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14
votes
1answer
461 views

What sources influenced Byron's “Fragment of a Novel”?

Lord Byron's "Fragment of a Novel" is an unfinished story about a vampire. (It's not clear from the story that the man is a vampire, but at least according to this site, Byron said that the man would ...
21
votes
1answer
439 views

Did later literary analysis agree with Mark Twain's criticism of J.F. Cooper?

This excellent answer by @CHEESE linked to a Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses". SPOILER ALERT: That essay is extremely critical of Cooper's work. Did later literary analysis largely ...
29
votes
2answers
1k views

Has the phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” ever truly appeared in a Sherlock Holmes book?

A famous phrase attributed to Sherlock Holmes is "Elementary, my dear Watson" or "Elementary, dear Watson" Has this phrase ever occurred in a Sherlock Holmes book? If yes, in which novel or story ...
12
votes
2answers
629 views

Is there any animal internal monologue in The Lord of the Rings?

Does Tolkien ever include any internal monologue from the perspective of an animal? That is to say, a scene where he shows an animal talking to itself inside of its own head?
23
votes
1answer
279 views

Was pretending to be an abridgement of a made-up work invented by William Goldman?

William Goldman's The Princess Bride is famous (among other reasons) for a literary device it employs - it pretends to be an abridgment (or "the good parts version") of a longer work by S. ...
13
votes
2answers
564 views

What inspired the writing of Sredni Vashtar?

Of the many short stories by Saki, I found Sredni Vashtar to be one of the darkest. While many of his stories are morbid, Sredni Vashtar has a young boy praying for the death of his guardian to ...
7
votes
1answer
133 views

Are the comic elements of Conrad's The Secret Agent intentional?

Conrad's novel The Secret Agent is a critique of the way authoritarian tendencies react to the perceived threat of terrorism. The story it tells is, in most respects, extremely bleak. There are, ...
27
votes
1answer
5k views

Why did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decide to kill off this character?

In the short story "The Final Problem", Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made the decision to kill off Sherlock Holmes (although he did bring him back again in the story of "The Empty House"). This was met with ...
9
votes
1answer
805 views

Where does the word “diegesis” come from, and to what elements of a story, specifically, does it refer?

I've noticed that the word "diegesis" is an important term when discussing literature and literary value. Where does it come from, and what does it mean?
9
votes
1answer
217 views

Did Shakespeare's audience believe Measure for Measure to be realistic?

In the play Measure for Measure Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna, leaves his city in the charge of a judge while he goes on a "diplomatic mission". It transpires that he has not, in fact, left the city ...
18
votes
1answer
767 views

What was a “prince” in Dostoevsky's times, i.e. mid-late 19th century?

In Dostoevsky's The Idiot, the main character is Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin. Sometimes the word "prince" almost seems an honorary title, e.g. "Here you all are now," the prince began, "looking ...
10
votes
2answers
460 views

Was there a deliberate parallel between the Thénardiers and Gollum?

Long ago, I noticed that there was a parallel between The Lord of the Rings and Les Misérables in the characters of the Thénardiers and Gollum. Gollum has the One Ring at the start of the tale in The ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the epilogue in Blood Meridian?

Cormac McCarthy is famously tight-lipped as to his own interpretations of his work. Nevertheless, there are some clear themes in his novel Blood Meridian: human propensity to violence and the efforts ...
6
votes
1answer
104 views

When is the Shadow Children series set?

In Margaret Peterson Haddix's The Shadow Children series, it's a dystopian world where people aren't allowed to have more than two children. It appears as if it's set in the future of our world. ...
13
votes
1answer
146 views

Do all old stars get their own private island and a magical buffet table?

On The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the crew of the Dawn Traders lands on the island of Ramandu, who is a retired star1. "I am a star at rest, my daughter," answered Ramandu. "When I set for the ...
-1
votes
1answer
116 views

Who is Jeanette?

I've read The Passage - Justin Cronin. The series was great, but I haven't heard much about Jeanette (from what I can remember). I really want to know if she's special like Amy. My question is was ...
16
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the bananafish? What does it represent?

In J.D. Salinger's A Perfect Day For Bananafish, Seymour, the main character, talks about a bananafish. He tells a little girl about the bananafish. The little girl says she sees the fish. What is ...
22
votes
2answers
6k views

How many sailors from Odysseus' crew survived the Odyssey?

It's been a long time since I've read it, maybe 20 years. Of course, Odysseus survives, but does anyone else? How many sailors did he start with, and how many made it home with him (or safely departed ...
13
votes
1answer
389 views

Had Keats read any of Homer's works before reading Chapman's translation of them?

In "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," John Keats writes: Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne; Yet never did I breathe its pure serene ...
7
votes
0answers
113 views

I'm looking for a comic where Huey, Dewey or Louie has a girlfriend

It's a series of still images (comic). I believe it's quite old, probably from between 1960-1980. It's about Huey, Dewey and Louie. Two of them are being sort of rowdy, fighting, doing mischief, etc. ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Understanding the key in The Waste Land

A passage from the fifth part of the poem The Waste Land (which you can read online) says: Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in ...
9
votes
0answers
148 views

Was Isidora's fate in Melmoth the Wanderer directly inspired by Faust?

When reading Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer I couldn't help but notice that Isidora's fate largely resembled Gretchen's in Goethe's Faust and especially the endings of both storylines ...
12
votes
1answer
910 views

How long was the Little Prince on Earth?

In The Little Prince, the titular little prince lands on Earth. How long was he there? If I recall correctly, the prince left on the 8th day of the pilot being lost in the desert. I don't know if ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

In 1984, why does O'Brien expect Winston to know what Room 101 is?

In 1984, O'Brien expects Winston to know what Room 101 is. I know that Room 101 is more torture, but why would O'Brien expect Winston to know that? ‘What is in Room 101?’ The expression on O’...
7
votes
1answer
174 views

Do any of J. D. Salinger's short stories share locations or characters?

J. D. Salinger is a well-known 20th century author, most notably of Catcher in the Rye. He was fairly prolific, writing many stories. Do any of these stories share the same universe?
10
votes
1answer
858 views

Was Catcher in the Rye autobiographical?

Was Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in any way based on Salinger's earlier life, like the works of Charles Dickens?
4
votes
0answers
2k views

Is Troy the antagonist in “Fences”?

Is Troy the antagonist of the play Fences? The antagonist is, by definition, the opposer to the protagonist, who is also Troy. However, Troy often acts against his own beliefs (i.e., sending Gabe to ...
15
votes
1answer
600 views

Why all those tangents?

Anyone who's ever read Victor Hugo's immortal masterpiece Les Miserables knows that it's a long read...mostly because Hugo goes on a bunch of random tangents in the middle--on such topics as the ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Do I need to read the Redwall books in any specific order?

The Redwall series by Brian Jacques is pretty long: ~40 books, iirc. They all focus on different characters, but there are lots of people that appear in lots, such as Martin the Warrior. Do I have to ...
9
votes
3answers
435 views

Why did George have to kill this character?

In Of Mice and Men, I never understood why it was necessary for when George simply could've pulled some sort of diversionary tactic and falsely led the rest of the lynch mob somewhere else in the ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

What specific criticisms did Mark Twain make against Jane Austen's books?

It's pretty well known that Mark Twain was rather vitriolic against Jane Austen, saying things like: I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane ...
33
votes
2answers
3k views

In 1984, why did O'Brien wait so long?

In Orwell's 1984, O'Brien knows well that Julia and Winston are enemies of the Party when they come to his house to pledge their allegiance to the Brotherhood. Why doesn't he immediately arrest them ...
3
votes
3answers
144 views

Who illustrated “Exotic Zoology”?

I love the illustrations in Willy Ley's Exotic Zoology, which appear to be line art. Sadly my copy is a battered library-discard; either the front matter never attributed the artist or it was on a ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Do I need to read the Hardy Boys books in order?

The Hardy Boys books are a bunch of mystery novels, written by Franklin W. Dixon. They all focus on the Hardy Brothers, Frank and Joe. I have some of the series, but not all of them (especially not ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How many of Shakespeare's words in his plays were new?

William Shakespeare is famous for using many words in his plays which were new introductions to the English language. According to Shakespeare Online: The English language owes a great debt to ...
23
votes
1answer
504 views

Is the mariner immortal?

I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach. This is one of the last ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

Has a parody of a work of literature ever become more successful than the original work? [closed]

I was thinking of this when I read Nineteen-Neighty-Four, a fanfic with My Little Pony ponies in a 1984-ish world. Parodies can be really successful as a way of challenging another work, or the ideas ...
12
votes
1answer
128 views

Are the talking animals real or figments of the Little Prince's imagination?

The Little Prince meets some animals that can talk: for example, a fox and a snake. Well, we know[citation needed] that they can't actually talk, but do they really exist or are they just figments of ...
8
votes
1answer
159 views

Why are some people dissatisfied with the titling of “The Red Wheelbarrow”?

I have read that many critics have been dissatisfied with the modern titling of XXII from Spring and All by William Carlos Williams as "The Red Wheelbarrow". Neil Easterbrook was displeased with the ...
13
votes
3answers
396 views

What are the challenges in translating a work of literature?

I'm currently in the process of reading Cyrano de Bergerac (translated by Charles Renauld). There, an introduction is made by Adolphe Cohn, said to be the Professor of the Romance languages and ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Did the mechanical hound signify anything in Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is written with many recurring symbols. After reading the book, I never thought that the mechanical hound was one of them, though my friend told me otherwise. Did the ...
10
votes
1answer
63 views

Did Leckie consult with the audiobook narrators on pronunciation?

I love how Adjoa Andoh narrates the audiobook version of Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, especially her pronunciation of Radchaai words and her singing. Did Leckie give Andoh those pronunciations ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Symbolism of “hot gammon” in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

I'm reading T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read for free online) and one particular line stuck out at me: Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, And they ...
13
votes
3answers
803 views

Who chained the albatross to the mariner's neck?

In the long poem by Samuel Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the mariner talks about an albatross being chained to his neck: Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung. ...
12
votes
1answer
382 views

Why is Daphne Farquitt never seen?

In the Thursday Next series, there is an author named Daphne Farquitt. She is a prolific and popular writer, although all her books are pretty much the same unimaginative love stories. (With one ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the superstate Winston lives in named Oceania in 1984?

Winston Smith lives in London, a city in the superstate of Oceania. As shown in the map here, Oceania consists of all of the Americas, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In the modern world today, ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Should Go Set A Watchman be read before To Kill A Mockingbird?

Given that Go Set A Watchman takes place after To Kill A Mockingbird, we would think that we should read it second. However, Go Set A Watchman was probably a first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird. I am ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Why didn't Hermione or Dumbledore use the Time-Turner to defeat Voldemort?

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Albus Dumbledore hands Hermione the 'Time-Turner', which they use to free Buckbeak and later on to rescue Sirus Black. One spin on the Time-Turner equals one hour ...
8
votes
1answer
149 views

Are there any debated authorship references in Thursday Next series?

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series is a sort of fantasy about literature. Much of the story line about the books and literary characters that appear in this series is obviously made up, but there ...
15
votes
1answer
881 views

How does the golden bough in “Sailing to Byzantium” relate to the story in the Aeneid, if at all?

According to Wikipedia of W.B. Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats explores his thoughts and musings on how immortality, art, and the human spirit may ...

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