All Questions

6
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0answers
66 views

Meaning of the slash (“/”) in dialog in Ernst Toller's “Die Wandlung”

I have to translate German playwright Ernst Toller's drama Die Wandlung. In this drama, Toller uses slashes in the dialogues of some characters to separate the sentences, like this: KRIEGSTOD: ...
6
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0answers
146 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 ...
6
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0answers
89 views

In George Orwell's Burmese Days, what word is the censored “b--s” supposed to be?

Here's a passage where Westfield talks about possibly having to allow Natives into the European club: "Got to put up with it, I suppose", he said. "B--s of natives are getting into all the Clubs ...
6
votes
0answers
43 views

What was the public's initial reaction to Virginia Woolf's Orlando?

Orlando is about an immortal man who changes into a woman. Originally Woolf wanted to write about a bisexual character but the laws of the time wouldn't allow it, so this was her way of compromising ...
6
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0answers
129 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? ...
6
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0answers
121 views

Book about a kid that encounters a foreign girl during holidays and invents a new language

I am searching for a book I read around 10 years ago (in French). The story was about a family going on vacation (I remember a sort of camping, near the sea). The protagonist was a young boy (8-12 ...
6
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0answers
82 views

Why does Great Literary Classics change details in its abridged versions?

From the Wikipedia article on Great Illustrated Classics: The Great Illustrated Classics series of books offers easy-to-read adaptations of well known classics, featuring large print and ...
6
votes
0answers
95 views

Religious symbolism of the Telmarines?

The religious symbolism in C.S. Lewis's Narnia books is well known and, in many cases, very clear: Aslan is Jesus, the Calormenes are a very stereotypical portrayal of Muslims, the Dwarfs may ...
6
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0answers
69 views

Tracking down a literary quote about grammar

I once read a quote that goes something like, We should all be grateful to grammarians for saving us in fifty years from a grievous error. I think it's by Proust, but Google doesn't seem to ...
6
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0answers
65 views

When was Machiavelli's Art of War first translated into Chinese?

Bookeater recently asked when Sun Zi's Art of War was first adopted outside China. However, Sun Zi was not the only author who wrote a treatise on this topic. Machiavelli wrote Dell'arte della guerra /...
6
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0answers
42 views

How much of Fantastica remains the same between iterations?

Each time a human comes to Fantastica, the whole world is essentially 'rebooted'. We see this in chapter 13, where Bastian and the Childlike Empress start off in total empty nothingness, before he ...
6
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0answers
44 views

In “The Old Man and the Sea” why doesn't the Old Man recognize that the fish is a marlin

When I read the book as a kid, I was certain that the "fish" is a narwhal. I'm rereading it now, many years later, and a quick Google search told me I was wrong all these years: the fish is a marlin. ...
6
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0answers
73 views

Do we know Merlin enchanted the sword/stone thing?

In Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur it's very heavily implied that Merlin enchanted the stone and the sword in it so it only could be pulled out by the true king of Britain/Arthur: the day came when the ...
6
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0answers
68 views

In Finnegans Wake, surely the dreamer is this character?

As I see it, Finnegans Wake has two main sections, namely Section A (“dreamland” [1-617.29]) and Section B (“anna’s interior monologue” [617.30-628]). Section A and Section B are my terms and there is ...
6
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0answers
1k 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 ...
6
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0answers
34 views

What prompted Du Bois to change “Jew” to “Immigrant” in “Of the Black Belt”?

In my copy of The Souls of Black Folk, the essay "Of the Black Belt" references Jews as the inheritors of much property and land in the deep South. A footnote in the book, however, reads: In ...
6
votes
0answers
447 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 ...
6
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0answers
328 views

Were the three slogans in Orwell's 1984 partly inspired by Kipling's poem “The White Man's Burden”?

George Orwell did not like Kipling at all. I quote from this essay by Orwell: Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting. But this essay also shows that ...
6
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0answers
356 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 ...
6
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0answers
390 views

Is the comparison in “The Clod and the Pebble” between different types of love?

The poem "The Clod and the Pebble" from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (which you can read online) is just three verses long and compares two different descriptions of love, ...
6
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0answers
203 views

Why does Kipling's poem ‘The Three-Decker’ differ between editions?

Rudyard Kipling’s collection The Seven Seas (1896) contains the poem ‘The Three-Decker’, whose third verse is as follows: By ways no gaze could follow, a course unspoiled of cook, Per Fancy, ...
6
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0answers
88 views

Identifying a story described within an Agatha Christie book

About 3/4 of the way through Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' (pub c.1940), is this paragraph, describing a book, or maybe a story in some other kind of format: She broke off, went on: "...
6
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0answers
217 views

How did Billy Pilgrim know the manner and time of his death?

In Slaughterhouse Five, the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, suffers from PTSD caused by the mental trauma of having been in the war. He deals with this by imagining that he has come unstuck in time and ...
6
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0answers
91 views

What's the meaning of “well over the fast” in the following passage?

In Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party (1957), Goldberg (a Jewish character) wishes Stanley a happy birthday and says "well over the fast." What does he mean by it? I know that this expression is ...
6
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0answers
94 views

Is this quote from Flatland a reference to Plato's Cave analogy?

Flatland opens with the following paragraph: Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their ...
6
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0answers
35 views

What qualities have lead to the enduring popularity of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving has remained extremely popular. Wikipedia lists 24 film and TV adaptations including the well know Tim Burton film and, perhaps more ...
6
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0answers
60 views

What does “And others, whose breasts love the feel of scapulars,” mean in Baudelaire's “Damned Women”?

Et d'autres, dont la gorge aime les scapulaires, Qui, recélant un fouet sous leurs longs vêtements, Mêlent, dans le bois sombre et les nuits solitaires, L'écume du plaisir aux larmes ...
6
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0answers
42 views

Does literary theory have a technical term for a writer publishing the first version of one of their works in a foreign language?

Does literary theory know a technical term for the following: An accomplished writer intentionally publishes the first version of one of their texts in a language which they neither know (well), ...
6
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0answers
58 views

Looking for a story about a boy deformed by factory work I think it's an O. Henry

I've been trying to find this story for years. I remember reading it in Reading class as a kid (in the 1960s or early 70s). This would have been in a 4th or 5th grade reading book in New York State. ...
6
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0answers
36 views

Why is the Actor Kipps, and Kipps the Actor?

The stage directions for Mallatratt's The Woman in Black indicate that the middle-aged man, "whose name is Kipps, will not be referred to as 'Kipps' but as 'Actor'--even though he clearly isn't one," ...
6
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0answers
203 views

What is the significance of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov?

In the The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan tells a long story to Alyosha about the Grand Inquisitor. I have been trying to grasp its meaning for sometime, but what is the significance of that story?
6
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0answers
50 views

Novel about the future of communication, everything becoming shorter and shorter

Years ago, roaming around in a library, I stumbled across a short novel about the future of communication. I think that it was written in the 70s. Starting from the first appearance of the Reader's ...
6
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0answers
47 views

Do the stories in “The SEA is Ours” accurately portray the essential aspects of South-East Asian culture?

The SEA is Ours is this month's topic challenge. The purpose of these challenges is to increase the diversity of the literature that we discuss on this site. This is important for a number of reasons, ...
6
votes
0answers
219 views

Why does The Raw Shark Texts have “negative” chapters or “un-chapters”?

In a forum post, Steven Hall, the author of The Raw Shark Texts, announced that each chapter of The Raw Shark Texts had a negative chapter: Hello. For each chapter in The Raw Shark Texts there ...
6
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0answers
316 views

Why do vultures unexpectedly start talking in Their Eyes Were Watching God?

In Their Eyes Were Watching God (which is a fantastic book that is also [shameless plug] a proposed topic challenge), there's a strange scene on pages 61-62 where several vultures (a type of bird) ...
6
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0answers
58 views

What is 'the morbid association between the cannibal and the nutcracker'?

In the book "Constellation of Vital Phenomena" (Anthony Marra) Sonja remembers visiting anatomy and pathology museum in London. There she stumbles upon an exhibit of a skull of a cannibal. The placard ...
6
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0answers
122 views

Symbolism of Occam's death in Straight Man?

In Richard Russo's novel Straight Man, the protagonist Hank claims to be a philosophical disciple of William of Occam, and applies Occam's razor to his approach to deduction many times. As I recall, ...
6
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0answers
73 views

Why is the 'a cat may look at a king' quote relevant for when Dr. Rohmer is looking at the man on the podium?

In The View From Saturday, chapter 2 (page 22 in my copy), there's this quote: On her left sat Dr. Roy Clayton Rohmer, the District Superintendent for Clarion Academy. Both Dr. Rohmer and Mrs. ...
6
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0answers
58 views

Did Marge Piercy have experience with the mental health system?

Marge Piercy's novel Woman on the Edge of Time presents a chilling view of the modern mental health system, by documenting the thoughts and experiences of a woman committed to a mental institution ...
6
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0answers
104 views

Children's Book with Time Machine in the Basement

I'm trying to find a book I recall from my childhood, but details are sparse. For an upper bound on release, I would have read this ~1990-1995. The only detail that really stands out is that towards ...
6
votes
0answers
138 views

What does its future setting add to Cold Comfort Farm?

Cold Comfort Farm is set gently but irresistibly a decade or two after its original publishing date, with video phones and the Anglo-Nicaraguan War of '46 and so forth. However, setting the action in ...
6
votes
0answers
85 views

What does Tiriel's blindness symbolize?

In Tiriel, it's mentioned several times that Tiriel is blind, first in Chapter I, line 27: Look at my eyes, blind as the orbless skull among the stones! And later again in Chapter II, lines 61-65: ...
6
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0answers
26 views

What is Belle's secret?

The final pages of Death of a Ghost describe Mrs. Lefcadio looking at a self-portrait of her husband, and much is made of how different it is from the famous Sargent portrait of the man. And then she ...
6
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0answers
123 views

Why did Dr Azad pay for Chanu's ticket to India?

"Dr. Azad," she said. "Why did you give my husband that money?" The end of his nose was pitted with age, his cheeks had given way to jowls, pockets of air puffed the skin around his eyes, when he ...
6
votes
0answers
81 views

A pair of children decide that their neighbor is a witch and convince her to try flying

I believe I checked this out from our library in Kentucky somewhere between 1986 and 1995. I remember it as a short book, less than a hundred pages, maybe less than thirty. A pair of children (at ...
6
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0answers
107 views

Identify a novel/travelogue (18th century) featuring an anecdote about haunted painting

I'm trying to identify a novel or travelogue, possibly 18th century, possibly translated from French, which features as a significant tangent the story of a haunted painting. I believe the ghost story ...
6
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0answers
119 views

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”: English vs. Russian translation?

I recently started reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami in English and I'm quite enjoying it. However, I learned that the English version — although well-translated — omits ...
6
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0answers
72 views

In “Love,” who is Junior's “Good Man,” and what does that imply about her?

Late in Toni Morrison's Love, Junior starts referring to her "Good Man": And her Good Man agreed. As she knew from the beginning, he liked to see her win. They recognized each other the very ...
6
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0answers
150 views

Why do the Grayer twins switch places?

This question contains spoilers for David Mitchell's Slade House. The first four chapters of Slade House end with the narrator in the twins' attic, sitting around a candle with them. I noticed that ...
6
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0answers
241 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? In particular, what other authoritative commentators, besides Richard Ellmann, provide illuminating ...

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