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Top new questions this week:

Why does Valentine refer to her father's second wife as her "mother-in-law"?

In the translation of The Count of Monte Cristo I am reading, I noticed in Chapter 51, in the exchange between Valentine and Maximillian, Valentine makes repeated reference to her father's second wife ...

french-literature alexandre-dumas-pere the-count-of-monte-cristo  
asked by Nick 10 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 20 votes

What does "FACIT" mean in D. J. Enright's "The Typewriter Revolution"?

D. J. Enright's poem "The Typewriter Revolution" (1971) is a text in which a typewriter appears to revolt against its owner (?), resulting in the distortion of texts and literary allusions. ...

meaning poetry d-j-enright  
asked by Typewronger 9 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 16 votes

Parody of Lewis Carroll's parody, "You are old, Father William"

You Are Old, Father William is a poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is a parody of Robert Southey's poem, The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them. I ...

poetry identification-request  
asked by Timothy Chow 5 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 7 votes

What does Browning's patriot mean by "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe"?

In the sixth stanza of the poem "The Patriot" by Robert Browning, what do the last three lines mean? “Paid by the world, what dost thou owe “Me?”—God might question; now instead, ‘Tis God ...

meaning poetry robert-browning  
asked by Java Monke 4 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 5 votes

"Beauty and the Beast" type short story where the beast wins her by playing cards with the father and cries gems to woo her

I'm looking for a beauty and the beast type short story where the beast wears a mask and wins the beauty by playing cards with her dad. I remember that the beast cries diamonds or some type of gem and ...

identification-request short-stories  
asked by Catarina Marques 3 votes

The Grand Old Duke of York: how did historical events become nursery rhymes?

"The Grand old Duke of York" is a well-known English nursery rhyme concerning the exploits of an not-specifically-identified duke of York. Wikipedia, citing the Opies and other books, gives ...

folk-tales oral-tradition nursery-rhyme  
asked by Rand al'Thor 3 votes
answered by Mary 0 votes

Who translated "CEO's Wife So Sweet"?

CEO's Wife So Sweet This seems to be an online novel series originally written in Chinese. The language in the translated end product seems stilted and unnatural to say the least. I am wondering about ...

translation chinese-literature  
asked by Eddie Kal 2 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

What does the phrase "the silent imputation of parsimony" mean in The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry?

What does the phrase "the silent imputation of parsimony" mean? It appears in the first paragraph of "The Gift of the Magi," which I've quoted below. One dollar and eighty-seven cents.That was all. ...

short-stories meaning o-henry  
asked by Baskaran Soundararajan 7 votes
answered by Ralph Crown 7 votes

Why do the Pern novels use regular words as profanity?

In the Pern novels, characters use words that would normally be innocuous as profanity. Some prominent examples are "shards" and "shells". There's a list of in-universe curse ...

wording-choice anne-mccaffrey dragonriders-of-pern  
asked by bobble 21 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 28 votes

What does 'pinoc' mean?

What does 'pinoc' in The Man in the High Castle mean? I had the feeling it is someone subordinate but I did not find an exact explanation in the book.

philip-k-dick the-man-in-the-high-castle  
asked by ylka 1 vote
answered by elizabeth 1 vote

What did O'Brien mean when he said "They got me a long time ago" in the book 1984?

The boots were approaching again. The door opened. O'Brien came in. Winston started to his feet. The shock of the sight had driven all caution out of him. For the first time in many years he ...

george-orwell nineteen-eighty-four  
asked by Ne Mo 13 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 7 votes

What does "entailment" mean in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

From chapter 2 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Jem’s nose wrinkled. ‘Are we as poor as the Cunninghams?’ ‘Not exactly. The Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them ...

meaning harper-lee to-kill-a-mockingbird  
asked by Scarlett Evans 5 votes
answered by EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica 6 votes

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

"Mad Hatter: 'Why is a raven like a writing-desk?' ... 'Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again. 'No, I give it up,' Alice replied: 'What’s the answer?' 'I ...

lewis-carroll alice-in-wonderland  
asked by Beastly Gerbil 37 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 33 votes

"My father declared he should invent a slip button"

From Lady Saba Holland's memoir of her father the Rev. Sydney Smith, published circa 1855: The reigning bore at this time in Edinburgh was ——; his favourite subject, the North Pole. It mattered not ...

meaning historical-context wordplay a-memoir-reverend-sydney-smith saba-holland  
asked by Quuxplusone 13 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 26 votes

Can you answer this question?

Book about poor people boycotting rich

A book I am looking for is about how one day all poor people stopped working. All shops closed and rich people were left on their own - their cars would break down, no food at home - and all the poor ...

identification-request  
asked by Ri Di 2 votes
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