Category Archives: Literature

A Curious Form Of Poetry: Univocalic Poems

Regular readers of Learn Fun Facts may already be familiar with lipograms. In today’s post, I’ll talk about another form of lipogrammatic constrained writing called univocalic. French author Georges Perec published a 300-page lipogrammatic novel La disparition in 1969. The entire … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Literature, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

To Be Or The Contrary?: Shakespeare For Bureacrats

Arthur Quiller-Couch Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944) was a critic of jargons and the overuse of circumlocutions. His essays on jargons are some of the best on the subject. The following is Quiller-Couch’s version of a famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet from his book On … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Literature | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Don Quixote Mistook A Flock Of Sheep For An Army (With Some Parallels)

In Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote Book 1 (1605), Don Quixote mistook a flock of sheep for an army: “Senor, devil take it if there’s a sign of any man you talk of, knight or giant, in the whole thing; maybe it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Literature | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Gleanings From The Past #18

Little Henry At length, the moon arose in great splendour, and little Henry saw at a distance an old abbey, all covered with ivy, and looking so dark and dismal, it would frighten any one from going in. But Henry’s … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword: Its Origin And Other Similar Ideas

From the first edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Note how suggestively close the words “pen” and “is” are. Perhaps, this was the idea of either Twain or his illustrator, True Williams. We often hear or … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Quotations | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Mark Twain’s Diary

“Monday — Got up, washed, went to bed. “Tuesday — Got up, washed, went to bed. “Wednesday — Got up, washed, went to bed. “Thursday — Got up, washed, went to bed. “Friday — Got up, washed, went to bed. … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

Naming Book Titles After Just Hearing The First Lines

A few years ago, I met someone who said that he would be able to know the title of a popular book by only reading the first line or two of the book to him. I decided to test his … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Oddities, Puzzles | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments