User:KF/Did you know ... (literature)

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Portal: Literature: Did you know ...


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... that Ben Jonson's 1598 play Every Man in His Humour is based on the ancient theory of the four humours?

... that both Elizabeth George and Joanne Harris wrote crime fiction set at exclusive British public schools?

... that for Philip Larkin 1963 was an annus mirabilis?

... that a sonnet has always fourteen lines?

... that Alice Sebold's 2002 novel The Lovely Bones is narrated by a dead person?


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... that Carl Hiaasen has written two novels for young adult readers, Hoot and Flush?

... that Richard Wagner used Shakespeare's Measure for Measure as the literary basis for the libretto of his opera Das Liebesverbot (1836), with the action relocated from Vienna to Sicily?

... that Festen, a 1998 Danish film by Thomas Vinterberg, was adapted as a stage play and first performed in English at the Almeida Theatre?

... that "On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur" is a line from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's 1943 novel The Little Prince?

... that the need for a chaperone triggers the plot of Brandon Thomas's 1892 farce Charley's Aunt?


... that Neil LaBute's 2001 play The Shape of Things is about the definition of art, and that it premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London starring Rachel Weisz?

... that "The Punishment of Luxury" is a short story by Michael Carson set in the Great Britain of the not-too-distant future under a Green dictatorship?

... that Jessie Redmon Fauset, Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston were female writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance?

... that a fair amount of David Lodge's fiction are campus novels?

... that the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, Bede's magnum opus, was translated into English by Alfred the Great?

... that The Contrast by Royall Tyler was the first American play to be professionally produced and written by an American citizen?


... that The Hornet's Nest is a 2003 historical novel by Jimmy Carter and the first work of fiction written by a U.S. President?

... that The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland and Making History are examples of alternate history fiction revolving around the Nazi regime?

... that Dietrich von Bern (i.e. Verona, Italy), a figure from medieval German legend, is the archetype of the wise and just ruler, traditionally said to be based on Theodoric the Great?

... that in 1804 William Wordsworth wrote a poem about daffodils?

... that the first film adaptation of Johann Strauß's operetta Die Fledermaus was a silent movie?

... that Stephen Spender's autobiography, published in 1951, is entitled World Within World, and that more than forty years after its publication the author sued novelist David Leavitt for plagiarism?


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... that Jonathan Swift's pamphlet A Modest Proposal was misconstrued as an advocacy of cannibalism?

... that the word anecdote originally means "not given out", i.e. "unpublished", and that the first collection of such tales, Ανεκδοτα, was written by the biographer of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I?

... that Death and the Maiden is a string quartet by Franz Schubert as well as a play by Ariel Dorfman?

... that the Latin phrase, "Difficile est satiram non scribere" was coined by Roman poet Juvenal?

... that The Beast With Two Backs, a 2003 album by British goth rock band Inkubus Sukkubus, takes its title from a phrase denoting sexual intercourse which was used as early as 1604 in Shakespeare's Othello ("I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs")?

... that the subject for the musical Hello, Dolly! originated in the 1842 play Einen Jux will er sich machen by Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy?


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... that, according to some sources, Alan Bennett's play The Madness of George III was renamed The Madness of King George when its film version was launched worldwide for fear that cinemagoers outside Britain might think they missed out on the first two films in a series?

... that La vida es sueño (Life Is a Dream) is a comedy written by 17th century Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca about the conflict between free will and fate, and that Austrian dramatist Franz Grillparzer, inspired by Calderón, wrote Der Traum ein Leben?

... that Einhard was Charlemagne's biographer?

... that in 1931 Erskine Caldwell published "Saturday Afternoon", a short story about a lynching?

... that Cato the Elder is remembered for his dictum, "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam," a war cry which was eventually fulfilled in the Third Punic War?

... that Marcel Reich-Ranicki felt insulted by the publication of Martin Walser's novel Tod eines Kritikers (Death of a Critic) in 2002?


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... that, as opposed to films such as Murder, She Said, Murder Ahoy! (1964) starring Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple is not based on any Agatha Christie novel?

... that W. H. Auden's poem starting with the line "He disappeared in the dead of winter" is about the death of Irish poet William Butler Yeats?

... that Industrial Society and Its Future, a text written by Theodore Kaczynski, has also been referred to as The Unabomber Manifesto?

... that Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (1921) is the most famous play of Italian dramatist Luigi Pirandello?

... that LGBT literature is an all encompassing term for literature produced by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or for literature involving characters, plot lines or themes concerning this community?

... that Bloomsday is on June 16?

... that the classic western, Stagecoach, is based on a 1937 short story by Ernest Haycox, "Stage to Lordsburg"?


... that Arthur Miller's 1987 autobiography is entitled Timebends?

... that Richardson's Clarissa, Laclos's Les Liaisons dangereuses and Elizabeth von Arnim's Fräulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther are epistolary novels?

... that Eric Malpass was more successful in Germany than in his native England?

... that Henning Mankell is a Swedish crime writer, and that his 2000 novel The Return of the Dancing Master was turned into a 2004 German TV mini-series starring Maximilian Schell?

... that the Greek equivalent of "carrying coals to Newcastle" is "Γλαῦκ’ Ἀθήναζε" ("owls to Athens"), and that the owl in that phrase refers to the ancient Athenian tetradrachm coin?

... that Tom Kempinski's 1987 play Separation is about a writer suffering from agoraphobia?

... that in 1948 American behaviorist B. F. Skinner published a utopian novel, Walden Two, and that its title is an allusion to Thoreau's Walden?


... that the Slough of Despond is a deep bog in John Bunyan's allegorical novel The Pilgrim's Progress (1678) into which the protagonist, Christian, sinks under the weight of his sins?

... that between 1959 and 1972 Rialto Film produced 32 German language films — the "Edgar Wallace movies" — based on novels by British crime writer Edgar Wallace?

... that Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal appears as Yakov Liebermann in Ira Levin's 1976 science fiction thriller, The Boys from Brazil?

... that Sherwood Anderson's 1920 novel Poor White is about the industrialisation of rural America?

... that the lyrics of Charles Aznavour's 1966 love song "Ma mie" are a wealth of metaphors?

... that "A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism" are the first words of The Communist Manifesto?

... that Thomas Bowdler's 1818 ten-volume edition of Shakespeare's plays, The Family Shakespeare, gave rise to the term "Bowdlerization", the process of expurgation — censorship by removal — of material thought to be unacceptable to the intended audience?


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... that the eponymous "Deputy" of Rolf Hochhuth's 1963 play Der Stellvertreter is Pope Pius XII?

... that there are novels other than Ulysses whose action takes place within 24 hours?

... that The English Roses is Madonna's children's book debut?

... that the term "Lost Generation" was coined by Gertrude Stein?

... that Hroswitha of Gandersheim is an eminent poet of the Ottonian Renaissance?

... that Charles II of England is likened to the Biblical David in John Dryden's satire Absalom and Achitophel? ("[...] several mothers bore / To godlike David several sons before. / But since like slaves his bed they did ascend, / No true succession could their seed attend.")

... that Carl Barks invented $crooge McDuck?


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... that in Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People" a wooden leg is stolen?

... that in 1989 Dustin Hoffman played Shylock at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End in a commercial production of The Merchant of Venice directed by Sir Peter Hall?

... that in J. G. Ballard's 1974 novel Concrete Island a wealthy businessman finds himself stranded in a manmade "island" — a section of fenced-off wasteland in the middle of a motorway intersection — where he is forced to survive on only what is in his crashed Jaguar and what he is able to find?

... that Don Camillo, an irascible Italian village priest at war with the town's communist mayor, was created in 1946 by Giovanni Guareschi, and that he was played by French actor Fernandel in a series of black-and-white movies?

... that Dennis Potter's play Brimstone and Treacle was first produced and then banned by the BBC?

... that lad lit is the male equivalent of chick lit?

... that Atom Egoyan adapted Russell Banks's novel The Sweet Hereafter for the big screen?


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... that U.S. actor Sam Wanamaker was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Globe Theatre in London, England?

... that Jennifer Haigh's debut novel Mrs. Kimble (2003) is about three rather than just one Mrs. Kimbles?

... that Abraham Cahan, a Lithuanian immigrant to the United States, was the founder and editor of the Yiddish daily Forverts and the author of the 1917 novel The Rise of David Levinsky?

... that British playwright Joe Orton was killed by his boyfriend?

... that Josephine Hart's 1991 novel Damage about the downfall of a British politician was made into a film by Louis Malle starring Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche?

... that Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (1929), Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) and Charles Yale Harrison's Generals Die in Bed (1930) are war novels set during the First World War?

... that the protagonist of Willy Russell's stage play Educating Rita is actually called Susan but calls herself Rita after Rita Mae Brown?


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... that until 1968, the Lord Chamberlain was responsible for theatrical censorship in the United Kingdom?

... that Romanoff and Juliet is a 1956 comedy by Sir Peter Ustinov set during the Cold War and based on the old Romeo and Juliet motif of the two feuding families?

... that there are many works of literature whose title consists of the name of the heroine only?

... that the quality that two things which are being compared have in common is traditionally referred to as tertium comparationis ("the third [part] of the comparison")?

... that former Czech president Václav Havel was a dissident playwright before and after the Prague Spring?

... that in his Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) Hegel discusses the dialectic of lordship and bondage?

... that in 1988 Naguib Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature?


100px|left ... that Sydney Horler and Michael Arlen were two bestselling novelists of the 1920s?

... that T. C. Boyle has written a novel about marijuana farmers, Budding Prospects?

... that Petrified Forest National Park, the setting of Robert E. Sherwood's 1935 stage play The Petrified Forest, is located in northeastern Arizona, and that Humphrey Bogart successfully played the role of escaped killer Duke Mantee on Broadway?

... that Psychodrama is a method of psychotherapy which explores, through action, the problems of people, and that it was developed by Romanian psychiatrist Jacob L. Moreno?

... that Shakespeare's Sonnet CXXXVIII is about two lovers lying to, and with, each other?

... that Cunt (1999) is a controversial novel by Stewart Home?

... that the Verfremdungseffekt is usually associated with Bertolt Brecht's "epic theatre"?


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... that a recurring theme in Eric Ambler's books is having as the main character an amateur who finds himself unwillingly in the company of hardened criminals and/or spies?

... that the title of Bernard MacLaverty's short story about a philosophy don, "Language, Truth and Lockjaw", is an allusion to A. J. Ayer's 1936 seminal work of philosophy, Language, Truth, and Logic? [1]

... that the clerihew was invented by E. C. Bentley?

... that a proscenium arch is a square frame around a raised stage area in traditional theatres which represents a style of theatre which has persisted since the 17th century but has become an almost derogatory term to many modern dramatists?

... that Moral is a 1909 comedy by Bavarian author Ludwig Thoma?

... that the dictum, "Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur", is ascribed to 1st century Roman satirist Petronius?

... that Notes of a Dirty Old Man is a 1969 book by Charles Bukowski, and that his creation — some say alter egoHenry Chinaski has been ranked among the 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900?


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... that Lord Byron fought for Greek independence, and that he died at Messolonghi (Μεσολόγγι) in 1824?

... that Otto von Freising, son of Leopold III, Margrave of Austria and brother of Henry II Jasomirgott, Duke of Austria, was an important mediaeval chronicler?

... that an aside is a technique used in dramatic performances in which a character says something to himself or herself which is assumed to be unheard by the other characters on stage?

... that in Chuck Palahniuk's 2001 novel Choke, the protagonist regularly deceives people by pretending to be choking on food?

... that one of the events at the Wartburgfest of 1817 was a book burning?

... that Clara is a wheelchair-bound girl in Johanna Spyri's children's story, Heidi (1880)?

... that the chapter entitled "What is an American?" is the most famous, and most anthologized, part of Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer?


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... that the Index Librorum Prohibitorum is a list of banned books?

... that the title of Ethel Lina White's first crime novel, Put Out the Light (1931), is a quotation from Othello? ("Put out the Light, and then put out the Light: If I quench thee, thou flaming Minister, [...])

... that Vladimir Nabokov once described Boris Pasternak as "Emily Dickinson in trousers"?

... that gonzo journalism is a style of reporting associated with Hunter S. Thompson?

... that "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" is an elegy written by Walt Whitman shortly after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln?

... that Martin Luther translated the Bible into German to make it more accessible to the common people?

... that U.S. actor Eddie Constantine played Peter Cheyney's hard-boiled detective Lemmy Caution in a series of French B-movies, starting with La Môme vert-de-gris (1953)?



... that Ionesco's La cantatrice chauve has become one of the most performed plays in France?

... that Austrian dramatist and novelist Peter Handke was nominated for the Heinrich Heine Prize 2006 but that his alleged support for Slobodan Milošević has led to a heated controversy?

... that deliberate misspellings are quite common in limericks?

... that between 1942 and 1944 Anne Frank kept a diary?

... that Wildwechsel, Stallerhof and Oberösterreich are stage plays by Franz Xaver Kroetz?

... that Shmelka Glickstein, Augie March, Duddy Kravitz and Alexander Portnoy are four fictional heroes growing up Jewish in North America?

... that Michael Frayn has written a Fleet Street novel, Towards the End of the Morning?


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... that the "12.30 from Croydon" is an aircraft rather than a train?

... that Heinrich Böll's 1963 novel Ansichten eines Clowns (The Clown) deals with German people's inability, during the Wirtschaftswunder years, to come to terms with their Nazi past?

... that Jacques Derrida used Charles Baudelaire's short tale "La fausse monnaie" as the starting point for his book, Donner le temps (1991)?

... that Hay-on-Wye in Brecknockshire, Wales was the first book town?

... that the Heimskringla contains tales about Norwegian kings, and that it was written around 1225 by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson?

... that the screenplay for Elia Kazan's Baby Doll (1956) was written by Tennessee Williams, and that Karl Malden and Eli Wallach again appeared together on the screen more than 30 years later, in Martin Ritt's Nuts?

... that Leonard Cohen has written two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers?


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... that Washington Irving wrote the travelogue Astoria about an expedition sponsored by John Jacob Astor which culminated in the founding of Astoria, Oregon, without having taken part in the journey himself?

... that quite a number of literary works revolve around class reunions?

... that Margaret Atwood's 1972 novel Surfacing is set in the Canadian wilderness, and that it was made into a movie in 1981 starring Kathleen Beller?

... that in Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado" an unsuspecting man is walled in alive somewhere in the catacombs below Venice, Italy?

... that Roger McGough is a British performance poet who was a member of The Scaffold?

... that pastiche is a literary technique employing a generally light-hearted tongue-in-cheek imitation of another's style?

... that Otakar II, king of Bohemia of the Přemyslid dynasty, and Rudolph of Habsburg are two characters in Franz Grillparzer's historical tragedy König Ottokars Glück und Ende (1823)?


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... that The Tale of Tsar Saltan (1900) is an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov based on the 1831 poem The Tale of Tsar Saltan by Aleksandr Pushkin?

... that Ludwig Anzengruber's breakthrough play, Der Pfarrer von Kirchfeld (1870), is about a Roman Catholic parish priest accused of having an inappropriate relationship with his household help, and that it was filmed in 1955 starring Erich Auer and Waltraut Haas?

... that "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils" is the first line of Enoch Powell's famous "Rivers of Blood" speech?

... that Gerald Lund, Anita Stansfield and Jack Weyland write LDS fiction?

... that Quasimodo, the protagonist of Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris, is named after the first Sunday after Easter ("quasi modo geniti infantes")?

... that Owen Meany believes that the purpose of his life is being an instrument of God, and that that purpose will be fulfilled in his own death?

... that Dr Stephen Ward, Robert E. Lee, Cardinal Richelieu and Caligula are just four of the many historical personages who appear in fictional context?


... that T. C. Boyle's new novel, Talk Talk, is about identity theft?

... that Abha Dawesar, Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, R. K. Narayan (pictured), and Vikram Seth are Indian novelists writing in English?

... that Monstrous Regiment was a British feminist theatre company during the 1970s and 1980s which took its name from the 16th century misogynist tract by John Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women?

... that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist rather than the monster he created?

... that Black Mask was a U.S. pulp magazine which appeared from 1920 till 1951, and that among its contributors were Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler?

... that the Stonewall Book Award is named after the Stonewall riots of 1969?

... that "A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdome for a Horse" is a line taken from the ending of Shakespeare's Richard III?


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... that the only known sketch of an Elizabethan playhouse (pictured) was made in 1596 by a Dutch traveller, Johannes de Witt, and that it shows The Swan?

... that George Wylie Henderson's 1935 novel, Ollie Miss, is set in rural Alabama, and that it is almost an all-black story, with only two minor characters — the doctor and the sheriff — being white?

... that Clivia is an operetta by Charles Amberg (story, lyrics) and Nico Dostal (music) set in the fictitious South American country of Boliguay, and that it premiered in Berlin in 1933?

... that Venice Preserv'd is a Restoration tragedy by Thomas Otway?

... that "Nemo me impune lacessit" is the royal Scottish motto, and that this phrase also occurs in Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado"?

... that the 19th century advocates of l'art pour l'art believed that art should be created and appreciated for its own sake, that it should be an end in itself rather than a means to an end?

... that in Aristophanes's 411 BC comedy, Lysistrata calls for a sex strike to make the Greek warriors stop fighting, and that in reaction to the Iraq disarmament crisis the play was the focus of a peace protest initiative called The Lysistrata Project?


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... that Shangri-La, the name chosen by F.D. Roosevelt for what is today known as Camp David, takes its name from the 1933 Utopian novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton?

... that Rupert Brooke (pictured), author of the sonnet "The Soldier" (1915), died of pneumonia in the Aegean Sea on his way to the Battle of Gallipoli, and that he was buried in the Greek island of Skyros?

... that, amongst others, actors Kinya Aikawa, Bruno Cremer, Gino Cervi, Rupert Davies, Jean Gabin, Michael Gambon, Richard Harris, Charles Laughton, Pierre Renoir, Jean Richard, and Heinz Rühmann have all portrayed Georges Simenon's Commissaire Jules Maigret?

... that Ravelstein (2000) is Saul Bellow's final novel, and that the author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976?

... that I promessi sposi, a historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni first published in 1827, is considered the most famous and widely read novel of the Italian language?

... that during performances of The Rocky Horror Show audience participation is invited — that the audience are encouraged to dress up as the characters, to shout call-backs at the stage ("arsehole", "slut", etc.), and to throw props onto the stage?

... that the current governor of Lower Austria, Erwin Pröll, once stated in an interview that the only book he had ever finished reading was Karl May's 1890 novel Der Schatz im Silbersee (The Treasure of Silver Lake)?


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... that the Roman de la Rose is a late mediæval French poem about love and courtship, and that it was translated into Middle English — partly by Geoffrey Chaucer — as The Romaunt of the Rose (pictured)?

... that New York-born Anna Katharine Green was one of the first U.S. writers of detective fiction, and that her works inspired Agatha Christie to become a mystery writer?

... that Glenway Wescott's novel Apartment in Athens is set in Nazi-occupied Greece?

... that in the English-speaking world a matinée is the showing of a play in the afternoon, whereas in German-speaking countries the same word denotes a performance which takes place before noon?

... that Steven Berkoff's play Decadence was filmed in 1994 starring Joan Collins and the author himself, who also directed the movie?

... that Marsha Hunt was born in Philadelphia, was a member of the cast in the London production of the musical Hair, had a daughter, Karis, by Mick Jagger, published her first novel, Joy, in 1990, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004?

... that the plot of Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis's 1993 movie Groundhog Day shows striking parallels to Ken Grimwood's 1987 time travel novel Replay?


... that Anna Akhmatova (Russian: А́нна Ахма́това, pictured) was an eminent Russian Acmeist poet whose works were banned from publication during Stalin's dictatorship?

... that Le Malade imaginaire, first performed in 1673, is Molière's final play?

... that "Don't Let's Be Beastly To The Germans" is a song by Noel Coward written and released during the Second World War as part of his contribution to the war effort?

... that Ivan Cankar is considered the most famous Slovenian writer, and that his 1904 novel Hiša Marije Pomočnice (The Ward of Our Lady of Mercy) is about a group of terminally ill girls awaiting their deaths in a hospital in fin de siècle Vienna?

... that Jeff Abbott, John le Carré, Manning Coles, James Munro, and Daniel Silva are authors of spy fiction?

... that the Goethe-Institut, founded in 1925 to promote German language and culture outside of the German-speaking countries, is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe?

... that, as one critic put it, "some of the descriptions of the sex scenes" in Ben Elton's Past Mortem "might prove a bit much for the faint-hearted"?


Image:YousufKarsh.jpg ... that "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat" and "We shall fight on the beaches" are two famous wartime speeches by Sir Winston Churchill (pictured)?

... that Wozzeck is an opera by Alban Berg based on Georg Büchner's stage play Woyzeck?

... that "Most near, most dear, most loved and most far" is the first line of George Barker's sonnet "To My Mother" [2], which was first published in his 1944 volume of poetry Eros in Dogma and later anthologized in the Faber Book of Modern Verse?

... that the "New Woman" was a feminist ideal which emerged in the final decades of the 19th century in Europe and North America, and that H. G. Wells's Ann Veronica (1909) — "this poisonous book", according to The Spectator — is one of the classic New Woman novels?

... that Richard Brautigan is best known for his 1967 novel, Trout Fishing in America?

... that the theme of adultery features in a wide range of literature through the ages?

... that Frozen is a 2004 stage play by Bryony Lavery focusing on the conversations between a serial killer, the mother of one of his victims, and a female psychiatrist?


... that Toni Morrison, Elena Castedo and A. L. Kennedy (pictured) have all written novels entitled Paradise?

... that "Death of the Author" is an influential 1968 essay by Roland Barthes in which he maintains that the reader must separate a literary work from its creator in order to liberate it from interpretive tyranny?

... that the British Museum Reading Room used to be the main reading room of the British Library until the library moved to St Pancras in 1997?

... that Shockheaded Peter is a musical entertainment based on 19th century German psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann's children's book, Der Struwwelpeter (1845)?

... that, with the exception of A House and Its Head, Ivy Compton-Burnett's novels have been out of print for some time?

... that "They fuck you up, your mum and dad" is the first line of Philip Larkin's short poem "This Be The Verse"?

... that Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton has written a play about Oscar Wilde, Saint Oscar?


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... that Sholom Aleichem (Yiddish: שלום־עליכם, Russian: Шолом-Алейхем; pictured) was a popular humorist and Russian Jewish author of Yiddish literature, and that the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof is based on his short stories?

... that "Suspension of disbelief" is a term coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria (1817), and that it refers primarily to the willingness of a reader or viewer to accept the premises of a work of fiction, even if they are fantastic or impossible?

... that Terry Southern is the author of the 1959 episodic novel, The Magic Christian?

... that Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, Huxley's Island, Barth's Giles Goat-Boy, Bradbury's The History Man, and Naipaul's A Bend in the River are five of the novels selected by Anthony Burgess for his 1984 book, Ninety-nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939: A Personal Choice?

... that Madame Bovary commits suicide by swallowing arsenic?

... that the musical White Horse Inn was originally conceived as a play without music?

... that "cult fiction" is an umbrella term for books that tend to attract a cult following — including banned books, transgressive fiction, controversial books, erotic literature, and genre fiction?


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... that Walter Mosley's Futureland is a series of nine loosely connected short pieces of science fiction set in a post-cyberpunk dystopian universe populated by humans living in a shellshocked, unfairly stratified society overseen by super-rich technocrats?

... that "The Computer Nevermore" is a filk based on Edgar Allan Poe's narrative poem "The Raven", and that that poem has been parodied countless times?

... that Dorothy B. Hughes's 1946 roman noir Ride the Pink Horse is set in a small New Mexican town during a three-day fiesta, and that the title of the novel refers to a dilapidated merry-go-round?

... that the members of the Pérez family are Marielitos?

... that Austrian political journalist and cabaret writer Jura Soyfer, the co-author of the "Dachaulied", died of typhus at Buchenwald concentration camp, aged only 26?

... that roman de gare is the French term for "airport novel"?

... that John Guare's 1990 play Six Degrees of Separation is based on the "small world phenomenon"?



... that Eugene O'Neill's (pictured) first published play, Beyond the Horizon, opened on Broadway in 1920, and that it is about two brothers who love the same woman?

... that a vanity press is a company which, while claiming to be a traditional publisher, prints books and charges writers a fee in return for publishing their books, with the intended market being the author him/herself rather than the general public?

... that Michener's The Drifters, Sutcliffe's Are You Experienced? and Garland's The Beach are novels about backpackers?

... that Biedermann und die Brandstifter is a play by Swiss writer Max Frisch, the author of the 1957 novel Homo Faber?

... that Yaakov Shabtai's Zichron Dvarim (הדוד פרץ ממריא; English title: Past Continuous) about three friends in 1960s Tel Aviv was one of the first novels to be written in truly vernacular Hebrew?

... that Three Men in a Boat, first published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford, and that the book was originally intended to be a serious travel guide?

... that Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat quoted Horace's "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" immediately before his beheading on Tower Hill, London in 1747, and that during the First World War Wilfred Owen wrote a poem entitled "Dulce Et Decorum Est"?


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... that in August 2006 Nobel Prize laureate Günter Grass (pictured) admitted, 62 years after the fact, to having been a member of the Waffen-SS?

... that The Quare Fellow, a 1954 play by Brendan Behan (Breandán Ó Beacháin) about prison life in 1950s Ireland, was turned into a black-and-white film in 1962 starring Patrick McGoohan as a death-row prison guard with a growing empathy with two condemned prisoners?

... that Radetzkymarsch (Radetzky March) is a family saga by Joseph Roth first published in 1932 about the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and that the title of the novel refers to Johann Strauß's "Radetzky March"?

... that a bodice ripper is a genre of romantic fiction, often historical fiction, featuring unrestrained romantic passion and a heroine who initially dislikes and actively resists the hero's seduction, only ultimately to be overcome by desire?

... that "The devil take her!" is the last line of Sir John Suckling's poem "Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover?"?

... that the 1982 stage play Die Antrittsrede der amerikanischen Päpstin (El Discurso inaugural de la Papisa americana) by Esther Vilar is set in the year 2022, where Pope Joan II holds her inaugural address sponsored by big money and interrupted by commercial breaks?

... that "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "It Had to Be Murder" are just three of the many short stories which have been adapted into feature-length films?


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... that Bel Ami is an 1885 novel by Guy de Maupassant (pictured) about a journalist's rise to fame, which is achieved by means of a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy mistresses?

... that Maria Stuart is a play by Friedrich Schiller based on the life of Mary I of Scotland?

.... that "Because He Liked to Look At It" and "I Was There In The Room" are two of the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, and that in each of the monologues the vagina is seen as a tool of female empowerment?

... that Constantine P. Cavafy's 1911 poem "Απολείπειν ο θεός Αντώνιον" ("The God Abandons Antony") [3][4] is included in Lawrence Durrell's novel Justine, and that it also inspired Leonard Cohen to write "Alexandra Leaving"?

... that poetic justice is a literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded and vice punished?

... that Nelson Algren's Somebody in Boots, James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice and Louis L'Amour's Hanging Woman Creek are novels about hobos?

... that Freaky Green Eyes (2003), Sexy (2005), and After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away (2006) are three young adult novels by Joyce Carol Oates?


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... that Monarch of the Glen is a BBC television drama loosely based on novels by Compton Mackenzie, but also an 1851 painting by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (pictured)?

... that Amanda Craig's novels about contemporary British society are linked to each other by recurring characters?

... that, according to Gustav Mahler, tradition is "the preservation of the flame, not the adoration of the ashes" ("Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche")?

... that John Steinbeck's 1947 novel The Wayward Bus revolves around a bus accident, and that it has no clear protagonist?

... that John Dryden, Colley Cibber, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Cecil Day-Lewis, and Sir John Betjeman were all poets laureate?

... that The Truth Machine is a 1996 science fiction novel by James L. Halperin about a genius who invents an infallible lie detector, and that the book can be freely downloaded?

... that Enkidu, Humbaba and Siduri are characters from the Epic of Gilgamesh?


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... that Psycho, a 1959 novel by Robert Bloch, was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock (pictured) in 1960 and remade by Gus Van Sant in 1998?

... that Print on demand (POD) is a publishing method in which a copy is not created until after an order is received?

... that British novelist Nina Bawden was badly injured and her husband killed in the Potters Bar rail crash of 2002?

... that from 1934, as a means of Gleichschaltung, all authors who wanted to publish their works in Nazi Germany had to be members of the Reichsschrifttumskammer (RSK), whose presidents were Hans-Friedrich Blunck (1934-35) and, from 1935, Hanns Johst ("Whenever I hear of culture ... I release the safety-catch of my Browning")?

... that Talking in Tongues (Pearson Award for Best New Play, 1991), Mules, and One Under are stage plays by British playwright Winsome Pinnock, and that she is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University?

... that Samuel French was a U.S. entrepreneur who, together with British actor, playwright and theatrical manager Thomas Hailes Lacy, pioneered in the field of theatrical publishing and the licensing of plays?

... that "Es grünt so grün, wenn Spaniens Blüten blühen" is the German rendering of "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain"?


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... that Annie John is a 1985 novel by Jamaica Kincaid (pictured) about a girl growing up in Antigua?

... that Ulrike Folkerts was the first woman at the Salzburg Festival to play the role of Death in Hugo von Hofmannsthal's version of Everyman, Jedermann?

... that Ronald Knox was both a theologian and a crime writer, and that Evelyn Waugh wrote his biography?

... that Merriam Modell was a U.S. author of pulp fiction, and that her novel Bunny Lake Is Missing was filmed by Otto Preminger starring Laurence Olivier and Noel Coward?

... that "The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations" is a descriptive list which was created by 19th century French writer Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation which might occur in a story or performance?

... that Zsigmond Móricz was a Hungarian novelist who wrote about the Hungarian peasantry and issues of poverty?

... that Animal Farm, The Pursuit of Love, Brideshead Revisited, and Cannery Row were all first published in 1945?


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... that Henry Denker's play about Sigmund Freud, A Far Country, premiered on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in 1961, and that Curd Jürgens (pictured) played Freud in a 1979 German language production at the Theater in der Josefstadt, Vienna?

... that Lawrence Ferlinghetti's best-known collection of poetry is entitled A Coney Island of the Mind?

... that Cordelia Grey, Kate Brannigan, Bertha Cool, V. I. Warshawski, Tally McGinnis (created by Nancy Sanra), and Precious Ramotswe are female private investigators?

... that Nils Holgersson is a boy who takes great delight in hurting the animals on his father's farm?

... that U.S. literary critic Leslie Fiedler was one of the first to question the notion of a gap between "high art" and popular art", in his 1972 book, Cross the Border—Close the Gap?

... that during her lifetime two plays were written about Mary Frith, an English pickpocket?

... that The Doors took their name from the title of a book by Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, a phrase which was in turn borrowed from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell?


... that Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens was originally published in 19 monthly installments between October 1846 and April 1848?

... that Other Voices, Other Rooms is a 1948 novel by Truman Capote which is usually categorized as Southern Gothic?

... that Kim Novak (pictured, with George Sanders), Julia Foster, Robin Wright Penn, and Alex Kingston have all played Moll Flanders?

... that in 1993, looking back upon his career, Gore Vidal wrote that although he had "never seen Myra Breckinridge, I do know that despite the iconic presences of Raquel Welch and Mae West, the film was so bad that the book stopped selling for a decade"?

... that Miniplanner (2000), Babyji (2005) and That Summer in Paris (2006) are novels by Abha Dawesar, an Indian novelist writing in English?

... that morality plays are a type of theatrical allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of various moral attributes who try to prompt him to choose a Godly life over one of evil?

... that René is a short novella by Chateaubriand about a desperately unhappy young Frenchman who seeks refuge among the Natchez people of Louisiana?


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... that in 1955 Barbara Bel Geddes (pictured) played Maggie in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?

... that Syrup, Jennifer Government, and Company are novels by Max Barry?

... that Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City is about the lives and careers of the residents of 28 Barbary Lane, San Francisco?

.. that at the end of Act One of G. B. Shaw's 1910 play, Misalliance, an aircraft crashes through the roof of the conservatory of a large country house in Hindhead, Surrey, where a varied group of people have gathered to spend a summer weekend?

... that the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is situated in Guildford, Surrey?

... that Françoise Sagan wrote Bonjour Tristesse when she was only 18, and that another of her novels, Aimez-vous Brahms?, was filmed as Goodbye Again in 1961 by Anatole Litvak starring Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, and Yves Montand?

... that, according to Alexander Pope ("An Essay on Criticism", 1711), "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread"?


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... that a scene from I ... comme Icare, a 1979 political thriller by French playwright and filmmaker Henri Verneuil, depicts the Milgram experiment?

... that Goodbye to All That is Robert von Ranke Graves's (pictured) 1929 autobiography, in which he details his experiences of the First World War, including trench warfare, as well as his aversion to an England dominated by middle-class morality?

... that in classical scholarship, editio princeps is the first printed edition of a work which previously existed only in manuscripts?

... that Amazon Marketplace is amazon.com's fixed-price online marketplace that allows sellers to purvey new and used items alongside amazon's offerings, and customers to buy those items directly from the third party sellers using amazon.com's infrastructure?

... that in Werner Schwab's 1990 play Die Präsidentinnen, Mariedl is the woman who is used to cleaning toilets without wearing protective gloves, and that she tells her two female friends how the vicar hides presents for her—perfume, a bottle of beer, a can of goulash—deep down in the jammed toilet?

... that mock-heroic works are typically satires or parodies that mock common Romantic or modern stereotypes of heroes, including being unusually brave, mighty and great in all respects?

... that Marcel Pagnol wrote his first play aged 15 although his mother had not allowed him to touch a book until he was six for fear of "cerebral explosion"?


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... that a nativity play is a play about the birth of Jesus, usually one performed by children at Christmas time?

... that $crooge McDuck (pictured) is named after Ebenezer Scrooge?

... that the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" from its first line, first published in 1823, is largely responsible for the contemporary American conception of Santa Claus, including his appearance, the night he visits, his method of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and that he brings toys to children?

... that "Silent Night, Holy Night" is a Christmas carol by Franz Xaver Gruber and Josef Mohr first performed in German at Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria during Midnight Mass on Christmas Day, 1818?

... that Alan Ayckbourn's 1980 play Season's Greetings is about a disastrous family reunion over the Christmas holidays characterized by hard drinking, adultery, and general hostility towards each and everyone, and that Floridian author Roger C. Simmons has written a novel, ReUnion, about a very similar subject-matter?

... that Harry's Christmas is a 90 minute monologue by Steven Berkoff about loneliness, depression, and suicide?

... that there have been countless Christmas specials on American and British television?


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... that "Sapere aude!" ("Dare to know!") is a Latin phrase famously used by Kant at the end of the first paragraph of his 1784 essay, "Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?" (pictured)?

... that Altruria was a short-lived commune in Sonoma County, California based on Christian socialist principles and inspired by William Dean Howells's 1894 Utopian novel, A Traveler from Altruria?

... that David Guterson's novel Snow Falling on Cedars is set in 1954 in the fictional San Piedro Island off the Washington coast in the Pacific Northwest, and that it is about Japanese American internment during World War II?

... that Grendel is a monster defeated barehandedly by Beowulf when the latter succeeds in ripping his arm off in a brawl, causing him to bleed to death in his gloomy cave home?

... that "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in 1957 as an example of a sentence whose grammar is correct but whose meaning is nonsensical?

... that, in British English, a ticket tout is someone who engages in ticket resale?

... that George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Annie Besant, Graham Wallas, Hubert Bland, Edith Nesbit, Sydney Olivier, and Emmeline Pankhurst were all Fabians?


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... that Urmuz (pictured) was an early 20th century Romanian writer of absurdist and avant-garde prose?

... that Der Untertan, a novel by Heinrich Mann completed in 1914, is a critique of the German Empire under William II?

... that in rhetoric, anaphora (from the Greek ναφορά "carrying back") is the repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of several consecutive sentences or verses to emphasize an image or a concept?

... that Manhattan Transfer was a New Jersey railroad station from 1910 until 1937, is the title of a 1925 novel by John Dos Passos, and the name of an American vocal group founded in the 1970s?

... that Canadian economist John Kenneth Galbraith also wrote novels, for instance A Tenured Professor (1990)?

... that "Nemo solus satis sapit" (roughly translated as "On your own, you never know enough") is a quotation from Plautus's play Miles Gloriosus, and that Miles Gloriosus appears again in Stephen Sondheim's 1962 musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum?

... that Sir Roger de Coverley and Will Honeycomb were recurring characters in Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's The Spectator of 1711-12?


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... that Jean le Rond d'Alembert, André Le Breton, Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, Denis Diderot, Baron d'Holbach, Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire were among the contributors to the 35 volume Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (pictured)?

... that Liza of Lambeth was W. Somerset Maugham's debut novel?

... that Titania is the queen of the fairies in William Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream?

... that "The Great American Novel" is the concept of a novel that perfectly represents the spirit of life in the United States at the time of its publication; that the phrase derives from the title of an essay by John William DeForest published in 1869; and that William Carlos Williams, Clyde Brion Davis, and Philip Roth have actually written novels entitled The Great American Novel?

... that Ars longa, vita brevis" is is part of an aphorism by Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, and that it refers to the art of medicine?

... that both Truffaut's La Sirène du Mississippi (1969) and Michael Cristofer's Original Sin (2001) are based on Cornell Woolrich's 1947 novel, Waltz into Darkness, a historical novel set in turn-of-the century New Orleans?

... that Racing Demon is a 1990 play by David Hare about the Church of England?


... that The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (pictured) is a whodunnit by Gilbert Adair first published in 2006 and written in the vein of an Agatha Christie novel?

... that in pantomime, Hanswurst is a character in comic performances on the German stage, distinguished for his awkwardness, his gluttonous appetite, and his rotundity?

... that Homicide is a 1991 film by playwright David Mamet about an inner-city homicide detective who, assigned to a case involving a Jewish family, is forced to come to terms with his own ethnic and religious identity?

... that both Bharati Mukherjee's Leave It to Me (1997) and Libby Purves's Mother Country (2002) are novels in which the protagonist goes in search of his biological parents?

... that there are many literary works with eponymous heroes?

... that Village of the Damned is the title of two films both of which are based on John Wyndham's 1957 science fiction novel, The Midwich Cuckoos?

... that during the original production of John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger in 1956, the Royal Court's press officer called the author an "angry young man", a phrase which subsequently came to represent a new movement in 1950s British theatre?


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... that Johann Christoph Gottsched (pictured) was a German author and critic who advocated the principle that poetry must be the product of strict and artificial rules?

... that "Let us go then, you and I, / When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherised upon a table" are the first lines of T. S. Eliot's 1915 poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

... that David Garrick, Lilian Baylis, Hugh "Binkie" Beaumont, and Joan Littlewood were important London theatre managers?

... that a miller, a reeve, and a pardoner are among the pilgrims who tell their stories in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales?

... that "Deus ex machina" is a Latin phrase that is used to describe an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot?

... that in 1956, Adele Wiseman, a second-generation immigrant to Canada, published her first novel, The Sacrifice?

... that Joseph Conrad, Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Borneman, and Jerzy Kosiński are four novelists who wrote in English rather than their respective mother tongues?


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... that the Olivier, the Lyttelton, and the Cottesloe are the three stages housed by the Royal National Theatre (pictured) on London's South Bank?

... that the Dursleys live at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, England?

... that Een lied van schijn en wezen is a 1981 novel by Cees Nooteboom about an author who creates his story around the sentence, "The colonel falls in love with the doctor's wife"?

... that μαιευτική τέχνη (maieutics), a method of teaching introduced by Socrates, is based on the idea that the truth is latent in the mind of every human being due to his innate reason but has to be "given birth" by questions asked by the teacher and answers given by the student?

... that Manderley is the house which plays a central part in Daphne du Maurier's novel, Rebecca (1938), and that as a result of the novel's popularity, the name "Manderley" became extremely popular as a name for ordinary houses, at one time being the most common house name in the United Kingdom?

... that Amongst Barbarians is a 1989 play by Michael Wall set in Penang, Malaysia, where two young Englishmen have been arrested for drug trafficking?

... that Ignatius J. Reilly is the protagonist of John Kennedy Toole's novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, written in the 1960s and published posthumously in 1980?


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... that Salman Rushdie (pictured) is best known for the violent criticism that his book The Satanic Verses (1988) provoked in the Muslim community, and that after death threats and a fatwa by Ruhollah Khomeini, calling for his assassination, Rushdie spent years underground, appearing in public only sporadically?

... that Ugo Riccarelli was awarded the 2004 Strega Prize for his novel, Il dolore perfetto?

... that Roman historian Sallust wrote an account of the Jugurthine War (112-105 BC), Bellum Iugurthinum?

... that Lily Brett has written novels about Holocaust survivors living in New York City, for example Just Like That (1994)?

... that the term masochism was coined by 19th century psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's writings — such as his 1870 novel Venus im Pelz (Venus in Furs) — in mind?

... that Mary Shelley & Percy Bysshe Shelley, Pamela Hansford Johnson & C. P. Snow, Faye Kellerman & Jonathan Kellerman, and Siri Hustvedt & Paul Auster are just four of the many writing couples in the history of literature?

... that U.S. crime writer Donna Leon's novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti are all set in and around Venice, Italy, and that they have been translated into many languages, but not into Italian?


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... that Håkan Nesser is a successful Swedish crime writer, and that his 1994 novel Borkmanns punkt has been published in English as Borkmann's Point (pictured)?

... that Alain Robbe-Grillet is both an influential theorist and an author of the nouveau roman?

... that "Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes" was a popular English song with lyrics from Ben Jonson's 1616 poem, "To Celia"?

... that Ann S. Stephens is credited with writing the first "dime novel"?

... that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are minor characters of Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet?

... that Moira Buffini, Alex Jones, Sarah Kane, Patrick Marber, and Mark Ravenhill are playwrights usually associated with the movement referred to as "in-yer-face theatre"?

... that Jorge Semprún's first novel, Le grand voyage (The Long Voyage), is a fictionalised account of his deportation to, and incarceration in, Buchenwald concentration camp?


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... that in Jules Feiffer's (pictured) 1967 stage play, Little Murders, an average American family ends up as snipers, randomly shooting at pedestrians from a window of their New York City apartment?

... that Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad, and Émile Zola's Nana were all first published in 1880?

... that Samuel Pepys's Diary is an important account of London in the 1660s?

... that Baa Baa, Black Sheep is an old nursery rhyme, but also the title of a short story by Rudyard Kipling and of Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's autobiography?

... that the Pre-Raphaelites, founded in 1848, were a group of English painters, poets and critics who wanted to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who followed Raphael and Michelangelo?

... that in Part Two of his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin gives a list of thirteen virtues, and that he explains one of them, humility, with the advice, "Imitate Jesus and Socrates."?

... that Hemingway's 1929 anti-war novel, A Farewell to Arms, was filmed in 1932 and remade in 1957 starring Rock Hudson?


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... that Mateo Alemán's Guzmán de Alfarache, Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen's (pictured) Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus, and Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews are picaresque novels?

... that "Better authentic mammon than a bogus god" is the epigraph of Elizabeth George's latest novel, What Came Before He Shot Her (2006), and that it has been taken from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal?

... that William Caxton was an English merchant, diplomat, and writer, the first English person to work as a printer and to introduce a printing press into England, and also the first English retailer of books?

... that The Road (2006) is a post-apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarthy?

... that Philip Freneau's poem, "The Indian Burying Ground" (1787), was one of the first to idealize the indigenous peoples of the Americas?

... that Thomas Mann once said that if one had to reduce one's library to six novels, Fontane's Effi Briest would have to be one of them?

... that the Douay-Rheims Bible, a Catholic translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English, was an impressive effort by English Catholics to support the Counter Reformation?


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... that A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (pictured) is a 2005 novel by Marina Lewycka about a Ukrainian immigrant family living in a village near Peterborough, England?

... that with the Restoration of the Stuarts in 1660 theatres in Britain reopened after having been closed during the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell?

... that an acrostic is a poem or other text written in an alphabetic script in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out another message?

... that the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel is based on Liliom, a 1909 play by Hungarian writer Ferenc Molnár?

... that "Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei, / Led us to this perfect day" is the beginning of a nursery rhyme chanted by brainwashed children in Ira Levin's dystopian novel of 1970, This Perfect Day?

... that in both Grant Allen's The Woman Who Did (1895) and Margaret Drabble's The Millstone (1965) the female protagonist takes the conscious decision to have an illegitimate child?

... that Magnalia Christi Americana ("Christ's Great American Deeds") by Cotton Mather details the religious development of Massachusetts and other nearby New England colonies in the 17th century?


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... that "My Last Duchess" is a much anthologized dramatic monologue by Victorian poet Robert Browning (pictured), and that the deceased duchess of the title is most likely based on Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici (1544-1562)?

... that Matt Beaumont's e (2000) is a novel consisting entirely of inter-office e-mails?

... that the Loeb Classical Library, named after American banker and philanthropist James Loeb, is a series of books, today published by the Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each left-hand leaf, and a fairly literal translation on the facing page?

... that Equus is a 1973 stage play by Peter Shaffer about a 17-year-old boy who is brought to a mental health facility for treatment by a psychiatrist because he has blinded six horses with a spike?

... that Carmen Laforet, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Álvaro Cunqueiro, Lucía Etxebarría, and Eduardo Lago are recipients of the Premio Nadal?

... that fl. is used by (literary) historians as an abbreviation for "floruit" (Latin for "flourished"), to indicate periods when persons were influential, and that it is normally used only when dates of birth or death are unknown?

... that Tituba, the first woman accused of being a witch during the Salem witch trials of 1692, is the protagonist of the novel, Moi, Tituba, sorcière noire de Salem (1986) by Maryse Condé, and that she also features prominently in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller?


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... that Beatrice (pictured) is the orphaned niece of Leonato, governor of Messina, in Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing?

... that the Boulevard Saint-Michel is mentioned in quite a number of literary works?

... that Ernest Vincent Wright's novel Gadsby (1939) is an example of a lipogram?

... that Albert Camus's La Peste, Italo Calvino's Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno, Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, and Mickey Spillane's I, the Jury were all first published in 1947?

... that Frédéric Beigbeder's 2000 novel 99 francs was retitled 14,99 euro after the introduction of the euro, and that it was published in the United Kingdom as £9.99?

... that J. B. Priestley and Marghanita Laski were involved in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament?

... that Louis Begley's latest novel, Matters of Honor (2007), is about the enduring friendship between three Harvard graduates?


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... that Talk Radio is a 1987 stage play by Eric Bogosian (pictured) about a shock jock, and that in 1988 it was adapted for the cinema by Oliver Stone?

... that Arnold J. Toynbee's 12-volume A Study of History (1934-61) is reputedly the longest written work ever composed in the English language?

... that Joseph Connolly's 1996 novel This Is It is about a womanizer leading a double life?

... that Frédéric Beigbeder, Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Reynolds Price are among the authors who have written works about the September 11, 2001 attacks?

... that Alfred A. Knopf founded his own publishing house, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., in 1915?

... that "Flying Crooked" is a poem by Robert Graves about a cabbage white?

... that Antoine François Prévost's 1731 novel, Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut has been used as the literary basis for a number of operas, such as Auber's Manon Lescaut (1856), Massenet's Manon (1884), and Puccini's Manon Lescaut (1893)?


[[File:NonFreeImageRemoved.svg<|150px|left]] ... that "Richard Cory" is an 1897 poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson about a business magnate who commits suicide, and that it was adapted by Simon & Garfunkel (pictured) for their 1966 album, Sounds of Silence?

... that Marshall McLuhan, Henry Miller, Jean-Paul Sartre, C. P. Snow and Mae West all died in 1980?

... that the title of Arthur Miller's 1994 play Broken Glass refers to the pogrom of 1938 euphemistically called "Reichskristallnacht"?

... that an illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations?

... that Helpless is a play by Dusty Hughes set in England before, during, and after the 1997 general elections which resulted in Tony Blair's landslide victory?

... that Christina Goering, one of the title characters of Jane Bowles's 1943 novel Two Serious Ladies, is a wealthy spinster who ends up as a high-class call girl?

... that French novelist Pierre Boulle used his own experiences in the Second World War to write Le pont de la rivière Kwaï (1952)?


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... that English poet W. H. Auden (pictured), who died in 1973, is interred in Kirchstetten, Lower Austria?

... that many works of fiction are set in the London Underground system or use it as a major plot element?

... that "Tarry, Jew: The law hath yet another hold on you" are words spoken by Portia, who is disguised as a judge, and addressed to Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice?

... that Robert Lowell's 1960 poem "For the Union Dead" is about Robert Gould Shaw, the white colonel in command of the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which was defeated by the Confederate Army in the Battle of Fort Wagner (July 18, 1863)?

... that Alan Ayckbourn's plays are usually premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, North Yorkshire?

... that "À une madone" (English translation) is a poem by Charles Baudelaire from his 1857 collection, Les Fleurs du mal?

... that Sally Bowles is an English cabaret singer in 1930s Berlin in Christopher Isherwood's 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlin, and that she was played by Liza Minnelli in the 1972 movie, Cabaret?


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... that Girl with a Pearl Earring (pictured) is a 17th century painting by Jan Vermeer which inspired Tracy Chevalier to write a historical novel of the same name?

... that Warner Baxter, Alan Ladd, Robert Redford, and Toby Stephens have all played Jay Gatsby?

... that Will Warburton is a grocer?

... that Was machen wir jetzt? (2000) and Das blaue Kleid (2002) are novels by German film director Doris Dörrie?

... that ghoti is supposed to be pronounced /fɪʃ/ or /.../ (that is, no sound; silence), and that the coinage of the word is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw?

... that Herman Melville's novella Billy Budd, set aboard the HMS Bellipotent in the year 1797, is the literary basis for Benjamin Britten's opera, Billy Budd?

... that Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road are the three novels which make up Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy?


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... that during the years of his American exile, German novelist Thomas Mann regularly addressed his countrymen via the BBC in a series of anti-Nazi speeches entitled Deutsche Hörer! (Listen, Germany!, pictured)?

... that the Greek island of Patmos (Πάτμος) is most notable for the two visions received by John and its subsequent mention in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament?

... that "One Off the Short List" is a short story by Doris Lessing set in early 1960s London about a womanizer who is prevented from thoroughly enjoying his successful seduction of an attractive work colleague?

... that in Peter Turrini's 1972 play Sauschlachten (Slaughtering the Pig) a handicapped farm hand is brutally killed by the local community?

... that Leo Rosten is the creator of the fictional character of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N as well as the author of The Joys of Yiddish?

... that "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" is the beginning of Mark Antony's famous speech in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar?

... that Matthew Arnold's 1867 poem "Dover Beach" features prominently in Ian McEwan's 2005 novel, Saturday?


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... that the Hen and Chickens Theatre (pictured) in Highbury is a typical London fringe venue?

... that Familien Polonius (1827), Drøm og Virkelighed (1833), and To Tidsaldre (1845) are three novellas by Thomasine Christine Gyllembourg-Ehrensvärd, and that Søren Kierkegaard wrote a review of the latter?

... that Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a 1993 stage play by Steve Martin in which Pablo Picasso meets Albert Einstein?

... that "the lady that's known as Lou" is the woman two men fight over in Robert W. Service's 1907 poem, "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", originally published in The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses?

... that, having gained a great reputation for pulpit eloquence, Abraham a Sancta Clara was appointed imperial court preacher in Vienna in 1669, but that he composed a number of anti-semitic texts, calling the Jews "allesamt ehrvergessene, gottlose, gewissenlose, boshafte, schalkhafte, verruchte und verfluchte Gesellen und Bösewichte, Kotkäfer und Galgenzeiserl, Blutegel und Bluthunde"?

... that actress Rosamund Pike's London stage credits include Hitchcock Blonde by Terry Johnson?

... that in 1970 Derek Raymond published A State of Denmark, a dystopian novel in which England is led by a dictator called Jobling?


... that Pumuckl (pictured) is a kobold from a German radio play series for children, and that he is invisible for the people around him except for the carpenter at whose place he lives?

... that We Need to Talk About Kevin is a 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver about a fictional school massacre?

... that Gunga Din, Helen of Troy, and The Man from Snowy River are just three of the films based on poems?

... that Kenneth Widmerpool is a fictional character in Anthony Powell's sequence of novels, A Dance to the Music of Time, and that he was portrayed by Simon Russell Beale?

... that A New Way to Pay Old Debts and The City Madam are early 17th century plays by Philip Massinger?

... that Radio Yerevan jokes have been very popular in the Soviet Union and in other Communist countries of the ex-Eastern bloc since the second half of the 20th century?

... that Nicholas Mosley, 3rd Baron Ravensdale (born 1923), the eldest son of British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, is a novelist?


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... that in his controversial 1968 speech, Enoch Powell said he seemed "to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood" due to continued immigration to Great Britain, and that the phrase is an allusion to Virgil (pictured) ("Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno")?

... that Xray and Waterloo Sunset are the titles of Ray Davies's two forays into fiction?

... that an urban legend is a kind of modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them?

... that David Shipman is generally considered to be the real-life inspiration for the character of Natty Bumppo in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales?

... that Patricia Hodge has played the leading role in television adaptations of two of Fay Weldon's novels, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and The Cloning of Joanna May?

... that "Bunburying", a term introduced by Oscar Wilde in the play The Importance of Being Earnest, is the art of inventing a friend whose troubles are so compelling that nobody will question the need to visit that friend at short notice, and for any length of time?

... that Frederick Schiller Faust, better known as Max Brand, created the characters of Dr. Kildare and of Western hero, Destry?


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... that Murder in the Cathedral is a poetic drama by T. S. Eliot that portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral (pictured) in 1170?

... that literary historian Ian Ousby called Helen Zahavi's 1991 novel Dirty Weekend "the serial-killer novel to end all serial-killer novels"?

... that Theophrastus (Θεόφραστος), a native of Lesbos (Λέσβος), wrote Χαρακτήρες (The Characters), which consists of brief, vigorous and trenchant delineations of moral types which form the first recorded attempt at systematic character writing?

... that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car is a children's novel written by Ian Fleming for his son Caspar?

... that Pension Schöller is an 1890 German farce by Wilhelm Jacoby and Carl Laufs about a Berlin boarding house mistaken for a lunatic asylum, and that one of the eccentric boarders, a young man who wants to be an actor, has difficulty pronouncing the letter l ("Nacht muß es sein, wo Friednands Sterne strahnen! Wannenstein!")?

... that Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin, the eponymous hero of Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1869 novel Идиот (The Idiot), is an epileptic?

... that Emil Jannings, Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Laurence Fishburne, and Eamonn Walker have all portrayed Shakespeare's Othello in film?


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... that in 1966 American writer and folk singer Richard Fariña died in a motorcycle accident only two days after the publication of his novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (pictured)?

... that "Call the roller of big cigars, / The muscular one, and bid him whip / In kitchen cups concupiscient curds" are the first lines of Wallace Stevens's 1922 poem, "The Emperor of Ice Cream", and that it is about a wake?

... that Ernest J. Gaines grew up as the eldest of twelve children in old slave quarters on a Louisiana plantation, and that he wrote his first novel, Catherine Carmier, at the age of 17 while babysitting his youngest brother?

... that "Exit" is a theatrical term instructing an actor to leave the scene?

... that Scarlett O'Hara, Rhett Butler, and Ashley and Melanie Wilkes are the main characters in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind?

... that books do furnish a room?

... that 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, a revenge tragedy by John Ford set in Italy, is about an incestuous relationship between brother and sister?