Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

What are the "torch dance" and "garter dance", in 19th-century Germany?

From Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, during the wedding of Effi and Innstetten in Chapter V: The dancing had continued till three o'clock, with the effect that Briest, who ...

german-literature cultural-context theodor-fontane effi-briest  
asked by Rand al'Thor 12 votes
answered by Tsundoku 15 votes

How was the free-born Englishman prevented from taking his ease in his inn in 1922?

In The Markenmore Mystery (1922) by J. S. Fletcher, Blick, a detective who had booked rooms at "Sceptre Inn", which belonged to Grimsdale, was cheerful after reaching an important conclusion....

meaning historical-context the-markenmore-mystery j.s.fletcher  
asked by Ahmed Samir 8 votes
answered by mikado 17 votes

Where in the New York City metro area does Ludwik live?

In Tomasz Jedrowski's Swimming in the Dark, set in the early 1980s, the narrator, Ludwik, commutes to midtown Manhattan for work. The text makes clear that he has to cross a river to get there: This ...

swimming-in-the-dark tomasz-jedrowski setting  
asked by verbose 7 votes
answered by Skooba 10 votes

Is there a term for epic poetry’s detailed, successive introductions of multiple characters?

I’ve noticed a topos in a few epic poems I’ve read where a long list of characters is given, each receiving practically a paragraph of description. In The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, Jason’s ...

poetry terminology tropes  
asked by IglooMaster 5 votes
answered by verbose 4 votes

What does "perverse madonna" mean?

What is a "perverse madonna"? In the short story "The Boarding House" by James Joyce, Polly is compared to a "perverse madonna". Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she ...

meaning short-stories james-joyce  
asked by Aarjan Kandel 4 votes
answered by Spagirl 4 votes

Identification of a Maupassant short story where a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress

In a short story by Maupassant, a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress, a rather paradoxical situation since he came much later after the infidelities (and somehow benefited ...

identification-request short-stories french-literature guy-de-maupassant  
asked by Bazin 4 votes

Meaning of "Now things can only get better" and "starry cold" in the passage below

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter emptied his bowl for the last time, then lifted it in both hands and licked it out, pushing his face right into it. There was soup on ...

meaning the-childrens-bach helen-garner  
asked by Viser Hashemi 3 votes
answered by verbose 4 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

In what order should Rick Riordan's mythological series be read to make the most sense, and what is the chronological order?

As established in this question, all of Rick Riordan's mythological series take place in a single universe. I have not read any of his books, but this gave me a question. If I were to read the books ...

reading-order rick-riordan  
asked by Benjamin 8 votes
answered by Mithical 19 votes

Meaning of "all the boards did shrink" in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. What is the meaning of this phrase in ...

samuel-taylor-coleridge poetry  
asked by CopperKettle 14 votes
answered by Chenmunka 15 votes

What happened at the end of The Giver?

At the end of The Giver, Jonas and Gabe head down through the snow to a place where there is music. Downward, downward, faster and faster. Suddenly he was aware with certainty and joy that below, ...

lois-lowry the-giver  
asked by Mithical 11 votes
answered by Standback 9 votes

What exactly is the "No Ordinary Sun"?

The poem "No Ordinary Sun" by the Maori poet Hone Tuwhare is about a tree's reaction to some kind of deadly threat, the titular "no ordinary sun". Addressing the tree in the second person, the poem ...

poetry meaning hone-tuwhare  
asked by Rand al'Thor 4 votes
answered by Jan FitzGerald 1 vote

What is Hobbes?

In the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, Calvin is a boy. He has a tiger friend, who's... a little ambiguous. Is he a doll or a real tiger or a figment of his imagination? To Calvin he ...

comics calvin-and-hobbes bill-watterson  
asked by Mithical 63 votes
answered by Valorum 69 votes

Was it common that the bridges of ditches or creeks had guarding gates in 1924?

In "The Funeral Pyre" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman (1924), Thorndyke found a dental plate of a dead man by a gate at the crossing of a ditch, and he wanted to know ...

historical-context r-austin-freeman dr-thorndyke  
asked by Ahmed Samir 8 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 25 votes

Why does "it always turn out to be the King of Sweden"

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: [Reginald]: “There are certain fixed rules that one observes for one’s own comfort. For instance, never be flippantly rude to any inoffensive grey-bearded ...

meaning short-stories saki reginald  
asked by TomDot Com 11 votes
answered by Tsundoku 17 votes

Can you answer these questions?

In Effi Briest, what is the meaning and significance of a "wide field"?

I noticed a similar phrase recurring twice in the conversation between Effi's parents in Chapter V of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online: Miss Hulda had clinked her glass too ...

meaning german-literature theodor-fontane effi-briest  
asked by Rand al'Thor 2 votes

What was Briest implying with his "Very true, very true"?

In Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, an exchange between Effi and her mother in Chapter IV seems to betray Effi's lack of love for her fiance Innstetten. Later, in Chapter V, ...

german-literature theodor-fontane effi-briest  
asked by Rand al'Thor 1 vote

What did the students at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind think of "Redwall"?

The Redwall series was originally written by Jacques for the students of the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind. This is pretty well documented, from the official website (click on "About Brian&...

brian-jacques redwall-series reception  
asked by bobble 3 votes
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