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1:42 AM
think its time i join literature stack exchange...
2 hours later…
2 hours later…
4:58 AM
Q: What does "a sort of Hercules in strength and weakness" mean?

Yosef ZaghiIt says in Great Expectations, Joe was a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face, and with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they seemed to have somehow got mixed with their own whites. He was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fello...

3 hours later…
7:34 AM
@bobble Congrats!
Whoa, a bunch of people are Pundits now. For four years it was just me, and I was surprised that that badge was so hard to get.
7:46 AM
@Tsundoku I voted on your poll. I won't post a separate answer as that might mess up the poll, but I have previously written my reasoning about this on two other sites, and in my opinion the points are largely applicable here as well:
Q: Who cares which answer the questioner thinks is the best?

AlexThe way answers are ranked across the Stack Exchange Network is that an accepted answer appears first, followed by the other answers in decreasing order of votes. If there is no accepted answer then the answers are listed solely by votes. I would like to argue that while this might make sense fo...

A: Should the correctness/quality of the accepted answer be a factor in choosing which of two duplicate questions to close?

AlexThe accepted answer feature comes from Stack Overflow, where it serves a useful purpose. By accepting an answer, the questioner confirms that the answer solved the original problem. This makes sense when the questioner has a programming problem - if implementing the answer allowed the program to ...

2 hours later…
Would literature want "Earliest reference to a government approved thieves guild? " I was thinking it was SFF but some of my research indicates it's not really science fiction or fantasy based.
I feel like that's more a History question.
@Mithical I assumed, if I was asking here it would be a given that I meant in a book, but I may be assuming too much?
A thieves' guild is a concept in fantasy fiction consisting of a formal association of criminals who participate in theft-related organized crime. Examples appear in the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story "Thieves' House" by Fritz Leiber, and role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Though these more modern works are fictitious, there are real world examples as well, such as Jonathan Wild and his gang of thieves. == Literary antecedents == Some stories of One Thousand and One Nights celebrated artful thieves and criminal brotherhoods with a hierarchy and code of honor. The Sandalwood Merchant...
That implies it goes back to 1001 nights
10:24 AM
@AncientSwordRage I mean, if it's a real-world thing as well, you'd be pointed to History.SE. If you're asking a [history-of] question, then naturally it'd be on-topic :)
@Mithical yeah that sort of thing
10:52 AM
The Wikipedia article mentions Cervantes' "Rinconete y Cortadillo" (1613), which you can read in Mariano Lorente's English translation.
The bit about the thieves' organization of Seville starts on page 76: "If [thieves] do not pay [duty], at least they register themselves with Señor Montipodio who is their father, their teacher, and their protector; and, therefore, I advise you to come with me and to pay him obeisance and, unless you do that, do not dare to steal without his sanction, or it will cost you dear."
@GarethRees that's good knowledge
@AncientSwordRage Hmm, feels a bit like falling between two stools. If it didn't come from the real world originally, then surely it's a "worldbuilding" enough concept that its first appearance in fiction would be some sort of speculative fiction, like fantasy or alt-hist? Somehow I find it hard to imagine that its first appearance was neither in the real world nor in fantasy but in a fictionalised non-speculative version of the real world.
But then I'm talking out of my behind here, while Gareth has some actual knowledge :-)
11:15 AM
@Randal'Thor the issue is all idea come from the real world in some way or another 🤷🏻‍♂️
"What was the first story where astronauts find humans on another planet?"
11:30 AM
A much older version of the "thieves' guild" appears in Diodorus of Sicily (1st century BCE), Biblioteca historica I.80
"The Egyptian law dealing with thieves was also a very peculiar one. For it bade any who chose to follow this occupation to enter their names with the Chief of the Thieves and by agreement to bring to him immediately the stolen articles, while any who had been robbed filed with him in like manner a list of all the missing articles, stating the place, the day, and the hour of the loss."
@AncientSwordRage If worded as "Earliest reference in fiction to a government-approved thieves guild?", it should be perfectly fine here.
@GarethRees Reminds me of a comment I read recently that piracy was a perfectly acceptable occupation in Antiquity. (Or something to that extent.)
Ah, now I remember, it was in a book about Homer.
11:49 AM
@Tsundoku that makes sense
12:01 PM
Consider it asked
12:17 PM
Q: What is the earliest reference in fiction to a government-approved thieves guild?

PureferretI remember reading about the Thieves's guild in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, and I remember think they seemed... Novel? Especially as it was government-approved. One of the remarkable innovations introduced by the Patrician was to make the Thieves’ Guild responsible for theft, with annual...

12:41 PM
Q: What does "keep up to the mark" mean in this letter from Darwin to Hooker?

Ahmed SamirIn Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, volume 2, Darwin was writing a letter to his friend about finishing the revision of his own book: Congratulate me, for I have finished the last revise of the last sheet of my book. It has been an awful job: seven and a half months correcting the press: the ...

1:02 PM
@Tsundoku "People think of pirates as being all smiley, but nowadays they're all Somali."
(That's a Milton Jones line, I didn't come up with it myself.)
1 hour later…
2:11 PM
@Bookworm A sort of hot, in network questions.
Q: Why was 50 considered old in Premchand's day?

EJoshuaS - Reinstate MonicaThe main character of the Catastrophe short story (in the collection Short Stories by Munshi Premchand) was descried as "an old, childless widow" who "didn't own either a scrap of land or a house to live in." However, it's later stated that "She had spent her fifty miserable years in this village...

Q: Why was Bhungi poor in spite of having an apparently thriving business?

EJoshuaS - Reinstate MonicaIn Catastrophe by Munshi Premchand, a woman owned a parching oven. Apparently, business was quite good: "The village folk have one meal a day of parched grain, so there was always a crowd around Bhungi's oven." However, it also says that "she didn't own either a scrap of land or a house to live i...

Q: What did it mean for Pandit Udaybhan Pandey to own the entire village?

EJoshuaS - Reinstate MonicaIn Catastrophe by Munshi Pramshand, the main character (a woman named Bhungi) "lived in Pandit's village... [who] had the full authority to make her do any sort of odd job." He was described as the "owner of the village" for whom "she was obliged to work without pay" whenever he wanted her to. Wh...


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