TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF LITERARY TRIVIA BY TAKING OUR QUIZ.
Use pencil and paper to record your answers, then compare with the list provided at the bottom of the page.
1. Which of the following reference materials could Shakespeare NOT have had on his library shelves?
a. a thesaurus of classical allusions
b. a world atlas
c. an English dictionary with definitions
d. an alphabetized Latin-English word list
2. Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, borrows its title from a line originally penned by which prominent 17th century author?
a. Robert Herrick
b. John Donne
c. John Milton
d. William Shakespeare
3. In George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, what are the ‘Physical Jerks’?
a. Mass frenzy inspired by the ‘Two Minutes’ Hate’
b. Subject’s reaction to Pavlovian conditioning
c. Winston Smith’s epileptic episodes
d. Daily regimen of calisthenics
4. In Roald Dahl’s children’s classic The Witches, the narrator’s Norwegian grandmother plays a prominent role in helping him grapple with the supernatural. What is her signature vice?
5. William Shakespeare is famous for, among other things, having been the father of twins: a girl and a boy. The son’s name was Hamnet. What was the name of the daughter?
6. Which of the following 20th century novels is NOT considered to be at least partly autobiographical?
a. Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt
b. The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje
c. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
d. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
7. In Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’, which of the following is NOT the name of one of his cast of pilgrims?
a. The Shipman
b. The Apothecary
c. The Reeve
d. The Parson
8. Which of the following is not the first line of a love SONNET?
a. ”How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”
b. ”Since there is no help, come let us kiss and part”
c. ”Let me not to the marriage of true minds”
d. ”Come live with me, and be my love”
9. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is the story of one man’s journey into the dark world of a homicidal megalomaniac. In the 1970s, it was adapted for the big screen in a revised setting. What was the name of the film?
a. The Man Who Would be King
c. Apocalypse Now
d. The Secret Sharer
10. In 2003, Mark Haddon published The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the first-person account of a (presumably autistic) boy who investigates the murder of a neighbour’s poodle. The title is a quote from the work of which of the following mystery authors?
a. Arthur Conan Doyle
b. Ellis Peters
c. Agatha Christie
d. G.K. Chesterton
11. ”It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Of which of the following novels is this the opening line?
a. Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
b. Dune, by Frank Herbert
c. The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov
d. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
12. ’Auld Lang Syne’, the song sung all over the English-speaking world to bring in the New Year, was derived from a poem by Robert Burns. What word is missing here from the chorus?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of _______ yet,
for auld lang syne.
13. In the traditional English carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, which of the following is NOT a well-established variant of the fourth day offering of ‘Calling Birds’?
a. Curley Birds
b. Collar’d Birds
c. Colour’d Birds
d. Colly Birds
14. Which of the following Sherlock Holmes mysteries involves a remarkable Christmas goose “that [laid] an egg after it was dead”?
a. The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
b. The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter
c. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
d. The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone
15. Theodor Geisel published How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in 1957 under the alias of ‘Dr.Seuss’. What was the name of the Grinch’s reluctant accomplice?
16. Which of the following characters from a Victorian novel marries Isabella Linton?
a. Edward Casaubon (Middlemarch)
b. Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)
c. Rawdon Crawley (Vanity Fair)
d. Eugene Wrayburn (Our Mutual Friend)
17. The World According to Garp was originally titled Lunacy and Madness. Who wrote it?
a. Jon Cleary
b. John Updike
c. John Irving
d. John Sawyer
18. Which of the following was the original title for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?
a. First Impressions
b. Netherfield Park
c. Pride and Preconception
d. Five Ladies of Longbourn
19. Which of the following mysteries is destined to remain as such, its author predeceasing its completion?
a. The Head of Caesar, by G.K. Chesterton
b. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens
c. The Black Robe, by Wilkie Collins
d. The Adventure of the Retired Colourman, by A. Conan Doyle
20. The character of R.M. RENFIELD figures prominently in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He is a human zoophagus patient living in a mental institution who is memorable for some frankly disturbing gastronomic proclivities. Which of the following does he especially like to snack on?
21. When Hallowe’en this way comes, so do all things dark and cryptic. These are the qualities embodied by GOTHIC fiction. Which of the following is NOT an example of a novel of this genre?
a. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
b. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo
c. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
d. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
22. In AMC’s promo for the final episodes of the Emmy Award winning TV series, Breaking Bad, protagonist Walter White quotes from ‘Ozymandius’, a poem about the ultimate decline and decay of leaders past. Which of the following Romantic poets penned this poem?
a. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
b. George Gordon Lord Byron
c. Percy Bysshe Shelley
d. Matthew Arnold
23. ”My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” is a quote from William Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet #130′. Which contemporary recording artist quoted this line in one of his compositions?
a. Paul Simon
c. Elvis Costello
24. We often find ourselves drawn to people of like talent and interest. Over the course of history, many prominent poets and novelists have had creative writers for spouses. Which of the following did NOT?
a. Virginia Woolf
b. George Eliot
c. Mary Shelley
d. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
25. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s classic novel about the censorship of books and the ideas they contain, was originally written under a different title. Which of the following was it?
a. The Sieve and the Sand
b. The Fireman
c. 233 Centigrade
d. The Burning Bible
26. URIAH HEEP is the name of an English rock band that achieved broad acclaim in the early 70s. In which of the following novels by Charles Dickens did its ultra obsequious namesake first appear?
a. Great Expectations
b. Bleak House
c. David Copperfield
d. Our Mutual Friend
27. Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel is set during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. It tells the tale of a wealthy baronet who assumes various disguises in order to rescue victims from the guillotine. What is the real name of the title character?
a. Richard Barrimore
b. Guy de Havilland
c. Percy Blakeney
d. Armand St. Just
28. ”They endured.” Which of these early 20th Century novels ends this way?
a. Brighton Rock, by Graham Greene
b. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
c. The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
d. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
29. English novelist E.M. Forster brought us such lustrous classics as A Passage to India, A Room with a View, The Longest Journey and Howard’s End. What do the initials E. and M. stand for?
a. Edgar Milton
b. Edward Moncton
c. Edward Morgan
d. Edgar Mason
30. Which one of the following characters does NOT appear in a Dickens novel?
a. John Raffles
b. Jenny Wren
c. William Guppy
d. Toby Crackit
31. Despite his remarkable eloquence, JOSEPH CONRAD, author of Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim, only learned English as a second language. Which of these was his first?
32. ”For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Elvis Presley borrowed famously from this memorable line in his chart-topping rendition of ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’. Who wrote the original?
a. Alexander Pope
b. Christopher Marlowe
c. William Shakespeare
d. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
33. Which of the following characters is NOT a Tolkien creation?
34. Which of the following detective fiction writers created ‘Inspector Maigret’?
a. Emile Gaboriau
b. Dorothy L. Sayers
c. Georges Simenon
d. Peter Lovesey
35. ”They’re out there.” Which of the following novels begins with these words?
a. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
b. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
c. Something Wicked this Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
d. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
36. When once questioned by US Customs in NY, a famous Irish writer was quoted as replying: “I have nothing to declare except my genius.” What was his name?
a. James Joyce
b. Frank McCourt
c. Joyce Cary
d. Oscar Wilde
37. Which of the following American writers was expelled from the military as a young cadet for reporting to a march wearing nothing but white gloves?
a. Edgar Allan Poe
b. Nathaniel Hawthorne
c. Noah Worcester
d. Mark Twain
38. ”uneasy lies the head that wears a ——— ” (Henry IV; Act I sc.ii) Which of the following completes this line from Shakespeare’s play?
a. troubled mind
c. guilty conscience
39. Which of the following authors had a raven for a pet?
a. Charles Dickens
b. Anne Bronte
c. Edgar Allan Poe
d. Oscar Wilde
40. Which of the following Victorian novelists was a woman writing under a man’s name?
a. William Thackeray
b. George Eliot
c. Wilkie Collins
d. Samuel Butler
41. An ALLEGORY is defined as “a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.”. In George Orwell’s allegorical classic Animal Farm, which of the characters is meant to represent Adolf Hitler?
a. Mr. Frederick
b. Mr. Whymper
c. Mr. Pilkington
d. Mr. Jones
42. In 1980, Irish rock band U2 borrowed a chapter title from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies for the name of a track on its debut album. Which of the following was it?
a. Gift for the Darkness
b. Stories for Boys
c. Shadows and Tall Trees
d. Fire on the Mountain
43. When American actor Mel Gibson took on the leading role of Franco Zefferelli’s 1990 film version of Hamlet, which of the following actors was NOT a member of the supporting cast?
a. Helena Bonham Carter
b. Alan Bates
c. Glenn Close
d. John Mills
44. Twentieth century Canadian novelists have contributed a quality share to the general body of English literature. Which of the following stories was NOT written by a Canadian author?
a. Who Has Seen the Wind?
b. The Handmaid’s Tale
c. The Call of the Wild
d. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
45. Victorian novelist THOMAS HARDY often developed his plots around the theme of the hardships and predicaments of women. In which of the following stories does a man in a drunken stupor sell his wife and daughter for the price of 5 guineas?
a. The Mayor of Casterbridge
b. Tess of the D’Urbervilles
c. Jude the Obscure
d. Far from the Madding Crowd
46. KAHLIL GIBRAN is best known in the English-speaking world for his poetry collection The Prophet. The paintings it features show the strong influence of which of the following English Romantic artist/poets?
a. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
b. William Blake
c. George Gordon, Lord Byron
d. William Wordsworth
47. What was the pen name of children’s author CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODGSON?
a. Edward Lear
b. Lewis Carroll
c. Frances Hodgson Burnett
d. Arnold Lobel
48. Which of the following novels was rejected 20 times and described as “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull” before it was finally published?
a. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
b. Watership Down
c. A Clockwork Orange
d. Lord of the Flies
49. Which of these 18th century poets had three illegitimate daughters named ELIZABETH with three different mothers?
a. Thomas Gray
c. Robert Burns
d. Alexander Pope
50. Perhaps Shakespeare liked the name ‘Portia’ because he created two. One was the tragic, noble wife of Brutus in Julius Caesar. In which play did the other appear?
a. Measure for Measure
b. Antony and Cleopatra
c. The Merchant of Venice
d. Timon of Athens
51. A CAPTAIN FLINT is featured in which of the following adventures?
a. Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
b. Swiss Family Robinson (Johann David Wyss)
c. The Sea Wolf (Jack London)
d. Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
52. Macbeth’s famous soliloquy that begins with the words “she should have died hereafter” (Act V sc.v) has inspired titles for several novels. Which of the following is NOT one of them?
a. Brief Candles
b. Walking Shadow
c. The Sound and the Fury
d. Told by an Idiot
53. Arthur Rackham is perhaps best known for his charming illustration of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Which of the following authors did NOT create his/her own illustrations?
a. John Bellairs
b. Arnold Lobel
c. Beatrix Potter
d. Maurice Sendak
54. In a poem by which of the following 18th century English poets did Thomas Hardy find his title for his novel Far from the Madding Crowd?
a. Thomas Chatterton
b. Thomas Gray
c. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
d. John Keats
55. Which of the following novelists was a man?
a. S.E. Hinton
b. James Triptree, Jr.
c. George Gissing
d. Currer Bell
56. ’Hawkeye’ Pierce, the lead character in the 70′s TV series M*A*S*H, got his nickname from a novel written by which of the following authors?
a. Zane Grey
b. James Fenimore Cooper
c. H. Rider Haggard
d. Mark Twain
57. “A little touch of Harry in the night.” ’HARRY is often used as a nickname for HENRY. To which literary Henry does this quote refer?
a. Henry V (Shakespeare’s Henry V)
b. Henry Rearden (Rand’s Atlas Shrugged)
c. Lord Henry Watton (Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray)
d. Henry DeTamble (Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife)
58. Robert Louis Stevenson is perhaps best known for his gripping account of DR. JEKYLL and MR. HYDE. Which of the following actors never played this dual role in a movie?
a. Spencer Tracy
b. Jack Palance
c. John Malkovich
d. Anthony Hopkins
59. Which of the following novels is a SATIRE on the Gothic Romance genre?
1. Carmilla ~ J. Sheridan Le Fanu
2. Rebecca ~ Daphne du Maurier
3. Northanger Abbey ~ Jane Austen
4. A Sicilian Romance ~ Ann Radcliffe
60. The Gift of the Magi is an enduring story about the spirit of Christmas giving written in 1906 by an author under the peusdonym O.HENRY. What was that author’s real name?
a. Henry James
b. V.S. Pritchett
c. William Sidney Porter
d. Katherine Mansfield
61. Who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction?
a. Edith Wharton
b. Virginia Woolf
c. Charlotte Perkins Gilman
d. Harper Lee
62. Some of the stories we know as timeless classics were actually inspired by the works of other authors. Which of these famous plays is NOT based on an original plot?
a. The Glass Menagerie (Tennessee Williams)
b. The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
c. Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
d. The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
63. Which of the following four teddy bears was created by an American author of children’s stories?
a. Rupert Bear
b. Winnie-the Pooh
d. Paddington Bear
64. In the following lines from Elizabeth Barrett-Browning’s famous sonnet, which is the missing word?
“I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s ________”
65. Anthony Burgess’ A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is set in a near future society where a subculture of extreme youth violence has given rise to a brand new language. Which of the following neologisms does NOT appear in his novella?
66. Which of the following ‘Tom’ titles is a PLAY as opposed to a NOVEL?
a. Tom Swift in Captivity
b. The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great
c. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
d. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
67. Which of the following is NOT the name of a character featured in the Old English epic poem BEOWULF?
68. The 20th Century novelist VIRGINIA WOOLF was known by her second given name. Which of these was her first?
69. The Lebanese poet/artist GIBRAN is renowned in the English-speaking world, especially for his collection The Prophet. How is his first name spelled?
70. Sadly, it is not uncommon for writers to suffer from depression. Which one of these four did NOT resort to suicide?
a. Ernest Hemingway
b. Tennessee Williams
c. Anne Sexton
d. Hunter S.Thompson
71. In the 1989 film DEAD POETS SOCIETY, English teacher John Keating encourages his students to find their own voices, refuting the assertion that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Whom is he quoting?
a. Walt Whitman
b. Alfred Lord Tennyson
c. T.S. Eliot
d. Henry David Thoreau
72. In 1902, Rudyard Kipling published JUST SO STORIES, his ‘pourquoi’ collection of how various animals acquired their singular traits. Which of the following creatures did NOT play a starring role?
73. What worse affliction for an author than not to be able to see the page upon which he writes? Which one of the following J-authors was NOT blind at some point in his life?
a. Jorge Luis Borges
b. James Joyce
c. Jonathan Swift
d. John Milton
74. In 1896, Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson published THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, his chilling novella inspired by his fascination with the workings of ‘split personality’. From whose point of view is the story told?
a. Richard Enfield
b. Henry Jekyll
c. Gabriel John Utterson
d. Hastie Lanyon
75. Shakespeare’s grisly tragedy MACBETH teems with images of the supernatural. When Macbeth appeals to HECATE, the goddess of witchcraft, to advise him of his fate, she summons three apparitions to speak to him in riddle. What form does the second apparition take?
a. a bloody child
b. an armed head
c. a king with a bloody dagger
d. a croaking raven
76. On Nov.11, REMEMBRANCE DAY is observed throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, while VETERANS DAY takes place in the US. The simple, yet unforgettable, poem In Flanders Fields was written in 1915 by a physician and soldier for a friend who lost his life in the 2nd Battle of Ypres. What was this author’s nationality?
77. Santa’s eight reindeer were doubtless inspired by a prominent figure of Norse mythology who, during the winter solstice, led a gift-giving mission through the night sky on his eight-footed steed. What was the name of this pagan god?
78. In Agatha Christie’s 1938 novel ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’, an irascible old multi-millionaire named SIMEON LEE steps out of character to invite his family to gather at his home for the holidays, only to be discovered with his throat slit on Christmas eve. Which of the following is NOT the name of one of his four legitimate sons?
c. They lacked punctuation.
d. They combined short words into long ones.
b. A Room with a View (E.M.Forster)
c. Indian Summer (William Dean Howells)
d. The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James)
86. For more than a hundred years, countless stars of stage and screen have challenged themselves with the role of Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliantly quirky Sherlock Holmes. Which one of the following has NOT acted on TV or in a movie as his trusty sidekick, DR. WATSON?
a. James Mason
b. Colin Firth
c. David Burke
d. Martin Freeman
87. Author of 15 novels and father of 10 children, CHARLES DICKENS was a busy man! Which of the following character names did he also give to one of his daughters?
88. The famed Irish author OSCAR WILDE was aptly-named. Which one of the following four facts is NOT attributable to the colourful story of his life?
a. The wife of Bram Stoker was his childhood sweetheart.
b. He wrote ‘The Happy Prince’ when he was just 18.
c. He served 2 years hard labour for gross indecency
d. He had a passion for blue china.
89. Three of the following literary works were completed from the confines of a prison cell. Which ONE of them was NOT?
a. The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan)
b. The Enormous Room (E.E. Cummings)
c. The Consolation of Philosophy (Boethius)
d. The Age of Anxiety (W.H. Auden)
90. Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem JABBERWOCKY (which appeared in both ‘Through the Looking Glass’ and its sequel) is riddled with vocabulary of the author’s own inspiration.Three of the following coinages were used as adjectives. Which ONE of them was used as a VERB?
91. Edgar Allan Poe’s THE RAVEN is a poem rife with poetic devices. Which of the following g-words correctly completes this famous line of alliteration: “What this grim, ungainly, ________, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore.”
92. The second edition of Mary Shelley’s timeless Gothic thriller FRANKENSTEIN (aka.’The Modern Prometheus’) was published under her name in 1823. The first edition, published in 1818, was attributed to whom of the following?
a. Myron Shelley
b. William Thorpe
d. Sir Henry Clerval
93. Which of the following authors held on to her husband’s heart (literally) for thirty years after he’d shuffled off this mortal coil.
a. Elizabeth Barrett-Browning
b. George Eliot
c. Mary Shelley
d. Elizabeth Gaskell
94. During the Elizabethan era, theatres would raise a coloured flag to tell the public what type of play was being performed that day. White was for comedy and black was for tragedy. Which of the following signalled history?
95. Which one of the following literary works is a story about a woman written by a woman?
b. Samuel Beckett
c. W.B. Yeats
d. Dylan Thomas
CHECK YOUR ANSWERS HERE:
1.c 2.b 3.d 4.c 5.c 6.b 7.b 8.d 9.c 10.a 11.a 12.c 13.b 14.c 15.d 16.b 17.c 18.a 19.b 20.a 21.c 22.c 23.b 24.b 25.b 26.c 27.c 28.c 29.c 30.a 31.b 32.a 33.c 34.c 35.d 36.d 37.a 38.b 39.a 40.b 41.a 42.c. 43.d 44.c. 45.a. 46.b 47.b 48.d 49.c 50.c 51.d 52.b 53.a 54.b 55.c 56.b 57.a 58.d 59.c 60.c 61.a 62. c 63.c 64.d 65. b 66.b 67.c 68.c 69.a/d 70.b 71.d 72.c 73.c 74.c 75.a 76.c 77.c 78.a 79.b 80.d 81.b 82.a 83.a 84.a 85.d 86.b 87.c 88.b 89.d 90.c 91.d 92.c 93.c 94.a 95.b 96.b 97.c 98.d 99.d 100.a