Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Why would one of Germany's leading publishers publish a novel by Jewish writer Stefan Zweig in 1939?

I am reading the Penguin Edition of Impatience of the Heart by Stefan Zweig - also known as Beware of Pity in other translations. The reverse of the title page states that the book was first published ...

historical-context german-literature publication stefan-zweig  
asked by Terry Bunn 17 votes
answered by Tsundoku 30 votes

Children’s poem about a boy stuck between the tracks on the underground

When I was young I used to love Michael Rosen. Don’t put mustard in the custard and lots of silly ones like that. I also remember that there was a darker poem in one of the poem compilation books set ...

identification-request poetry  
asked by simon_smiley 16 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 27 votes

Why is the country conjuror referred to as a "white wizard"?

In Thomas Hardy's short story "The Withered Arm" (freely available to read online), Gertrude Lodge and Rhona Brook go together to see a man named Trendle, often called Conjuror Trendle, who ...

short-stories historical-context thomas-hardy  
asked by Rand al'Thor 6 votes
answered by verbose 10 votes

Historical King Ina and Shakespeare's King Lear in the writings of Thomas Hardy

In Thomas Hardy's short(ish) story "The Withered Arm", one of his descriptions of the Wessex countryside features the following cryptic allusion: It was a long walk; thick clouds made the ...

william-shakespeare history-of-literature thomas-hardy king-lear  
asked by Rand al'Thor 6 votes
answered by Matt Thrower 7 votes

Identify a poem entitled Mock Song, written in middle English in the 13th-15th centuries

I'm looking for a middle English poem, written in the 13th-15th centuries, which I only have in translation (to Hebrew). The translated poem is found in a chapter that contains three additional poems, ...

identification-request poetry  
asked by HeyJude 3 votes

What is it time for in Paul Celan's "Corona"?

From Paul Celan's poem "Corona", available e.g. here in both the original German and an English translation: It is time that the stone took the trouble to bloom That an unrest’s heart ...

meaning poetry german-literature paul-celan  
asked by Arpita E. 3 votes

"What the Turk do it matter to us"?

In the opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm", the following passage is found (emphasis mine): The discussion waxed so warm that the purr of the milk streams became jerky, ...

meaning short-stories historical-context thomas-hardy  
asked by Rand al'Thor 3 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 4 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

What order should I read the "Ender's game" series in?

Ender's Game is a very large epic science-fiction series by Orson Scott Card. To quote wikipedia: It currently consists of fifteen novels, thirteen short stories, 47 comic issues, an audioplay, and ...

enders-game orson-scott-card reading-order  
asked by James 18 votes
answered by bleh 7 votes

Why was The Call of the Wild banned?

I periodically see Jack London's The Call of the Wild on banned book lists, but I'm not sure why it would be – it doesn't seem that controversial. I found ALA's page cataloguing the reasons given for ...

censorship jack-london the-call-of-the-wild  
asked by Nathaniel is protesting 48 votes
answered by HDE 226868 47 votes

Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter?

Shakespeare is incredibly famous for writing a lot in iambic pentameter. But why did he choose to write in this specific style of having ten beats and 5 stressed syllables per line? Considering it ...

william-shakespeare meter  
asked by SleepingGod 11 votes
answered by Joshua Engel 17 votes

Is there a central theme in I, Robot?

In the book I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, the author wrote several short stories, all usually revolving about robots of different types. It's possible to interpret the short stories with many different ...

short-stories isaac-asimov theme i-robot  
asked by DForck42 8 votes
answered by Standback 10 votes

Did Arthur Conan Doyle code Holmes and Watson as a gay couple?

Given the Victorian era, a writer couldn't deliberately create an openly (or even quietly) gay couple for public literary consumption. But gay people existed, and had romances. Arthur Conan Doyle knew ...

sherlock-holmes arthur-conan-doyle sexuality  
asked by Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum 59 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 73 votes

Is there really a nuclear war in the world of "The Lord of the Flies"?

In The Lord of the Flies, it is pretty clear that there is some sort of war going on outside of the island (the dogfight that leads to the dead pilot, the naval ship that rescues the boys at the end, ...

lord-of-the-flies william-golding  
asked by KittenWithAWhip 11 votes
answered by James 9 votes

What did Scout mean when she said "It takes a woman to do that kind of work"?

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird in the chapter in which aunt Alexandra has come to stay with Jem & Scout at Maycomb county, she has a private chat with Atticus about Scout and Jem not knowing ...

harper-lee to-kill-a-mockingbird  
asked by RedBaron 17 votes
answered by Metro Boomin 4 votes

Can you answer these questions?

Is there an anti-semitic subtext in Roald Dahl's The Witches?

I read this article which suggested that Roald Dahl's The Witches is basically a work of anti-Semitism. Now I am aware of Roald's own apparent/alleged anti-Semitism but this is a question specifically ...

interpretation roald-dahl the-witches  
asked by colmde 3 votes

Do literature interpretations actually reflect what the author had in mind?

I read an article about a writer who was asked about the interpretation of one of his books, and he had a hard time coming up with something that would be aligned with the expectations of the jury. ...

asked by WoJ 2 votes

Is Ant-Man a Myrmidon?

The Myrmidons, the soldiers from Achilles's homeland of Thessaly who are under his command in the Iliad, get their name from myrmex or ants. Achilles himself is the arch-Myrmidon. In Shakespeare's ...

inspiration greek-literature latin-literature the-avengers marvel  
asked by verbose 2 votes
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