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80

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is a pretty long mouthful of a name. Imagine having to say all that every time you wanted to talk to fellow fans about the franchise. The most obvious way to shorten it is to use initials (as is done e.g. with LotR for The Lord of the Rings and many other things), but in this case even HHGttG is a bit of a mouthful. ...


35

It is a punning reference to the phrase ‘trip the light fantastic’, which means (per The Phrase Finder) To dance, especially in an imaginative or 'fantastic' manner. The phrase seems to arise from the works of Milton, in Comus he wrote, as you have already seen, Come, knit hands, and beat the ground, In a light fantastic round. And in L’Allegro Come, ...


34

In-universe the "light fantastic" is an actual, factual thing. There was no real need for the torches. The Octavo filled the room with a dull, sullen light, which wasn’t strictly light at all but the opposite of light; darkness isn’t the opposite of light, it is simply its absence, and what was radiating from the book was the light that lies on ...


34

It was the title given to the "Earth Edition" on the web: H2G2.com This was founded - and named - in 1999 by Douglas Adams himself. Clearly taken from The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This website was an early attempt at crowdsourced knowledge. Somewhat overshadowed by the later Wikipaedia. A description of the history of H2G2.com is given on that ...


24

Watership Down is a real place in Hampshire that just happens to sound as if there is some connection to water. (image by Loganberry of Wikipedia; public domain) It's not a fictitious name invented for the book; it's an area near where Richard Adams lived as a child: The title refers to the rabbits' destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of ...


14

It's intended to be ironic. In his preface to the second edition, Lermontov criticises the readers who - like you - took the title at face value and interpreted it to mean Pechorin was really being modelled as a hero: The preface to a book serves the double purpose of prologue and epilogue. It affords the author an opportunity of explaining the object of ...


10

As Aurorar0001 says, Watership Down is a real place name in Hampshire, England. The following comments are meant to shed some light on the origin of this place name. The second part, Down, is a noun and here has a meaning similar to 'hill'. To quote the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a down is "an undulating usually treeless upland with sparse soil — ...


8

The light that Pratchett refers to is Octarine. This is defined in the Discworld books as the eighth colour of the spectrum and the colour of magic. "The Colour Of Magic" itself being a title of another book in the series. This is fantastic because its existence is part of the Discworld fantasy universe. Pratchett is very fond of such puns and ...


8

The final choice to make "A Moveable Feast" the title was made by Hemingway's fourth wife, Mary. It was supposedly suggested by Hemingway's friend, A. E. Hostner. While the Hemingway quote is certainly the source of the title, the phrase "A Moveable Feast" clearly predates Hemingway. It originally referred to a Roman Catholic feast not associated with a ...


6

Originally, what follows was a section of the question. However, at the suggestion of Gallifreyan, I've migrated it to this answer. It's quite long, and it includes works by others as well as a little original analysis of mine that I've done for the case of Easy Rider. Summary of the research conducted so far 'Book titles and their articles' by Leszek ...


6

Just for clarity, I believe the intended meaning of "savantism" in the poem title is not related to "Savant Syndrome" or terms such as "idiot savant" and "autistic savant", concepts that I believe emerged in the field of psychology towards the end of Whitman's life. I think the savantism of the title more likely refers to the cultivation of learning and ...


6

There's a substantial body of evidence that the title "Songs of Innocence" points to the fact that the poems were intended to be sung. In the article William Blake and the Music of the Songs, Kevin Hutchins outlines several pieces of evidence for this: The romantic period sought to draw on the historic connection between music and poetry. As Hutchins ...


5

One of the central themes of the story is how the protagonist's daughter closely resembles his wife at a similar age. He begins the story by describing his relationship with his wife, all the way from the beginning to now, particularly dwelling on the sexual parts. This segues naturally into discussing his daughter, whose teenage self he introduces into the ...


5

A key theme of this poem is conflict, or perhaps the gap, between the actuality of nature, our perception of it and the frustrations and disconnects that result from our attempts to describe it with our limited language. A couple of early examples expressing these themes: Between branch and spire - the word Belittles its nest, and the seed, rocked By ...


5

You already know what H2G2 stands for, and that it is a type of acronym to avoid having to write or say the whole name. I think you are asking why the acronym is H2G2 instead of HHGG, which is the same length so there is no additional economy being made here. The numbers 2 indicate repetition. The practice probably comes either from mathematics (algebra), ...


5

WARNING: this answer may contain spoilers! The author has actually explained this himself on his blog: I got a lot of grief from trusted advisers over the title of WOOL, back when it was just a single novelette and no one had read it. My science fiction professor and friend Adam Griffey told me it was a dumb title. As did a good friend of mine in my ...


4

As suggested in a comment, it is a reference to the normal practice of putting injured horses out of their misery. Gloria feels her life is hopeless and has attempted suicide in the past. During the dance marathon she becomes increasingly depressed - losing the will to live. She tells Robert that her life is hopeless and she would be better off dead. ...


4

Warning. Major spoilers ahead. There is another reason than the one Rand al'Thor provides. And it's an in-universe explanation too. It's also starting to be in our faces all the time in the later books. (Dust) Notice something? World Order Operation Fifty (in Latin L). The title is also the acronym of the in-universe operation. It's also confirmed by ...


4

Well, the answer is a lot less scandalous than I thought. Apparently, the reason why the title is different in the U.S. is that another book called The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo was being released right around the same time, and publishers wanted the book to not be confused with the very similar title of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. As Stuart ...


4

I'm wondering if the claim you heard was a conflation of a few things. I could find two sources online stating that the title of Why Didn't They Ask Evans was something Christie overheard. The first is this IMDB review from 2013, which claims: The title of the book actually came from a conversation Ms. Christie overheard coming out of a movie theater, and ...


3

The subject of Vega’s poem is the disastrous expedition of Francis Drake against the Spanish colony of Panamá in Central America, where he met his death of dysentery in 1596. ‘Drake’ of course means ‘dragon’, and Vega combined this with ‘tea’, meaning ‘fire-torch’ in Spanish, to produce an image of the English sailor as a fire-breathing dragon: Como el ...


3

It's 'The Light(noun) Fantastic(adjective)' That's how it is used both in Milton: On the light (noun) fantastic (adjective) toe (verb) and how this construction is generally rendered in English. Examples: The Brothers (noun) Grimm (adjective) The Brothers (noun) Karamazov (adjective) In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean (noun) blue (adjective) A Tale (noun)...


3

The choice of the translator is likely to be their interpretation or possibly even a regional colloqualism to deliver the spirit of the original. I have a comfortable working knowledge of several Western European languages but was stumped when I started doing business in the Baltics and Balkans. The negative use a more complex nuance (or perhaps simply ...


3

Despite Lermontov's preface, I cannot help but feel that there is a degree of sincerity in calling Pechorin a hero. The narrator even addresses this question at the end of the first part where the English translation is: Some readers will probably want to know what I think of Pechorin's character. My reply may be found in the title of this book. "But that ...


3

Far From the Madding Crowd largely takes place in the countryside, and the literal meaning of the title, a place far away from the crazed/wild crowd, evokes an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. This was partly a reaction of Hardy's on account of the birth of industrialisation around the time of writing, when the English countryside was a refuge from the ...


3

In an edition published in 1909, Israel Gollancz simply notes in a gloss to Mamillius's words in Act II, scene 1, "A sad tale's best for winter", hence the title of the play. - I[srael] G[ollancz] Many other editors say essentially the same thing. In addition, Israel Gollancz writes in the preface to the same edition, incongruities and ...


2

Tammy Griggs, the story's narrator, loves orchids: she makes a living making plant arrangements, which may include orchids, she has tattoos of orchids on her body, her apartment is like an orchid greenhouse, and, one night, she events even goes to bed with an orchid petal in her mouth (a blue orchid petal that she found by a dumpster). We also find out ...


2

On the basis of Matt Thrower's excellent answer, I'd venture to say that "spokes" may even express a play on words: God spoke, and the universe was created. Spokes also transmit the movement from the hub to the outer perimeter of the wheel, and this could be reminiscent of the Big Bang theory. That initial dense mass from which the universe is said ...


2

One example is Icelandic sagas. Two of the most famous such are Egil's Saga and Njal's Saga, bearing personal names. Others, such as Laxdæla saga have place names in their titles. The examples of the Iliad and Odyssey from another cultural tradition show the same mix: place name and personal name, respectively, in this case. In classical Greek literature ...


1

Winter afforded plenty of time to sit around and tell each other stories, since there was a lot less work and the weather was inclement. The popular tales were often unrealistic fairy tales or similar stories. It's alerting the audience to expect such a story.


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