43

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 ...


42

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 ...


38

Samuel Fischer, who founded the S. Fischer Verlag in 1886 was also Jewish. After his death in 1934, his son-in-law Gottfried Bermann Fischer took over management of the publishing house, but in 1936 he left Germany with Samuel Fischer's widow. They first went to Vienna, taking part of the catalogue with them, and there continued publishing under the name &...


33

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 ...


32

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, ...


27

Teachers didn't require any training or licensure at this time. The U.S. Department of Education has published a brief paper on the history of teaching in the U.S. here. Since Tom Sawyer takes place in the 1840s, there is really no chance that a college education would have been required, except in some extraordinary local circumstances. Mr. Dobbins may have ...


26

The Kentucky Age for 10th February 1857 contains a short story which opens as follows: A celebrated wit once said he had found out a patent “slip button,” so that when a bore laid hold of him, and was detaining him with a long story, he had only to slip the button, leaving it in the bore’s fingers, and make his escape. The contrivance was an ingenious and ...


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....


25

Even though cucumber sandwiches were at one point associated with poshness, as Rand al'Thor writes, I don't think this is the association on which the passage is based. Nothing in the passage indicates that it is about poshness or about the English upper classes, so that association seems irrelevant. Instead, it's the characteristics of the food itself that ...


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 - ...


20

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. &...


18

This is an error introduced by the translator. The original Portuguese text says: Sabei que estais na Índia, onde se estende Diverso povo, rico e prosperado De ouro luzente e fina pedraria, Cheiro suave, ardente especiaria. A literal translation (mine) would be: Know that you are in India, where dwell diverse people, rich and prosperous from bright gold ...


18

Quoting Wikipedia After the outbreak of World War I the Defence of the Realm Act was passed by Parliament in 1914. One section of the Act concerned the hours pubs could sell alcohol, as it was believed that alcohol consumption would interfere with the war effort. It restricted opening hours for licensed premises to luncheon (12:00 to 14:40) and supper (18:...


17

Is this some established rabbit-hunting technique? Yes: it's called rabbit warren fumigation. I found this by searching the internet for gas canisters rabbit warren, since I'd always assumed the "heavy metal things" to be gas canisters, connected to some flexible pipes which transported the gas underground. There is a YouTube video on rabbit warren ...


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 ...


13

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'" ...


13

The “war of seventy” refers to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and this is confirmed by the mention of Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of the North German Confederation at the outbreak of the war, and from 1871 the Chancellor of the German Empire. So the “cross” must be the Iron Cross, a military decoration created in Napoleonic-era Prussia, and revived ...


12

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 ...


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

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 -...


11

What exactly is he referring to? He's most probably referring to the events in Russian history when Russia was on a brink of ceasing to exist as a state. There were a number of grave moments throughout the centuries, to name a few: Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus (XIII-XV centuries) Смутное Время ("Time of Troubles", as Wiki puts it) (late XVI - ...


11

Cucumber sandwiches, specifically, are a stereotypical part of English "posh" culture, along with afternoon tea and "More tea, vicar?" From Wikipedia: Cucumber sandwiches formed an integral part of the stereotypical afternoon tea affair. By contrast, people of the era's lower working classes were thought to prefer a coarser but more ...


10

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-...


10

The title of the question isn't applicable to the provided example, because as Hosek and shoover point out in their answers, Mr. Barr is never referring to Mr. Bartlett as a "lady" in the provided context: Here we get a description of the clean, tidy and generally welcoming setting, which of course is thanks to the housekeeper (Mrs. Bartlett) ...


10

The term "white wizard" is used in the context of the white magic / black magic distinction. Black magic is malevolent, used for harmful or evil purposes; white magic is benevolent, used for good and selfless ones. The site Wicca Living explains: If people believed they were the victim of a curse, they would seek out a “white witch,” also known in ...


9

Most likely this refers to the number of gears. The phrase "standard shift" nowadays refers to the type of transmission: manual transmission or automatic transmission according to which is considered "standard" in a given context (e.g. manual is generally more common in Europe, automatic in the United States). However, automatic transmission was only ...


9

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 ...


9

Under the provisions of the Capital Punishment Amendment Act 1868, the Home Secretary (probably Henry Bruce) had issued the following rules for executions: A black flag to be hoisted at the moment of execution, upon a staff placed on an elevated and conspicuous part of the prison, and to remain displayed for one hour. The bell of the prison, or if ...


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

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 ...


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