122 votes
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Why was 1984 set in 1984?

Nobody knows. I've been doing some Internet research, and the only thing that people agree on is that we don't know. There are, however, three theories. One (slightly convoluted) theory is that he ...
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  • 19.6k
45 votes

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

The year 1984 was probably chosen to sound like 1948 while still being in the future. Anthony Burgess, in his book 1985, part novel and part commentary on Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, gives the ...
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  • 63.7k
39 votes
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Was there a reason Victor Hugo chose 24601 as the number for Jean Valjean?

Yes: it corresponds to the date of Hugo's conception. This is part of a pattern of similarities between the character of Jean Valjean and the author himself: both are of similar age, have similar ...
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  • 63.7k
23 votes

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

A variety of other possible answers have been put forth, put succinctly in a Guardian column from 2009: Why '1984'? Orwell's title remains a mystery. Some say he was alluding to the centenary of the ...
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22 votes
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What did Suzanne Collins base the Hunger Games on?

She was inspired by a combination of the classic myth of Theseus (in which Athens similarly sends a selection of young men and women to Crete as a 'tribute', the difference being that none of them ...
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  • 63.7k
22 votes
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Did J. K. Rowling base platform 9 3/4 on the Gump?

If she did, she hasn't admitted it. In her writing on Pottermore she states: King's Cross, which is one of London's main railway stations, has a very personal significance for me, because my parents ...
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  • 3,696
21 votes
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What is the foundation of the religion in Watership Down?

In-universe El-ahrairah is much more legendary than mythical, more like a hero than a god. Here's how the text describes him the very first time his name appears: What Robin Hood is to the English ...
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  • 63.7k
18 votes
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How might Shakespeare have become familiar with Dante's work?

TLDR: Shakespeare was clearly familiar with a lot of Italian literature second-hand, and there is circumstantial evidence for first-hand. Shakespeare's Italian influence is a question that's aroused ...
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  • 14.7k
16 votes
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Were other characters apart from Alice inspired by real life people?

Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice contains some excellent literary analysis of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, including a lot of surrounding information about Carroll in ...
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  • 63.7k
15 votes
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Are any Sherlock Holmes antagonists besides Moriarty based on real people?

1. Professor Moriarty I'd like to go into Moriarty in more detail, because Worth was not the only inspiration for Moriarty. Doyle did not simply draw on Worth for inspiration. Masters of Crime states ...
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  • 5,674
15 votes
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Is this fictional event of a ship becoming airborne because of a storm based on a real event?

There are many instances of boats, some of them quite large, being carried inland by a tsunami. For example... ...which is from the Japanese tsunami of 2011. It is quite likely that Terry Pratchett ...
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  • 2,068
15 votes
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What are the nets in Ender's Game? Are they based on anything in real life?

'Nets' are basically the Internet as predicted/guessed by Orson Scott Card It is interesting to note that the World Wide Web, the modern form of the Internet, was not invented until 1990, 5 years ...
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  • 1,790
15 votes
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Was Rowling inspired by the railway station scene in Prince Caspian?

Oddly enough, Rowling has cited The Chronicles of Narnia as an inspiration for her King's Cross entryway to the world of magic, but not the part you're thinking of! I found myself thinking about the ...
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  • 63.7k
15 votes

Do the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh really contain the same rare proverb about the strength of a triple-stranded rope?

The relevant passsage in the Bible is easy enough to find: it is Ecclesiates 4:12 (see Bible Hub): And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ...
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  • 38.5k
15 votes

Origin of the war-cry "Eulalia" in Brian Jacques's Redwall series?

According to Brian Jacques, as related in a live-action segment for the TV series: That was one of the Norse war cries, the Vikings, the sea-wolves, the Norsemen, and the Celts used to use it when ...
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  • 7,942
14 votes
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What is the origin of the Aullay in "The Sword in the Stone"?

TL;DR: An ‘aullay’ is a yali, a hybrid creature in Hindu mythology. The description of the ‘aullay’ in The Sword in the Stone is a lightly edited quote from E. Cobham Brewer: Aullay, a monster ...
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  • 40.2k
13 votes

Why was Ginny Weasley named Ginny Weasley?

I believe all the Weasleys except Ron were named after either characters from Arthurian legend or historical royalty of England/Albion/Britain: Arthur (duh) Molly (sometimes a nickname for Margaret ...
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13 votes
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Did Stevenson really claim to have been inspired by brownies?

Yep. Stevenson writes in his A Chapter on Dreams, which you can see a book scan at that link, and a text version at Project Gutenburg: Well, as regards the dreamer, I can answer that, for he is no ...
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  • 19.6k
11 votes

Was Artemis Fowl based on any specific prodigy?

It is stated here: his brother Donal's favourite conversation-starter in the pub: ''Artemis Fowl is based on me.'' and ''So I took this character, my brother Donal, the little 12-year-old Bond ...
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11 votes
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Was Neil Gaiman's Stardust influenced by C.S. Lewis?

While we can't rule out an influence from Lewis, he was not Gaiman's primary motivation. Gaiman has named different influences for Stardust. Stardust has a much closer parallel to the 1926 book Lud-In-...
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11 votes
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Was Sybill Trelawney named after "the" Sybil?

JKR has stated this: Sybill's first name is a homonym of 'Sibyl', which was a female clairvoyant in ancient times. My American editor wanted me to use 'Sibyl', but I preferred my version, because ...
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  • 19.6k
9 votes

Was Neil Gaiman's Stardust influenced by C.S. Lewis?

It looks like he was influenced by traditional English fairy stories and in particular a writer by the name of Lucy Clifford A star still falls, a boy still promises to bring it to his true love, ...
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  • 1,790
9 votes
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How much of The Song of Wandering Aengus by Yeats is based on Irish folklore?

This is not meant to be definitive nor exhaustive, but merely an exploration of certain themes and symbols in the poem: Yeats is widely regarded as one of the great poets of the ages--Eliot ...
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  • 4,010
9 votes
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How many works of Robert Silverberg's were based on Asimov's stories?

Three total. Jenkins’ Guide tells about them. Nightfall (1990 novel) based on “Nightfall” (1941 short story). The Ugly Little Boy (1992 novel) based on “The Ugly Little Boy” (1958 short story). ...
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  • 1,684
9 votes
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Who was (were?) the inspiration for Carrie?

In chapter 1* of On Writing, King says that Carrie White was based on two girls that he knew from high school. All the details mentioned in the question are there, but not in those exact words. It is ...
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  • 5,706
9 votes
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Was Neil Gaiman influenced by Heinrich Heine?

There is no indication in various sources found online that Gaiman was influenced by Heinrich Heine. In short, these are the authors Gaiman said he was influenced by: Michail Bulgakov, Master and ...
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  • 8,077
8 votes

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

In Orwell's manuscript of the novel, the action took place first in 1980, then 1982, and finally 1984. See The masterpiece that killed George Orwell by Robert McCrum (The Observer, 10 May 2009). ...
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