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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?
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52 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 ...
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50 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, ...
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251 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 ...
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446 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) ...
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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 ...
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65 views

What was Max Beerbohm's literary relationship to Dostoevsky?

I'm currently reading Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson. When the Duke suddenly pours out his soul to Zuleika, his regrets and love so exaggerated that readers can't help but cringe and laugh, I thought ...
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134 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, ...
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74 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. ...
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207 views

Byron's transition from Manfred to Don Juan

Manfred is more serious compared to Don Juan's light heartedness. While Manfred lives within the realm of seriousness and continuous self-pity, Don Juan lives in the realm of cynicism as it brings ...
6
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61 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 ...
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110 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
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171 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 ...
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87 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: ...
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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 ...
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126 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 ...
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84 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 ...
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111 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 ...
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79 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 ...
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184 views

Was Simon's hideout later used by Ralph?

In the end of the third chapter of Lord of the Flies, Simon goes to his hideout. It is described as having a great mat of creepers and being screened off by a few leaves. Later, when he is being ...
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155 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 ...
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246 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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248 views

Is there any evidence that Theremon 762's name was based on a theremin?

In Isaac Asimov's novel and short story (short story later expanded) Nightfall, there's a character named "Theremon 762". The whole novel is about darkness and innate fear, and a theremin, a type ...
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32 views

What is the argument for Kuni being a worthy leader, when all others fail?

The Grace of Kings is deeply concerned with the mechanics of power - who has it; how to get it; how to keep it; what price you pay for it. Through its course, the book surveys a great many rulers and ...
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136 views

Was Heathcliff intentionally made a Byronic Hero?

It is often said that Heathcliff makes for the perfect example for a Byronic Hero. Did Emily Brontë purposely write him that way?
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2answers
2k 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 ...
6
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1answer
199 views

The Old Man And The Sea - why didn't Santiago cut up at least part of the Marlin, and stored them on board of the skiff?

In Hemingway's book The Old Man And The Sea, after catching the mighty Marlin, and coming to the conclusion that the sharks are probably going to consume the entire Marlin - why didn't Santiago just ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Symbolism of the Mind Game in Ender's Game

I was recently discussing Ender's Game in The Reading Room, and I mentioned that I reread it because I felt that there were things that I had not understood. One of these things is the Mind Game. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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23 views

Is A Supplement to the Journey to the West from the 17th century the oldest Chinese work of literature involving time travel?

A Supplement to the Journey to the West is a Chinese novel from around 1640 that was written as a type of addendum to the great classic novel Journey to the West. Journey to the West is set during the ...
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52 views

How do Pupp's remarks connect with Krazy's in Krazy Kat, 25 July 1936?

This question is about the same Krazy Kat strip (25 July 1936) as in Krazy language in Krazy Kat, 25 July 1936, in which Krazy is making a lot of classical references and Pupp is responding: Krazy: ...
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51 views

source of a certain Asimov quotation

Somewhere Isaac Asimov remarks that the citadel of truth can only be breached by a brute-force assault. I would like the exact source of this quote.
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54 views

“The Apple Tree” ending and the meaning behind it

I've recently been tasked with analysing "The Apple Tree" by John Galsworthy. I've had no major issues with understanding the text, but i really can't grasp the ending. Up on the top of the hill, ...
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47 views

How is Hamlet different from a conventional Elizabethan revenge play?

It is well known that Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy established the genre of revenge tragedy in Elizabethan drama. The play contains many elements such as the appearance of a ghost, a play within ...
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47 views

What do you call a break in rhyming in the middle of a book / poem for dramatic effect

Here's what I'm trying to say. I'm creating a children's book for a school project. I've been tasked to identify some literary devices used throughout the book. There is a section of the book which ...
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87 views

Are the homoerotic hints in “La Reine Margot” intentional?

La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas can be read as the story of two guys, and their two girlfriends: the alpha couple is Marguerite de Valois (Margot), who's having a passionate affair with the ...
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61 views

Is the castle where Mr. Toad is imprisoned a real place, or based on a real place?

In The Wind in The Willows, at the end of the chapter 'VI: Mr. Toad', Toad is convicted and sentenced to twenty years in "the remotest dungeon of the best-guarded keep of the stoutest castle in all ...
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45 views

In “Orphans of the Sky”, what does the society's treatment of women indicate about the society?

In Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, the people on the Ship treat women as if they're not people. There are references to "naming" their women like dogs, they make deals with father and husband, and are, ...
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132 views

Why are television shows in Fahrenheit 451 interactive?

In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, television shows are broadcast with parts missing so that viewers can act the scenes out: She didn't look up from her script again. “Well, this is a play comes on ...
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90 views

Who wrote the poem that begins, “The Yeti, experts will attest . . .”

The Yeti, experts will attest, is physically unkempt at best. And due to this may go for weeks, alone amidst the snowy steeps. (Goes on to tell how he is looking for his "yet unmet counterpart".)
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77 views

Is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five an allegory of what would now be called PTSD?

Is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five an allegory of what would now be called PTSD? Would ‘allegory’ be the correct terminology here?
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42 views

Identify a story about a group of white men stuck at sea without water and a black guide that they ignore

I think I read this short story more than 20 years ago. The premise is: a group of men (who are white) hire a boat (or raft?) with a guide (who is black) to take them on a trip across a sea. The men ...
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523 views

Is Caliban of Shakespeare's “The Tempest” based on a real life character?

In the book ‘Over the Edge of the World’ the author Laurence Bergreen has described Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled ...
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59 views

Time traveling teen gets lost in the stone age

I am looking for a book I read when I was young on the recommendation of my father. While I read the book in the mid 90's I believe that it was published in the 60's or 70's. It is about a teen who ...
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138 views

What is the highest number a comic book issue ever achieved naturally?

Action Comics #1000 was first published in the US earlier this year. I got the impression that this seemed to be an unheard of before milestone. Most likely due to the fact that such a daunting ...
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53 views

What was Sydney Carton doing in France?

I reread A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens recently and was struck at how coincidental it was that Sydney Carton just happened to be in France during the time Charles Darnay was accused the ...
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67 views

70s or 80s Novel, Low IQ man finds/rescues young woman adrift at sea

Probably read in 70s or early 80s. Probably set in the Caribbeans or Florida Coast, or Gulf Coast. The book may have been a mystery or thriller/adventure type story. It was in English A low IQ man (...
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64 views

Was Jerome K Jerome politically active?

Jerome K. Jerome's short story "The New Utopia" has a strongly anti-socialist and anti-democratic message. I had spent an extremely interesting evening. I had dined with some very "...
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65 views

Why was Ophelia psychologically ill in the Shakespearean play Hamlet?

In the Shakespearean play Hamlet Ophelia became psychologically ill. Was it because of Hamlet's behavior or how society treated her or what's the real reason behind her sudden illness? Did ...

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