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9
votes
0answers
318 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
284 views

Identify a book about a boy who has hypnotic powers

I remember this book fairly well. I'll try to provide what I remember about all points. Cover The cover was predominantly blue, with spirals across the whole thing. I think it had a person on it. ...
14
votes
1answer
549 views

What occult references caused The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to be banned in the Soviet Union?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fascination with spiritualism and the occult is well known. However, I was surprised to find out that his short stories collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was banned ...
8
votes
1answer
882 views

Was Dostoyevsky atheist or Christian?

We see atheist and Christian heroes in Dostoyevsky's books. In many cases the works of an author reflect elements of their own life. However, the extent to which this occurs vary by author. Especially,...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I read the second book of “In Search of Lost Time” out of order if I can't find a good translation?

I want to read the In Search of Lost Time series out of order, because there is no good translation of the second book in my language. Is it necessary to read the book series in order? Are they ...
9
votes
1answer
852 views

Is Hamlet correct when he says “it is an honest ghost”?

The Ghost in Hamlet claims to be Hamlet's father's spirit released from Purgatory. Is it possible that the Ghost is lying? Has it been sent from Hell to stir up mischief in Elsinore? (The play does ...
20
votes
0answers
290 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
329 views

How was “A Passage to India” received in Britain and India?

E. M. Forster's A Passage to India was published in 1924, in the decade after the Indian independence movement really started to gather steam. Forster incorporated this into his novel, showing the ...
-3
votes
2answers
136 views

Why didn't Bilbo put the ring on immediately?

When Bilbo falls into Gollum's cave in The Hobbit and he finds the ring on the ground, why doesn't he immediately put it on? Is there any textual evidence suggesting he was scared or nervous of ...
9
votes
1answer
269 views

Why did Wang Lung care for his “poor fool”?

In The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, the farmer Wang Lung and his family go through a time of famine. In that time, girls were not very valued, and he could have sold his as a slave or even just ...
3
votes
0answers
77 views

How much of a role does authorial intent play in modern academic literary analysis? [duplicate]

In this question, I asked about how meaning gets into a work if not intended by the author. In researching that question, I ran across mention of "authorial intent". In reading about it, I learned ...
8
votes
1answer
308 views

Identify non-Doylian Holmes short story: Watson outstrips Sherlock and Mycroft

About ten years ago, I read an old short story about Sherlock Holmes, which was not one of the 'canon' Doyle stories. I think it may have been written by one of the well-known later detective fiction ...
5
votes
0answers
58 views

Dreams of the future in Slam?

In Nick Hornby's novel Slam, the main character, Sam, narrates his story which happened in the past. In the story, he recounts one or two dreams where he is transported to a day in the future. Then ...
13
votes
1answer
414 views

Have any Elves explored Rhûn or the lands to the east?

According to The Silmarillion and Tolkien's legendarium as a whole, the Elves first awoke in Cuiviénen, by a gulf in the Sea of Helcar. We learn that in The War of Wrath (Chapter 3, Quenta ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “the sad height” represent in “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas?

In the final stanza of Dylan Thomas's Do not go gentle into that good night, he says, And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go ...
17
votes
4answers
674 views

What are the Riddle Rules?

In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, while Bilbo is in the cave and has the ring, he and Gollum end up asking each other riddles. After the exchange, Gollum or Bilbo mentions some riddle rules. These ...
7
votes
1answer
284 views

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

In the book 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did Everworld end so abruptly?

Everworld is a series of 12 books published by K. A. Applegate from 1999 to 2001. In the last book, Entertain the End, the main characters help a major god be freed, but the war isn't over. Yes, the ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

Was the last Animorphs book rushed?

The Animorphs were published from 1996 to 2001, with the last book in the series being titled The Beginning. I read this book when it first came out and I was really disappointed with it. It ended ...
32
votes
2answers
878 views

Is Judaism represented in the Narnia books?

In C.S. Lewis's Narnia books, it's very clear that the Narnians are meant to represent Christianity, with Aslan symbolising Jesus (in fact, Aslan is literally Jesus in-universe), while the Calormenes ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What order should I read Thomas Pynchon's novels in? [closed]

Thomas Pynchon is a writer famous for having dense and hard to read books, but is acclaimed for those books. He wrote V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, and others. What order should I ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

At which pole did Byrd's adventure take place?

The Secret Lost Diary of Admiral Richard E. Byrd and The Phantom of the Poles book describes a mysterious journey of Admiral Richard E. Byrd during his flight to the Polar region of the world. In the ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What was Dr. Seuss's intended message in “Horton Hears a Who”?

I've seen themes and elements from Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who applied to a variety of things, such as the abortion debate, dwarfism awareness, and space aliens. While I can see how they could ...
5
votes
1answer
437 views

Did Montag ever have rebellious thoughts before meeting Clarisse?

In Fahrenheit 451, Montag questions the society he lives in after meeting a mysterious neighbor who encourages Montag to think and read, two thing forbidden in the dystopian world. He catches on ...
6
votes
1answer
854 views

Why is Jane Eyre considered a feminist figure?

Why was Jane Eyre considered a feminist figure in the context of the Victorian society? She was unable to fully liberate herself from the inherent patriarchy. She was strongly affected by marriage, ...
10
votes
2answers
188 views

For works translated by the original author, how common is it for additional translations to exist? What might these translation add?

Sorley MacLean was a Scottish poet who worked in Gaelic. This was the language of his poem, Hallaig, about the Highland clearances and how time changes our perception of history. However, he also ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

How do the monsters return without the Doors of Death?

During the events of The Heroes of Olympus, Gaea opened up the Doors of Death so that the monsters could come back easier. However, I could find no mention of how they got back without the Doors. But ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How are graphic novels different from comic books?

I always get confused between the terms comic-book and graphic novel. What makes a comic-book be referred to as Graphic novel? What is the difference between both of the terms?
5
votes
2answers
282 views

Was Gulliver religious?

In Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, there is little discussion of religion except for a passage from part 3, which reads, To this I added another petition, “that for the sake of my patron the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Who do the inhabitants of Brobdingnag represent in Gulliver's Travels?

In his answer to this question, Riker established that the islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu were representing England and France and it was satirizing the holy wars between them. What was being ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

Did Jonathan Swift ever sail?

In Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, Swift describes Gulliver, a ship's doctor sailing and getting ship wrecked in various locations by various means. However, he does not go into as much detail ...
4
votes
2answers
530 views

How do you pronounce Houyhnhnm?

In Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver travels to a land of Houyhnhnms. When I read, I like to hear the names in my head because it helps me to get into the story. However, I do not know ...
5
votes
0answers
103 views

Is the location of the land of the Houyhnhnms significant?

As seen from the below map from the Wikipedia article, which is identical to the version of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, which I own, the land of the Houyhnhnms is directly below what we now ...
12
votes
1answer
277 views

Is there symbolism in Vronsky going bald in Anna Karenina?

As I am reading Anna Karinina I notice how as the story continues Vronsky is going bald. As characters meet him it is noted how he tries to hid his increasing baldness. For instance when Dolly goes ...
4
votes
2answers
137 views

What is the origin of including formulas in a literary text?

One of the most striking things about Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson was the fact that the novel's text was full of mathematical formulas. In some ways, this approach resembles, for example, ...
13
votes
2answers
527 views

Was Neil Gaiman's Stardust influenced by C.S. Lewis?

A central theme in Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel Stardust is that stars, when they fall from the sky, take on the shape of human beings. One of the main characters is a fallen star who ends up living on ...
8
votes
0answers
88 views

Did Alfred Tennyson ever read The Last of the Light Brigade?

The Last of the Light Brigade, by Rudyard Kipling refers to Alfred Tennyson and his poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Do we know if Alfred Tennyson ever read The Last of the Light Brigade? If so, ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

When do the events in The Valley of Fear take place?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's final Sherlock Holmes novel, "The Valley of Fear", is notable for being the only story other than the short story The Final Problem where Professor Moriarty plays a direct ...
11
votes
1answer
622 views

Did Phaedrus derive a final definition of quality?

It was a long time ago that I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I vaguely recall that Phaedrus came up with a final definition of quality. I've tried skimming through the book to try ...
12
votes
0answers
236 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
331 views

Why did the author of The Dictionary of the Khazars publish a “male” and “female” edition, and what's the significance of the textual differences?

The author of "The Dictionary of the Khazars," Milorad Pavic, published two editions: the Male Edition, and the Female Edition of the Dictionary. The two sections critically differ in only a few ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Is Sherlock Holmes religious?

In this question, it is established that Sherlock Holmes, from the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was asexual and in explaining that it is stated that he showed very little emotion in general. This ...
3
votes
1answer
527 views

Are there any motifs or symbols related to imperialism in Animal Farm?

In my centennial edition of Animal Farm by George Orwell, his bio states that he joined the Burmese Indian Imperial Police stating, In order to hate imperialism, you have got to be part of it. In ...
9
votes
1answer
147 views

Was Mrs Croft really an invalid?

In Agatha Christie's detective story Peril at End House, was Mrs Croft really an invalid? Or did she just pretend to be one? We find out in the ending of the novel that Mrs Croft was a criminal. ...
8
votes
1answer
51 views

Did Thomas Wolfe keep a diary?

For someone who wrote very autobiographical novels to the point of receiving death threats for his Look Homeward, Angel, I wonder whether he wrote a diary. Did he? If so, does it contradict any of his ...
12
votes
1answer
378 views

Are the numerous hunger references attributed to the title of A Moveable Feast?

In Ernest Hemingway's memoir, A Moveable Feast, there are several references to hunger, both physically and metaphorically. There are so many sorts of hunger. In the spring there are more. But ...
4
votes
1answer
68k views

In what order should Rick Riordan's mythological series be read to make the most sense, and what is the chronological order?

As established in this question, all of Rick Riordan's mythological series take place in a single universe. I have not read any of his books, but this gave me a question. If I were to read the books ...
7
votes
0answers
535 views

Can I read David Mitchell's books in any order?

Though David Mitchell's novels differ wildly in style and substance, all occur within the same universe, with links between them - some subtle, some very central. I don't think the books are meant to ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Why did Montresor want to kill Fortunato?

In The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor traps Fortunato in the catacombs, but his motives are not explicitly explained. Montresor does allude to some wrongs committed against him by Fortunato. Is it ...
34
votes
3answers
26k views

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

"Mad Hatter: 'Why is a raven like a writing-desk?' ... 'Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again. 'No, I give it up,' Alice replied: 'What’s the answer?' 'I ...

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