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4
votes
1answer
92 views

Is there any special significance in Dr. Rutenspitz's last words to Mr. Golyadkin?

Throughout The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, there had been hints that maybe Mr. Golyadkin Jr., the double, was a product of Mr. Golyadkin Sr.'s imagination — and that it was either a way to signify ...
5
votes
1answer
84 views

What was Septimus Warren Smith's rank?

It has been years since I read Mrs. Dalloway, and I don't remember if Septimus Warren Smith's rank was ever indicated. I'm vaguely left with the impression he was an officer. Was his rank ever ...
6
votes
3answers
197 views
+100

John Betjeman’s “Suicide on Junction Road Station after Abstention from Evening Communion in North London”

John Betjeman’s poem ‘Suicide on Junction Road Station after Abstention from Evening Communion in North London’ was first published in the collection Continual Dew (1937). It’s short enough to quote ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the origin of the trope of an evil character whose name is not permitted to be spoken?

Many works of fantasy involve an evil leader or "dark lord" whose real name is known but usually not permitted to be spoken, either by his own followers (out of respect?) or by others (out of fear?) ...
4
votes
2answers
111 views

Context of “swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow”?

I go, I go; look how I go, Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. -- Puck, Act III Scene II, A Midsummer Night's Dream This is a well-known line from a Shakespeare play, but did Shakespeare ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

What does “ought to make a good thing out of this” mean in “New Grub Street”?

I would like to know what "ought to make a good thing out of this" means in the following passage: His utterance of the name ‘Mr Fadge’ sufficiently intimated that he had some cause of personal ...
5
votes
0answers
44 views

Fantasy children’s novel about a boy who can’t lie

I read this book around 2010 and I need help identifying it. The first scene was of a woman who had just given birth (?, she had her newborn) and it was raining. A wizard (who have been called ...
7
votes
2answers
70 views

The meaning of “Lovers' Food”

This question is regarding a dialogue of Hermia in Scene 1 of Act 1 of 'The Midsummer Night's Dream' by William Shakespeare where she mentions, "From lovers' food till morrow deep midnight." Please ...
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Why did the gods decide that Enkidu must die?

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, a major turning point is the death of Enkidu as a punishment from the gods after he and Gilgamesh slew both Humbaba and Gugalanna. From the modernised Muss-Arnolt translation,...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Who is Thomas o' Becket" in Tristram Shandy?

Who is Thomas o'Becket in chapter 2, vol.7 of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman? In this chapter Tristram says he has never visited St. Thomas at Canterbury before. This Thomas is ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

What is the book that has an abandoned DeSoto in it along with two raccoons?

So recently I felt a slight pang of regret for not reading enough of this really interesting book I got from the library at age 9. The plot goes something like this: 1: There is this evil crocodile ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Western novel series set around the civil war

I don't remember much but here's what I do remember: There were two novels featuring a group of elite Union soldiers, both would have been published around 2010, but not later than 2012. The first ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

Is there a formal term for “mispronunciation as a comedic device”?

Mispronunciation can be a comedic device. (Zach Galifianakis has regularly used the device in situational comedy.) I was trying to discuss the device formally, but couldn't recall a formal term ...
4
votes
0answers
154 views

What effect did the knocking at the gate in “Macbeth” have on Thomas De Quincey?

In Thomas De Quincey's 1823 essay "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth", he describes the effect of the knocking on him when he was a boy: "it [the knocking] reflected back upon the murderer a ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Russian children's book about a boy's first train journey

This is probably a Soviet-era children's book. It is about a boy's journey by train. As I remember it, not much happens plot-wise, but the boy's sense of wonder makes everything he encounters (The ...
5
votes
0answers
44 views

Which book(s): Fictional account of pre-columbian indians

I'm trying to identify a book, or series of books I read as a child. The setting was pre-columbian Central America, the protagonists belonged to a river based tribe (lots of big canoes etc). If ...
6
votes
2answers
78 views

Are coins usually turned around before handed to beggars?

I was reading Antinatalism on Wikiquote and saw Antinatalism - Wikiquote Above all, we must make the reproductive question ethically relevant. A coin is turned around before it is handed to the ...
6
votes
1answer
118 views

When was the Party founded?

The boots were approaching again. The door opened. O'Brien came in. Winston started to his feet. The shock of the sight had driven all caution out of him. For the first time in many years he ...
4
votes
3answers
98 views

Origin of “give a watermelon a pure fit” in “Blood Meridian”

On page 334 of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Elrod responds to the man’s assertion that the ears on his scapular were taken from Apaches by saying that the “Apaches would give a watermelon a pure ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Can anyone identify this parody of 'Consider the ant'?

Hoping you can help with this half-remembered poem that from what I can recall was written by someone who worked for the New Statesman or the Spectator in the 1970s. The opening part is: 'They say ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Does 'In a Grove' assume that dead people don't lie?

In a Grove is one of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa best-known short stories, partly due to Kurosawa's film Rashomon. In the short stories, we get several accounts of the death of samurai Kanazawa no Takehiro. ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Does someone know the “Moment of Ljewin” in Anna Karenina?

I'm visiting my girl this week (long-distance relationship, different country) and at some point she told me about being a big fan of Anna Karenina. However, the copy she had read was old and falling ...
3
votes
0answers
139 views

What are “abortive sorrows” and “short-winded elations” in “The Great Gatsby”?

From chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby: No — Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Calvin & Hobbes names choice [duplicate]

Why did Bill Watterson name Calvin after the reformer, John Calvin and Hobbes after the philosopher Thomas Hobbes?
4
votes
0answers
56 views

Aesop's ambiguous fables

I've been reading through some fables of Aesop's. I notice that some of them draw an explicit moral, but I don't know whether these were edited in later. For example, this version of "boy and snails" ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

In 'Pride and Prejudice',why was Mary's performance bad compared to Elizabeth's?

Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, and was always impatient for display... had neither genius nor taste, and ...
3
votes
2answers
106 views

Why were Mr Darcy's discoveries “mortifying” in “Pride and Prejudice”?

What do the phrases in bold mean in this passage from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Why are the names Rumi and Mevlana respectively used for the famous poet?

This famous Persian poet and mystic was named Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (جلال‌الدین محمد بلخى‎) or Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), where Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad was his actual ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

What does Fingersmith say about the relationship between feminism and pornography

Minor spoilers for Fingersmith follow. Pornography is an omnipresent but tangential feature in the plot of Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith. Several important characters are related to the trade as ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

Cold war spy novel: wife of a US rocket scientist (or journalist) is a Russian spy in disguise, but claims to actually love him

I can only remember the rough plot of a novel that I read many (15, 20?) years ago. (I am not talking about the film "Allied".) It went something like this. The wife in a US American married couple ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

In “Memories of Childhood”, why are two seemingly unrelated excerpts being presented together?

The unit "Memories of Childhood" (a short five minute read) is on my curriculum; I think it consists of excerpts from two different books, one by Zitkala-Sa and one by Bama, presented together. But ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

How was poetry born? [closed]

It is probably impossible to know how literature or music were born. However I would like what research says about how poetry was born. Perhaps some people claim that it came into existence after ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Lady sprains her ankle

I remember during my English class reading an extract of a well-known novel. It was about a lady spraining her ankle and a gentleman helping her, I recollect. I have always thought it to be from Pride ...
5
votes
1answer
77 views

Any textual evidence from Shakespeare's Macbeth regarding Macbeth's oath to kill the king?

In act 1, scene 7, Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to keep his promise and kill king Duncan, but is there any textual evidence from the play regarding his earlier oath to kill the king? Here, for ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

How can “Death be not proud” be related to the areas of exploration?

Here is the summary of the poem "Death Be Not Proud" by Jon Donne (Source - https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44107/holy-sonnets-death-be-not-proud)- “Death Be Not Proud” presents an argument ...
5
votes
1answer
87 views

How much did Lombard know about the murders in “And Then There Where None”?

When only Lombard and Vera are left alive, they have this dialogue that makes it seem like Lombard was the murderer. And while you could claim that it was a mutual misunderstanding (both of them ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

What do “current words” mean in 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton?

The below paragraph is from "Roman Fever'. "Alida Slade's awfully brilliant; but not as brilliant as she thinks," would have summed it up; though she would have added, for the enlightenment of ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

What is the logic in this quote about raids in 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton? [duplicate]

I am reading Edith Wharton’s Roman Fever. I have a question which is beyond my understanding, being not a native English speaker. The phrase is as below from the original text. "I'd rather live ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Meaning of ché in several French or Martiniquan Creole phrases in Wide Sargasso Sea

The first part of Jean Rhys' novel Wide Sargasso Sea is set in Jamaica, but the main character's mother is from Martinique, where French and the French-based Martiniquan Creole are spoken. The family'...
3
votes
0answers
34 views

Is “Africa” by Toto focused on the woman referred to in the beginning of the song, or on Africa itself?

The song "Africa" by Toto is at least nominally about the narrator's relationship with a woman: I hear the drums echoing tonight But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation She's ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

In 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton, why would Grace be raided?

I am reading Edith Wharton’s 'Roman Fever'. I have a couple of question which are beyond my understanding, being not a native English speaker. "I'd rather live opposite a speakeasy for a change; at ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

Why is Lorca so angry against 'the urban faggots?'

In Lorca's Ode to Walt Whitman, his hommage to the great American poet, he has the following few verses: That's why I don't raise my voice, old Walt Whitman ... ... against the men with that ...
0
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0answers
40 views

Larry Csonka and the Chocolate Factory confirmation of existence

(Note: Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but this link: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/300800/where-can-i-ask-questions-about-a-broadway-show brought me here.) My ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

Did 'A Doll's House' spark controversy over its dismissal of social classes?

I know the play caused drama over feminist ideas and all, but what about the social structure, such as in the end when Nora ignores Torvald's statement "You don’t understand the society you live in" ...
8
votes
1answer
252 views

“Remembrance Day” in “Jude the Obscure”

In Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (1894-95) some of the characters meet in Christminster (Oxford) on "Remembrance Day". For example: "The place seems gay," said Sue. "Why—it is Remembrance Day!—...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

“Just William” story in which school choir is mistaken for wolves

I used to have a set of "Just William" audiobooks. One of these was about when William went out for the evening with his school choir or similar, and ended up going into somebody's house, the owner of ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

“Just William” story where he gets a mouth organ on Christmas Day

I remember listening to a "Just William" audiobook when I was younger about a Christmas Day when he received a mouth organ, and started playing it really early in the morning.
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Why does Mr Darcy immediately suspect Mrs Gardiner of telling Elizabeth of his hand in marrying Lydia?

Now was the moment for her resolution to be executed, and, while her courage was high, she immediately said, 'Mr Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and, for the sake of giving relief to my own ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

In the short story “Should Wizard hit Mommy” by John Updike,what is the author conveying through his narrated story and contradicting actions

The short story "Should Wizard hit Mommy" by John Updike (a short five-to-ten-minute read) is on my curriculum; it involves a father who tells a nap-time story to his daughter. It appears to be a ...
2
votes
0answers
109 views

Analysis of “Liberty Tree” by Thomas Paine

I am having some trouble comprehending a portion of "Liberty Tree" by Thomas Paine, and was unable to find a decent analysis of it. It is my understanding that this poem is about the Liberty Tree that ...

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