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Questions tagged [history-of-literature]

Questions about historical development within literature: for example, the history of a particular literary theme or idea, or of literature in a particular country or context. For questions about real-world history as it relates to literature, use [historical-context] instead. For questions about publication dates of specific works or editions, use [textual-history].

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Was The Glass Menagerie the first memory play, or merely the first instance of the phrase?

There seems little dispute that Tennessee Williams coined the phrase "memory play" to describe his play The Glass Menagerie, in which one of the characters is also the narrator of events ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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Is the fact that "La bottega del caffè" is an ensemble comedy an innovation by Goldoni?

Reading La bottega del caffè, one striking fact is that if you ask who the main characters are, the answer is that there are none. It is truly what we would call today an ensemble piece: there are ...
Charo's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
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Did Tolkien invent Bilbo saving the Dwarves but forgetting about himself?

Bear with me a moment. I was watching the James Bond parody "Our Man Flint" (1966) starring James Coburn. At the end, he puts all of his female companions into steel barrels and sends them ...
Wastrel's user avatar
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Who coined the phrase, "the Stoic Mistake"?

Forty-odd years ago I read something to the effect that ‘the Stoic mistake was to believe that a man could always be capable of what he was capable of at his best’. (I am sure this is inexact) Does ...
Barnaby's user avatar
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When and where was the first literary sketch published?

A literary sketch or simply sketch is a literary piece of writing that is generally shorter than a short story and contains little, if any, plot. According to this source, the genre was introduced ...
Max Muller's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
95 views

What happened to the 'New Novel' trend? Did it live into the 21st century?

I don't remember reading any novels written by 21st century authors similar to those of the 'New Novel' movement. Maybe Enjoe Toh counts, but his works are more sci-fi rather than 'pure' fiction. Did ...
polantina2's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
156 views

Was Ibsen really so influential in the history of theatre?

One passage of Ibsen's Wikipedia page reads as follows: Ibsen had completely rewritten the rules of drama with a realism which was to be adopted by Chekhov and others, and which we see in the theatre ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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5 votes
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What is the origin of the circle story technique?

When was the circle story technique first used? By circle story technique I mean a story that reveals the end at the beginning of the story and then jumps backwards to tell the story from its start. I'...
Chip Burwell's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Literary background of being poisoned via the ear?

Shakespeare's Hamlet famously features a character being killed by having poison poured into his ear. This unusual method of murder has been much referenced in other works since Shakespeare, but where ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
111 views

Was there a unified "First World War poetry" movement (during the war itself)?

There is a massive body of literature which can collectively be called "First World War poetry", written by a huge number of poets from many different countries. Many of these poems were ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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2 votes
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Were there any kind of 'fictional' prosaic or dramatic works in ancient Israel?

From what I know, the main form of 'art' in ancient Israel was musical - singing, dancing and playing instruments. This was very widespread back then, even extending to many biblical promises about ...
Viteva's user avatar
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1 answer
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Who originated "The Life and Lies of xxx"?

The fictional journalist Rita Skeeter famously wrote a book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. While there have been a number of subsequent ...
mikado's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
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Unique words/vocabulary - Sufficient or necessary condition to determine original source?

Suppose we have two texts that are two different languages of the same story. One is the original, one is a translation. We wish to determine which one was the original. Among the more useful data ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
109 views

What is the most recent epistolary novel written in English that consists entirely out of back and forth letters between two characters?

This question probably has a somewhat unusual backstory, which is perhaps worth describing before asking the question. It hopefully clarifies and motivates the question itself. A couple of months ago, ...
Max Muller's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
159 views

What's the oldest example of the floating timeline device in fiction?

Many modern animated TV series use a floating timeline, in which the characters do not age, but the time period in which the show is set adjusts to match when the episodes are created. The Simpsons is ...
WillG's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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What is the strongest theoretical epistemology about literary (or cultural) “periods”?

Discussions of periods like “Romanticism” and general claims about what people were motivated by or what traits distinguished art in that time strike me as requiring a rigorous justification. If we ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
361 views

Why isn't Arthur Conan Doyle considered a first-rate writer? [closed]

Why isn't Arthur Conan Doyle considered a first-rate writer? I find the style of the Sherlock Holmes books astounding. Here are some of the sentences I liked: Holmes lay with his gaunt figure ...
Ziad El Hachem's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
29 views

Is there some kind of blossoming towards the existentialist vision in French pre-Romantic poetry?

I remember to have read somewhere, but, unfortunately, I don't remember where, that in certain pre-Romantic French poet one can find some kind of blossoming towards the existentialist vision. Does ...
Charo's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Was romanticism ambiguous towards realism?

Was romanticism ambiguous towards realism? This paper (Wellek, 1961) synthesizes the view of the German romantic poet and philosopher Schlegel about realism: In the Critique of Judgement (1790) Kant ...
Starckman's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
348 views

Distinction between author and narrator/speaker

Has a distinction always been made between the narrator/speaker of a poem, novel etc. and the author? Or is this more of a modern concept? Did critics and readers in, say, the Victorian age ...
user392289's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
41 views

Did the death of Thomas Chatterton influence Romanticism?

The beginning of the 19th century is known as the Romantic period. While I know that Chatterton wasn't the first romantic, would it be plausible to say that Chatterton's death gave ignition to ...
Camelot823's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
163 views

Does romanticism tend towards anti-science and anti-technology?

Talking about English, German and French romanticism. Romanticism started with someone like Rousseau who wrote Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750), "which argued that the arts and sciences ...
Starckman's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
110 views

What was the first play that appeared in print in Europe?

Books printed in Europe before 1501 are known as incunables. Many of the works that appeared in print before 1501 were religious (e.g. missals) or academic. The majority of texts were in Latin. ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
3k views

What's the earliest fictional work of literature that contains an allusion to an earlier fictional work of literature?

I need to define my terms quite carefully for this question. So the Mirriam-Webster definition of allusion is: an implied or indirect reference especially in literature i.e. a poem that makes ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
105 views

How have attitudes toward "plagiarism" in literature changed since the Elizabethan era?

It's generally well-known that many of Shakespeare's dramas were "inspired" by, "plagiarised" from or otherwise "copies" of existing works. I use these terms advisedly ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
60 views

The American Transcendentalism and the European Romantic movement of the 19th century

In the paragraph concerning the American Transcendentalism movement, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy lists the following features defining this movement: emphasis on the subjective nature of ...
Starckman's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
85 views

What is the ethical philosophy of European Romanticism?

The ethics of (secular) humanism is consequentialist 1, arguably epicurean 2 . I believe the ethics of the European Enlightenment could be said epicureanism also. But what is the ethics of European ...
Starckman's user avatar
  • 455
0 votes
0 answers
63 views

What is the ethical philosophy of American transcendentalism?

The ethics of (secular) humanism is consequentialist [1], arguably epicurean [2] . I believe the ethics of the European Enlightenment could be said epicureanism also. But what is the ethics of ...
Starckman's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
53 views

To what extent (if any) was beat literature a deliberate rejection of modernism?

A key point of modernism is that it was self-consciously "artistic" in the sense that it deliberately sought to find new literary forms, built on and alluding to existing works in the canon. ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
84 views

What was the first school comedy?

Does anyone know what the earliest example of a comedy set at a school was? I imagine there would have been written-down short humorous anecdotes about school for as long as school has existed. And ...
IglooMaster's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
206 views

Romanticism and knowledge/intellectualism

What is the relationship between romanticism and (the importance of) knowledge, intellectualism? For instance, the Enlightenment thinkers put great emphasis on the importance of knowledge. Voltaire ...
Starckman's user avatar
  • 455
5 votes
1 answer
182 views

The Beat-Generation and anti-intellectualism

We can read on the Wikipedia article of the Beat Generation that this movement has been considered unintellectual/anti-intellectual: The Beat Generation was met with scrutiny and assigned many ...
Starckman's user avatar
  • 455
4 votes
1 answer
80 views

Is spirituality/mysticism an inherent feature of the Beat Generation?

Is spirituality/mysticism an inherent feature of the Beat Generation? I know Burroughs was fond of magic all of his life, and that Ginsberg was a Buddhist, but I am not sure whether the Beat ...
Starckman's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
57 views

How does one count syllables in medieval Galician-Portuguese poetry?

I'm trying to figure out how to count syllables in medieval Galician-Portuguese cantigas. I've tried to find it in the book A poesía lírica galego-portuguesa by Giuseppe Tavani, which I found in my ...
Charo's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
82 views

Stage whisper-dominated plays

Among plays that have been written and performed before an audience, what is the largest proportion of any play script that is directed to be performed in stage whispers? I'm interested to know if ...
cst's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
111 views

Short-length science fiction comeback since 2017/2018?

Has there been a resurgence of short literary science fiction novels since late 2017 or early 2018? "Short" here refers to works as at most 200 pages. Literary science fiction is science ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
37 views

Has any memoir of the "Cultural Revolution" ever been exposed as a fake?

Yesterday, I asked When was the first time a Holocaust memoir or diary was exposed as a fraud? The "Cultural Revolution" in China in the years 1966–1976 killed an unknown number of people (...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
283 views

When was the first time a Holocaust memoir or diary was exposed as a fraud?

In my previous question, I asked Who rebutted Raul Hilberg's allegation that Man's Search for Meaning was a deception? Viktor Frankl's book is not generally regarded as a deception or a fraud. Several ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
181 views

Is "The Blazing World" written in a standard style for Cavendish's time?

I've been assigned The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish to read in my literature class. The first thing that struck me about the writing is how long the sentences are. It takes a mental settling-in ...
bobble's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Would "most unkindest" have been considered poor grammar in Shakespeare's time?

One of the famous lines from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, describing Brutus's stab to Caesar, is: This was the most unkindest cut of all Nowadays, it would be considered incorrect grammar to combine ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
104 views

Was it so unusual for the time for Journey's End to have no leading lady?

When R.C. Sherriff first wrote his play Journey's End, set in the trenches of the First World War, he had difficulty getting it produced, as theatre managers in the West End didn't want to show a play ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
355 views

What is "epic caesura" in French "chansons de geste"?

I'm reading the book La chanson de geste by Jean Rychner. In a certain passage, the expression "epic caesura" ("césure épique" in the French original) appears, which I don't ...
Charo's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
68 views

Is the first use of "burp" in children's stories, "Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories"?

Is Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories the first children's book to use "burp"? As said by Dr. Seuss himself about that book: "'I used the word burp, and nobody had ever burped before ...
Malady's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
38 views

Has anastrophe decreased in frequency during the period of Modern English?

Anastrophe, the changing of usual subject-verb-object order for poetic reasons, is something that, anecdotally, strikes me as less frequent nowadays than in older writing from, say, the 19th century. ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
99 views

First "female Death" [closed]

We all love Aunt Teleute, but she's probably not the first female anthropomorphic personification of Death (methinks "The Death of Captain Marvel" came long before Vertigo, and an obscure &...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

Does the Epic of Gilgamesh have a continuous cultural history?

Over 4000 years ago, the Epic of Gilgamesh was first told and written down on clay tablets. Today, as far as I understand, the story is known from the discovery of those tablets in recent centuries. ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Since when did Merlin have an owl?

I was reading some ten-year-old comments on a Q&A about owls in Harry Potter and learned that some versions of the Arthurian legend have the wizard Merlin possessing an owl which is called ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
157 views

How do you classify a writer as a ??th century writer?

Is there a common method to adscribe a writer/painter/person as belonging to a certain century? As in "Herman Melville was a 19th century writer who...". Is it only used in such clear cases ...
user2513484's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
133 views

Read Hero with a Thousand Faces before or after relevant epics?

The question Is there "required" background reading for "The Hero With a Thousand Faces"? got me part of the way there, but I'm still contemplating what the ideal reading-order ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
187 views

Was Whitman the first poet to write in sentence fragments?

One aspects of some modern poets is that they sometimes write sentences without main verbs or no main verb in the main clause. I'm not talking about interjections or sentences where an implied 'be' ...
bobsmith76's user avatar

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