Questions tagged [inspiration]

Questions about the inspiration behind a work of literature, or an object or concept in a work: what it was based on, or where the idea came from.

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Where did Ayn Rand get the idea for Directive 10-289?

I believe Ayn Rand got the idea for Directive 10-289 from witnessing the start of the Russian Revolution. She was 12 years old and had a bird's eye view of what was happening in Petrograd- where she ...
James's user avatar
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Who inspired the poem "Addicted to Proof"?

One of Peter Shor's poems was published in The Mathematical Intelligencer. It's called "Addicted to Proof" and it's a short (16-line) poem about a mathematician who won the Abel Prize for a ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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Was Agatha Christie's short story "Magnolia Blossom" inspired by Ibsen?

In both incident and theme, Agatha Christie's short story "Magnolia Blossom" has several parallels with Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. In Christie's story, Theodora Darrell is on the point ...
verbose's user avatar
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How did Hitler get the idea for the title “My Struggle”?

Are there any records elaborating on how Hitler came up with the title for his book? Were there any previous books he was emulating or alluding to? Was he influenced by some literary style in his ...
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Was Bellow's 'Ravelstein' a response to Robert Paul Wolff?

As noted in a previous question, political philosopher Robert Paul Wolff ironically claimed that Allan Bloom's celebrated culture war screed The Closing of the American Mind (1987) is actually a novel ...
verbose's user avatar
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Examining the parallels between R.K. Narayan's "Selvi" and "The Guide" - Why was it done? What did it achieve?

That there are several parallels between R.K. Narayan's novel The Guide (1958) and his short story Selvi (1982) is no secret, and I found many results, too many to sift through, that discuss them. A ...
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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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Is there any evidence to support the claim that Mowgli's character was inspired by Dina Sanichar?

In 1904, The World Wide Magazine ran an article with the following snappy intro: It essentially says that the character Mowgli from The Jungle Book was probably inspired by the real-life 'feral child'...
CDR's user avatar
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8 votes
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Is there a real-life inspiration for these death-scenes in Kincaid's novels?

Annie John, Kincaid’s 1985 novel, contains a description of the death of Annie’s Uncle Johnnie. When he fell ill, his mother was convinced that traditional (obeah) medicine was the way to cure him, ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
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Origin of the name Duff Kerrigan?

Duff Kerrigan is a fictional detective featuring in a series of 21st-century detective stories by Jim Ingraham. That doesn't seem like a very common name, and yet it appears in exactly the same form ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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What is the origin of the story about Scent, Touch, Sound, Taste and Vision.?

I came across the story in a movie called See starring Jason Momoa. The story is about four brothers and sisters (Scent, Touch, Sound and Taste) and later on Vision came along and said he was their ...
OWOAHENE JOSEPH's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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Apollinaire and the spontaneity of the expression

Apollinaire when describing his writing principles and techniques says that he emphasizes the "sincerity of the emotion" and "the spontaneity of the expression": "I am a firm ...
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What are the acknowledged literary influences on "Star Wars"?

It's well known that Lucas had a ton of cultural influences on "Star Wars" - mostly cinematic (Kurosawa, etc..) but also literary (at the very least, Campbell). There are many sources that ...
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Inspiration behind Harlan Page Hasley’s depiction of old sleuth with superhuman strength

What inspired the author to portray a dime novel detective old sleuth as someone who possessed superhuman strength?
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History of Nick carter’s villain Dr Quartz’s creation

What inspired the creation of Nick Carter's villain Dr. Quartz? He is described to be an evil vivisectionist so smart that he is versed in every branch of science and usually enjoys cutting women’s ...
Clifton stone's user avatar
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1 answer
223 views

Was the island in Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" inspired by any real islands?

In Shakespeare's play The Tempest, characters sailing from Tunis to Naples are shipwrecked on an island. Sycorax had been banished there from "Argier", which is an old name for Algiers. Did ...
tell's user avatar
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What inspired the dime novel detective Nick Carter?

What inspired the creation of the dime novel detective Nick Carter who was created by John R. Coryell and Ormond G. Smith?
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Origin of the inspiration behind the titular character in The Bat, a play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood

What was the inspiration for The Bat, the titular character from Mary Roberts Rinehart's play (later adapted into a movie)? The character originally appeared in the play which was adapted from the ...
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6 votes
1 answer
830 views

Does "Landor's Cottage" have a real-life match?

I'm currently doing some research on E. A. Poe's Landor's Cottage (1849). This short story—really a description by an unnamed narrator of an ideal(ized) locale—is "a pendant to 'The Domain of ...
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Inspiration behind Jack Vance's fantasy names?

One of my favourite parts of Jack Vance's Lyonesse series, which I first read many years ago, is the way the names seem perfectly chosen to reflect the nature of what they're naming. How could ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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What inspired the Vermicious Knids?

The Vermicious Knids are a type of dangerous alien creature in the works of Roald Dahl. They appear as primary antagonists in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and get passing mentions in other ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
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Inspiration for Warren Worthington in the "X-Men"?

When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men, what was the inspiration and concept behind the superhero character Warren Worthington III? Why did they choose the idea of him being a wealthy ...
Kevin Yoka's user avatar
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Origin of the war-cry "Eulalia" in Brian Jacques's Redwall series?

In Brian Jacques's Redwall series, "Eulalia" is the traditional war cry of the badgers and hares of Salamandastron. It's also the title of one of the books in the series, but it's used ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
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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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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What are the elements from Chinese philosophy that can be found in Shota Rustaveli's poetry?

The German Wikipedia article about Shota Rustaveli, author of the Georgian medieval epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin claims, Seine Dichtung spiegelt chinesische, persische und griechische ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Were Amado's Captains of the Sands based on reality?

Jorge Amado's novel Captains of the Sands concerns children living in the streets of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and forming gangs that engaged in petty crime. From the opening of the book: “Captains of ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
258 views

Source of Milton's idea that God tilted the Earth's axis after the fall of man

Could someone please help me identify the source of the following passage in Book X of Paradise Lost: Some say, he bid his angels turn askance The poles of Earth twice ten degrees or more From the ...
user14162's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
179 views

What is Paul's character based on in "Code Name Verity"?

One of the major supporting characters in Code Name Verity is Paul, leader of the Damask resistance circuit. A superb organizer, he takes pride in how he'd never lost anyone in his circuit (before ...
bobble's user avatar
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5 votes
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What is the connection between the Bleak House in Broadstairs and the one in Dickens's novel?

Dickens's novel Bleak House shares its name with an actual house in the English seaside town of Broadstairs. Dickens actually stayed in that house for a while, and wrote David Copperfield there, but ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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On what sources did Camões base his Os Lusíadas?

Os Lusíadas is one of the most important works of Portuguese literature, written by Luís de Camões in the 16th century and describing imaginatively the Portuguese voyages of discovery, mostly the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
310 views

Were all the Redwall songs created by Brian Jacques, or based on some real songs?

Brian Jacques's Redwall stories contain a huge number of songs: marching songs, drinking songs, campfire songs, feast songs, all of them different and none repeated from one book to another (as far as ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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Was Austen Heller's name inspired by Henry W. Austin?

It's no secret that Howard Roark was loosely inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Interestingly enough, on a recent tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park, IL, I encountered a park named after Henry ...
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In what way was Joseph Conrad influenced by Antoni Malczewski?

Antoni Malczewski was a Polish romantic poet, known for his only work, “a narrative poem of dire pessimism, Maria (1825). Wikipedia writes Maria was also influential on later Polish poets, especially ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
290 views

Why did Fontane choose to write "The Tragedy of Afghanistan"?

Theodor Fontane, a German poet, wrote "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" (translated here as "The Tragedy of Afghanistan") in 1847. It's about the aftermath of a massacre suffered ...
bobble's user avatar
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2 votes
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In A Whiter Shade of Pale, is the miller's tale a reference to the Miller's tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales?

Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale" in The Canterbury Tales is a weird story about an older Miller, his young, beautiful wife who sleeps with a young Oxford student, and an admiring young ...
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4 votes
1 answer
337 views

Is Ant-Man a Myrmidon?

The Myrmidons, the soldiers from Achilles's homeland of Thessaly who are under his command in the Iliad, get their name from myrmex or ants. Achilles himself is the arch-Myrmidon. In Shakespeare's ...
verbose's user avatar
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Was Shaw's "Arms and the Man" inspired by Shakespeare?

In Act III of the play Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw, Sergius says to Louka, If these hands ever touch you again, they shall touch my affianced bride. Those words reminded me of ...
Solomon's user avatar
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1 answer
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What inspired the "fakir in a box" in Elizabeth Browning's "Aurora Leigh"?

In book V of Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the narrator makes an elaborate simile between the condition of the Earth in the interval between the Fall and the Incarnation, and a ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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What inspired the “lava-lymph” in Elizabeth Browning’s “Aurora Leigh”?

In book V of Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the narrator asks herself what she expects to achieve in her poetry:                                           Shall I hope To speak my ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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14 votes
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Do the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh really contain the same rare proverb about the strength of a triple-stranded rope?

According to the Wikipedia article The Epic of Gilgamesh, Several scholars suggest direct borrowing of Siduri's advice by the author of Ecclesiastes.[41] A rare proverb about the strength of a triple-...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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1 vote
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Did Camus have a known source of inspiration for Meursault's behaviour during and after his mother's funeral?

Camus's novel The Stranger begins with the news of the death and the funeral of Meursault's mother. Meursault smokes cigarettes during the wake, doesn't weep before, during or after the funeral, and ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes
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Is there any deep connection between Hyperion (the sci-fi novel) and Hyperion (the poem)? [duplicate]

Hyperion is a sci-fi classic by Dan Simmons which takes its name from the poem by John Keats of the same name. The novel makes multiple references to the poem by Keats and actually Keats is even a ...
Lorenzo Pozzi's user avatar
1 vote
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Did Lois Lowry name the protagonist of the Giver from the biblical prophet?

Did Lois Lowry name Jonas, the protagonist of the Giver, after the biblical prophet Jonah? Both of them are at one point reluctant to follow their calling that they didn't choose, so there is some ...
b_jonas's user avatar
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2 votes
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Did Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire inspire the Archers' Borsetshire?

Barsetshire is a fictional county of England, created by Anthony Trollope for his Chronicles of Barsetshire series published in the mid-19th century. The county town is the equally fictional ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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2 votes
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Who was the first scholar who claimed that the Ur-Hamlet was influenced by the German play Der bestrafte Brudermord?

Thomas Kyd (1558—1594) is best known as the author of The Spanish Tragedy, a play that shares several similarities with Shakespeare's Hamlet. These similarities include a ghost demanding vengeance, a ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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Was the main character in Gigi based on a real-life person?

Gigi, the female protagonist of Colette's novella Gigi (1944), is full of character. Independent and mischievous, and a little tomboyish, she leaves a lasting impression on the reader. I am wondering ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

How relevant is the Atreides' link to Agamemnon in 'Dune'?

I was surprised to notice, when exploring Wikipedia's Epithets in Homer, that Agamemnon's individual epithet (or at least one of them) was "son of Atreus (Ἀτρείδης Atreídēs: also transliterated ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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Where did the idea of mono no aware come from?

Piggybacking on this question, I am still curious about the mono no aware (物の哀れ) reading of The Tale of Genji. According to Wikipedia: Norinaga's most important works include the Kojiki-den (...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
323 views

What inspired the title of "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"?

Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a novel by Agatha Christie. In the story, a dying man's last words "Why didn't they ask Evans?" inspires an amateur detective investigation, in which ultimately ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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2 votes
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Did William Somerset Maugham's uncle treat his nephew in an emotionally cruel way?

William Somerset Maugham's mother died in 1882, when he was only eight years old, and his father died two years later. William was sent to his paternal uncle, Henry MacDonald Maugham, who was a vicar. ...
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