59

Humpty Dumpty almost certainly wasn't an egg at conception Humpty Dumpty is over 200 years old, originating in the 1700s. Our first clue lies in the original phrasing of the poem; the eponymous Humpty Dumpty is not "put back together again" but rather Four-score Men and Four-score more, Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before. This opens ...


54

Look at it this way - the reason why companies need DRM is because digital files can always be copied verbatim, i.e. bit for bit. Companies cannot prevent files from being copied and re-distributed so they need DRM - a system that alters the files in a way that the contents can only be accessed under specific circumstances, e.g. by entering a license key, ...


40

It goes back way further than the fantasy genre or even written literature. I've listed a few of the best-known examples of this trope dating back to centuries before the idea of a "trope" was even in circulation. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Judaism. For thousands of years, religious Jews have avoided speaking the name of God. In the 1906 ...


38

Before diving into the history of haiku, there's a precursor step. The Japanese language is broken up into symbols that are what we'd typically write in English as digraphs. Most sounds in Japanese consists of a consonant and a vowel combined. To illustrate this, have a haiku: ふ る い け や (fu ru i ke ya) か わ ず と び こ む (ka wa zu to bi ko mu) み ず の お ...


38

This isn't against scanning specifically, but creators of ancient and medieval texts did attempt to protect their work against theft, vandalism and misattribution by writing curses on the book. You might consider this a form of early DRM. For example, from the Wikipedia article on Book curses: [...] Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria from 668 to 627 BCE, had ...


29

Back in the day, in the early 90s, I bought some software whose manual was printed on red paper, which was meant to discourage photocopying on black and white photocopiers. If you photocopied it, it would come out as a big mess because there wasn't much contrast between the print and the background. (You can do an image search for "ocean laser genius manual"...


24

There's another version of DRM that you find in paper reference sources. (This where the data itself is not subject to protection.) Deliberately introduced harmless errors. This does nothing to stop people from copying the material for personal use but it does keep them from copying it for commercial use. "You say you didn't simply copy my street map. ...


23

It's old. Like, really old. So old that it's impossible to tell where it originated. The book The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren by Iona and Peter Opie, published in 1959, catalogues many different schoolyard poems from throughout the first half of the twentieth century, including the following version of the one you're interested in: Ladles and ...


22

It started in the 1600s, and was a gradual process not a sudden one. By the Edwardian era, it was no surprise to the audience to see an actress on stage. Up until the 1600s, women had very few rights, and there was no chance of a woman appearing on stage. Theater was popular during the early 1600s and in other places in Europe woman first appeared on stage ...


21

As asked, the question is difficult to answer. Several premises are open to question: What constitutes a "major work"? What is your definition of "sympathy" in this context? Whatever the definition, how sure are we that Milton is, in fact, sympathetic to Satan? Given that Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church in 1532 (barely a lifetime before Milton's ...


19

NO! Wands have been associated with magic for millennia, both in fiction and in the real-world practice of both stage magic (conjuring tricks for an audience) and occultism (purported real magic). You can learn more about wands and their history in association with magic at sources such as Wikipedia and Esoteric Archives. In reality The earliest recorded ...


18

Zombies go way back, further than 1892. There has been a fear of the undead since caveman times, when some tribes used to tie up corpses to stop them coming back to life. Perhaps the earliest form of writing about living dead is The epic of Gilgamesh (roughly 18th century BC)[1]: I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door ...


18

Yes. For example, the didactic poem The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them by Robert Southey is now known only to dedicated fans of Southey or of Victorian poetry, but the semi-nonsense poem You are Old, Father William created by Lewis Carroll as a parody of it has become much better known thanks to the enormous success of his Alice stories. The ...


17

Tolkien and Lewis started it when Tolkien returned to Oxford. I'll answer the questions that you mentioned one by one. Unless otherwise specified, the quotes come from Inside The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by James Stuart Bell, Carrie Pyykkonen, and Linda Washington, chapter 5. When was it set up? Years later (after working on the Oxford English ...


14

This is a vast subject; entire books have been written on the subject of coincidence in fiction. So I’ll attempt a very brief survey. Were coincidence plots popular? Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist in English in the mid-19th century, and his novels are full of coincidences. In his introduction to the 2002 Penguin edition of Oliver Twist (1837–...


13

This is an anthropology question, not a literature question, since the idea is much older than writing. The idea is present in many different cultures, and we don't know whether there it has been invented independently many times or there is a single origin, just like we don't know this regarding spoken language in general. You mention four properties which ...


13

Ulysses is the Latin form of the Greek Odysseus, stemming from the Sicilian or alternate Latin form Ulixes. The first instance of these forms in literature that I can find is in the Odusia by Livius Andronicus. This is an early translation of the Odyssey (third century BC). The only parts of it that survive are 46 lines from 17 books of the Odyssey, but ...


11

Current consensus seems to be that cantillation marks as they are currently used originated around the 9th or 10th century CE, relatively recently in the history of Judaism. Cantillation itself has existed for a long while, but cantillation marks are a relatively recent means of codifying an otherwise opaque word-of-mouth (and potentially chironomical) ...


11

The first known epigraph was used in Froissart's "Chroniques" about 1404 and «Calendarium» of Regimontan at 1476. Э. стали применяться в лит-ре с нач. 15 в., впервые, насколько известно, в кн. «Хроники» («Chronique», написана к 1404, опубл. 1495) Ж. Фруассара, «Calendarium» Реджомонтано (Венеция, опубл. около 1476), «Максимы» (1665) Ф. де Ларошфуко («...


10

The well-known Inklings was a literary discussion group, and that is exactly what they did. There was a preceding group where they got the name from, which was founded for the purpose of reading aloud unfinished compositions. When this initiative folded with the departure of its founder Edward Tangye Lean in 1933, Tolkien and Lewis, both members of the ...


10

I am not a linguist, but I think it's worth mentioning that the Odysseus→Ulysses transformation is a special case of something called the "Sabine L": some words that had "d" sounds in Old Latin (or in Greek) became "l" in later (classical) Latin. Examples include: lacrima in Latin from Old Latin dacrima, from Greek dakry from PIE *dakru- from which both ...


10

I'd say that the closest thing to copy protection that's ever included in physical books would be a Trap street. These are fake elements included by cartographers in maps to catch people illegally stealing their work. Basically, you include a street, town, river, island etc that does not actually exist in a map that you have created, and if you later catch ...


9

This article provides a couple of options, depending on your exact definitions of "oldest," "free," "public," and "library." There is not a complete consensus. Note that the source for many of these is the library's own website, so ymmv. The Library Company of Philadelphia, founded 1731: first subscription library (aka, membership dues), but did allow ...


8

I have heard of movie scripts being printed on red or dark brown paper to prevent photocopying on set. Photocopiers at the time only supported full black or white, so if a colour was closer to black, it would become black. Red being closer to black than white resulted in pages being full black. But is different enough to be readable by humans. Not ...


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 ...


8

When people talk about tone, they're typically​ not talking about the tone the author intended, but rather, the tone the audience perceives. Tone isn't an absolute monolith intrinsic to a piece of writing - it's wholly a part of the way an individual perceives it. That makes it relevant to a great number of lenses. To clarify the dictionary definition that ...


8

Searching for your quoted phrase online brings up a number of results all of which place the words inside inverted commas, suggesting they are all quoting something, as you surmised. Among the results is this New Zealand newspaper of 1898, which makes reference to the words being from an 'old song' rather than from a novel. There was a favourite old ...


8

As written, the most obvious answer would probably be a lyrical poet, writing in first person. Sappho's poetry (ca 600 BCE) appears to be among the first in the Western tradition to use such a device. To what degree it is biographical can of course be debated. The first writing that is definitely fiction is probably Lucian of Samosata's A True Story, ...


8

After a few more searches, I discovered the blog post Curator's Choice: Gulliver's Travels on the Toronto Reference Library Blog (21 April 2016). This blog post mentions an abridged edition for children by Francis Newbery, published in 1776, i.e. 50 years after the publication of the original work. It contains only the first two of Gulliver's voyages, i.e. ...


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