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4
votes
2answers
685 views

What is the significance of the title of the book Wool?

So far, the title doesn't seem to have a whole lot to do with the book content itself. The chapter titles are seemingly all knitting related, and I know the cleaners use wool pads to clean the lenses ...
9
votes
2answers
364 views

Did Ratty have a housekeeper?

Kenneth Grahame's masterpiece, The Wind in the Willows, describes the adventures of five friends, four of whom are, apparently, bachelors. We can infer that Mole was a bachelor since (1) he did his ...
10
votes
1answer
127 views

Did Strugatsky brothers ever comment on “predicting” the Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry?

In the foundational novel of their Noon universe, "Noon, XXII century" ("Полдень, XXII век"), published in 1961, Strugatsky brothers "predicted" the notorious Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry and ...
6
votes
1answer
200 views

Was J.R.R. Tolkien building on a past tradition when relying heavily on languages he made up?

It is a uncontested and well known fact that Tolkien was a linguist, and he wrote Middle-Earth as a setting for his languages. However, what interests me is whether the approach he took was out of ...
16
votes
1answer
301 views

How much did forensic science at the time of Sherlock Holmes' publication influence it?

Was Arthur Conan Doyle influenced by any particular forensic techniques or methods used in his time? Were there any specific ones utilized a lot in the Sherlock Holmes series? And if so, what were ...
15
votes
1answer
601 views

Did Lady Macbeth communicate signs of her instability prior to the blood scene?

I'm looking back on Macbeth, and I'm wondering something that's piqued my interest again. There's a very well-known scene in Macbeth: the blood-spot scene, the hand-washing scene, and other such names....
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Why did Jo consider Ned and Jack to be failures?

In Jo's Boys in chapter 5, it is stated, Jack and Ned sent regrets and best wishes, and no one mourned their absence; for they were among what Mrs. Jo called her failures. Why were these two in ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

What does it mean to laugh like the letter k?

In Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros, the symbolic meaning of one line is quite confusing. The narrator is referring to her grandfather (abuelo), and she says he: who used to laugh like the letter k ...
8
votes
0answers
72 views

Why did SAQ get re-translated?

Some Answered Questions was first published into English in 1908, but was "extensively retranslated" in 2014. Why was a retranslation needed? I assume it has to do with the dual origin of the English ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

Is there a canonical map of Thomas Hardy's Wessex?

Most if not all of Thomas Hardy's novels are set in the fictional(ish) English region of Wessex. He uses many real towns and locations as settings, but gives them fictional names: for instance, Oxford ...
23
votes
1answer
8k views

Are quote marks used selectively in “The Handmaid's Tale” or do I have a bad scan of the book?

I've just begun reading The Handmaid's Tale and I'm a bit distracted by the usage (or non-usage) of quote marks in the version I have (ebook). In the second chapter, the handmaid is describing her ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How is William Carlos Williams's affection expressed in “The Red Wheelbarrow”?

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, there is no specific mention of any person. However, he wrote that the poem "sprang from affection" for an old man named Marshall, to ...
9
votes
3answers
881 views

What is “This is Just to Say” about?

In "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, the speaker appears to deliver an apology for stealing the plums of the person at whom the poem is targeted. I have heard some people analyze this ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the “good night” symbolize in Dylan Thomas's “Do not go gentle into that good night”?

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas, he begins with "Do not go gentle into that good night". He also uses this as one of two alternating refrains. In this poem, what does the "good ...
-5
votes
2answers
2k views

How does the ring end up where Déagol found it?

In the Lord of the Rings series Sméagol/Gollum murders his friend Déagol for the ring. It is also stated that Déagol found the ring in Gladden Fields. How did the ring get there? And which book this ...
5
votes
1answer
50 views

Was Skin Games the first where Harry withheld information?

In the book Skin Games, the currently latest book in The Dresden Files, Harry intentionally withholds information from the reader for a surprising reveal later in the book. Is this the first instance ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Where did the term Kwisatz Haderach in Dune originate?

I've always been curious how names and words are created in literature. Having finished the main Dune books last year, I was thinking how the term "Kwisatz Haderach" came about. Did Herbert make it up,...
13
votes
2answers
611 views

What does it mean to greet a guest with an unsheathed sword?

In A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, when Tyrion Lannister visits Winterfell on the way back from the Wall: “Any man of the Night’s Watch is welcome here at Winterfell for as long as he wishes to ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Erma before the greener grass

I remember when Erma Bombeck's "The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank" came out. Everyone was talking about and sharing copies of the book. It was probably the first non-Scifi work that ...
9
votes
1answer
12k views

Which order is recommended for the “Commonwealth” novels?

The Commonwealth Saga of Peter F. Hamilton is comprised of several novels spanning centuries, characters and planets. Unfortunately, the publishing order does not concur with the in-universe order. ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Why was the book Animal Farm banned in non-communist countries?

I understand why it was banned in the USSR, because it's pretty blatant satire of the USSR. It's also still banned in North Korea for the same reason. But why was it banned in the United Arab ...
14
votes
1answer
226 views

What did Suzanne Collins base the Hunger Games on?

Authors tend to pull a lot of ideas or write stories based on other works. After reading the novel Battle Royal, I saw lots of similarities between it and the Hunger Games. Do we know of anything that ...
0
votes
3answers
552 views

Why don't these lines rhyme in Les Miserables?

In Castle on a Cloud from Les Miserables, There is a room that's full of toys, There are a hundred boys and girls I know it's translated from French, but why isn't it girls and boys? There ...
11
votes
1answer
357 views

What does the physical Scarlet Letter represent?

I love The Scarlet Letter, but I surprised to find out that I did not even know what it was supposed to represent. Its significance seemed to change throughout the book. Is there one central symbol ...
16
votes
2answers
221 views

Why does Miss Havisham drive fast cars?

In Jasper Fforde's "book world," Miss Havisham is a speed demon who races cars with Mr. Toad. This seems... out of character, based on my understanding of her. Is it just funny because it's ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

Was this character's death symbolic in Bridge to Terabithia?

As a child, reading Bridge to Terabithia, I was horrified when As an older reader now, I wonder whether her death was necessary to the development of Jessie. Was her death for a purpose, or was it ...
4
votes
0answers
31 views

Who abducted Addison in “Wit's End”?

In Fowler's Wit's End (also published as The Case of the Imaginary Detective), we see a flashback where Addison is abducted at age three. It's a strange scene. There are three people involved; she ...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

How to read é, ä, û?

If I want to read Tolkien's text aloud, or appreciate the rhythm and rhyme in his poems, I find it distracting not to know how names including these characters (and similar ones) were meant to be ...
4
votes
0answers
52 views

Did Timrod inspire Dylan before 'Modern Times'?

Bob Dylan's album Modern Times has many passages famously inspired by (some say plagiarised from) the poetry of Henry Timrod. Do any of Dylan's earlier works also clearly reflect the influence of ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does Old Major in Animal Farm represent?

Old Major, the elder pig in Animal Farm, seems to have a different role than the younger ones. I believe he has a different view, but after he dies, the young pigs don't follow his legacy. What does ...
12
votes
1answer
726 views

What's the point of the hen in Juan Rulfo's “They Gave Us the Land”?

The short story "Nos han dado la tierra" ("They Gave Us the Land") is a dismal portrayal of the Mexican government's land reform in the mid-20th century. A group of men are given a barren wasteland ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Which is the 'correct' version of the Lady of Shalott and why are there two?

It seems Tennyson wrote two versions of The Lady of Shalott. They are quite similar but have some big differences, for instance: Earlier version: On either side the river lie Long fields of ...
17
votes
2answers
342 views

Why does the Lady of Shalott stay instead of stray?

In Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott" there is the following verse: There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Did Evelyn Waugh ever attempt to write a screenplay?

Waugh's early novels, especially Vile Bodies, are notable for a "cinematic" style of pacing, with relatively short segments of narrative being "cross-cut" to build tension. It's noted in his ...
9
votes
1answer
271 views

How do I get started with the Cthulhu mythos?

Having encountered a number of references to Cthulhu in various places over the years, I would like to explore the various works based in the Cthulhu mythos. Out of curiosity, I had read The Call of ...
7
votes
1answer
395 views

Moral of the Hunger Games Trilogy

In the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy, several things happen which make me think that the moral (or conclusion) of the story is that things never change. The Hunger Games are to continue, just ...
12
votes
1answer
64 views

Why don't the modern printings of Campion novels use the original artwork?

Youngman Carter painted beautiful bespoke art for the covers of Margery Allingham's mystery novels, and his style became associated with her work. Why don't the modern reprints of the Campion novels ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What is “the Poetic Genius”?

In "All Religions are One", William Blake develops an argument around a concept called "the Poetic Genius". From the modern, surface meaning of the words, the Poetic Genius would seem to be the ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Poe plagiarise someone else's work when writing “The Raven”?

I've read that Poe's been accused of lifting significant elements from many authors including Elizabeth Barrett, Charles Dickens, Leo Penzoni, and Thomas Holley Chivers (and "unknown," of course). ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Did Lenore merely leave or is she dead?

Edgar Allen Poe's poem The Raven has the narrator mourning the loss of his love Lenore. But it's actually not entirely clear to me if Lenore merely left the narrator (for whatever relationship-related ...
13
votes
1answer
600 views

Why are manga panels read differently than Japanese text?

Japanese is traditionally read in an up-to-down column, then jumps right-to-left to the next column. But all the manga I've ever seen reverse that order for panel flow, so we go from panel to panel ...
7
votes
0answers
92 views

Are any of Kino's attackers directly linked to the one pearl buyer?

In The Pearl, chapter 4, when Kino is trying to sell his massive pearl in the village market, it's revealed that all the pearl buyers work for one man: It was supposed that the pearl buyers were ...
11
votes
2answers
310 views

Which flood story was first?

I have heard that the The Epic of Gilgamesh may predate the stories of Noah told in Abrahamic works. Is there any evidence to support which story came first?
11
votes
1answer
129 views

What techniques were used in “The Unfortunates” in order to allow the story to be read in random order?

In reading the book "The Unfortunates," you are directed by the book's instructions to literally mix the chapters together, excepting the first and last chapter. This creates an interesting ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

What is a Byronic Hero?

I just saw this post: Was Heathcliff intentionally made a Byronic Hero? Not being familiar with literary terminology, I have no idea what a Byronic Hero is. I had read Wuthering Heights long ago (it ...
19
votes
4answers
43k views

In which order should the Sherlock Holmes stories be read?

The canonical Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle comprise: four novellas: A Study in Scarlet The Sign of Four The Hound of the Baskervilles The Valley of Fear fifty-six short stories, ...
6
votes
1answer
200 views

Where's the climax of J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy?

I recently read J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. An issue I have with it is that I couldn't see a clear climax. It just felt like a bunch of unhappy people making everyone around them unhappy. ...
14
votes
2answers
341 views

Who first referred to Odysseus as Ulysses?

When I was in high school, Homer's Iliad, Homer's Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid were taught as a trilogy of sorts. Was Virgil the first Roman to refer to Odysseus as 'Ulysses' or was there another (...
6
votes
1answer
521 views

Are Endymion and Hyperion by John Keats intended to be related pieces?

Hyperion and Endymion are poems by the famous poet John Keats, both based on Greek mythology. Hyperion talks about the Titan's despairing after their defeat by the Olympians, and was written in 1818-...

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