Why is there no ‘e’ in Gadsby?

Gadsby is a 50,000-word novel written without words containing the letter "e". Written by Ernest Vincent Wright in 1939, it is a lipogram or a novel written without using a letter or letters. Gadsby tells the story of a fictional city called Branton Hills, which is revitalized due to the efforts of its new mayor, John Gadsby, and a group of young people. Turned down by publishers, Wright self-published his work, but a warehouse fire destroyed many copies, which increased the value of the original copies, priced at $4,000 7,000 by book dealers. The book is a favourite of fans of "constrained writing" and is a sought-after rarity among book collectors.

Inspired by Wright, Georges Perec decided to write his own novel without the letter "E"—in his first language, French. Published in 1969, it was called La Disparition and was later, incredibly, translated into English in 1994 by Gilbert Adair, who renamed it A Void (as the direct translation would have been The Disappearance which, you might have noticed, contains three examples of the letter in question).

La Disparation has since been translated into many languages in the same lipogrammatic form, including German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, Turkish, Romanian, and even Japanese. You have to wonder who had the harder job here: the author of the original novel, or the writers who managed to stick to the rules when they translated it.

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Which popular Disney movie, featuring a magical nanny, was originally a novel written by P.L Travers?

Mary Poppins, the first novel in a series of children’s books written by P.L. Travers, published in 1934. The titular character is a sensible English nanny with magical powers, and the work uses mythological allusion and biting social critique to explore the fraught relationship between children and adults.

Travers first introduced Poppins in a 1926 short story and later expanded the character’s adventures into a novel. Travers claimed that she did not write specifically for children and was said to be unhappy with the decision to market the book to younger readers. However, children were enthralled by Poppins’s playful warping of reality and anarchic dismissal of unnecessary rules. The novel’s absurdity also appealed to adult readers, as did Travers’s sly mocking of the way the British middle classes raised their children. Travers wrote seven more books about Mary Poppins, the last one appearing in 1988.

While the 1934 work remains a children’s classic, it is perhaps partly overshadowed by Disney’s 1964 film adaptation, an immensely successful musical that featured Julie Andrews in her Academy Award-winning screen debut. Travers frequently expressed her dislike of the Disney version, especially its saccharine depiction of Poppins. The movie Saving Mr. Banks (2013) highlights Travers’s contentious relationship with Walt Disney during the making of the 1964 film.

Credit : Britannica

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What kind of whale is Moby Dick?

Moby Dick is a sperm whale who is the main antagonist in Herman Melville's 1851 novel of the same name. Melville based the whale partially on a real albino whale of that period called Mocha Dick.

The young Melville was famously inspired by the story of George Pollard, the former captain of the whaler Essex. While on a two-year whaling expedition crisscrossing the Pacific, the Essex was rammed by a sperm whale. Quickly abandoning ship and thousands of miles from land, Pollard and his crew escaped in leaky lifeboats to begin a horrific ordeal resulting in sickness, starvation, and cannibalism. One of the few to survive, Pollard was given a second chance at captaining another whaler, the Two Brothers. But after 18 months in the Pacific, Pollard ran the Two Brothers aground, sinking the ship in what is now the Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument.

The name of the whale was also inspired by real-life events. In 1839, Melville read a story in a magazine about an albino sperm whale famed for its deadly attacks on whaling ships trying to hunt it down. This whale, killed off the coast of Chile near Mocha Island, was called Mocha Dick.

Credit : National Ocean Service

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On which fictional farm is Anne sent to live with the kind Marilla and Matthew?

Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery (published as L.M. Montgomery). Written for all ages, it has been considered a classic children's novel since the mid-twentieth century.

Anne Shirley, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia (based upon the real community of New London, Prince Edward Island), is sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, unmarried siblings in their fifties and sixties, after a childhood spent in strangers' homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew had originally decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm at Green Gables, which is set in the fictional town of Avonlea (based on Cavendish, Prince Edward Island). Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne instead.

The book has been adapted as films, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. Musicals and plays have also been created, with productions annually in Europe and Japan.

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Which historical novel by Charles Dickens is set in two cities around the French Revolution?

A Tale of Two Cities, novel by Charles Dickens, published both serially and in book form in 1859. The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Although Dickens borrowed from Thomas Carlyle’s history, The French Revolution, for his sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris, the novel offers more drama than accuracy. The scenes of large-scale mob violence are especially vivid, if superficial in historical understanding.

While performing in The Frozen Deep, Dickens was given a play to read called The Dead Heart by Watts Phillips which had the historical setting, the basic storyline, and the climax that Dickens used in A Tale of Two Cities. The play was produced while A Tale of Two Cities was being serialised in All the Year Round and led to talk of plagiarism.

Other sources are The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle (especially important for the novel's rhetoric and symbolism); Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton; The Castle Spector by Matthew Lewis; Travels in France by Arthur Young; and Tableau de Paris by Louis-Sébastien Mercier. Dickens also used material from an account of imprisonment during the Terror by Beaumarchais, and records of the trial of a French spy published in The Annual Register.

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Packed with extraordinary creatures such as hobbits, dwarves and elves, which series of books by J.R.R. Tolkien take place in which imaginary world?

The Hobbit, fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, published in 1937. The novel introduced Tolkien’s richly imagined world of Middle Earth in its Third Age and served as a prologue to his The Lord of the Rings.

The origins of the name and idea of "hobbits" have been debated; literary antecedents include Sinclair Lewis's 1922 novel Babbitt, and Edward Wyke Smith's 1927 The Marvellous Land of Snergs. There is a disputed connection with old names for ghostly creatures, which include boggles, hobbits, and hobgoblins. Some scholars have noted correspondences with rabbits, but Tolkien emphatically rejected a relationship with rabbits, and emphasized hobbits' humanity.

Halflings appear as a race in Dungeons & Dragons, the original name hobbits being later avoided for legal reasons. The usage has been taken up by fantasy authors including Terry Brooks, Jack Vance, and Clifford D. Simak.

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