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9
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446 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: ...
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
votes
1answer
115 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
262 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). ...
8
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41 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 ...
8
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93 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 ...
8
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65 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 ...
8
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180 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 (...
8
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113 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: ...
8
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58 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 ...
8
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60 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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140 views

Does the Abrahamic God exist in the Cthulhu Mythos?

In several Cthulhu Mythos stories, incantations are made that seemingly reference Hebrew terms for the Abrahamic God. For example, Per Adonai Eloim, Adonai Jehova Adonai Sabaoth... from The ...
8
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63 views

In what way is Dussel an unflattering nickname?

From 16 November 1942 onwards, Anne Frank had to share her room with the dentist Fritz Pfeffer, who had a number of habits that Anne couldn't stand. In the German biography Anne Frank (Reinbek bei ...
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189 views

How did Ursula Le Guin translate the Tao Te Ching / Dao De Jing?

In 1998, Shambhala Publications published a translation of the Tao Te Ching (in pinyin: Daodejing and Dao De Jing) by Ursula Le Guin. The Dao De Jing was written in Classical Chinese, so it takes much ...
8
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259 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 ...
8
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0answers
5k views

What's the origin of the rhyme “My friend Billy had a ten foot willy”?

A simple rhyming song which I heard growing up and which still gets stuck in my head every so often: My friend Billy had a ten foot willy. He stuck it through the neighbour's door. OR He showed ...
8
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0answers
221 views

Why is the last title in Proust's “Search For Lost Time” not consistently translated as “Time Found Again”?

Marcel Proust wrote a seven-volume French novel called A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. The original French title of the last volume was Le Temps Retrouvé. It seems to me that in these titles Proust ...
8
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778 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 the small ...
8
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328 views

In Brave New World, If Lenina is a beta, why does she wear green?

I never quite understood why Lenina wears green if she is a beta, since betas don't wear green.
8
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237 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 ...
8
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134 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 ...
8
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0answers
145 views

Trying to remember a book about a relationship between a teenage girl and an older man

I read this story in the 1990s sometime. I remember it being novel-length, but short novel length, maybe 200 pages or so. The cover art I remember was the most 80s thing you've ever seen - a girl with ...
8
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374 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 ...
8
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78 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 ...
8
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0answers
143 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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57 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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137 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 ...
8
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0answers
135 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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70 views

How long is the Nijni-Novgorod trade fair?

In Jules Verne, Michel Strogoff, part 1 chapter 5, when Michel arrives to Nijni-Novgorod, there's a huge trade fair going on in the city. The text seems to give two contradictory numbers about how ...
8
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238 views

Why was Welsh nationalist poet RS Thomas so critical of the Welsh people?

Welsh poet R.S. Thomas was an ardent Welsh nationalist and advocate for independence. Although a native English speaker he learned and conversed in Welsh, although he never felt fluent enough to use ...
8
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1answer
92 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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72 views

Why did SAQ get re-translated?

Some Answered Questions was first published into English in 1908, but was "extensively retranslated" in 2014. Why was a retranslation needed? I assume it has to do with the dual origin of the English ...
8
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951 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 ...
8
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0answers
123 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 ...
8
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57 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 ...
7
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0answers
74 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 ...
7
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116 views

Can three unstressed syllables constitute a substitute foot in Shakespeare?

While trying to ascertain the accentuation of certain names in Shakespeare, by analyzing lines of verse where they occur, I encountered a couple of lines that I was tempted to scan with a substitute ...
7
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0answers
91 views

What is the history of the universe/canon/word-of-god approach to literature?

Over on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, some participants apply the following theoretical approach to the interpretation of fiction: The role of fiction is to describe a fictional ‘...
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0answers
138 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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106 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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42 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 ...
7
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0answers
339 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 ...
7
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0answers
481 views

What does “in the Ring” mean in Because I could not stop for Death?

3rd stanza: We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – I've heard of attempts justifying an ...
7
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0answers
50 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 ...
7
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0answers
621 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.
7
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69 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 ...
7
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100 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 ...
7
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0answers
47 views

'Endymion' - Keats

And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; All lovely tales that we have heard or read: An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the ...
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70 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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105 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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