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13
votes
4answers
1k views

Understanding the use of the word “Negress” in the Kilmartin and Cox translation of Solaris

I just finished reading Kilmartin and Cox's translation of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, and one particular passage stood out to me. I'm hesitant to ask a question about the Kilmartin and Cox translation, ...
4
votes
2answers
836 views

Why and how did the orphan kill his adoptive mother?

While seeking the answer to a story-identification question the other day, I got sucked into a collection of Guy de Maupassant's short stories. (Have fun!) One of them, "The Orphan", is ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Can Darien Drinkwater be considered evil?

There will be many unmarked spoilers for Kokopelli & Co. In Attack of the Smart Pies by Larry Gonick here. Just a warning. Darien Drinkwater is, indisputably, the main antagonist of Attack of the ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

In the song “Ja is Playing Jazz” (Джа играет джаз), who is Ja?

While listening to Splean's last album Ключ к шифру (The Key to the Cipher) again, I've wondered about a particular line from the song "Джа играет джаз" ("Ja is Playing Jazz"): Сегодня Джа играет ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

What is the meaning of the second line of this sher?

asar bhī le rahā huuñ terī chup kā tujhe qaa.il bhī kartā jā rahā huuñ I'm researching on Urdu shayars and it's a part of my assignment to collect 500 urdu shers with their meaning. The original ...
13
votes
1answer
318 views

About l. 3 of the second stanza of Sappho's Ὠδὴ εἰς Ἀνακτωρίαν (Ode to Anactoria)

A long time ago, I translated all of Sappho's poems. In doing so, I had to reconstruct some parts of the texts, and do some amateur level criticism. One example of such work lies in the poem sometimes ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

Does translation take away from the meaning of verse and poetry?

I am currently reading The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield. In it, many examples of haikus translated from Japanese are given. However, in their English form, they lack the rhythm and meter of Haiku....
10
votes
3answers
214 views

Do traditional Japanese haikus always describe a moment?

I am currently reading The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield. In it, there are many examples of haikus by Bashō. In them, they always appear to give reference to a time, either explicitly or through ...
8
votes
1answer
169 views

Identify a book about boys living in the woods for a summer

The book seemed to be set between the wars and in hindsight felt like an English version of Huckleberry Finn. Three brothers decided to spend the summer in the woods near their house. I think two ...
2
votes
1answer
286 views

Is there much critical analysis of “The Hunger Angel”?

Herta Müller, the Romanian-born-German-novelist, won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. In the same year, her novel The Hunger Angel (Atemschaukel) was published and received much laudation. Despite ...
10
votes
1answer
152 views

Why is the oath sworn to Dolon by Hector a “bootless” one?

In this question I asked abouth the following oath "May Jove the thundering husband of Juno bear witnes that no other Trojan but yourself shall mount those steeds, and that you shall have your ...
12
votes
1answer
379 views

Why was My Uncle Napoleon banned in Iran?

The satirical novel My Uncle Napoleon by Iraj Pezeshkzad was briefly banned in Iran in the 1970s. Presumably this was because some aspects of its portrayal of Iranian society were considered ...
8
votes
1answer
60 views

How were notes sent from classroom to classroom in Up the Down Staircase?

In Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase, part of the story is told through notes that Sylvia Barrett sends to other teachers. For example, the first one goes FROM: Mrs. Beatrice Schachter, Room 508 ...
4
votes
0answers
202 views

What's the meaning of “a knife in your throat held after dark” in the Silly Walk Song?

The so-called Silly Walk Song by the Monty Python troupe (lyrics and video here, lyrics in text form here) is mostly a lament of the tedium and futility of a life of money-induced drudgery. But there ...
13
votes
3answers
272 views

What is a bootless oath?

In Book X (10) of The Illiad Hector (edition: Britannica Great Books of the Western World (The Illiad and The Odessey together), rendered into English prose by Samuel Butler) swears the following oath ...
9
votes
1answer
511 views

Did young Dream and Death really look like this?

In "The Parliament of Rooks" (The Sandman #40), Abel tells a toddler Daniel Hall a "children's story" about how he and Cain came to live in the Dreaming (pages 18-20). In the story, Dream and his ...
5
votes
1answer
287 views

What is the significance of “Jonathan” in Strange and Norrell?

At least four major characters have the name "John" or "Jonathan", including Jonathan Strange, John Segundus, John Childermass, and John Uskglass. This is potentially confusing to a reader. In ...
10
votes
0answers
112 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
607 views

Does Nausicaä not develop as a character at all?

There will be spoilers regarding characters from the end of the manga here. In Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) manga, the characters are usually ...
16
votes
1answer
922 views

Story about child slavery and mutilated body parts?

Can someone help me identify this story about child slavery? I read this last year in my English class and its a book about slavery. Synopsis: The Protagonist is a young male who collects unmarked ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How does the line 'your faith was strong but you needed proof' match the rest of the verse in “Hallelujah”?

The second verse of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen goes like: Your faith was strong but you needed proof You saw her bathing on the roof Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you She tied you ...
8
votes
2answers
141 views

Which South or Central American female author wrote a short story about frozen cockroaches?

In the 90s I read a collection of short stories by a South American female author (most likely translated to English vs having been written in English originally). I remember the stories were good, ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

The meaning of the line “and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah” in “Hallelujah”

"Hallelujah" contains a mix of Biblical themes. The first stanza mentions (King) David by name, and the first three lines of the second seem to refer to one of King David's stories (II Samuel 11). The ...
9
votes
1answer
313 views

Are Vin and Elend symbolically linked to Preservation and Ruin in The Hero of Ages?

In Brandon Sanderson's The Hero of Ages (book three of the Mistborn trilogy), Preservation and Ruin are two anthropomorphized forces of nature, evenly matched in their struggle against one another. ...
7
votes
0answers
200 views

Are the new gods not aware of the appearance of this character?

There will be very heavy spoilers - do not read further if you haven't finished the novel. Mr. World is the leader of the new gods, though his exact area of influence is left somewhat ambiguous in ...
8
votes
2answers
225 views

Why is the future “a safe, sterile laboratory”?

In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, Ursula K. Le Guin describes the future as "a safe, sterile laboratory": But the task of science fiction is not to predict the future. Rather, it ...
13
votes
1answer
766 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
201 views

Why do we study the Tone when analyzing a passage?

The definition of Tone seems to be entirely based on author's intent. But I remember reading that modern Literary Analysis heavily discourages relying on author's intent when Analyzing a passage. Why ...
9
votes
0answers
152 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 ...
48
votes
3answers
17k views

Why is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy referred to as H2G2?

I've often heard The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy referred to as H2G2 but never really understood why. I wondered whether anyone actually knew or whether it was just adopted unquestioningly.
6
votes
0answers
296 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
742 views

Looking for a quote: “It may be true that every man has his price but there is not enough gold in the world to pay mine”

I'm looking for a quote that goes along the lines of "It may be true that every man has his price but there is not enough gold in the world to pay mine" I'm looking for the exact quote and who ...
7
votes
1answer
129 views

19th-C French story about loner who dines and doesn't go to England

I'm trying to remember the author and title of a story I once read. It was set in Paris in the nineteenth century, and I assume also written by a nineteenth-century French author. The story is ...
9
votes
1answer
160 views

In “Hard to Be a God”, are “Sergei Kozhin”, “George Lenny”, “Sabine Kruger” real historical references?

The main character's internal monolog at one point reads: You just want to kill. Yes, I do. And are you capable of it? ... the only thing I regret is killing her in vain. So they've almost ...
4
votes
1answer
104 views

Collection of short-stories for kids/teens in German

Around 13-15 years ago I had a book (or 2!) which featured a collection of short-stories. It was written in German, i sadly remember neither the name of the book, nor the authors or publishers name. ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the Inspector's speech contradict Birling's speech in the play “An Inspector Calls”?

In the play "An Inspector Calls" by J.B Priestley, Mr Birling gives a speech at the beginning of the play riddled with dramatic irony and selfish statements; he doesn't get to finish the speech as the ...
7
votes
1answer
959 views

Why did Samuel Coleridge metaphorise 'work without hope ' as 'nectar in a sieve'?

Source: An Explication of "Work Without Hope", by Amy Edwards, ’02 West Chester University The last two lines of this poem are the turning point, and make it all come together. Coleridge writes, "...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

When did men dressed as women stop being the norm in English theatre?

This excellent answer by Joshua Engel draws a comparison between men dressed as women in Shakespeare-era plays and perspective jumps in modern cinema: The audience would, of course, have been aware ...
4
votes
1answer
266 views

Why is desire “a commodity [Lucifer is] short on”?

In The Sandman Presents: Lucifer - The Morningstar Option #3 (written by Mike Carey and drawn by Scott Hampton), Lucifer explains he needed Rachel Begai to channel her desire to destroy the Velleity, ...
8
votes
1answer
138 views

Short story that poked fun at certain authority figures (presidents or prime ministers) via implications of incompetence

I would like to identify a comedic book that was recommended​ to me some time ago. I don't remember much, but here is a brief description: The title may have contained a person's name... If memory ...
8
votes
1answer
87 views

What does the narrator really mean by the following quote from the novel Cranford?

In the novel Cranford, there's a particular line that I'm having trouble understanding: If a married couple come to settle in town, somehow the gentleman disappears. I thought about it, and I came ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Are photographs in Harry Potter a device for characterizing subjects?

In an answer that I recently wrote elsewhere on this site, I posited that photographs are used by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books as a device to portray the subjects of the photograph in a ...
8
votes
1answer
606 views

Why is Regulus Black a seeker?

In Chapter Ten of the Deathly Hallows, we're told that Regulus Black is a seeker for the Slytherin team. Is there any symbolism behind Regulus Black's Quidditch position? I got the idea for this ...
6
votes
0answers
641 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) ...
13
votes
1answer
555 views

Identify a story about murders of homeless people

I remember 2 years ago reading a book in class about a retired soldier who lures homeless people into his house and murders them. I believe the plot went like this: Lets say the heroes name is X. ...
6
votes
0answers
59 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
32k views

Origins of quote: “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

I've grown up loving the quote "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup." and I've been searching around to find out where it came from (with only a ...
4
votes
1answer
308 views

How can the Huexotzinco Codex be read?

I'm reading about the Huexotzinco Codex on Wikipedia. Wikipedia describes the document as a "Nahua pictorial manuscript", and claims that it was used as evidence in a Spanish court case. However, the ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Does the Birling family (and Gerald) represent the 7 deadly sins and/or the story of the pharaoh?

One of my theories that I will be using for my English exam (on Friday) is that the Inspector is like Moses and the Birling family being like the pharaoh. The pharaoh in the bible decides to free the ...
4
votes
2answers
15k views

Does Eric Birling rape Eva Smith?

In An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley, does Eric Birling actually rape Eva Smith? Does "force" indicate rape, and did he "force" himself into the apartment or onto her? If he did rape her - why ...

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