Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

What's the deal with Bilbo being some kind of "burglar"?

I may only be 37 pages into "The Hobbit", re-reading it after 20+ years, but several things already confuse me. First of all, and this is what I'm mainly asking about, Bilbo is casually ...

j-r-r-tolkien the-hobbit  
asked by Thorin 19 votes
answered by Glorfindel 21 votes

Dickens invented the scary clown?

Today in "Messages from Firefox" (some annoying thing that comes up in my browser), I saw the following which piqued my interest: Dickens invented the scary clown, the ‘80s perfected it. ...

history-of-literature charles-dickens tropes  
asked by Rand al'Thor 13 votes
answered by Spagirl 13 votes

Why did Tolkien take such extreme offense to the original Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings?

I may be mistaken, but allegedly, Tolkien really took great offense to the first (and only, during his entire lifetime and decades beyond) Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings. He called the ...

j-r-r-tolkien translation the-lord-of-the-rings  
asked by Bilbo Secker 4 votes
answered by Bearmarshal 2 votes

What did Shakespeare mean in King Richard III when he said that ‘G’ Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be?

Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams, To set my brother Clarence and the King In deadly hate, the one against the other: And if King Edward be as true and ...

meaning william-shakespeare richard-iii  
asked by mvr950 3 votes
answered by Tsundoku 3 votes

Why is Macbeth's "vaulting ambition" so important and famous?

What does 'vaulting' mean here? Macbeth uses the term in Act I, scene 7: I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other. ...

william-shakespeare macbeth  
asked by chameleon 2 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 3 votes

What does it mean to divert one’s interior oppression?

The Gitanjali, Or: Song-offerings of Rabindranath Tagore May Sinclair writes the following aobut St. Catherine of Genoa: She would at times, when in the garden, seize hold of the thorn-covered twigs ...

meaning may-sinclair  
asked by Knight wants Loong back 2 votes
answered by Tsundoku 3 votes

What is the literary effect of such long opening and closing sentences in "May Day Eve"?

Nick Joaquin's short story "May Day Eve" begins and ends with two extremely long sentences: The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight ...

short-stories nick-joaquin  
asked by Rand al'Thor 2 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Was there a reason Victor Hugo chose 24601 as the number for Jean Valjean?

24601 has developed into being an iconic part of both the Les Miserables book and musical. Was that number special to him, or was it simply a random number he chose (I doubt it)?

inspiration french-literature les-miserables victor-hugo  
asked by Matrim Cauthon 33 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 38 votes

How does the short story "Big World" from The Turning by Tim Winton explore aspects of Australian Identity?

The Turning by Tim Winton is a collection of short stories about turnings (obviously) at crucial times in people's lives. I've been asked to read and annotate the first short story in the series – “...

short-stories tim-winton  
asked by AnagramDatagram 5 votes

Why does Stanley Uris react so gruesomely to It returning?

Stephen King's novel IT concerns a group of children who confronted an evil entity haunting their town -- and their reunion twenty-five years later to face the being again for the final time. Early ...

stephen-king it  
asked by Standback 14 votes
answered by toomanyparentheses 3 votes

Bilbo’s song of Eärendil in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the character Bilbo Baggins recites a poem beginning with these lines: Eärendil was a mariner that tarried in Arvernien; he built a boat of timber felled in Nimbrethil ...

poetry j-r-r-tolkien the-lord-of-the-rings interpretation  
asked by Gareth Rees 22 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 32 votes

Why is London 'the town which Brutus sought by dreams'?

In his short poem which begins 'Tagus, farewell', the English poet Sir Thomas Wyatt wrote of his longing to return to an unnamed city. For anyone familiar with the rudiments of either Wyatt's ...

poetry thomas-wyatt  
asked by Tom Hosker 12 votes
answered by Tsundoku 14 votes

How did Shakespeare get away with staging witchcraft in his plays such as in Othello, Macbeth, or The Tempest?

The themes of witchcraft and magic loom large over Shakespeare’s later plays. While there is no overt use of magic and spells in Othello, per se, as compared to the witches in Macbeth conjuring on ...

william-shakespeare historical-context macbeth cultural-context the-tempest  
asked by David Anson 20 votes
answered by Matt Thrower 38 votes

What's the meaning of the text in the scroll that the Prince of Arragon finds in the silver casket in Act 2, Scene 9 of The Merchant of Venice?

This is the exact text (The Merchant of Venice, Act 2 Scene 9): Arragon: The fire seven times tried this, Seven times tried that judgment is, That did never choose amiss. Some there be that shadows ...

meaning william-shakespeare the-merchant-of-venice  
asked by Yashaswini 7 votes
answered by Joshua Engel 7 votes

Can you answer these questions?

Why does Richard step down in Shakespeare's Richard II

In Shakespeare's Richard II,‎ Henry Bolingbroke raises an army and comes to demand King Richard return his ancestral lands.‎ However,‎ he claims that if they are restored,‎ he will return to being a ...

william-shakespeare richard-ii  
asked by ak0000 2 votes

What does ‘Kung mapatay di madeadball ’ mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", the 17-year-old Bobby starts behaving rather strangely. After going "stowaway" and being brought back home, he wakes up the next ...

meaning short-stories nick-joaquin  
asked by Tsundoku 2 votes

What's with the beyond-casual introduction of "stone-giants" in The Hobbit?

In Chapter 4, "Over Hill and Under Hill", I suddenly read this: When he peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out and were hurling rocks ...

j-r-r-tolkien the-hobbit  
asked by Alexandar F. 1 vote
answered by suchiuomizu 0 votes
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