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1answer
58 views

Has Antonin Scalia's version of textualism influenced literary theory or hermeneutics?

The late U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia famously advocated a form of textualism, interpreting legal texts as reasonable readers at the time of the law's writing would've understood it. (...
1
vote
1answer
8 views

What's meant by “stamp-hunt” in “The Just Men of Cordova”?

In chapter 10 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace, the author was describing an employer, Jakobs, who usually stole unconsidered stamps and such loose coinage as might be found in the ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Why do Albanians “take life whenever they get the opportunity”?

In Reginald on Tariffs, Saki writes: I’m not going to discuss the Fiscal Question (said Reginald); I wish to be original. At the same time, I think one suffers more than one realises from the system ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

Did “drink to someone” imply the same thing back then?

In a popular song Drink To Me Only with Thine Eyes, first published in 1616 as To Celia by Ben Jonson, did the phrase drink to someone mean the same thing as nowadays, i.e. to say cheers for someone? ...
0
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0answers
7 views

Why would the indigo factory's steward be a messenger of death?

Chapter XI of My Boyhood Days (1940; ছেলেবেলা / Chhelebela in Bengali) contains the following passage: The old indigo factory was still standing, with the river Padma in the distance. The zemindari ...
2
votes
0answers
14 views

Why is Macbeth's “vaulting ambition” so important and famous?

What does 'vaulting' mean here? Macbeth uses the term in Act I, scene 7: I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other. ...
1
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0answers
7 views

What is the literary effect of such long opening and closing sentences in “May Day Eve”?

Nick Joaquin's short story "May Day Eve" begins and ends with two extremely long sentences: The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Why did Mama put the poison in his tea?

In the novel Purple Hibiscus, Mama kills Papa by putting poison in the tea that he shared with his children, which is not lost on Kambilli. “Why did you put it in his tea?” I asked Mama, rising. My ...
2
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0answers
24 views

Why did Tolkien take such extreme offense to the original Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings?

I may be mistaken, but allegedly, Tolkien really took great offense to the first (and only, during his entire lifetime and decades beyond) Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings. He called the ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

What's meant by “man of some character” in “The Just Men of Cordova”?

From the beginning of chapter 10 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace: There was living at Somers Town at that time a little man named Jakobs. He was a man of some character, albeit an ...
5
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0answers
62 views
+50

In Les Miserables, why can Javert be the judge of Fantine and why does Monsieur Madeleine have the power to stop him?

In Les Miserables, one of the Protagonists, Fantine, attacks a citizen on the open street after he insulted her and put snow in the back of her dress. She is then arrested by Javert, the local police ...
2
votes
1answer
26 views

What does cuatro cantos refer to?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", Pete Henson tells Bobby, the story's main character, that "Joey Perez and some fellows went joyriding and dog-hunting and they caught a ...
3
votes
2answers
96 views

Why exactly did Bilbo, Frodo and Sam have to leave?

The reason I phrased the title like that is to avoid spoiling the story for somebody who might see it and haven't read the books. I've just finished the last one in the trilogy, minutes ago, but I don'...
15
votes
5answers
6k views

What's the deal with Bilbo being some kind of “burglar”?

I may only be 37 pages into "The Hobbit", re-reading it after 20+ years, but several things already confuse me. First of all, and this is what I'm mainly asking about, Bilbo is casually ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

What has the “younger son” to do with “cow-punching on the pampas”? in “The Just Men of Cordova”

From chapter 9 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace: “A gentleman and a policeman?” asked the earl incredulously. Horace nodded. “A new profession for the younger son, eh?” remarked ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Dickens invented the scary clown?

Today in "Messages from Firefox" (some annoying thing that comes up in my browser), I saw the following which piqued my interest: Dickens invented the scary clown, the ‘80s perfected it. ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

What reference is Shakespeare making in Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth?

In Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth there is this line. What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes. Someone two days ago told me this is a reference to a different piece of literature. I didn't ...
2
votes
1answer
30 views

What's with the dogs in Mark Strand's “Eating Poetry”?

In Mark Strand's poem "Eating Poetry", the first several lines appear to be about a person who has been consuming poetry - I interpreted this as metaphorical, "eating" poetry as in ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Who are/were the man and woman in Nick Joaquin's “May Day Eve”?

Nick Joaquin's short story May Day Eve skips back and forth between different eras of time. There is the night after a party when a young woman and young man look in a mirror and meet each other; then,...
2
votes
2answers
38 views

What did Shakespeare mean in King Richard III when he said that ‘G’ Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be?

Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams, To set my brother Clarence and the King In deadly hate, the one against the other: And if King Edward be as true and ...
0
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0answers
28 views

When did it become popular to drop the A.D. in dates? [migrated]

Since when did it become popular to shorthand years from 2020 A.D. to 2020? I haven't seen anything after a google search, and in fact I wonder if it was even popular to use A.D., ever. I don't recall ...
-1
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0answers
21 views

Recommendation of some good mystery books/stories [closed]

I have read all the Sherlock Holmes stories and books and am now gasping for a good mystery book/story. I am not interested in a traditional whodunnit, but something with a strange/bizarre plot but ...
2
votes
0answers
19 views

What does ‘Kung mapatay di madeadball ’ mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", the 17-year-old Bobby starts behaving rather strangely. After going "stowaway" and being brought back home, he wakes up the next ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

Resources for determining the meter of a line in Shakespeare

Most of Shakespeare's plays are written in iambic pentameter,‎ which is part of what makes the verse so powerful.‎ However,‎ due to differences between different manuscripts of the text, and words ...
1
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0answers
24 views

What does 'por bida man guid' mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "The Order of Melchizedek", Sid and Mrs. Borja are trying to retrieve a card that Sid had pushed down an edge of the upholstery in a taxi. The girl who has washed the ...
2
votes
0answers
19 views

Why does Richard step down in Shakespeare's Richard II

In Shakespeare's Richard II,‎ Henry Bolingbroke raises an army and comes to demand King Richard return his ancestral lands.‎ However,‎ he claims that if they are restored,‎ he will return to being a ...
7
votes
1answer
761 views

What does “It is not meet” mean in “Idylls of the King”?

From Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur by Alfred Tennyson: To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere: 'It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus, Aidless, alone, and smitten through the helm— A ...
1
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0answers
37 views

In Animal Farm, what is the significance of the gun’s placement at the foot of the flagpole?

What is the significance of Mr. Jones's gun’s placement at the foot of the flagpole? Is there anything that this represents?
0
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0answers
32 views

Where is Napoleon during the battle of the cowshed?

In Animal Farm, where is Napoleon during the battle of the cowshed? Is this significant? Please explain in detail.
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Searching for a sci-fi short story: three robots sent as ambassadors to prevent an interplanetary war

I remember reading a short story about three robots sent as ambassadors to (I think) Mars. It was an attempt by Earth to prevent a Martian invasion or war. The robots arrived in a spaceship designed ...
3
votes
1answer
29 views

Is there a published English translation of Muhammad Iqbal's “The Parliament of Satan”?

Muhammad Iqbal was a 19th-to-20th-century Muslim poet, philosopher, and politican, one of the most important figures in Urdu poetry and also influential in Farsi poetry, who received a British ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

Novel about a man who voluntarily has himself locked in another man's basement

I read a book about 15 years ago and I don't remember hardly any of the details at all. What I do remember of the plot is that a white man pays a black man a hefty sum of money in order to keep him ...
3
votes
1answer
46 views

What is the message of Macbeth in terms of masculinity?

In class we talked about the inverse of gender roles in Macbeth. The only way for Lady Macbeth to gain power is through Macbeth using her rhetoric. But what about Macbeth? Do you think that the ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

The Brothers Karamazov - Why does Dmitri use “Bernard” as an insult?

"Bernard" is first mentioned in Book XI. Ivan, Chapter IV, in an exchange between Dmitri and Alyosha: “Ethics?” asked Alyosha, wondering. “Yes; is it a science?” “Yes, there is such a ...
6
votes
1answer
88 views

What is the text Ivan refers to in the preface to the Grand Inquisitor

Before declaming the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov, Ivan refers to a poem with the virgin Marie visiting Hell and begging God for mercy for its inhabitants. Is this a real poem? If so, ...
1
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0answers
32 views

Was it usual for “Society” to be written with an initial capital?

From chapter 9 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace: The Earl of Verlond was a stickler for punctuality: a grim, bent old man, with a face that, so Society said, told eloquently the ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Story about two men walking through the forest

This is a story (fable) that I remember reading or hearing when I was young (UK, probably between 2000-2010). It felt more like an older fable than a story written then in the 2000s. The part I ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

Why did “they” go to sea in a sieve?

In the poem 'The Jumblies' by Edward Lear, the protagonists go to sea in a sieve. They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, In a Sieve they went to sea: In spite of all their friends could say,...
5
votes
0answers
113 views

Meaning of capitalized nouns in a Lord Byron poem

I am in reference to Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (see: wikipedia article). Here is the opening stanza of the work (TO IANTHE): Not in those climes where I have late been straying, ⁠Though ...
2
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0answers
17 views

Is Rabindranth Tagore talking about the actual wave nature of light here in Gitanjali?

The Nobel prize winning work Gitanjali by Rabdinranath Tagore quotes: Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light Is he referring to the actual electromagnetic wave nature of ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Poem about a joker with disorganized attire

[throughout this question by 'English' I only mean the 'language English' ] I remember from my childhood a English language poem from a middle/high school general English textbook (India). I can only ...
2
votes
1answer
23 views

What could “lavender-bag ancestors” mean in Ted Hughes' “Crow Improvises”?

In "Crow Improvises" (text version), the protagonist conjoins a list of disparate objects, where each pair of objects ignites a spark. Putting aside the symbolic meaning of each object, it ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

What is the function of comedy for Frye?

I have come across this quote from Northrop Frye's book Anatomy of Criticism: the social judgment against the absurd is closer to the comic norm than the moral judgment against the wicked. What is ...
7
votes
2answers
840 views

Meaning of “Chaos” spoken by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III)?

In Shakespeare's King Henry 6 part 3, we are truly introduced to that devilishly delightful Richard for the first time by means of his first and longest soliloquy wherein he introduces to the audience ...
2
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0answers
37 views

Source of the Japanese story Joseph Campbell tells of a samurai spat upon in The Power of Myth

I'm searching for the source of the Japanese story of a samurai spat upon which Joseph Campbell relates in The Power of Myth. (Oddly, the book has no citation on this). . . . there is a story . . . ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

Helen Keller quote about avoiding danger: context and meaning

I hope that's the right site to post this question. There's a famous quote of Helen Keller's: Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as ...
6
votes
2answers
520 views

Should I keep the jacket on a hardcover book?

I've got a few hardcover books. I usually read paperback, but sometimes I'll find myself with a hardcover book. Often, these will have jackets on them. Paper jackets that rip and get in the way and ...
8
votes
1answer
438 views

Was Pyotr Stepanovich in “Demons” really connected to the international?

In the noval Demons (by Dostoyevsky), there was a character, named Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky, who claimed that he was connected to the international. Did Dostoyevsky mention anywhere in the book ...
6
votes
1answer
44 views

How can I clean a book and remove mold / stains?

I have a book from 1989 that I inherited recently. The cover and some of the pages have these dark stains and/or mold. It does not seem to have a bad odor (as far as I can tell). Is it possible to ...
11
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2answers
184 views

Does this passage in “I Am a Cat” reference a real Western novel?

In Chapter 2 of I Am a Cat (full text of this and preceding chapters available here), the cat makes reference to a particular "western novel" in order to draw an analogy with his master: “Ah, and ...

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