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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2 votes
0 answers
16 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
70 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' ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
45 views

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?
8 votes
1 answer
112 views

Is A Supplement to the Journey to the West from the 17th century the oldest Chinese work of literature involving time travel?

A Supplement to the Journey to the West is a Chinese novel from around 1640 that was written as a type of addendum to the great classic novel Journey to the West. Journey to the West is set during the ...
0 votes
0 answers
22 views

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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are the charactaristics of German Trümmerliteratur?

Trümmerliteratur is a literary movement that originated in Germany shortly after the Second World War. What are typical charactaristics of Trümmerliteratur? How can a work that is Trümmerliteratur be ...
1 vote
2 answers
120 views

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 ...
7 votes
3 answers
533 views

Earliest work of fiction in which characters using telepathy can't lie

In Liu Cixin's novel The Three-Body Problem (2006/2008), the inhabitants of the planet Trisolaris communicate with each other using telepathy and are unable to lie. In Ursula Le Guin's novel The Left ...
5 votes
3 answers
843 views

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, ...
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
107 views

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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
213 views

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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
646 views

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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
208 views

What is the meaning of "Georgian Verse"?

I found the following book on Google Books: The Book of Georgian Verse edited by William Braithwaite, published in 1909. What is the meaning of Georgian? Search engine results provided nothing of use. ...
15 votes
1 answer
297 views

What was the first book that explicitly used "A Hero's Journey" as a checklist?

Obviously, many stories told fit "A Hero's Journey" - that's the whole point of it. George Lucas was famous for explicitly making the Star Wars story based on Campbell's checklist and acknowledging ...
8 votes
1 answer
120 views

Oldest library in America?

What’s the oldest free public library in North America?
10 votes
1 answer
281 views

What evidence is there for the "recession of accent" theory?

In the late 19th and early 20th century, there was a theory that certain oddities in the rhythms of Shakespeare and other early modern English poets could best be explained by recession of accent. ...
7 votes
2 answers
150 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

What is the oldest book written in braille?

What is the oldest complete book written in braille?
-4 votes
1 answer
331 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
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How did the Cutty Wren come to be the national anthem of Tristan da Cunha?

"The Cutty Wren", a traditional English folk song, is the "territorial song" (like national anthem for a British Overseas Territory?) of Tristan da Cunha, one of the remotest ...
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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 ...
8 votes
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87 views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
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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, ...
4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
311 views

What classic mystery novels and stories led to "the butler did it" becoming a cliché?

"The butler did it" is a common trope indicating a hackneyed solution to a mystery. I have read several classic mysteries from the 1920s and earlier (Poe, Conan Doyle, Christie, Sayers, etc.)...
11 votes
2 answers
303 views

Has a parody of a work of literature ever become more successful than the original work?

I was thinking of this when I read Nineteen-Neighty-Four, a fanfic with My Little Pony ponies in a 1984-ish world. Parodies can be really successful as a way of challenging another work, or the ideas ...
11 votes
2 answers
886 views

How does a book become "an American classic"?

It seems that, in passing, some books are referred to as "an American classic," or "one of the great American classics." This seems like it's a whole subsection of what counts as "classic literature." ...
4 votes
1 answer
203 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
253 views

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, ...
6 votes
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What qualities have led to the enduring popularity of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?

The short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving has remained extremely popular. Wikipedia lists 24 film and TV adaptations including the well known Tim Burton film and, perhaps more ...
3 votes
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93 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
15 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
14 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
18 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
16 views

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") ...
1 vote
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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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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), ...
4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
24 views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
80 views

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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
912 views

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 ...
2 votes
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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 ...
1 vote
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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 ...
62 votes
7 answers
12k views

Has copy protection ever been used in physical books?

"Digital rights management", DRM, is almost a standard in the e-book industry. Have copyright holders ever tried to protect physical books from scanning, for example in a way how banknotes are ...
2 votes
0 answers
45 views

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) ...