermuda Triangle” [9] and therefore he has immediately grabbed my attention and gained some respect from me.

Recently Dan managed to be listed by Time magazine as one of “the 100 most influential people in the world” [8]. He had been invited to appear on top programs such as: “CNN, Today Show, National Public Radio, Voice of America, Newsweek, Forbes, People, GQ, The New Yorker and many more” [8].

In conclusion, as the saying goes “…..the highest trees catch the most wind”, Dan also did not escape, even though he had worked very hard in establishing his career as a novelist writer.

In The Da Vinci code Part III I will discuss the overall success of all Dan’s novels and how it all fit in with his book and film “The Da Vinci code”.

References

1. Wikipedia contributors. Dan Brown [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 31, 19:37 UCT [cited 2006 May 31]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dan_Brown&oldid=56183805.

2. http://www.danbrownbio.com/excerpt1.html

3. http://www.amherst.edu/~astudent/1997-1998/issue018/f-wherenow.html

4. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1729079,00.html

5. http://www.danbrown.com/secrets/foreign.html

6. http://www.bookbrowse.com/biographies/index.cfm?author_number=226
7. http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/may98/brown.htm

8. http://www.danbrown.com/meet_dan/index.html

9. http://www.danbrown.com/meet_dan/faq.html

Further interesting facts about Dan and his personal interests like what kinds of books he like to read and what kind of films he enjoys the most is to be found at:

http://www.danbrown.com/meet_dan/faq.html

http://www.danbrown.com/

Elizabeth van der Merwe
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag x17

My link: http://uk.360.yahoo.com/elizabethmerwe

Email: 2538521@uwc.ac.za

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