Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Why does the murderer call Macduff's son "egg"?

When Macduff's son defends his father's honor when the murderers sent by Macbeth call Macduff a traitor in Macbeth, they wind up stabbing the son: Enter Murderers. FIRST MURDERER: Where is your ...

william-shakespeare macbeth  
asked by Mithical 14 votes
answered by Tsundoku 17 votes

What does Dostoyevsky mean by 'propaganda' in Crime and Punishment?

I am wondering about what Dostoyevsky means by the word 'propaganda' in part six, chapter four of Crime and Punishment. None of the meanings that I understand make sense in the context of the book. ...

russian-literature fyodor-dostoyevsky crime-and-punishment  
asked by Jacob Lee-Hart 12 votes
answered by tum_ 11 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 11 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 20 votes

What is "the poem" that the spider refers to in Philip Dick's short story "Expendable"?

In the short story "Expendable" by Philip K. Dick, the protagonist is a man who can communicate with spiders. At one point, after fighting off a home invasion by an army of ants, the ...

meaning short-stories philip-k-dick  
asked by Brahadeesh 11 votes
answered by Mary 14 votes

What is an epic and why is there “only one epic in English Language so far”?

I’m quite familiar with novels and stories, if my personal view is concerned I would say that story is just a compact and summarised form of novel. The level of detail in novels is, obviously, much ...

history-of-literature terminology john-milton paradise-lost  
asked by Knight 10 votes
answered by Tsundoku 13 votes

Who are the people Isaac Watts is talking about in "Improvement of the Mind"?

I am currently reading Improvement of the Mind (1741) by Isaac Watts, and at various instances in the book he mentions people whom I have a hard time tracking down. For example, on Page 14: Sobrino ...

meaning isaac-watts improvement-of-the-mind  
asked by Philipp Ludwig 6 votes
answered by Gareth Rees 4 votes

Passing Hull-Down

In Joseph Conrad's short story Youth: A Narrative, Conrad writes “The night was fine. In the morning a homeward-bound ship passed us hull down,—the first we had seen for months; but we were nearing ...

meaning short-stories joseph-conrad  
asked by TomDot Com 5 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

George Orwell's 1984 banned for contradictory reasons?

The book 1984, being about suppression of information itself, was banned in the USSR for being anti-communist, but it also was banned in the USA for being pro-communist. Is there any analysis where ...

george-orwell nineteen-eighty-four censorship  
asked by Bookeater 31 votes

Did Frodo want Bilbo to die?

I was reading in the first volume of the Lord of the Rings recently, and ran across this quote when Gandalf and Frodo are talking about the Ring for the first time after its true nature has been ...

j-r-r-tolkien the-lord-of-the-rings  
asked by anonymous2 19 votes
answered by Joshua Engel 38 votes

If Tolkien disliked allegory, why are there so many allegorical readings of The Lord of the Rings?

There is a famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in which he states his hatred of allegorical writing. "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew ...

j-r-r-tolkien the-lord-of-the-rings allegory  
asked by Matt Thrower 18 votes
answered by Matt Thrower 28 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 57 votes
answered by Rand al'Thor 70 votes

Why did Douglas Adams call Paul Neil Milne Johnstone the worst poet?

Douglas Adams evidently named Paul Neil Milne Johnstone the worst poet in the universe in the original Hitchiker's Guide radio broadcast. Why him? Evidently they went to school together, but I still ...

douglas-adams the-hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy  
asked by EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica 10 votes
answered by Chris Sunami supports Monica 12 votes

What is the symbolism of Atticus killing the mad dog?

So in To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus kills a mad dog. He does it with one shot. Is there some more symbolism to this or is it just an event?

symbolism to-kill-a-mockingbird harper-lee  
asked by bleh 25 votes
answered by CHEESE 26 votes

The meaning of the line "and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah" in "Hallelujah"

"Hallelujah" contains a mix of Biblical themes. The first stanza mentions (King) David by name, and the first three lines of the second seem to refer to one of King David's stories (II Samuel 11). The ...

meaning song-lyrics leonard-cohen  
asked by Shokhet 4 votes
answered by Joshua Engel 5 votes

Can you answer these questions?

In what way is Miroslav Krleža's play Golgota "political in nature"?

Miroslav Krleža was one of the most important 20th-century Croatian authors. He published poetry, novels, novellas, short stories and plays. The English Wikipedia article about him has the following ...

croatian-literature miroslav-krleza golgota  
asked by Tsundoku 1 vote

Identify a detailed-prose book of Aesop fables

At a school I no longer go to (Sydney, Australia, early 2010s, the book was in English), I read this book in the library that was a collection of Aesop's fables. The author had this very distinctive ...

story-identification short-stories aesop  
asked by hattie 3 votes

What book of Eugène Sue's 'The Mysteries of the People' inspired M. Joly's 'Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli & Montesquieu', as claimed by U. Eco?

Question summed up: Can anyone help me find the part of Eugène Sue's 'The Mysteries of the People' wherein a sinister Jesuit plot is unveiled, which may have, through a game of 'telephone' by ...

french-literature translation plagiarism umberto-eco  
asked by Sven3B 2 votes
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