Questions tagged [literature]

Questions related to a group of works of art made up of words, classified as either poetry or prose, being either fiction or non-fiction, usually written but can also include oral traditions.

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Who claimed Alexander had a hairy heart?

From Avellaneda's Continuation of Don Quixote, chapter 6, p. 34 (circa 1614, translated by Yardley 1784 apparently after the French of Le Sage 1705 but it all seems very confusing). Don Quixote says: ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
145 views

Where, other than Voltaire, are there other references to "cat's eyes" in 18th century Europe?

Reading Voltaire’s A Philosophical Dictionary, in the article on character, I found this: “If I have a wry nose and cat's eyes I can hide them behind a mask, and can I do more with the character that ...
Barnaby's user avatar
  • 101
12 votes
3 answers
6k views

What is the earliest reference to playing chess with Death?

Playing chess with death is a relatively common trope. The earliest mention of this trope that I was able to easily find is the Death playing chess painting from 1480. Beyond that search results get ...
Martin Modrák's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
243 views

Did Maupassant write to his mother about his attraction to women?

The book How the Brain Lost its Mind quotes a letter from Guy de Maupassant, adressed to his mother, in which he explains his inability to resist his attraction to women. I am obsessed by women. I ...
Mat's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why didn't a noble family change their last name from a kind of duck to something more prestigious?

Several days ago, I got curious about the last name of Nikolai Gogol. It just seemed not Slavic to me to be the last name of a Russian/Ukrainian author. I searched for his father on Wikipedia: He was ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
139 views

What is the difference between OBV & SBV, in Babylonian texts translated to English?

What is the difference between OBV (Old Babylonian Version) and SBV (Standard Babylonian Version), in Babylonian texts translated to English ? Is SVB a standardized translation or standardized form of ...
Neel's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
1 answer
383 views

Why are Arabian Nights set mostly in Persia?

I liked the tales of Arabian Nights from childhood and re-read them many times through my life. What strikes me as odd, is that all the main characters are predominantly Persian. Moreover Arabs (e.g. ...
Andrew Savinykh's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
495 views

When did Albertus Magnus write 'On Animals'?

When is it most likely that Albertus Magnus finished writing On Animals ? I can't seem to find any guesses more accurate than "within his lifetime"
minseong's user avatar
  • 133
6 votes
1 answer
352 views

Was there really a whale skeleton in Jaffa?

Was there really a whale skeleton in Jaffa or at least a common myth about it? I cannot find any historical reference to it but still believe, from the way he wrote Moby Dick, that Melville did not ...
tschomacker's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
254 views

What is the name of this author?

I'm a newbie here so please forgive me if this kind of questions are not allowed. Couple days ago my friend wanted me to find an author and gave me some hints about it. I did lots of researches but ...
Marc Grego's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
398 views

Has Sun Tzu ever advocated for something that in modern society is a war crime, or what has Sun Tzu ever said about war crimes? [closed]

I've read The Art of War 3x, but I didn't yet know the concept of 'war crime'. So I never really paid much attention to the text in that regard. Question: Has Sun Tzu ever advocated for something that ...
BCLC's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did Lucian of Samosata make this joke on purpose?

This is going to be a bit of a niche question, so bear with me. Recently I've been reading the work of famous satirist Lucian of Samosata. He's pretty funny, but the thing is, I can't read the ...
Andrea's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why can't the gospel of Mark be as late as 110 CE?

The gospel of Mark is conventionally dated to somewhere very close to the Roman-Jewish War (Telford, 1999, p. 12ff). There are clear references to the 70 CE destruction of the Second Temple in Mark 11:...
zyKmgB91's user avatar
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-1 votes
2 answers
420 views

Does the ending of "Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage" by Alfred Lansing sound reasonable?

The news about scientists have found Endurance prompts me to ask this question otherwise I have always seen it as some minor details that few people will have an interest in. I think it is safe to say ...
Qiulang 邱朗's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
62 views

What are the main primary sources for the life and times of Shah Ismail I?

The Encyclopaedia Iranica seems mostly to base its account on Khvandamir, Hasan Beg Rumlu and to a lesser extent Khonji. Which of these (or any other primary source) has the most extensive treatment ...
askneyledi's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
366 views

What did 'bookseller' cover as an occupation on British census documents during Victorian times?

I have been researching some of my husband's ancestors who lived in the poorest parts of Liverpool during the second part of the 19th century. Two of his female relatives who had been widowed turned ...
Catherine 's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
343 views

Did D&D and similar media actually increase interest in the occult?

There was a scare in the 80s and less so the 90s surrounding things like the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) or other media that depicts magic as a narrative element and a ...
kutschkem's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
803 views

What irreplaceable manuscripts were lost in the burning of Jaffna Public Library and what history did they contain (and subsequently lost forever)?

Context The burning of the Jaffna Public Library was a case of ethnic biblioclasm and cultural eradication of Tamil history. At the time of its destruction, the library was one of the biggest in Asia, ...
WantARevolution's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
121 views

Greek/Roman play in which a woman encourages a pregnant slave to marry a slave owner and pass off the baby as his?

I can’t for the life of me remember which play this is, or indeed whether it’s Greek or Roman? There’s presumably a lot more to the plot than this, but all I remember is that a young woman is sold ...
Dotpad's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
991 views

Why did Pausanias travel to Greece?

Pausanias wrote his Description of Greece in the first century AD, which remains a priceless resource for classicists and archaeologists to this day. I've made a quick perusal of the text itself, as ...
Tom Hosker's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
139 views

How could I find the original text of Leonardo Da Vinci's fable "La fiamma e la candela"?

I have a special interest on fables. By wandering on Gallica, I found out from the work of Joséphin Péladan: Textes choisis : pensées, théories, préceptes, fables et facéties / Léonard de Vinci that ...
Firmin Martin's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
248 views

Who did Murasaki Shikibu fall in love with?

A line from Donald Keene's introductory text about The Tale of Genji piqued my curiosity: We know little else about Murasaki’s early years, though her poems suggest that she fell in love at least ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
296 views

How old was Murasaki Shikibu when she married her second cousin? And why did she marry him?

From Wikipedia: Aristocratic Heian women lived restricted and secluded lives, allowed to speak to men only when they were close relatives or household members. Murasaki's autobiographical poetry ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
116 views

When and how did Seethekami, the tribal version of Ramayan, come into existence amongst the Haalaki in Karnataka?

Ramayan, an ancient Sanskrit text, though true or not forms an integral part of numerous cultures not only in India but in several Asian countries. But across cultures and this text is not consistent ...
Anshul Sahni's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
441 views

Was Mark Twain's book 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' banned in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany)?

I am currently studying the film Barbara directed by Christian Petzold for my undergraduate dissertation. This film is based in the former German Democratic Republic=GDR (East Germany). The ...
Natasha Wale's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
483 views

Who was the medieval author who addressed readers 1000 years in the future?

I'm trying to remember the author of a quotation, where the author addresses the reader in the far future. It's says something like "if you are reading this in 100 or perhaps 1000 years I hope the ...
Jetpac's user avatar
  • 193
10 votes
1 answer
414 views

Are there any exemplars of the 'trope of the exiled poet' prior to CE 8?

For a class of mine I'm writing a paper on Ovid's Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, where I argue that underneath Ovid's lamentation of his exile and praise for Augustus, he immortalizes himself as the ...
TrostAft's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
119 views

Would a Syrian King have worn the toga after the Edict of Caracalla?

As you may know, the Edict of Caracalla granted citizenship to all freeborn citizens of the Roman Empire. I'm writing a novel set several decades after this edict, and one of the characters is a ...
Lgndry's user avatar
  • 655
7 votes
1 answer
531 views

What did it mean to be a "Jacobite" at the turn of the 20th Century?

I'm currently reading the Ursula Buchan's biography of John Buchan, the Scottish writer and politician. (Buchan, U, 2019, "Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan", Bloomsbury, London) ...
Statsanalyst's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did Cao Cao really say the greatest traitor resembled an honest man?

The greatest traitor has always resembled an honest man and the greatest falsehood comes across as truth. Righteousness and evil cannot be discerned by their appearance. People have decided wrongly ...
user4951's user avatar
  • 5,517
5 votes
1 answer
358 views

What does this quote from the Roman imperial poet Rutilius mean?

Reading about the little Italian isle of Capraia, I've seen a quote attributed to Claudio Rutilio Namaziano, from his De Reditu, that in Latin goes: "Processu pelagi iam se Capraria tollit; squalet ...
yngabl's user avatar
  • 161
6 votes
1 answer
588 views

What is the full text of the song about the failed battle of Kiska?

I came across a mention of the song about the failed battle of Kiska in the audiobook "The Rising Sun". I started googling, but found only two mentions, both on Google Books. Is there the full text of ...
CopperKettle's user avatar
55 votes
15 answers
13k views

Are there any important biographies of nobodies?

Biographies usually cover interesting people who said and did notable things. I'm curious about lives notable just for their contexts: the stories of unremarkable people in historically remarkable ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did Antoine de Saint-Exupery have any offspring?

Looking through the wikipedia > Antoine de Saint-Exupery, I see he had a number of partners, one of them was Consuelo de Saint Exupéry (the character who probably inspired the rose in The Little ...
Remi.b's user avatar
  • 261
11 votes
3 answers
734 views

What was the primary motivation for a historical figure like Xenophon to create an extensive collection of written material?

Xenophon of Athens created a large amount of written material even by today's standards. Did he create this work knowing it would be read by future generations, or was it for his own satisfaction? I ...
bn.'s user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
132 views

Why is the Confederacy frequently depicted as heroic in film and literature? [closed]

I was watching a remastered video from The Rebel and it occurs to me that often, if not the majority of the time, it is the Confederacy before, during and after the war which is shown in a sort of ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,908
26 votes
2 answers
8k views

What is the oldest known work of fiction?

What is the oldest known work of fiction that we know was meant to be taken as fiction? I mean to exclude mythologies; the audience of these was meant to believe they were true. What is the oldest ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
  • 1,938
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is the following claim concerning the loss of classical Latin literature substantiated?

I first came across an uncommonly precise claim that "94% of classical Latin literature was lost during the transition period of late antiquity" while listening to Peter Adamson's History of ...
mooncatcher's user avatar
  • 1,277
4 votes
1 answer
439 views

Which SF author was unable to check his own work out of the library due to insufficient security clearance?

Following up on the question Public knowledge of hypothetical nuclear weapons before Hiroshima?: I recall reading (many many years ago) an autobiographical anecdote by a science fiction author who ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
101 views

Who is "A Gentleman"? (The listed tranlator of the 1758 English edition of Tusculan Disputations)

While reading a free ebook version of Tusculan Disputations, apparently photo-captured from a long-out-of-copyright edition, and being interested in the unusual grammar in the older book, I "flipped" ...
Jedediah's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
100 views

Is the Prologue to Eunuchus the earliest recorded defense of literary fair use?

In Eunuchus by the Roman playwright Terence, there is a prologue penned for the explicit purpose of justifying the author's reuse of existing characters. In a section, the author identifies some ...
called2voyage's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
5k views

Where can I find the earliest surviving versions of Herodotus's Histories?

I'm looking for information re: the earliest versions of Herodotus's Histories. The two versions used on the Wikipedia page for Herodotus's Histories both trace back to Godley's translation. Godley's ...
mikeoly123's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
1k views

What is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature?

Having recently finished (again) The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I wondered what is the earliest known book / novel trilogy in literature? (Yes, I know J.R.R. Tolkien wrote LOTR not as a trilogy but as ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,202
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

Were the names in 'Les Miserables' ever common?

Victor Hugo used a variety of unusual names in 'Les Miserables'. Lets look at some of the major characters. Were the names in Les Miserables, other than Jean and Marius, common in France at the time ...
kingledion's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
930 views

What are the tabs/spaces for in the Beowulf text

Here and other places they have strange spacing as seen in the picture: Wondering what it means and what the purpose of it / if it's necessary or has some significance.
Lance's user avatar
  • 2,227
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Was Ezra Pound a descendent of Jews?

I've tried to search the internet for poet's Ezra Pound genealogy, but I only find extreme-right sites... A person with the name Ezra seems to have some relationship to Jewish culture/religion. ...
An old man in the sea.'s user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
257 views

What is the drawing in this ekphrastic poem?

I'm trying to identify the drawing (an unfinished sketch for a painting?) described in this Donald Justice poem. Possibly an African in upper-class dress, with a horse and second person who's portrait ...
Erick Verran's user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
8k views

Were Egyptian Pharaohs literate?

This video says scribes read letters to the king as the king was not literate. Can anyone comment on this
Hao S's user avatar
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-4 votes
2 answers
760 views

Who is the first person in the 17th century to describe themselves as a "white" person and who invented the term "white race"?

According to the Wikipedia article entitled White people The concept of a unified white race did not achieve universal acceptance in Europe when it first came into use in the 17th century, or ...
guest271314's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
390 views

What does this Rx glyph mean in what looks like Latin?

What does this glyph (red) mean? Also, what usage was there for it and the other glyph that looks like a colon (blue)?
Suppboi's user avatar
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