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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Are there examples of satire works that were not recognized as such? [closed]

I was reading about the De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum (The vanity of arts and sciences) By Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. This book contradicts another work of the same author De Occulta ...
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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 &...
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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. ...
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The Boy and the Rattlesnake: What's the origin of this Cherokee fable?

There's a commonly told "Cherokee" fable about a boy and a rattlesnake. What's the origin of this fable? Where do we see it first see it in print and does it indeed go back to Cherokee ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2 answers
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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' ...
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Which literary movement do Pushkin's Little Tragedies belong to?

Some say Pushkin quit Romanticism in year 1825. To which literary movement do his Little Tragedies (1830) belong to, then?
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The first Manx novel?

Wikipedia claims that Brian Stowell's Dunveryssyn yn Tooder-Folley (The Vampire Murders), published in 2006, was "the first full-length Manx novel". This claim is sourced to a 2006 new ...
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Is there actually such a thing as "OCR-pirated" books?

A recent answer/comment to a different question prompted me to ask this: Why does Tolkien use neither quotes nor cursive writing, and all lower-case, in this specific "quote"? Somebody seems ...
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Would the chorus leader typically speak/sing along with the chorus in classical Greek plays?

I had assumed that the chorus leader would speak along with the chorus. He is a part of it, after all. However, when I asked my literature professor on a whim he wasn't completely sure. Doing my own ...
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Why did so few writers seem to work as waiters before the 20th century?

It seems that nowadays working in a restaurant is a very common job for someone who may not have found work requiring more specific qualifications. Yet it seems that of the various trades and ...
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What is the oldest preserved stage direction?

A recent answer from Gareth Rees mentioned that: If Classical Greek drama ever had stage directions, our manuscript sources do not preserve them Which made me wonder: what is the oldest stage ...
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How was the possessive used in Elizabethan literature?

I've been listening to a podcast called 'The History of English'. In the latest episode it touches on the use of the possessive. In Chaucerian English the possessive was written with an '-es-' suffix, ...
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What is the oldest book written in braille?

What is the oldest complete book written in braille?
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How were plays in Shakespeare's time advertised?

How were plays in Tudor or Jacobean England advertised (e.g. did they use posters, street-hawkers, etc.)? And how much information would these advertisements have contained? Would an advertisement ...
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What was the first unauthorized sequel?

I'm curious about the role authorial authority has played in the past, especially what the authors themselves believed it to be. Therefore I'm looking for earlier examples of works meeting the ...
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How did Indian literature influence Japanese literature?

The Wikipedia article on Japanese literature opens with the following sentences about the influence of other cultures and bodies of literature on the (nascent?) Japanese literature: Early works of ...
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When did detective fiction become primarily about murder?

I was reading George Orwell's essay "Raffles and Mrs Blandish" and came across this quotation, "Some of the early detective stories do not even contain a murder. The Sherlock Holmes ...
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When did the terms "Mester de Clerecía" and "Mester de Juglaría" start to be used?

Mester de Juglaría was a genre of Spanish literature from the 12th-13th centuries, which was transmitted orally by travelling entertainers (juglares). It was later surpassed by the Mester de Clerecía, ...
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What is the provenance of Story 6 in Day 2 of the Decameron, set against a backdrop of 13th-century Sicily?

Day 2, Story 6 of the Decameron is set against a political backdrop of 13th-century Sicily: it begins with the defeat of King Manfred at Benevento by the new king Charles, and the main characters are ...
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How was Il-Kantilena "found", and how is its author known?

The 15th-century Maltese poem "Il-Kantilena" is said to have been "found" in the 1960s by two Maltese historians, but the above-linked Wikipedia page, and other sources I've found ...
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What started barons being represented more negatively in literature?

I've noticed that barons more often are portrayed negatively in comparison to lords or royalty (though the latter is a mixed bag). Come to think of it, I can't think of a baron portrayed in a positive ...
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What is the earliest reference to or depiction of a police state in English literature?

In the article Henry VIII: Henry the horrible (The Independent, 12 October 2003), Marcus Tanner wrote (emphasis added), The man now remembered as the godfather of the Anglican church continued ...
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What was the first picaresque novel in Portuguese literature?

The first picaresque novel in European literature was the Spanish novel Lazarillo de Tormes, which was first published in 1554. The Wikipedia article about the genre does not mention any examples in ...
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How long has Khamba Thoibi been considered a national epic of the Manipuris?

Khamba Thoibi is "a legendary Meitei language epic poem" and "is regarded as the national epic of the Manipuris". The Wikipedia article about Meitei literature makes no mention of ...
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Which French author or critic claimed that Racine and La Fontaine could not be understood by foreigners?

Jean Racine (1639–1699) is considered "one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille". The Wikipedia article about the playwright contains a ...
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How did the Epic of Manas become a national epic of the Kyrgyz people?

The Epic of Manas "is a traditional epic poem dating to the 18th century but claimed by Kyrgyz tradition to be much older". The footer of the Wikipedia article about the epic treats it as an ...
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When was any of Fontane's work first included in literary anthologies for use in schools?

Theodor Fontane is now regarded as the most important German-language novelist of the second half of the nineteenth century. His work is now often required reading (German: "Pflichtlektüre") ...
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How long has The Knight in the Panther's Skin been considered a Georgian national epic?

Shota Rustaveli (c. 1160 – after c. 1220) was the author of "The Knight in the Panther's Skin, which is considered to be a Georgian national epic poem." The Wikipedia article about The ...
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Until what year was Machiavelli's The Prince banned in England?

Machiavelli's treatise The Prince, written in the early 16th century and first published in 1532, was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1559. According to Robert Bireley, quoted on Wikipedia, ...
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How long has Pan Tadeusz been compulsory reading in Polish schools?

Pan Tadeusz or Master Thaddeus, or the Last Foray in Lithuania: A Nobility's Tale of the Years 1811–1812, in Twelve Books of Verse is an epic poem by the Polish author Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), ...
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What was the first picaresque novel in Italian literature?

The first picaresque novel in European literature was the Spanish novel Lazarillo de Tormes, which was first published in 1554. The section on the sources of Lazarillo de Tormes in the Wikipedia on ...
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How long has Kalevipoeg been considered the Estonian national epic?

According to Wikipedia, Kalevipoeg is "an epic poem by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald held to be the Estonian national epic". Kreutzwald based his epic on existing oral stories that had been ...
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Who coined the term "omniscient narrator"?

In narrative theory, A third person omniscient narrator conveys information from multiple characters, places, and events of the story, including any given characters' thoughts, and a third person ...
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How long has El Cantar de mio Cid been considered a national epic of Spain?

El Cantar de mio Cid or The Poem of the Cid is not only "the oldest preserved Castilian epic poem" but also "considered a national epic of Spain". The text may date from the 12th ...
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How long has Daredevils of Sassoun been considered a national epic of the Armenians?

Daredevils of Sassoun (or Sasna Dzrer or Sasna cṙer) is an Armenian heroic epic that "is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Armenian folklore". Its main character is David ...
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What was the first picaresque novel in Russian literature?

Lazarillo de Tormes, published simultaneously in Alcalá de Henares, Burgos and Antwerp in 1554, is generally considered the first picaresque novel. The Wikipedia article about the picaresque novel ...
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How long has the Ramakien been considered one of Thailand's national epics?

The Ramakien is a Thai version of the Ramayana. The earliest stages of the Ramayana seem to date from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE, and many other cultures that were influenced by India developed ...
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Has any opera ever made a successful transition to the theatre stage?

Some operas are based on plays. For example, Shakespeare's Othello was the source for Rossini's Otello (1816) and Verdi's Otello (1887). Romeo and Juliet inspired Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette (1839) ...
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In what way is Jorge Amado's The Violent Land a modernist novel?

The Wikipedia article about Jorge Amado's The Violent Land / Terras do Sem Fim describes this work as "a Brazilian Modernist novel". The corresponding Portuguese, French and Italian ...
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In what way is Jorge Amado's Home Is the Sailor a modernist novel?

The Wikipedia article about Jorge Amado's Home Is the Sailor / Os velhos marinheiros ou o capitão de longo curso describes this work as a "Brazilian modernist novel". The corresponding ...
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In what way is Jorge Amado's The Discovery of America by the Turks a modernist novel?

The Wikipedia article about Jorge Amado's The Discovery of America by the Turks / A Descoberta da América pelos Turcos describes this work as "a Brazilian Modernist novel", even though it ...
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In what way is Jorge Amado's novel Jubiabá a modernist novel?

The Wikipedia article about Jorge Amado describes the author as "a Brazilian writer of the modernist school" and adds that he was "one of the founders of the Modernist 'Rebels' Academy&...
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Democratizing original occult texts

Search engine results for occult libraries tend to have mostly commercial interests at play (vendors of trinkets and spell books and the like). Another issue I've run into is the genre tends to get ...
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What was the first instance of the use of a Closed Time loop as a plot device in a published piece of American science fiction?

What was the first instance of the use of a closed time loop (An event where the cause and effect of a time loop feed into one another, creating a stable and unending chain of causality), in a piece ...
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Social class in medieval Italian literature and its changes during the Renaissance

I'm very interested in how notions of class were reflected in medieval Italian literature and how these archetypes, tropes, motifs or whatever you'd like to call them changed during the Renaissance ...
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What was the first Belarusian novel?

While reading the Wikipedia article about Belarusian literature and the articles about individual authors who were active before World War II, it struck me that most authors were poets, with some of ...
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What is the earliest reference in fiction to a government-approved thieves guild?

I remember reading about the Thieves's guild in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, and I remember thinking they seemed... Novel? Especially as it was government-approved. One of the remarkable ...