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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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6 votes
1 answer
198 views

Where did the name Nimitseahpah come from?

In the January 2004 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, they ran a story called "Nimitseahpah", by Nancy Etchemendy. 'Nimitseahpah' is the name of the Paiute statue that's part of ...
39 votes
3 answers
24k 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)?
5 votes
1 answer
161 views

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 ...
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

To what extent did Agatha Christie base Captain Hastings on Dr. Watson?

I've noticed that there are quite a few parallels between Agatha Christie's Captain Arthur Hastings and Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr. John Watson: Both served in the British military (Hasting in World War ...
6 votes
1 answer
875 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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
2k views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
779 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
74 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
174 views

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 ...
5 votes
0 answers
82 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
100 views

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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
570 views

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", ...
9 votes
1 answer
547 views

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? Richard Ellmann in his book James Joyce mentions Joyce reading and getting influenced by Ibsen many times: ...
2 votes
0 answers
48 views

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 ...
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 ...
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the nets in Ender's Game? Are they based on anything in real life?

After reading Ender's Game, I liked the idea of "nets," and had some good ideas to put on there, but could never find them or what they are. Any idea, or is this just another fictional part of Ender's ...
3 votes
1 answer
118 views

Is there any evidence that William Shakespeare influenced Lope de Vega?

During the Spanish Golden Age of the arts, one of the key figures in Spanish literature was Lope de Vega, a prolific author of plays, poetry, and novels. He was approximately contemporary with William ...
4 votes
1 answer
88 views

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'...
6 votes
1 answer
188 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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
735 views

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, ...
1 vote
0 answers
61 views

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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k 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, ...
1 vote
0 answers
87 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
244 views

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 ...
21 votes
0 answers
473 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 ...
108 votes
5 answers
26k views

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

Was there any special meaning to the year he chose? I originally thought that he just selected a date in the future but now I am not so sure. Has George Orwell or his editor ever commented on the ...
14 votes
1 answer
345 views

Were the early sexual experiences of Lolita and her classmates inspired by the real experience of children in New England in 1947?

In the last pages of part 1 of Nabokov's Lolita Humbert relates Dolores's description of her own previous sexual experiences, in the course of which she mentions ways in which some of her coevals at ...
2 votes
0 answers
62 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
33 views

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?
1 vote
0 answers
91 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
80 views

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. ...
1 vote
2 answers
201 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
273 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
139 views

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?
4 votes
1 answer
110 views

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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
202 views

Was the assassination plot in The Thirty-Nine Steps based on any real plot?

In John Buchan's famous short novel The Thirty-Nine Steps, much of the plot (ha) revolves around a German plot to assassinate the Greek Premier, which is thwarted by the story's hero. All this happens ...
5 votes
0 answers
61 views

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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

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-...
5 votes
0 answers
102 views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
755 views

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. ...
15 votes
2 answers
774 views

What inspired the writing of Sredni Vashtar?

Of the many short stories by Saki, I found Sredni Vashtar to be one of the darkest. While many of his stories are morbid, Sredni Vashtar has a young boy praying for the death of his guardian to ...
4 votes
1 answer
81 views

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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
20k views

What did Gray mean by "where ignorance is bliss, / 'tis folly to be wise"?

Here's the last stanza of Thomas Gray's 1742 poem, 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College': To each his suff'rings: all are men,       Condemn'd alike to groan, The tender for another's ...
10 votes
1 answer
454 views

Was Edmund in the Narnia series loosely inspired by Edmund in King Lear?

In King Lear, Edmund, resentful of his inferior status to his older brother, betrays his family and frames his brother as a traitor. This strikes me as being quite a bit like what Edmund does in The ...
12 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
674 views

Tolkien character names inspired by Early Modern English

I have been browsing through A Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, Especially from the Dramatists by Walter W. Skeat (completed by A. L. Mayhew and published in 1914). It contains several entries that ...
4 votes
1 answer
176 views

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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
282 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 ...