All Questions

39
votes
0answers
647 views

History of Spoilers

I live in the USA, where people react poorly if you spoil a move or a book for them. However, the question What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo + Juliet? raises ...
24
votes
0answers
403 views

How did real historical Igbo society differ from its portrayal in Things Fall Apart?

I recently read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and found its detailed portrayal of historical Igbo (aka Ibo) culture very interesting. My understanding is that it's a reasonably close ...
21
votes
0answers
349 views

Was Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum at all inspired by A Predicament?

Poe's satirical short story A Predicament tells the story of a woman who is slowly decapitated by the minute hand of a large cathedral clock. In all its ridiculous, it was supposed to be a horror ...
20
votes
0answers
393 views

Which Tintin books were redrawn by Hergé?

The first nine albums were originally published in black and white, with colored editions to appear later: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (never redrawn in colour ) Tintin in the Congo Tintin in ...
20
votes
0answers
275 views

What did Wodehouse say about writing in the first-person?

P. G. Wodehouse is known as a consumate stylist, and a lot is known about how he plotted and wrote his novels. Did he ever say anything about his writing in the first person? I'm particularly curious ...
18
votes
0answers
234 views

Is the treatment of Jar Jar Binks in Aftermath: Empire's End a reflection of audience treatment?

In one of the Interlude scenes in the book Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End, a child interacts with Jar Jar Binks, and gives more details about how the adults don't like him due to their beliefs that ...
18
votes
0answers
482 views

Are Frog and Toad more than just friends?

In a 1977 interview with The Lion and the Unicorn, Arnold Lobel said: You know, if an adult has an unhappy love affair, he writes about it. He exorcises it out of himself, perhaps, by writing a ...
16
votes
0answers
112 views

Do Daniel Handler's novels for adults share themes or tone with his Lemony Snicket work?

Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events, written under his Lemony Snicket pseudonym, delves into a great many intriguing themes -- the blindness and dysfunctionality of modern society; living ...
14
votes
0answers
192 views

What does the letter V in Thomas Pynchon's book symbolize?

Obviously, V. is a character in the book, known only by her initial. That initial is also the title of the book, which actually includes the period. But I assume this title/name symbolizes something ...
14
votes
0answers
244 views

How did T.S. Eliot's literary criticism affect his poetry?

T.S. Eliot wrote influential essays in New Criticism, a literary theory movement that if I understand correctly tried to revive formalism and focus on close reading and the text itself, as a response ...
14
votes
0answers
113 views

Who said that Allingham “polished her prose until it shone over-bright,” and where?

Somebody read to me from a book about Allingham long ago that she would "polish her prose until it shone over-bright" and then dictate it to her husband to reduce it to a more readable vernacular. I ...
13
votes
0answers
91 views

What is the Pasifika response to “Nation”?

Pratchett's "Nation" was recommended to me because it depicts an alternate reality version of Pasifika cultures, faiths, and traditions. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me it's got cannibals and ...
12
votes
0answers
79 views

What is this mid-20th century British adventure novel?

I’d like help finding a novel I loved as a child. The points I can remember: It was set and written in mid-20th century England, perhaps the 1950s. Perhaps aimed at schoolchildren of the time - a ...
12
votes
0answers
319 views

Why “Moon Child”?

In The Neverending Story, the main turning point is when Bastian gives the Childlike Empress her much-needed name, saves Fantastica, and enters into the story himself. This name is "Moon Child", or "...
12
votes
0answers
742 views

Is Ozma a lesbian character?

Throughout the Oz books, we see that Ozma has several indicators of perhaps being gay: She never takes a boyfriend, she has a... erm... very close friendship with Dorothy, and some people claim that ...
12
votes
0answers
73 views

Who can nominate candidates for a Nobel Prize in Literature?

I was reading the Nobel Prize website page on the nomination and selection of Literature Laureates, and didn't quite understand the list of people and organisations eligible to submit nominations: ...
12
votes
0answers
205 views

What is the earliest hybrid graphic novel?

Malice (2009) was the first hybrid graphic novel I read, though I've seen more than one other since. By "hybrid graphic novel," I mean a book that contains passages of both traditional, unillustrated ...
12
votes
0answers
233 views

What was the first book that explicitly used “A Hero's Journey” as a checklist?

Obviously, many stories told fit "A Hero's Journey" - that's the whole point of it. George Lucas was famous for explicitly making the Star Wars story based on Campbell's checklist and acknowledging ...
12
votes
0answers
104 views

Was “Earthly Powers” actually based on Burgess' private, and secret life?

The gay-oriented book Earthly Powers (1980) was narrated by an 81-year-old successful, homosexual writer, Kenneth Toomey, a figure loosely based on W. Somerset Maugham. However, it seems that ...
11
votes
0answers
3k views

Was Holden Caulfield molested as a child?

In chapter 24, Holden goes to Mr. Antolini's place to stay for the night. He crashes on the couch, and suddenly is woken up by Mr. Antolini stroking his (Holden's) hair while he sleeps. There are, ...
11
votes
0answers
132 views

When was young Cosette's bedtime?

While the song "Come to Me" was probably not intended as a treatise on astronomical timekeeping or 19th-century French child-rearing, some of Fantine's lines (taken at face value) fit together for a ...
11
votes
0answers
108 views

Identify a Children's Book about a character who eats all his groceries on the way home

I'm trying to identify a book I used to read as a child (90s-00s) that I just barely remember. It was for young children, and I believe each page had a sentence or two along with an illustration. It ...
11
votes
0answers
99 views

Who put forward this completion to Sappho 94, and what is it actually supposed to read?

In Sappho 94 (τεθνάκην δ' ἀδόλως θέλω), there is this tercet at ll. 25-27, which is very incomplete, which Edmonds doesn't even have, and which Bibliotheca Augustana and Campbell p. 69 both read: ...
11
votes
0answers
466 views

Is there any evidence for a gay relationship in The Merchant of Venice?

A couple of years ago, I went to a stage performance of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which Antonio and Bassanio were portrayed as being in a gay relationship together since before the ...
11
votes
0answers
325 views

Which traits of Milton's Lucifer from “Paradise Lost” did Neil Gaiman carry to “The Sandman”?

Lucifer Morningstar, the Vertigo Comics character, was created by Neil Gaiman with influence from John Milton's Paradise Lost - at least that's what is written on his Wikipedia page, and even on the ...
11
votes
0answers
158 views

What is the role of Jane Eyre in The Cider House Rules?

In The Cider House Rules, Jane Eyre and several works by Charles Dickens (such as David Copperfield and The Great Expectations) are repeatedly mentioned and cited. One of the roles of David ...
11
votes
0answers
120 views

Help me identify an old children's picture book featuring anthropomimetic arthropods

The book in question was written prior to 1990. The pages probably had no words — I was able to read at the time, so either it was not narrated or the words were not memorable. Each page, or pair of ...
11
votes
0answers
302 views

Why did Tarzan write his name as “Tarzan”?

In chapter 13 of Tarzan of the Apes (His Own Kind), the notice posted by Tarzan reads: THIS IS THE HOUSE OF TARZAN, THE KILLER OF BEASTS AND MANY BLACK MEN. DO NOT HARM THE THINGS WHICH ARE ...
10
votes
0answers
75 views

Post modernist fantasy with nested stories structure

Searching for a work of metafiction I read about 5 years ago, probably published originally in the early 2000s. It's a bizarre fable about a young man who develops an obsession with a girl, a ...
10
votes
0answers
413 views

A story in which a young girl saves a poor boy from a factory owner and meets that boy decades later

Yesterday, I was reading a 5th grader's comprehension book. It had multiple excerpts from good (if not well-known) novels. One of them particularly stood out to me. It was about a woman who lived in ...
10
votes
0answers
99 views

“The Dearest Charms in France” - French story about soldiers, a lottery, and a famous prostitute

Several years ago, I read a memorable short story included as an example (of what, I don't recall) in a book about writing. The story was set in a historical era of France. I believe it was ...
10
votes
0answers
86 views

Is “Battlefield Earth” good science fiction by Hubbard's standards?

L. Ron Hubbard says that to be "pure," "credible," and "have a point," (all things he clearly values highly) science fiction must be plausible; limited in its possibilities; have to do with material-...
10
votes
0answers
67 views

Are the five narrators in The Fifty Year Sword more than a gimmick?

Mark Z. Danielewski's The Fifty Year Sword is told by five narrators whose parts were ostensibly collected in interviews and tightly interleaved. Quoting the first page: Maybe because the history ...
9
votes
0answers
110 views

Why does Tom Sawyer forget what “ransom” means?

In Chapter XXXIII of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom explains "ransom" to Huck. But in Chapter II of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom has no idea what ransoming is. Is this just Twain ...
9
votes
0answers
88 views

What methods have been used to distinguish the text between the two strands of The Neverending Story?

I've owned two copies of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story in my life - both English translations, one paperback with a blue cover, one hardback with a red cover inside the dustcover. Both of them ...
9
votes
0answers
101 views

What exactly was Shadow's crime, and what was Laura's part in it?

There may or may not be unhidden spoilers from the novel here. While watching the fourth episode of American Gods, where Laura and Shadow's mutual history has been revealed (to be the first major ...
9
votes
0answers
1k views

How is the concept of cultural encounter treated in the short story “One Out of Many”?

In the story "One Out of Many" by V.S. Naipaul, how is the concept of cultural encounter treated? I have a few questions about that: Is the author aware of the cultural encounter theme? How does he ...
9
votes
0answers
94 views

Why, at the begining of the tale Jealous Twins, does the storyteller frame the story?

The Verba Africana website is a fantastic website that publishes recordings, transcriptions, and analysis of African oral literature. One of the stories published on the site is called Jealous Twins; ...
9
votes
0answers
173 views

'Classical' horror short story in which overwork is linked to a supernatural demon

Having just had an exceptionally busy week, I've been trying to recall the details of a relevant short story whose name escapes me. I have the feeling it was a fairly old, 'classical' horror story - ...
9
votes
0answers
93 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
81 views

Did Charles Dickens change the endings of any of his books other than Great Expectations?

I know that Charles Dickens changed the ending to Great Expectations after prompting. Did he do so with any of his other books? Of course, he may have changed the endings of all his books a hundred ...
9
votes
0answers
99 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
275 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
432 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
votes
0answers
58 views

Did Pushkin ever deliberately copy the style of anyone else?

Beginning, or less talented, writers often consciously or subconsciously imitate the style of earlier creators. Are any works by Pushkin (past the age of 20) known to copy someone else's style, ...
8
votes
0answers
60 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
votes
0answers
162 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
votes
0answers
97 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
votes
0answers
57 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
votes
0answers
56 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 -- ...

15 30 50 per page