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1answer
2k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
418 views

What circumstances is Bachchan referring to in this poem?

I came across a poem titled, Saathi, Sab Kuch Sahna Hoga (You have to tolerate this all, my friend) by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. I read this poem years ago and it is taken from an older book. Here is an ...
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’...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

In the Iliad, why does Homer list every captain involved in the Trojan war?

In book two of the The Iliad (which you can read online), Homer does something that I find strange: he interrupts the story to list the name of every captain involved in the Trojan war: And now, O ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the symbolism of the final rise of the Kraken?

I've been studying a lot of Tennyson, and I recently read The Kraken. The first 12 lines seem relatively straightforward, describing the giant beast that sleeps at the bottom of the sea, but the final ...
20
votes
1answer
731 views

Did C. S. Lewis support the Ransom Theory in the Chronicles of Narnia?

Some critics have claimed that the explanation of Aslan's sacrifice in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe supports the ransom theory of the atonement. (Edit: There's also a much briefer definition ...
20
votes
1answer
459 views

How does Shakespeare's iambic pentameter work with Original Pronunciation?

In school, students are often taught about iambic pentameter via Shakespearian examples. These, however, were based on the Received Pronunciation (RP) reading of Shakespeare's works. In reality, ...
20
votes
0answers
281 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 ...
20
votes
0answers
550 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

Did Frodo want Bilbo to die?

I was reading in the first volume of the Lord of the Rings recently, and ran across this quote when Gandalf and Frodo are talking about the Ring for the first time after its true nature has been ...
19
votes
5answers
8k views

What's the deal with Bilbo being some kind of “burglar”?

I may only be 37 pages into "The Hobbit", re-reading it after 20+ years, but several things already confuse me. First of all, and this is what I'm mainly asking about, Bilbo is casually ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I check that used or old books are in good condition before I purchase them?

I go to used book sales about once or twice a year. Recently, I bought some books that I've been meaning to read for a while. However, when I started reading them, I realized that about a quarter of ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

227 days in Life of Pi, coincidence or symbolical?

I'm wondering whether it is known whether the 227 days in Life of Pi symbolical is for pi or that the symbolism I see (as a mathematician :)) is pure coincidence. I think that it is symbolic for pi ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is the order of The Chronicles of Narnia changed from original publication?

When I originally read The Chronicles of Narnia I read an older boxset which has the books numbered in original publication order: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe Prince Caspian The Voyage of ...
19
votes
2answers
657 views

How much experience did Tolkien have in writing?

J.R.R Tolkien famously created his world and then created the stories he put in them. He was a professor, historian, and linguist by profession, and his writing style in The Lord of the Rings, The ...
19
votes
3answers
13k views

If Tolkien disliked allegory, why are there so many allegorical readings of The Lord of the Rings?

There is a famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in which he states his hatred of allegorical writing. "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old ...
19
votes
2answers
721 views

How did the Inklings originate?

The (original) Inklings were a group of Oxford academics and writers, their most famous members including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Hugo Dyson. They used to meet regularly, ...
19
votes
1answer
110 views

Short story about an atomic energy agency van, with a funny surprise ending

My question is about a short-story with a surprise ending. The story is about an atomic energy agency van that accidentally gets off the road down a steep slope and hits a small tree. People on ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Where does this Federico Garcia Lorca quote come from? Is it a fake?

The quote is the following: Besides black art, there is only automation and mechanization. I ran into this quote in a book named Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems ...
19
votes
1answer
578 views

Was Paradise Lost the first major work of literature to give “sympathy for the devil”?

John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost was first published in England in 1667. While this is long after the Protestant Reformation where alternative ideas about Christianity became slightly more ...
19
votes
3answers
2k 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 I'...
19
votes
2answers
649 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is Pechorin a hero of our time?

In Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time (Герой нашего времени), the main hero is Grigory Pechorin, a cynical noble army man, an example of superfluous Byronic hero. The title of the novel has to ...
19
votes
1answer
4k views

Why does Pinocchio's nose grow?

In chapter 3 of The Adventures of Pinocchio, Geppetto shapes the piece of wood Mastro Cherry had given him into a marionette. When he creates the nose, it starts growing uncontrollably: After the ...
19
votes
1answer
572 views

How did people know the meaning to Shakespeare's new words?

I don't pretend to know much about the history of literature, but I was always told that Shakespeare invented an awful lot of words, 1700 is usually the number given. How did anyone know what they ...
19
votes
1answer
886 views

What justifies the anti-Tess interpretation of “Tess of the d'Urbervilles”?

Upon its publication, Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles inspired much debate as to whether Tess should be perceived as an innocent young woman thrust too early into the cruel world of men ...
19
votes
1answer
147 views

How wide was the exploration of Japan's culture in American literature before 1905?

Prior to Russo-Japanese war and Teddy Roosevelt's efforts to end it, I don't recall USA being overly involved with Japan. As such, was that reflective in American literature? How wide/common was the ...
19
votes
1answer
194 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 ...
18
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6answers
5k views

Significance of the Phoenician Sailor having pearls for eyes in The Waste Land

In T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read online), the "Phoenician Sailor" (an image on a tarrot card) is described as having pearls for eyes in lie 48: Is your card, the drowned ...
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
39k views

What order should I read the “Ender's game” series in?

Ender's Game is a very large epic science-fiction series by Orson Scott Card. To quote wikipedia: It currently consists of fifteen novels, thirteen short stories, 47 comic issues, an audioplay, and ...
18
votes
2answers
889 views

To what extent did Agatha Christie base Captain Hastings on Dr. Watson?

I've noticed that there are quite a few parallels between Agatha Christie's Captain Arthur Hastings and Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr. John Watson: Both served in the British military (Hasting in World War ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Sci-Fi Short Story - Life Saving Weight Loss

I recall a short story I read in High School. We read it in English class so it was likely published in an anthology intended for use in schools. (This was in Scotland in the 1970's if that helps.) ...
18
votes
1answer
9k views

What is the difference between a Novelette, Novella and Novel?

What are the main differences between a novelette, a novella, and a novel? As they sound fairly similar.
18
votes
1answer
3k views

What do these espionage tradecraft phrases from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy mean?

When Ricky Tarr is recounting his story to George Smiley, he speculates that Boris -- a Russian spy working undercover as a trade delegate -- was "waiting for a connect, working a letterbox, maybe, or ...
18
votes
1answer
868 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....
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 ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Are there recorded instances of asexuality in the body of ancient Greek writings?

I've been reading through a fraction of Ancient Greek literature, lately, and an odd thought occurred to me. In nearly every work of Greek literature that is tangentially related to sexuality (which, ...
18
votes
1answer
319 views

To what effect does Goldman claim The Princess Bride is an abridgement?

This question was inspired by this question, which asks about the history of one work claiming itself as an adaptation or abridgment of another. In The Princess Bride by William Goldman, the author ...
18
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1answer
2k 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 barley ...
18
votes
1answer
364 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the “old euphemisms” in The Great Gatsby?

In chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby, Nick describes Daisy's reaction to the people of West Egg: But the rest offended her—and inarguably, because it wasn’t a gesture but an emotion. She was appalled ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Is there strong evidence that “room 5” in V for Vendetta was a conscious reference to Room 101?

In 1984, Room 101 is where people are taken to meet their worst fears. In V for Vendetta, room 5 is the room that V is kept in at Larkhill. Since it is labeled with the Roman numeral "V", it is ...
18
votes
1answer
989 views

How 'human' are the animals in The Wind in the Willows meant to look?

I always imagined the animals in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows - Mole, Ratty, Badger, Toad, and so on - to be actual animals, clearly anthropomorphised to some extent (walking on two legs, ...
18
votes
1answer
207 views

How did the Strugatsky Brothers' experience with Soviet literary publishing censorship reflect on their books?

It's well known that the Strugatsky brothers were affected by the censors overseeing the publishing of their work. How did those experiences reflect in their books? The question is about the ...
18
votes
2answers
856 views

What is Devdas syndrome?

Post-Devdas works in Hindi literature analysis always use the term Devdas syndrome. Like "X work is suffering from Devdas syndrome" or "Y work tackled it quite well". But what is this Devdas syndrome ...
17
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3answers
4k views

Why Did Doyle Choose 221B Baker Street?

221B Baker Street. One of the most famous addresses in literature. But why? Was there any reason Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose this particular address as the residence of his famous protagonist? Did ...
17
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4answers
4k views

Why is Gatsby great?

Jay Gatsby in famous Fitzgerald's novel is no doubt smart, talented, brave. But he only pursues his own egoistic desires, quite delusional in his love affairs, does not hesitate to destroy a family, ...
17
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
17
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2answers
9k views

Why did George Orwell name himself after the River Orwell?

Eric Arthur Blair, author of such famous books as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm among many others, used the name George Orwell for his books. From the linked Wikipedia page (cited to Voorhees, ...

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