38

The public saw the plays were fiction, perhaps even a warning against witchcraft, and the magic in them is divorced of religious overtones. It is noteworthy that the two Shakespeare plays which deal most overtly with magic, Macbeth and The Tempest were both written during the reign of King James I. James was an enthusiastic believer in the dangers of ...


36

Circumnavigation was nothing new. Speedy circumnavigation was new, but not unheard-of and Around the World wasn't positing anything outlandish or even vaguely sci-fi. It's a story celebrating what the British Empire had already accomplished, not postulating what might be possible in the future. Verne himself claims to have been inspired by an early 1860s ...


31

It was possible, but not easy. The difficulty of the task accounts for the substantial amount of the bet: £20,000 in 1873 is worth about £2,000,000 or more than US $2.5 million today. William Butcher's 1995 translation of Verne's book includes an appendix that provides details of contemporary sources that had information regarding quick circumnavigations, ...


30

No. Introduction To begin with, the question Has Odysseus been unfaithful to his wife? would not make sense to the people of ancient Greece. Such a question presupposes that the Greeks had a concept of marital love and fidelity similar to ours, which they didn't. As Stephanie Coontz has pointed out, the idea of marriage as a partnership based on romantic ...


25

Some geographical context might be helpful. The scene of the crime is the North Kent Marshes: “A shocking tragedy has come to light in a meadow about a mile from Dartford. About two o’clock this morning, a rural constable observed a rick on fire out on the marshes near the creek.” R. Austin Freeman (1924). ‘The Funeral Pyre’. In The Blue Scarab, pp. 238–239....


22

Ernest Hemingway traveled to Madrid in March of 1937 to observe the Spanish Civil war firsthand. He reported on the war for the North American Newspaper Alliance. In March 1937, he traveled to Madrid to observe conditions firsthand. His observations and experiences provide the inspiration for the novel. The Spanish Civil War lasted from July 1936 - ...


16

Something like a duke, and the title wasn't all that special. The English word "prince" is translated from the Russian "knyaz (князь)", which could be used either to denote a member of the royal family or more commonly a member of the nobility. Men directly related to the Tsar were usually called Velikiy Knyaz or Grand Prince instead. &...


14

By “the red ant heaps of Toulon”, Hugo means the Bagne de Toulon, a notorious prison where the convicts wore red jackets and red caps. This is the prison where Jean Valjean serves nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread, in Hugo’s Les Misérables. L’habillement du forçat qui est différent pour chaque bagne, se compose à Toulon, dit l’auteur, d’une ...


12

TLDR: 1 - Marlow was not an atheist in the modern sense. 2- Dr Faustus is not as clearly religious as it first appears Let's start by pointing out that "atheism" doesn't necessarily stop an author from writing about theism. Umberto Eco, for example, is a professed atheist yet is the author of The Name of the Rose, a novel set in a medieval ...


11

It means a minor under the guardianship of the Court of Chancery. This was a real concept in those days - indeed it still is, but such children are nowadays more often referred to as "wards of court". Most of the search engine results I found for "ward in chancery" are genealogy forum threads where people were asking about their own ...


11

Firstly, why there are Greek names in Russia. Russia, being a Christian Orthodox country, had strong historical and cultural connections with Greece. So, many Russian names are of Greek origin. Most of them are archaic nowadays, but some are very common. Secondly, in the XIX century, there was a somewhat strong distinction between "noble" names and "plebs'" ...


8

We cannot possibly know for certain what happened between two people several hundred years ago, especially when surviving testimony has been coloured with such fevered speculation as surrounds the witch trials. However, it seems extremely unlikely that Proctor and Williams had an affair. The accusation stems from the court records, which show the testimony ...


8

This is the original sense of the word airline. Now obsolete, it survived in works on surveying and military history into the 1960s. The OED says: airline, n. 1. a. Chiefly U.S. A direct line through the air; a straight line between two points on the earth's surface. with citations dating back to the early 19th century: 1829   J. F. Cooper Wept of Wish-...


8

At the time, there were many Jewish bankers/moneylenders, so moneylenders were probably often portrayed as Jews. For a very long time, the Jews have been associated with banking and money. There are a few reasons, such as that there were a lot of Jewish bankers after the 11th century. In The Encyclopedia Judaica, in their article on Banking and Bankers, in ...


7

The oldest postcolonial reading of The Tempest that I am aware of was published by Octave Mannoni (1899-1989; the French Wikipedia article about Mannoni is a bit longer). Mannoni was a Frenchman who is a bit hard to classify, since he studied philosophy, worked as a teacher in Martinique (which is still part of France's overseas territories), La Réunion and ...


6

The historical part of - "The famous flutings on the the famous columns—what are they there for? To hide the joints in the wood" - is accurate. When using squared shapes (i.e. lengths of wood) to build a circular structure (the column) ou will have visible joints. See this picture... Notice how the curves (the fluting) serves to hide the joint in way the ...


6

I was going to post this as a comment, but when I realised it would run to a thread rather than a single note I thought better to try and form it as an answer. The OP puts forward a proposition and asks if there is a link between the Ichabod Crane portion of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Edward VI. The proposition springs from a potential play on words ...


6

Sorry to be brief, I'm writing this on a phone (more to follow later). Short answer: for a long time, usury rules generally forbade Catholics from lending money at interest to other Catholics. Similarly, Jews generally couldn't charge interest to Jews, but they could lend money to Christians at interest. (Both were basing the prohibition on a number of ...


6

TL;DR: There is no hidden meaning in ‘Oranges and Lemons’. Tommy Thumb’s Song Book The problem with all the theories about a hidden meaning in ‘Oranges and Lemons’ is that the earliest printed versions do not contain the “chopper” lines. The verse first appeared in print in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (1744); I can’t find a facsimile of the original, ...


6

Candide, ou l’Optimisme is a satire, a work of literature in which people, ideas, countries, religions and so on are ridiculed. The targets of satire are usually presented in disguise or under a transformation, so the reader has to be on the lookout for clues as to their intended identity. Since you’re studying Candide, I’m sure you’ve already covered the ...


6

This sense of the word is not in the OED, but Eric Partridge has it: Poke. 1. Stolen property: from ca. 1850; ob. The Times, Nov 29, 1860; Baumann. Ex poke, a bag, pocket, etc. Eric Partridge (1923). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, fifth edition. p. 644. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. I don’t have access to the Times archive, but ...


6

Don't interpret "the tropics" with such scientific precision. You originally posted this question on the Earth Sciences site, and you seem to have been thinking of this quote with a literal (I'd even say pedantic, noting that I consider this a compliment) interpretation of the word "tropics". But in everyday English, the word isn't always used so precisely -...


6

The plot hinges on the dream state induced in Norma by drugs administered by Robert Orwell, posing as her father, and his wife. I believe that Christie introduces the notion of there being lots of 'new' drugs around, possibly as an authorial defense against people picking holes in the storyline if some real named drug such as LSD or Purple hearts wouldn't ...


5

The French word that was translated to stud was ferret. I don't actually see any justification for translating ferret here as stud, as I will explain later. To explain how the diamonds were worn first, these twelve diamond ferrets were part of a decoration meant to be worn on a shoulder. It was made of six blue ribbons woven or knotted together. The twelve ...


5

Stanley Wells' edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream (The New Penguin Shakespeare, 1967, 1995) has the following gloss for "Tartar": The Oriental bow was of special power. The image may have come to Shakespeare by way of Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, X.686-7, 'she / Did fly as swift as arrow from a Turkey bow'. R. A. Foakes' edition of A ...


5

I just figured out the answer to my own question. By the "Red ant heaps of Toulon", Hugo most likely means the Bagne of Toulon, the prison that is also prominently featured in "Les Misérables" as the place in which the protagonist Jean Valjean is imprisoned for many years. It was, by modern definition, more of a forced labor camp than a ...


4

Peeing in the sink is a metaphor for having a mistress. And it was indeed quite common among Czech doctors of that period. Let me explain. Urine is, by itself, sterile. But it is also resource rich environment for growth of bacteria. If you leave it for a short time then clean it up, nothing bad will happen. If you don't... it festers, bacteria grow and it ...


4

Approximately 100,000,000 roubles. This is not a straightfoward conversion due to fluctuations in the value of the rouble after the collapse of communism. This historical currency converter runs up to 2015 and makes various calculations based on the comparison of the value of important goods and services. It has this to say about the conversion: 95000 ...


4

‘Clown’ does not always mean a jester-type character, it can also and more prevalent in historical texts, mean (per the OED): A countryman, rustic, or peasant eg 1849   Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 610   ‘The Somersetshire clowns, with their scythes..faced the royal horse like old soldiers.’ As Leicestershire is the home of the pork pie, I would assume that the ...


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