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Questions tagged [inspiration]

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

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Does “The Whalebone Parrot” draw inspiration from any specific Apache sources?

"The Whalebone Parrot" is a short horror story by Darcie Little Badger. In it, a parrot is killed, and then possesses Loretta to try to kill the cat that killed the parrot. Darcie Little Badger often ...
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Is there a connection between Shirley Jackson's novel “The Haunting of Hill House” and the movie “The House on Haunted Hill”?

I've always wondered if there is a connection between the film The House on Haunted Hill and Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House? Both came out in 1959. Both have similar titles ...
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Relevance of the cloud chariot story to the rest of Midnight Robber?

Nalo Hopkinson's novel Midnight Robber contains a story entitled "How Tan-Tan Learn to Thief". It is one of the many elements from Caribbean culture that Hopkinson draws on in the novel. The story is ...
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Origin of Dry Bone in Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber

Nalo Hopkinson's novel Midnight Robber contains a story entitled "Tan-Tan and Dry Bone". It is one of the many elements from Caribbean culture that Hopkinson draws on in the novel. Hopkinson's novel ...
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108 views

Did Virginia Woolf read The Yellow Wallpaper before publishing Mrs. Dalloway?

In a recent discussion in an online literature course, someone thought that the young woman in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and the character Septimus Warren Smith in Virginia Woolf'...
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Was Stevenson's Captain Smollett named after Tobias Smollett?

The captain of the Hispaniola in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is a man named Alexander Smollett. There's also a Scottish writer named Tobias Smollett, and there's speculation that the ...
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Is there any direct evidence tying the D&D Underdark to Narnia?

I was re-reading The Silver Chair recently, the 6th book in the Narnia series. Towards the end of the novel, he says, "he had always reached these outlets by going in a ship across the Sunless ...
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Was the Wood in Tales of Goldstone Wood inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia?

Golden Daughter describes the Wood as follows: The Wood is bigger by far than any mortal mind can comprehend. It is not a world in itself but rather the seat of worlds, containing with its vastness ...
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57 views

Was Ellsworth Toohey's public speaking style modeled after Harold Laski?

The first time that Peater Keating hears Ellsworth Toohey speak, it's described as follows: It was not a voice, it was a miracle. It unrolled as a velvet banner. It spoke English words, but the ...
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72 views

Was “All Summer in a Day” based on any real childhood event?

Ray Bradbury's famous short story "All Summer in a Day", which can be read online, is about a girl from Earth, Margot, who's ostracised by her classmates on Venus. They've never seen the sun, but she ...
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Was Hardy's “A Few Crusted Characters” based directly on the Canterbury Tales?

I've just been reading Thomas Hardy's A Few Crusted Characters (full text available online), which is essentially a collection of short stories or vignettes loosely bound together by a framing story. ...
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What was the real-world inspiration for the Kingsguard?

George RR Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire takes a lot of inspiration from real-world history: Hadrian's Wall becomes the Wall in the North, Yorkists and Lancastrians become Starks and ...
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Was Jonas Willard inspired by anyone in particular?

In Isaac Asimov's short story “Gold”, Laborian is clearly a self-insertion of Asimov himself, and the story in the story is Asimov's own book The Gods Themselves. I'm wondering though, what about the ...
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319 views

Why are the U2 CDs named after “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” by William Blake?

U2 has an album named "Songs of Innocence" and a second, more recent album named "Songs of Experience". These appear to at least be named after the William Blake poetry. What is the relationship ...
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Did Stevenson really claim to have been inspired by brownies?

Jorge Luis Borges claims, in his Book of Imaginary Beings, that the author Robert Louis Stevenson attributed some of the stranger ideas in his writing to fantastical creatures such as brownies who ...
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1answer
216 views

Is Snufkin based on Atos Wirtanen?

According to Wikipedia, the character of Snufkin in the Moomin series of children's books by Tove Jansson is based on her real-life friend Atos Wirtanen: Tove Jansson based the character of Snufkin ...
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Vision of the future in Max Beerbohm's “Enoch Soames”

Max Beerbohm's 1916 novelette "Enoch Soames" (available e.g. at Project Gutenberg) is the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for the privilege of spending an afternoon in a library (the ...
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What/who are the exact sources of inspiration, deriving from Antiquity, for Fables, written by La Fontaine?

I know that La Fontaine's Fables is heavily inspired by Greco-Roman classic literature, especially Aesop's fables, but I'm sure there are other sources of inspiration for La Fontaine's 12 books of ...
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1answer
158 views

What Battle inspired Wilfred Owen's “Spring Offensive” poem?

Seems it was written about a military initiative in spring 1917 but was there a name for the battle itself? I can't seem to find a reference anywhere...
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What is the real “Consortium” as mentioned in Dan Brown's Inferno?

On the "FACT" page of the book Inferno by Dan Brown: "The Consortium" is a private organization with offices in seven countries. Its name has been changed for considerations of security and privacy....
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What parallels can be drawn between Hunger Games characters and their classical namesakes?

In the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, the minor character of "Cinna the poet" is brutally killed by an angry mob who mistake him for Cinna the conspirator. When he protests, "I am Cinna the poet", ...
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To what extent was Catch-22 inspired by “The Trial”?

Bureaucratic logic is one of the primary themes in Catch-22. To what extent is this inspired by The Trial by Franz Kafka? Both have the sense of being caught in the cogs of a remote, irrational, and ...
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Literature and the work of David Lynch

About a year ago I discovered Twin Peaks on Netflix, and I am currently enjoying every moment of season 3. I've really come to appreciate the subtleties and nuances of David Lynch's style of ...
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What evidence is there for Tolkien's One Ring being based on the Ring of Silvianus?

I recently heard a theory that parts of Tolkien's legendarium and the Lord of the Rings story may have been inspired by the real-life Ring of Silvianus: As Wheeler consulted with J. R. R. Tolkien ...
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Is the song “Mabel Grey” by Brown Bird an allusion to a real ship?

The song Mabel Grey, by Brown Bird contains peculiar lyrics. The lyrics are awfully specific about what happened to this ship, which is a common pattern I see when a song is referent to a real-life ...
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155 views

Is the hook of Marethyu meant to evoke a scythe?

Marethyu is a central character in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. You can read more about him here, but that Wikia page contains major spoilers for the series, so follow that link at ...
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170 views

Who was Long John Silver based on?

In his little-known preface to Treasure Island (which I discovered while answering this question), Robert Louis Stevenson wrote rather persuasively on the possibilities for how a fictional character ...
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253 views

Which traits of Milton's Lucifer from “Paradise Lost” did Neil Gaiman carry to “The Sandman”?

Lucifer Morningstar, the Vertigo Comics character, was created by Neil Gaiman with influence from John Milton's Paradise Lost - at least that's what is written on his Wikipedia page, and even on the ...
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Are the guardians of Dream's palace based on mythology? Are they symbolic?

In chapter 3 of Season of Mists (The Sandman #24), there are three creatures shown guarding the gates of Dream's palace (left). The lion refers to the whole group as "Gatekeepers" (p 20-21). ...
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258 views

Was Shakespeare inspired by Olaus Magnus when writing Macbeth?

One important plot point in Macbeth is that the King feels invincible due to the prophecy that Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come ...
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Was the Stung Man based on an existing character from Egyptian mythology?

The Stung Man is the antagonist of Book of the Dead, the first TombQuest book. He's got an... Interesting backstory. The Stung Man wasn't called the Stung Man at that point, not yet. Everyone gets ...
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Is the character of Randolph Henry Ash based on any particular Victorian poet?

The novel Possession contains some spot-on mimicry of several different writing styles, including lengthy poems by two fictional Victorian poets. The character of RH Ash in particular feels as if ...
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1answer
242 views

Was Stevenson's Treasure Island influenced by Poe?

I read on Wikipedia that: During the same period, Edgar Allan Poe wrote, "MS Found in a Bottle" (1833) and the intriguing tale of buried treasure, "The Gold-Bug" (1843). All of these works ...
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Are keteks based on some form of real-life poetry?

In Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive novels, the chapters are grouped into parts, the titles of the parts combining to form a ketek. For example, in the first book, The Way of Kings: Above ...
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141 views

How much does “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young” differ from the original Bible story?

The poem "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young", usually attributed to Wilfred Owen although much of it was written by Siegfried Sassoon, is a slight retelling of the Biblical story of Abraham and ...
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1answer
6k views

Was there a reason Victor Hugo chose 24601 as the number for Jean Valjean?

24601 has developed into being an iconic part of both the Les Miserables book and musical. Was that number special to him, or was it simply a random number he chose (I doubt it)?
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316 views

What were the inspirations for the Forsaken's names?

I realized that some of the Forsaken names were familiar to me (Ishamael and Ishmael from Moby Dick, Asmodean and Asmodeus the demon). Did Jordan take inspiration for the names for all the Forsaken, ...
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206 views

Was Théoden's revival inspired by Mark Twain?

I was reading Mark Twain's Joan of Arc and Joan converses with the Dauphin of France. The talk between Joan and the King was long and earnest [...] and has been set down in [...] testimony at the ...
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253 views

Was Neil Gaiman influenced by Heinrich Heine?

In my experience, Neil Gaiman's understanding of mythology and literature is exceptionally profound, and he is able to render stories with mythological resonance surpassing the work of most of his ...
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223 views

Is the treatment of Jar Jar Binks in Aftermath: Empire's End a reflection of audience treatment?

In one of the Interlude scenes in the book Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End, a child interacts with Jar Jar Binks, and gives more details about how the adults don't like him due to their beliefs that ...
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1answer
423 views

Who was (were?) the inspiration for Carrie?

The Wikipedia article on Stephen King's Carrie says that Carrie is based on two girls in King's schools. It has this quote, with a "citation needed" attached: She was a very peculiar girl who came ...
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1answer
2k views

Why was Ginny Weasley named Ginny Weasley?

The official publishing company of J.K Rowling named Pottermore have revealed (see here) that there are/were interesting and well thought etymology of characters in Harry Potter book series. It does ...
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1answer
118 views

Does Indiana Jones have a literary inspiration or equivalent?

I am aware of speculation that Indiana Jones is possibly based on one or more hybrids of historical individuals, but does the character have a literary forerunner?
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6k views

Could you actually go around the world in 80 days?

Around the world in 80 days is a novel be Jules Verne about an Englishman who makes a bet with some fellow club members that he can travel around the world in 80 days. Nowadays with modern flight, ...
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Is there a specific tuition system that the University's was based on?

In Patrick Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle, students at the University are asked to pay a variable amount for their tuition per term, based mostly on their performance in an interview in front of ...
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Was Jonah Wizard based on any specific celebrity?

In the The 39 Clues series, Jonah Wizard is the Cahill's famous face - he's a star hip-hop musician, and he gets mobbed everywhere. He's a celebrity - he flies private planes, has tons of money, etc. ...
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What was “Rip Van Winkle” based on?

I was recently surprised to discover that the story of Rip Van Winkle is credited to the US author Washington Irving, who published it in 1819. I'd always vaguely imagined it to be a Brothers Grimm ...
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Is this fictional event of a ship becoming airborne because of a storm based on a real event?

In the book Nation, by Terry Pratchett, a sailing ship becomes airborne from the force of a storm, and is pushed inland quite a distance, before becoming lodged in trees. Is this possible? If so, are ...
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282 views

How much of The Song of Wandering Aengus by Yeats is based on Irish folklore?

Yeats was a keen student of Irish folklore and it is clear that the titular character in his poem The Song of Wandering Aengus is based on the pre-Christian Celtic god of love, youth and poetry. ...
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How did Ibsen's writing in “A Doll's House” influence the James Joyce character Molly Bloom?

How did Ibsen's writing in "A Doll's House" influence the James Joyce character Molly Bloom? In particular, what other authoritative commentators, besides Richard Ellmann, provide illuminating ...