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40
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725 views

History of Spoilers

I live in the USA, where people react poorly if you spoil a move or a book for them. However, the question What is the benefit in the Prologue "spoiling" the play in Romeo + Juliet? raises ...
24
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438 views

How did real historical Igbo society differ from its portrayal in Things Fall Apart?

I recently read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and found its detailed portrayal of historical Igbo (aka Ibo) culture very interesting. My understanding is that it's a reasonably close ...
21
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443 views

Which Tintin books were redrawn by Hergé?

The first nine albums were originally published in black and white, with colored editions to appear later: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (never redrawn in colour ) Tintin in the Congo Tintin in ...
21
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367 views

Was Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum at all inspired by A Predicament?

Poe's satirical short story A Predicament tells the story of a woman who is slowly decapitated by the minute hand of a large cathedral clock. In all its ridiculous, it was supposed to be a horror ...
20
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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 ...
19
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262 views

Is the treatment of Jar Jar Binks in Aftermath: Empire's End a reflection of audience treatment?

In one of the Interlude scenes in the book Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End, a child interacts with Jar Jar Binks, and gives more details about how the adults don't like him due to their beliefs that ...
18
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505 views

Are Frog and Toad more than just friends?

In a 1977 interview with The Lion and the Unicorn, Arnold Lobel said: You know, if an adult has an unhappy love affair, he writes about it. He exorcises it out of himself, perhaps, by writing a ...
18
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1answer
142 views

Is the cliffhanger at the end of “First among sequels” resolved?

The book "First among Sequels" ends on a cliffhanger. The protagonist, Thursday Next, has to run for her life, to escape an impending fire. The next book in the series, "One of Our Thursdays is ...
16
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117 views

Do Daniel Handler's novels for adults share themes or tone with his Lemony Snicket work?

Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events, written under his Lemony Snicket pseudonym, delves into a great many intriguing themes -- the blindness and dysfunctionality of modern society; living ...
14
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237 views

What does the letter V in Thomas Pynchon's book symbolize?

Obviously, V. is a character in the book, known only by her initial. That initial is also the title of the book, which actually includes the period. But I assume this title/name symbolizes something ...
14
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261 views

How did T.S. Eliot's literary criticism affect his poetry?

T.S. Eliot wrote influential essays in New Criticism, a literary theory movement that if I understand correctly tried to revive formalism and focus on close reading and the text itself, as a response ...
14
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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 ...
14
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1answer
432 views

How did Lee's personal experience affect the narrative of To Kill A Mockingbird?

Many Southern authors of Harper Lee's time period wrote very autobiographical works. This led me to wonder how much Harper Lee's personal life was reflected in the narrative of To Kill A Mockingbird. ...
14
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1answer
221 views

Overpopulated world, where volunteers are being taken to be converted to food

I've read a lot of stories over the years, and Google is not being kind to my search terms (it probably flagged something with NSA or Homeland Security, too). The book I'm thinking of is set in an ...
13
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102 views

What is the Pasifika response to “Nation”?

Pratchett's "Nation" was recommended to me because it depicts an alternate reality version of Pasifika cultures, faiths, and traditions. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me it's got cannibals and ...
13
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1answer
323 views

What is the Neverending Story's moral about power?

In Michael Ende's brilliant novel The Neverending Story, the world of Fantastica is ruled by the Childlike Empress, a mysterious ruler who is given a different name each time a new human comes to her ...
12
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91 views

What is this mid-20th century British adventure novel?

I’d like help finding a novel I loved as a child. The points I can remember: It was set and written in mid-20th century England, perhaps the 1950s. Perhaps aimed at schoolchildren of the time - a ...
12
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450 views

Why “Moon Child”?

In The Neverending Story, the main turning point is when Bastian gives the Childlike Empress her much-needed name, saves Fantastica, and enters into the story himself. This name is "Moon Child", or "...
12
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4k views

Was Holden Caulfield molested as a child?

In chapter 24, Holden goes to Mr. Antolini's place to stay for the night. He crashes on the couch, and suddenly is woken up by Mr. Antolini stroking his (Holden's) hair while he sleeps. There are, ...
12
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73 views

Who can nominate candidates for a Nobel Prize in Literature?

I was reading the Nobel Prize website page on the nomination and selection of Literature Laureates, and didn't quite understand the list of people and organisations eligible to submit nominations: ...
12
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529 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 ...
12
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242 views

What is the earliest hybrid graphic novel?

Malice (2009) was the first hybrid graphic novel I read, though I've seen more than one other since. By "hybrid graphic novel," I mean a book that contains passages of both traditional, unillustrated ...
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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 ...
12
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104 views

Was “Earthly Powers” actually based on Burgess' private, and secret life?

The gay-oriented book Earthly Powers (1980) was narrated by an 81-year-old successful, homosexual writer, Kenneth Toomey, a figure loosely based on W. Somerset Maugham. However, it seems that ...
12
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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 ...
11
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139 views

When was young Cosette's bedtime?

While the song "Come to Me" was probably not intended as a treatise on astronomical timekeeping or 19th-century French child-rearing, some of Fantine's lines (taken at face value) fit together for a ...
11
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862 views

Is Ozma a lesbian character?

Throughout the Oz books, we see that Ozma has several indicators of perhaps being gay: She never takes a boyfriend, she has a... erm... very close friendship with Dorothy, and some people claim that ...
11
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117 views

Identify a Children's Book about a character who eats all his groceries on the way home

I'm trying to identify a book I used to read as a child (90s-00s) that I just barely remember. It was for young children, and I believe each page had a sentence or two along with an illustration. It ...
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105 views

Who put forward this completion to Sappho 94, and what is it actually supposed to read?

In Sappho 94 (τεθνάκην δ' ἀδόλως θέλω), there is this tercet at ll. 25-27, which is very incomplete, which Edmonds doesn't even have, and which Bibliotheca Augustana and Campbell p. 69 both read: ...
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378 views

Which traits of Milton's Lucifer from “Paradise Lost” did Neil Gaiman carry to “The Sandman”?

Lucifer Morningstar, the Vertigo Comics character, was created by Neil Gaiman with influence from John Milton's Paradise Lost - at least that's what is written on his Wikipedia page, and even on the ...
11
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166 views

What is the role of Jane Eyre in The Cider House Rules?

In The Cider House Rules, Jane Eyre and several works by Charles Dickens (such as David Copperfield and The Great Expectations) are repeatedly mentioned and cited. One of the roles of David ...
11
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123 views

Help me identify an old children's picture book featuring anthropomimetic arthropods

The book in question was written prior to 1990. The pages probably had no words — I was able to read at the time, so either it was not narrated or the words were not memorable. Each page, or pair of ...
11
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449 views

Why did Tarzan write his name as “Tarzan”?

In chapter 13 of Tarzan of the Apes (His Own Kind), the notice posted by Tarzan reads: THIS IS THE HOUSE OF TARZAN, THE KILLER OF BEASTS AND MANY BLACK MEN. DO NOT HARM THE THINGS WHICH ARE ...
10
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80 views

Post modernist fantasy with nested stories structure

Searching for a work of metafiction I read about 5 years ago, probably published originally in the early 2000s. It's a bizarre fable about a young man who develops an obsession with a girl, a ...
10
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532 views

A story in which a young girl saves a poor boy from a factory owner and meets that boy decades later

Yesterday, I was reading a 5th grader's comprehension book. It had multiple excerpts from good (if not well-known) novels. One of them particularly stood out to me. It was about a woman who lived in ...
10
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104 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 ...
10
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87 views

Is “Battlefield Earth” good science fiction by Hubbard's standards?

L. Ron Hubbard says that to be "pure," "credible," and "have a point," (all things he clearly values highly) science fiction must be plausible; limited in its possibilities; have to do with material-...
10
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102 views

Why, at the begining of the tale Jealous Twins, does the storyteller frame the story?

The Verba Africana website is a fantastic website that publishes recordings, transcriptions, and analysis of African oral literature. One of the stories published on the site is called Jealous Twins; ...
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69 views

Are the five narrators in The Fifty Year Sword more than a gimmick?

Mark Z. Danielewski's The Fifty Year Sword is told by five narrators whose parts were ostensibly collected in interviews and tightly interleaved. Quoting the first page: Maybe because the history ...
10
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89 views

Did Charles Dickens change the endings of any of his books other than Great Expectations?

I know that Charles Dickens changed the ending to Great Expectations after prompting. Did he do so with any of his other books? Of course, he may have changed the endings of all his books a hundred ...
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61 views

Did Pushkin ever deliberately copy the style of anyone else?

Beginning, or less talented, writers often consciously or subconsciously imitate the style of earlier creators. Are any works by Pushkin (past the age of 20) known to copy someone else's style, ...
10
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1answer
343 views

Dante Alleghieri's Divine Comedy “has been translated into the most languages in the world & top printed work after the Bible”?

There is a MOOC about Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy by the The University of Naples Federico II, in which a certain professor named Raffaele Giglio starts a video (published in September 2017) in ...
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142 views

Why does Tom Sawyer forget what “ransom” means?

In Chapter XXXIII of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom explains "ransom" to Huck. But in Chapter II of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom has no idea what ransoming is. Is this just Twain ...
9
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0answers
96 views

What methods have been used to distinguish the text between the two strands of The Neverending Story?

I've owned two copies of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story in my life - both English translations, one paperback with a blue cover, one hardback with a red cover inside the dustcover. Both of them ...
9
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0answers
6k views

What's the origin of the rhyme “My friend Billy had a ten foot willy”?

A simple rhyming song which I heard growing up and which still gets stuck in my head every so often: My friend Billy had a ten foot willy. He stuck it through the neighbour's door. OR He showed ...
9
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0answers
110 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 ...
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1k views

How is the concept of cultural encounter treated in the short story “One Out of Many”?

In the story "One Out of Many" by V.S. Naipaul, how is the concept of cultural encounter treated? I have a few questions about that: Is the author aware of the cultural encounter theme? How does he ...
9
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0answers
176 views

'Classical' horror short story in which overwork is linked to a supernatural demon

Having just had an exceptionally busy week, I've been trying to recall the details of a relevant short story whose name escapes me. I have the feeling it was a fairly old, 'classical' horror story - ...
9
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159 views

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”: English vs. Russian translation?

I recently started reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami in English and I'm quite enjoying it. However, I learned that the English version — although well-translated — omits ...
9
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96 views

How fictionalised is “Dust Tracks on a Road”?

I just finished reading Zora Neale Hurston's memoir Dust Tracks on a Road and I thought it seemed to be full of tall tales as well as omissions, though obviously it is based on her real life. In his ...

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