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98 views

How fictionalised is “Dust Tracks on a Road”?

I just finished reading Zora Neale Hurston's memoir Dust Tracks on a Road and I thought it seemed to be full of tall tales as well as omissions, though obviously it is based on her real life. In his ...
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110 views

In “Pierre Menard, Author of The Quixote” is Menard an analogy for a critical lens?

In Pierre Menard, Author of The Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges, the narrator of the work talks about how when he read Don Quixote after having been told that Pierre Menard had rewritten it with the same ...
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417 views

What is the meaning of the blue X in the Three Attic Whalestoe Letters in House of Leaves?

In the middle of Appendix E of House of Leaves, "The Three Attic Whalestoe Letters", a mysterious blue "X" appears through the middle of an "e" on the page. Click to view the whole of page 625 in ...
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516 views

Is the Man-Mountain Agreement a satire of a specific event?

Gulliver's Travels, is a story by Jonathan Swift that is widely accepted to be a satire. In it when Gulliver visits Lilliput he agrees to a set of articles about his presence, which read as follows: ...
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1answer
114 views

Had people related the work of Gogol before “The Nose”?

In The Nose, an opera by Demitri Shostakovich, Shostakovich combines many of Nikolai Gogol's stories, including The Nose, for which the opera is named, into a single story. Had previous critics or ...
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62 views

What mechanism does David Weber use to ensure internal consistency of works in the shared Honorverse?

In certain franchises/shared universes, there are well known mechanisms for ensuring internal consistency (E.g. Star Wars has LucasFilm's Holocron/LSG). David Weber's Honorverse is a shared universe ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Is Barrett Emerson, portrayed in the TV series “Will”, a real Christopher Marlowe patron?

There is a (new) ten-episode series, called Will, depicting the "lost years" of Shakespeare and taking many liberties. Most of the adult characters are real: Robert Southwell , Francis Walsingham, ...
9
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1answer
125 views

What specifically is being described as stupid and old-fashioned in this passage on arranged marriage?

I'm trying to rhetorically analyze a passage in Amy Tan's novel titled The Joy Luck Club, where a character, Lindo Jong, describes her experience with the arranged marriage process. I've included the ...
9
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1answer
362 views

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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99 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 not being at all unlike what Edmund does in The ...
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121 views

Book that I read in 1987 at school - trying to find

In 1987 I began high school. There was one YA novel that the school librarian put on a special part of the shelf because it was "too frightening". If this was reverse psychology it worked because I ...
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185 views

What's the evidence for “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” being secretly set in Edinburgh?

Stevenson's famous novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is set in London, but some critics have claimed that it would seem to fit better in Stevenson's native Edinburgh, almost as if he wrote a story set in ...
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380 views

Why did iambic pentameter become so 'standard' in classical English poetry?

Iambic pentameter is probably the most prevailing and widely used meter in classical English poetry, and it's the 'standard' form of verse in many forms of poetry such as sonnets. From Wikipedia (...
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271 views

Who is the author of this contradictory poem starting “The night was dark and stormy”?

Does anyone know the name of or the author of the poem below? My grandfather used to say it all of the time and I would like to read it at his funeral. It's very silly and goes something like this: ...
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69 views

Is Mike an anarchist in *The Moon is a Harsh Mistress*?

In the later parts of Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, we find out that Manny and Prof are motivated by their anarchist political beliefs. They argue for these beliefs in the new ...
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68 views

Is Ari an unreliable narrator, or is he oblivious?

At the conclusion to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the title character Ari reaches the realization that he is romantically attracted to Dante -- ...
8
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439 views

In Baudelaire's “Chant d'automne”, why isn't the hidden rhythm better known?

I noticed something remarkable about one of Baudelaire's poems that I can't find any mention of on the web. My question is whether anybody has noticed this before, and whether there's some reason why ...
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383 views

What is the deeper meaning of Blake's “The Lily”?

The poem "The Lily" by William Blake must be one of the shortest of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience collection, only four lines long: The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep ...
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1k views

Was the Charles Calthrop plot-element in The Day of the Jackal an example of pure coincidence or good detection?

Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel "The Day of the Jackal" remains an immortal political thriller that defined the 'assassination novel' in popular consciousness. What has always intrigued me is ...
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481 views

Why do some paperbacks have shortened front covers?

Some paperback editions have a front cover which is a centimetre or two shorter than the actual book. I first noticed this on House of Leaves, where I thought that it's just part of the whole ...
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148 views

Vonnegut's writing style as time passed

I've been reading a lot of Vonnegut recently, and I've noticed some interesting stuff. Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, and Cat's Cradle are similar to a ...
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489 views

Which parts of the portrayal of women in “Flatland” are satire?

I recently finished Flatland (full text link), and I found it generally a somewhat disconcerting read. I realize that it's satire, and it's written in the tone of satire, particularly when it comes to ...
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81 views

Why is it important that 'Nowadays it's the girl who takes the initiative'?

In Sophie's World, we have one scene that can be described as a sex scene. It's in the chapter 'The Garden Party'; page 478 in my edition. Here's the relevant part: The guests applauded, and one of ...
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155 views

About Sappho's epigram for the little girl Aithopia: first line (manuscript tradition and experts' take), and authorship

Background and research As I am planning to post this poem on my blog relatively soon, I was doing some research on the first line. From what I had written previously, I seem to have found two ...
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65 views

How culturally mixed were the Earth ambassadors in Hard to Be a God?

Anton, aka "Don Rumata of Estor", is Russian. Pashka, aka "Don Hug, first groom of the chamber of his lordship the Duke of Irukan", is Russian. Alexander Vassilevitch, aka "Don Kondor, Supreme Judge ...
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164 views

Does Kvothe ever use the bed Auri prepared for him?

In Slow Regard of Silent Things, one of the gifts Auri prepares for Kvothe is a bed of his own near hers in the Underthing, along with a candle and a kiss. I've just finished a re-read of both The ...
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155 views

What do red and blue represent?

The Manhattan Projects uses red and blue in clearly representational ways, but I can't quite figure out what they represent. At first they're used to designate between the Oppenheimer twins, and ...
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188 views

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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103 views

Did Alfred Tennyson ever read The Last of the Light Brigade?

The Last of the Light Brigade, by Rudyard Kipling refers to Alfred Tennyson and his poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Do we know if Alfred Tennyson ever read The Last of the Light Brigade? If so, ...
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1k views

Is there any evidence of who assaulted Lola in “Atonement”, given the final reveal?

Content Note: Discussion of the sexual assault of a minor, and "evidence" of the innocence or guilt of possible suspects. Atonement revolves around Briony, who as a child is the only witness to Lola ...
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144 views

Was Isidora's fate in Melmoth the Wanderer directly inspired by Faust?

When reading Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer I couldn't help but notice that Isidora's fate largely resembled Gretchen's in Goethe's Faust and especially the endings of both storylines ...
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2answers
3k views

In Cupid and Psyche, why does Cupid hide himself from Psyche?

In the myth, Cupid only comes to Psyche in the dark, so she doesn't know who he is or what he looks like. What's Cupid's motivation for hiding his identity? Was he planning to do that indefinitely if ...
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42 views

What does Mr World represent in the American Gods book?

The American Gods Wikia site claims that Mr World is a personification of globalisation. That definitely seems to be true in the TV series (see the creepiest rant ever made about salsa), but in the ...
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137 views

Any significance to the “Dutch clock” and “Chinese plate” in Eugene Field's “The Duel”?

I just learned from an answer to an ID question about the poem "The Duel", or "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat", in which Eugene Field describes a vicious fight between two stuffed animals as told ...
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43 views

When was the Holy Grail first depicted as an object to be owned by its seeker?

While the Holy Grail was always depicted as an important or powerful relic, I have never seen in medieval literature a quest to own the Grail, only to seek it in a spiritual sense. In early stories, ...
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83 views

Do Stevenson's pirates speak in Cornish dialect?

In a literature-related thread on another SE site, I found the claim that the pirates in Robert louis Stevenson's Treasure Island speak in a Cornish dialect. This makes sense only thematically (given ...
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87 views

What was the unspeakable act that V.S. Naipaul committed while at Oxford University?

On 28 Sep. 1952, V.S. Naipaul wrote the following to his father: The very fact that I can write about future plans ought to hearten you. You see, I have really been suffering from an abnormal ...
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197 views

Why is 'Hamlet' considered one of the very best plays ever?

When an intellectual work (philosophy book, literary book, painting etc) is studied there are (at least) two principal questions to be addressed: What is this work about? Why is this work important? ...
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185 views

What is Ayn Rand's view of marriage and children?

It's difficult not to notice that the vast majority of heroes in Atlas Shrugged are unmarried and have no kids. Dagny Taggart - unmarried, no kids John Galt - unmarried, no kids Francisco - ...
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336 views

In Finnegans Wake, surely these two characters are different, and one is dead?

Since the motivation and argument supporting my question is long, but the question itself is fairly short, I will state the question as a spoiler. If the answer turns out to be indeed yes, then it ...
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43 views

Is The Owl Service sexist in its negative portrayals of women?

Alan Garner's novel The Owl Service has a small cast of characters, three of whom are female. On reflection, all three appear to be portrayed in a rather negative light. Alison is something of a ...
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2k views

Are there female Alphas?

All of the Alpha characters I can think of--Bernard, Helmholtz, Mustapha Mond, the DHC, Henry Foster--are men. And none of the female characters seem to be Alphas. Lenina is probably a Beta. Linda is ...
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550 views

What is the significance of Goldstein's book in 1984?

In 1984 by George Orwell, Goldstein's book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism is given roughly 30 pages of text, is largely drawn out, and seems unimportant compared to the rest of ...
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57 views

Predecessors/Inspirations of Scheinriesen (Illusionary Giants)

A "Scheinriese" (illusory giant), most notably Mr. Tur-Tur from Michael Ende's Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver, is a being which when seen from a distance appears to be a giant, inadvertently ...
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1k views

Where did the Robert Frost Quote “If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane” come from?

I have found numerous sources that attribute the quote "If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane" to Robert Frost but for the life of me, I cannot find when / where he actually said / wrote it.
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70 views

I'm looking for a (possibly Dutch) children's story about a king who was afraid of the dark

I'm looking for a children's novel, aimed at perhaps 7–10 year olds, that I read in the mid '90s; between 1993 and 2000. I must have read the story in Dutch. I believe the story was originally in ...
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106 views

Are positive, parable-like vibes a noted pattern in Russian literature (at least for short stories and anecdotes)?

WARNING! The following post contains minor spoilers about the following books: Mikhail Bulgakov - A Country Doctor's Notebook Bonnie Jo Campbell - American Salvage D. W. Wilson - Once your Break a ...
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73 views

What Confederate counterfactual story features Florida as an independent tourist republic?

This comment on Timothy Burke's article "On Confederate Counterfactuals" describes a story (presumably a novel) the user read about 40 years ago: [...] the very first Confederate counterfactual I ...
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112 views

Identify mystery novel: Past crime uncovered in English village, gossip leading to death(s)

I'm trying to remember a book I read sometime within the last ten years, but although I'm able to recall a fair bit of the story I have no idea of the title or author. I believe it's a "modern" ...
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199 views

Are the new gods not aware of the appearance of this character?

There will be very heavy spoilers - do not read further if you haven't finished the novel. Mr. World is the leader of the new gods, though his exact area of influence is left somewhat ambiguous in ...

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