All Questions

2
votes
1answer
83 views

Play: With A Memorable Conversation between a villain and his henchman

I remember reading several lines from what I think was a Shakespearean type play. It was between a villain and one of his henchman, and I think they were discussing the murder of someone referred to ...
5
votes
1answer
73 views

Protagonist's comments on his student's essay in 'The Professor' by Charlotte Brontë

The protagonist in Charlotte Brontë's 'The Professor', who is employed as a teacher of English in a Belgian school, is surprised upon reading an unusually well-written creative essay by one of his ...
14
votes
1answer
193 views

What is the significance of Sauron never having a physical presence in the Lord of the Rings?

So I noticed that in Lord of the Rings Sauron acts as a very interesting villain. He never makes a corporeal appearance, nor does he have any acting dialogue. He's mentioned plenty of times through ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Was Victor Frankenstein an aristocrat?

I know that Frankenstein's family were rich enough for him to take frequent vacations, but were they titled nobility? And if they were what title or titles did they hold?
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Dutch Novel: old retired actor who receives an anonymous letter offering him one last role

It was written by one of the four (or five) "Lions" of post-war Dutch literature. The story concerns an old retired actor who lives alone. He has had some mysterious dealings with his older (or ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Sartre on amorality and his influence on Vargas Llosa?

I noticed Vargas Llosa credits Sartre with his characters being amoral. I'm wondering when does Sartre write about amorality? About characters not facing repercusions for their amoral acts. I'm very ...
3
votes
0answers
43 views

Does “egourge” in Finnegans Wake derive from the Greek “egoourgos” meaning “worker for the self”?

Finnwake.com claims that "egourge", in the following line from Finnegans Wake (p.g. 49-50), derives from "egoourgos (gr) - worker for the self", but Google Translate does not seem to know of any word "...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

What does “wisdom that is so often loudly preached” mean in the Parable of the King and the Maiden?

In the first paragraph of "The Parable of the King and the Maiden": Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden and whose heart was unaffected by the wisdom that is so often loudly preached. ...
7
votes
1answer
84 views

Do the *books* show that Hogwarts is in Scotland?

It's well known among Harry Potter nerds that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is located in Scotland. But the only sources I've found for this are extratextual, e.g. from interviews with ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Who is “Luna” in Byron's “To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture”?

Here are the fourth and fifth stanzas of "To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture" by Lord Byron: Here, I behold its beauteous hue;     But where's the beam so sweetly straying, Which gave a lustre ...
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Purpose of realistic literature

In the 19th century, why did literary realism start? I mean it in contrast to romanticism. Why did writers stop to express their ideals and conflicts in their works? I think it might be because none ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Where does Goethe refer to “from the deepest mountain valley to the highest mountain top”?

I'm not sure about the precise wording of the sentence, neither in english or german. But the quote is often used when referring to a mans life or career that has gone from the lowest low (e.g. ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

What is the meaning of 'myopia' in literature studies?

Does the term myopia have a special meaning in the context of literature? Myopia is in its most direct meaning a healthcare condition: relating to, or exhibiting myopia : NEARSIGHTED Myopia or ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

How does the author convey the tone of the panic that can be aroused by contemplating the “prenatal abyss”?

In the text of Vladimir Nabokov: The Beginning of Consciousness How does the author convey the tone of the panic that can be aroused by contemplating the "prenatal abyss"? The cradle rocks above ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Is there a hidden meaning in the name of Captain Foulenough?

The Brideshead Revisited features a side character, a certain Captain Foulenough. In Russian translation his last name is rendered as Буремглой, obviously referring to a Pushkin's line Буря мглою ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Can someone explain what “corrupt without being charming” means?

From Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (emphasis added): those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is fault. Those who find beautiful meanings ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

What is the meaning of a complex sentence from “The Hedgehog and the Fox”?

I'm new in English and I want to understand this sentence from Isaiah Berlin's The Hedgehog and the Fox: "Rousseau must have strengthened, if he did not actually originate, his growing tendency to ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

Can the social commentary in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” be applied to the present?

Recently, I have picked up "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" after reading glowing reviews of the book. However, as I read the book further, I felt that I have completely misunderstood the points it ...
7
votes
1answer
57 views

What does Mark Twain mean by “keep hotel”?

The protagonist in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court uses this phrase: But that should be nothing to his discredit; the man that can do THIS kind of miracle knows enough to keep hotel. ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Children raised out of human society - ancient stories

I am interested in the theme of human children raised out of human society (e.g. Mowgli or Romulus and Remus), whether by animals, gods, flowers, aliens, etc. What is the oldest story where such a ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

What was the “cyclops' smoky band” to which Ewan MacColl's father belonged?

Ewan MacColl's song "My Old Man" contains the lyrics: My old man was a good old man Skilled in the moulding trade In the stinking heat of the iron foundry My old man was made Down on his ...
2
votes
0answers
24 views

Why does Liesel ignore Max at first in “The Book Thief”?

In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Liesel Meminger and Max Vandenburg have an interesting relationship: at first, Liesel ignores Max and is hesitant to to talk to him. Then, for some reason, the two ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

The origin of Tolkien's use of the term “hobbit”

In a footnote on page 29 of The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun Verlyn Flieger notes the word korigans appears in the 1891 compendium of folklore known as The Denham Tracts (Vol. II, p. 79) where it is ...
6
votes
1answer
88 views

Novel: young woman blows herself up at her rich dad's party for Latin American dictators

I read this book for a university course between 1993-97. The narration is hectic & fragmented: inner thoughts mixed with straight narration mixed with flashbacks, run-on and choppy sentences, ...
3
votes
1answer
35 views

What did Twain mean by the “Creedmoor aim”?

In a letter to his friend William Dean Howells recounting the heroic exploits of John T. Lewis, Mark Twain wrote the following in 1877: Lewis, the prodigious … saw the frantic horse plunging down ...
6
votes
0answers
145 views

Short story, maybe SF: non-neurotypical girl gets pregnant and older mentor (not the father) marries her

In this story there's a girl who is mentally fragile in some way -- I don't remember exactly how, and I don't think it's spelled out explicitly, but there's something about her that isn't entirely ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

What's the source of Michelangelo's quote: “Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.”?

Many quote Michelangelo as saying that "trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." For example, the following passage is from the book Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

How did the “hero mice” gain their powers in the “Geronimo Stilton” series?

How did the "hero mice" in the Geronimo Stilton series of childrens books originally gain their powers?
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Adventure / Mystery book with a cool old lady and her house with automated amusements

I read this in the early 2000s, I think. It was a paperback, with the main characters being a set of kids, at least three of them, with both boys and girls in the group. I don't remember the main part ...
3
votes
0answers
60 views

Has Albert Pike's plagiarism from Robert William Mackay been described?

Background. I have made an observation, documented in detail in https://twitter.com/LGcommaI/status/1116010801784152064. [ I am the person who is writing the content of the twitter-channel @LGcommaI; ...
3
votes
0answers
30 views

Did Jean Rhys recognize her fictional portrait in Ford Madox Ford's *When the Wicked Man*?

Jean Rhys's affair with Ford Madox Ford, and its effects on her marriage to Jean Lenglet as well as on Ford's relationship with Stella Bowen, have been variously cataloged by each of this foursome: ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Gone Girl: How did Nick figure out the fourth clue?

The fourth clue read: Picture me: I’m a girl who is very bad I need to be punished, and by punished, I mean had It’s where you store goodies for anniversary five Pardon me if this is getting ...
0
votes
0answers
68 views

Dracula Cultural Anxieties

I have a question on Dracula and the Victorian era. I was just wondering to what extent the cultural anxieties of the Victorian age are represented in Dracula?
4
votes
3answers
125 views

Looking for poem in which sleep is as great an equalizer as death

There was a poem on the 2015 AP English Literature and Composition exam multiple choice section that I only barely remember. The topic was along the lines of "sleep is as great an equalizer as death" ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

History of Pale Fire's Criticism

How did Pale Fire's interpretation and analysis develop through time? Had there been continuous critical attention towards it and what did Nabokov himself say about the work? It is quite a ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

What is the metre of this poem by Emily Bronte?

I really like the following poem by E. Bronte: High waving heather 'neath stormy blasts bending, Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars, Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending, ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

Opposite of accismus in Julius Caesar [closed]

A preliminary definition: accismus is a rhetorical device in which the rhetor turns down an offer for something that he/she earnestly desires (usually in order to come off as humble/temperate/etc). ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

Ann Quin’s ambiguous prose

I am currently reading Berg by Ann Quin, a famous British experimental writer, and having a hard time understanding some of her prose. Although I realise that it is written in a vague, stream-of-...
7
votes
1answer
133 views

Where and how did James Joyce condemn Hamlet as a failure?

Earlier this year, someone asked Why did T.S. Eliot make a statement that 'Coriolanus' was Shakespeare's masterpiece and that 'Hamlet' was an artistic failure? If the Wikipedia article about William ...
3
votes
0answers
34 views

What is the significance of naming the djinni Bartimaeus?

In the Bartimaeus trilogy, the main character is the eponymous djinni Bartimaeus, a demon/spirit from "the Other Place" who is cheeky, witty, boastful, and at times surprisingly deep. Bartimaeus, ...
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Was Francisco d'Anconia's deliberate destruction of his competitors counterproductive to the purpose of the Strike?

Related: Why was Francisco d'Anconia amused by Ellis Wyatt's imminent demise? When describing what a playboy Francisco d'Anconia had supposedly become (including throwing wild and ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Is Paul Fry correct in saying that modern hermeneutic approaches largely developed due to the Protestant Reformation?

In lecture 3 of his Introduction to the Theory of Literature Yale Open Course, Prof. Paul Fry makes the following claim: ... the notion of hermeneutics arises primarily in religion first, ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

How could Francisco d’Anconia work for Reardon without breaking his oath?

When Hank Reardon was finally ready to join the Strike, he found that Francisco had already been working for him as a furnace superintendent - and, characteristically, as a very good one. Clearly, ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

What is “the dark simple curtain” in Ted Hughes' “Criminal Ballad”?

In the poem "Criminal Ballad", Ted Hughes describes a chain of tragedies happening in parallel with a man's simple moments of life. One of these is the following: And when he ran and got his toy ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Oldest children’s library in America?

I’ve already asked about the oldest free public library: now what’s the oldest children’s library in America?
1
vote
0answers
36 views

What was Fausts purpose?

It seems like at the end of Faust II, he has realized what he should do. Shortly before that, he kills humans on his quest to help humanity. So what exactly is his new purpose, except that he has ...
5
votes
2answers
384 views

Was T. S. Eliot's “The Waste Land” plagiarised?

This Q&A mention accusations of plagiarism levelled at T. S. Eliot in the context of his famous poem "The Waste Land". There seems to be a lot of information about this on the internet, for ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

In Persuasion,By Jane Austen: About a Conversation between Anne and Mrs. Smith

I am not able to comprehend this paragraph? If anybody could help me understand the meaning of this paragraph it would be very helpful. But Mr. Elliot was not done with. Mrs. Smith had been carried ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

How successful was Barack Obama's book “Dreams from my father” before he became well-known?

Barack Obama's book Dreams from my Father was released in 1995 - many years before he became a senator and then president. Before he became well-known in politics, how successful was the book and him ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Help me find a Childhood fictional book about a prisoner

I'd appreciate some help in finding this book I have but vague memories of. Here's everything I remember, some things more vivid than others. The story starts with the protagonist outside of this ...

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