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17 views

In the short story “The Last Lesson” by Alphonse Daudet, what do the following signify?

"The Last Lesson" is a short story by Alphonse Daudet (link to the text). What is the significance/symbolism/meaning of the following aspects of the story? The watcher's words "Don’t ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

How can someone “make a lot of money and fail” in the same time?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was talking to his old friend about another old friend that had caused Yates to be expelled from the academy: But what I detested was the way ...
1
vote
2answers
23 views

Does Renmark mean that he himself did not lack self-conceit in the old days in “In the Midst of the Alarms”?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was talking to his old friend Professor Stillson Renmark (whom he calls "Stilly"): Now, then, Stilly, let’s talk business. You’re not ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the “Isle of the Blessed” and why should a girl see it before marriage?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've recently started reading online, Effi and her mother are spending some days in Berlin before her marriage, accompanied by her cousin ...
1
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0answers
42 views

Significance of the first 18 lines of The Canterbury Tales being a single sentence

Here are the first eighteen lines of the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (Modern English version from Harvard's Geoffrey Chaucer website): When April with its sweet-smelling ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

What is the significance of “Come, Effi”?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, there seems to be some kind of foreshadowing when Effi's future husband Baron von Innstetten is talking with (or ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Meaning of “deliverance in time”

I was listening to Dan Bull and The Stupendium's rap battle about the game Frostpunk and I heard this sentence: Each shiver will deliver us deliverance in time Burn the innocents for penitence if we ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Meaning of “in whose presence nothing is required but perfect passivity.”

This context is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They all walked out on the summer afternoon. The men took Arthur to bowl and bat, deep in the park near the drinking fountain, but the women ...
0
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0answers
32 views

A better parody of “traitors, Rattlesnakes and alligators” [closed]

The song "Union Dixie" sings: "Away down South in the land of traitors, rattlesnakes and alligators. Right away! Come away! Right away! Come away!" I'm designing a video game and ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Why are the lotos-eaters “mild-eyed” and “melancholy”?

In Tennyson's famous poem "The Lotos-eaters", a group of mariners find themselves on an island inhabited by "Lotos-eaters", and themselves decide to stay after eating lotos has had ...
3
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1answer
39 views

Is Raymond having an affair with Masson's wife?

When Raymond, Meursault, and Marie went to visit Raymond's friend, Masson, they decide to go to swim after a brief time but Masson's wife and Raymond refuse the idea and rather stay at the bungalow. ...
2
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0answers
26 views

Do contemporary neo-pagan practices such as Wicca regard the portrayal of witchcraft in Shakespeare and Middleton as reliable sources?

A recent question asks whether the portrayal of witchcraft in Macbeth can be related to actual practices of those professing to be witches during Shakespeare's day. This companion question asks about ...
2
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0answers
57 views

How close to actual incantations are the witches' spells in Macbeth?

Answers to a recent question about the superstition surrounding Macbeth linked to a Royal Shakespeare Company web page that claimed: According to folklore, Macbeth was cursed from the beginning. A ...
2
votes
1answer
25 views

Which element of an amputated virgin breast healing a snakebite is a “Celtic theme”?

The Breton folk song Gwerz Santes Enori has survived for centuries as an oral tradition combining storytelling with music. Its story, quoting Wikipedia's summary, begins like this: The poem's story ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Translating into English two French phrases from “After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie”

I am trying to understand, in English, two French phrases from the Jean Rhys book After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie. I am reading this novel within the Jean Rhys: The Complete Novels. The quote below is ...
3
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0answers
31 views

What is a “kick of the heels”?

This is from the beginning of the third chapter of After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys. THE NAME of the dark young man was George Horsfield. Half an hour afterwards he came out of the Restaurant ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Did anastrophe in English poetry have to do with French influence?

From Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales: Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote Chaucer wrote in Middle English which, to my knowledge, was influenced by French in many ways. French adjectives are ...
7
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2answers
99 views

What is known about the last book Theodor Fontane worked on?

This question started when I noticed a curious aside in Fontane's Wikipedia article: Fontane was plagued by health problems during his last years but continued to work until a few hours before his ...
4
votes
1answer
413 views

If a novel has different narrators for each chapter, is it metafictional?

If every chapter of a novel has as its narrator a different character, is it an example of a metafictional novel? I presume it is not specific to metafiction to have multiple narrators, but can a ...
24
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2answers
4k views

Since when is Shakespeare's “Scottish play” considered unlucky?

In theatrical superstition, Shakespeare's play Macbeth is considered to be unlucky, to the extent that even saying its name more than necessary may bring bad luck: hence the tradition of actors ...
4
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0answers
39 views

Why are Christian's children in “The Pilgrim's Progress” given Biblical names instead of character-based names?

In The Pilgrim's Progress, virtually all of the characters are named after their character (e.g. Mr. Pliable, Mr. Honest, Mr. Worldly Wise-Man, Mercy, etc.). However, Christian's children all have ...
5
votes
1answer
41 views

What's the significance of leap years in Poe's “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade”?

Edgar Allan Poe's story “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade” (link to full text) has this curious sentence. This is about Scheherazade volunteering to marry the king, despite knowing that ...
3
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0answers
26 views

How were Susan Coolidge's Katy novels received in Victorian Britain?

Susan Coolidge is the pen name of Sarah Chaucey Woolsey (1835–1905). Beginning in 1872, Coolidge published a series of stories about the Carr family. The chief character in most of them is the oldest ...
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0answers
27 views

What is known about the content of the Ur-Hamlet?

This question is a follow-up to How has knowledge of the Ur-Hamlet evolved over the centuries? in which we learned about how it first came to be postulated that Shakespeare's Hamlet was based on an ...
1
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0answers
28 views

What's the significance of the name “Johnnie” in “The Bridge by the Tay”?

There's only one named character in this translation of Fontane's "Die Brück’ am Tay" ("The Bridge by the Tay"): "Johnnie". Johnnie shows up twice in the poem: Now, ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Book from the 80s or 90s set in an abandoned Catskills hotel

I think the book was from the 80’s or 90’s. Plot was about a brother and sister. Their stepfather or father tries to molest the sister and the kids escape and end up finding an abandoned(or so they ...
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0answers
26 views

What does Smash Mouth mean when he writes “fed to the rules” in All-Star?

So the first two lines of the pre-chorus of All-Star by Smash Mouth the song goes: Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running What does ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

What is the “dark star” in Fritz Leiber's “The Pail of Air”?

Fritz Leiber's short story "A Pail of Air" (available to read online at Project Gutenberg) is set in a post-apocalyptic world, with a family who believe they are the only survivors after the ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Why does “The Tragedy of Afghanistan” suddenly switch to second-person in the second-to-last verse?

Here's the second-to-last verse from a translation of Fontane's "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" ("The Tragedy of Afghanistan"): They played all night and the following day, They ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

What does the sentence “We call people things” mean?

I am to translate an extract from John M. Ford's novel The Last Hot Time. It begins with this passage: "Her name is Norma Jean?" "Around here," the small man said, "names are ...
2
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0answers
44 views

Meaning of “They wanted to know each other less than they wanted to agree. Harmony! To be each other”

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. In the street there was a dusty summer wind, a morning not quite hot enough. If they walked shoulder to shoulder, if they sat side by side, it ...
2
votes
1answer
17 views

What does “the one man on earth to her” in “In the Midst of the Alarms”?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates went to propose a girl who wasn't in love with him, but he thought she loved him. He went to her home's garden in the darkness to talk to her: “...
2
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0answers
32 views

Children's historical mystery with carved rose pressed to unveil secret

This has bugged me on and off for years. When I was younger (late 80s - early 90s) I'm sure I read a book from the local library in the UK. I don't remember many details. I think that it was set ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Meaning of “she felt him give” in “The Children's Bach” by Helen Garner

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. He would have liked to move around her house and examine all its icons, or to hang over the front windowsill with her and make remarks about the ...
1
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0answers
32 views

The first line of “God's Grandeur”

The first line of Gerard Manley Hopkins's sonnet "God's Grandeur" is: The world is charged with the grandeur of god. What I found on the Internet regarding the analysis of this line was ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “if the court knows herself” mean?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was camping with his unkind friend in Canada, when the police issued a warrant against Yates. “Stilly,” cried the reporter cheerily, “there’s a ...
3
votes
3answers
46 views

What does “withal” mean in a line in Romeo and Juliet?

In Act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio speaks the following words: Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and, as you shall use me hereafter, ...
2
votes
0answers
23 views

Did Thoreau respond to claims that he was an anarchist?

When reading Henry David Thoreau's Wikipedia page I found that he has been called an anarchist for his essay "Civil Disobedience". Reading the essay I can see where these claims are coming ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to “wear the cross”?

In the first chapter of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, we are introduced to the character of Baron Geert von Innstetten as follows (emphasis mine): "Yes, ...
0
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0answers
19 views

Love is defiled by its defense …

Does anyone know who said this, or something like it? "Love is defiled by its defense." A friend asked on Facebook and got no answer in several days. I vaguely remember reading a similar ...
7
votes
1answer
437 views

What is the “color of boom”?

In Imagine Dragon's song Polaroid, there's a certain line that gets repeated throughout the song: I am the color of boom What is the meaning of this line? Does it mean like an explosion of color, or ...
5
votes
1answer
88 views

What is the dialect in “The Origin of White Folks” and what does it add to the poem?

I found "The Origin of White Folks" by Annie Virginia Culbertson (it's pretty far down the page) while reading a news article and became intrigued by its accent. The poem is clearly written ...
5
votes
1answer
386 views

Why does Mr. Pumblechook call Mrs. Joe “mum”?

I noticed that at the beginning of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens that Mr. or Uncle Pumblechook kept calling Mrs. Joe mum. Why is that? I know for sure that Mrs. Joe didn't give birth to him, ...
3
votes
1answer
34 views

What is this passage saying about Precentor Jahnke?

In Chapter 1 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've just started reading online, two friends of Effi are introduced as follows: Two of the young girls, plump little creatures, whose ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

Meaning of “Air rushed over the ground like a flood of water at blood temperature”

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner She made him, and dragged him away across the grass. They turned a corner, rounded a thick hedge, and the wind hit them. He stopped struggling. ...
1
vote
1answer
377 views

Meaning of “He went ‘Eeeeee!’ high up in his skull”

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Billy drew a breath and started to scream in short, sharp cries. He flung himself back on Dexter’s lap; he clapped his left hand over his ear, ...
3
votes
2answers
55 views

What was the first published book set during a Covid-19 lockdown?

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic changed the world and many people's lives in countries all over the world in 2020. Much has been written about how writers of fiction have needed to change or shelve ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

What is the “manhood of a Roman recovery” in John Milton's Areopagitica?

This sentence appears in Milton's "Areopagitica": To which if I now manifest by the very sound of this which I shall utter, that we are already in good part arrived, and yet from such a ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Meaning of “daring it to tackle her. It paid her no attention”

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They laughed. Vicki watched them closely, ready to be included in their amusement, to roll her shoulders in scepticism as they did, but they ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

“Cease, cows, life is short” - what does it mean?

"Cease, cows, life is short" is a quote from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. It is a phrase that Aureliano Segundo says in Chapter 17, and is later written on his ...

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