61

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 ...


57

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, ...


43

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 ...


39

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 ...


30

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. ...


24

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 ...


23

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 ...


23

Arsène Lupin adventure novels were published between 1905 and 2012, all written by author Maurice Leblanc. The final work was found completed in 2011 by chance and subsequently published years posthumously. For a grand total of 107 years. Blandings Castle is a group of works in a shared universe by author P.G. Wodehouse, that spans a timeframe of 62 years ...


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 ...


20

Much of J.R.R. Tolkien's work is presented as an abridgment/translation of the "original", usually in Elvish. Much of The Silmarillion is presented as a gloss of epic poems, some of which Tolkien partly wrote, and Lord of the Rings is supposed to be a translation of the Red Book of Westmarch. Dune is similarly a re-telling of stories from books, many of ...


19

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 ...


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 ...


19

TL;DR: As late as the beginning of the 17th century, the editor Thomas Speght claimed that it was possible for a skillful reader to scan Chaucer. But he modernized Chaucer’s spelling, making it hard for anyone after him to do the same! It seems that in the mid-16th century, some people still knew, or thought they knew, how to scan Chaucer. Gavin Douglas, in ...


18

No he did not! The process can be traced back at least to Thomas Carlyle, who in Sartor Resartus (1833–34) publishes a summary and a critique, à la Borges, of the fictional book Clothes, Their Origin and Influence. Let's note that Thomas Carlyle pushed it even further than Borges, publishing the review in a magazine with no mention of its fictional nature! ...


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 posts, ...


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 ...


15

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–...


15

The claim that ‘Dickens invented the scary clown’ seems to be rooted in the work of Andrew McConnel Scott, Professor of English at the University of Buffalo, through his paper ‘Clowns on the Verge of a nervous breakdown: Dickens coulrophobia and the Memoirs of joseph Grimaldi' where Through a focus on the career of the British pantomimist Joseph Grimaldi (...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


14

Since Milton is often discussed in the context of Renaissance literature, I'll quote the definition of "epic" from The Renaissance (edited by Marion Wynne-Davies, Bloomsbury Guides to English Literature, Bloomsbury, 1992): A narrative of heroic actions, often with a principal hero, usually mythical in its content, offering inspiration and ...


13

tl;dr Nobody could credibly claim that Shakespeare was the first to write sonnets in English. He wasn't even the first to use what we now think of as the typical "Shakespearean" rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg. Nor is his the first sonnet sequence (series of linked sonnets) in English. Details. This is a supplement to and clarification of, not a ...


11

If I understand what you are asking right... here is the answer - Tolkien was not the first to use a made up language and in fact making up languages was quite common. These are just the first two examples I found, I am sure there are more out there. In 1516 Thomas More made the Utopian language for his novel Utopia. He even gave a brief sample of this ...


11

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 ...


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 («...


11

According to Jakob Schippers's A History of English Versification, the first English sonnet writers were Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Wyatt's poems appear to have circulated at court, but they were not published under his name until after his death in 1542. Tottel's Miscellany, the first printed anthology of English poetry, was first ...


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