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In LEON: A LIFE, a 97-year-old retired sea captain recounts his incredible and revealing life story — and Leon H Schneider knows how to tell a joke.


Following a scrappy childhood during the Great Depression, Leon started at the lowest job in the engine room and rose to the rank of master mariner, licensed to captain any size ship, on any ocean. In his world travels as a ship’s officer, he racked up innumerable amorous adventures before settling down.


Back on land in his fifties, he faces his greatest challenge: How can he support his much younger wife and their three young kids?


He survived the Great Depression, being torpedoed by U-Boats, and the London Blitz. But can Leon survive the tedium of working at the mall?


This is Leon's life story as told to his youngest son, Ivan Schneider.


Available in paperback from Bookshop to support independent booksellers, or get the eBook from Amazon.


The Seattle Review of Books

Once per quarter, as a reviewer-at-large for The Seattle Review of Books, Ivan reacts to a few recent works. Area of focus is usually literary fiction, often translated, plus creative nonfiction, essays, history, or whatever else seems important at the time.


More of a comment than a question (April 2019)

Year of the Pig (December 2019)

Spanish Lessons (September 2019)


ivan schneider


Ivan Schneider works as a ghostwriter and copywriter for large global consulting firms, IT companies, and high-tech startups.

Ivan attended Carnegie Mellon as an undergraduate and worked as a database programmer before earning an MBA in finance and accounting from Vanderbilt and completing a full-year course studying the Japanese language at Cornell. Then, he spent five years with CMP Media as an editor for a trade publication in financial technology.


In 2012, he earned his Master of Liberal Arts from Harvard Extension School, concentrating in Foreign Literature and Culture with a thesis on the talking-dog short stories of Cervantes, Hoffmann, Gogol, Kafka, and Bulgakov. In 2017, his article “The Search for Dog in Cervantes” was published in the Animal Narratology special issue of Humanities, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal. He has presented his research at the Harvard Extension Alumni Symposium, and in Seattle at Mercer Street Books and The Grocery Studios. He is also a contributor to Seattle Review of Books.

See my LinkedIn profile.


Cervantes' talking dogs

"The Search for Dog in Cervantes"

Published on July 14, 2017 in the "Animal Narratology" special issue of Humanities, an open access journal.

This paper reconsiders the missing galgo from the first line in Don Quixote with a set of interlocking claims: first, that Cervantes initially established the groundwork for including a talking dog in Don Quixote; second, through improvisation Cervantes created a better Don Quixote by transplanting the idea for a talking dog to the Coloquio; and third, that Cervantes made oblique references to the concept of dogs having human intelligence within the novel.

Read the article.




the literature of talking dogs

Barking Humans (c) 2010 Taelyen LLC

"Narrative Complexity in the Talking-Dog Stories of Cervantes, Hoffmann, Gogol, Bulgakov, and Kafka"

A Thesis in the Field of Foreign Literature, Language, and Culture for the Degree of Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, Harvard University, March 2012

With the intent of developing a method for classifying talking-dog stories of critical interest, this thesis evaluates the extent, degree, and type of narrative complexity within the talking-dog stories of five canonical authors in world literature: “The Dogs’ Colloquy” by Miguel de Cervantes, “A Report on the Latest Adventures of the Dog Berganza” by E.T.A. Hoffmann, “Diary of a Madman” by Nikolai Gogol, Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov, and “Researches of a Dog” by Franz Kafka.

Read the thesis online or download the PDF.