5 More Bookish Misconceptions (Part Two)

Five more fun and surprising facts you might not have known about literature!

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There is only one version of King Arthur and one of Robin Hood.

Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur (1485) is one of the most famous versions of King Arthur, but stories about the character existed in English and folklore long before Malory came along.  Plus other authors such as Geoffrey of Monmouth and Chrétien de Troyes added their own tales to the legend.

Likewise, there is no single, definitive source for the Robin Hood legends.  There are early ballads from the late 15th century or early 16th century, but not all the familiar characters such as Maid Marian appeared at that time.  Other alternations such as Robin’s support of King Richard and his status as a nobleman would also come later.

C. S. Lewis was only a children’s author.

C. S.  Lewis did more than write the Chronicles of Narnia.  He was a medievalist who write literary criticism.  He was a poet.  He was an apologist who explored Christianity in such works as Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and The Problem of Pain.  He also wrote adult fiction including his Space Trilogy, Till We Have Faces, and The Screwtape Letters.

Les Misérables is set during the French Revolution.

Victor Hugo’s novel actually describes the Paris Uprising of 1832, a response to the July Revolution (1830), which placed Louis Phillipe on the throne.  The story begins in 1815, some years after the French Revolution (1789-1799).

In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is just a giant eye.

The book does describe the eye of Sauron being drawn to certain places, though it’s unclear if he can actually manifest as a giant eye or if these descriptions are simply referring to Sauron’s “all-seeing” gaze.  However, we can assume that he does at least have a physical body (which would aid him in wearing the One Ring!).  Gollum describes seeing the Dark Lord’s hand missing one finger.

There is One set list of the Canon.

The canon is the body of works generally considered to influential in shaping Western literature.  Two of the more famous lists are the 1909 Harvard Classics and Harold Bloom’s 1994 The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. However, there is no single version of the canon accepted and agreed upon by everyone.  Indeed, the canon has become increasingly contentious over the years as people advocate adding authors, creating separate canons (such as a women’s canon), or dropping the idea of the canon altogether.  Here you can read more about the difference between classics and the canon.

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Other Posts in the Series

40 thoughts on “5 More Bookish Misconceptions (Part Two)

    • mphadventuregirl says:

      I agree. It can be annoying when people say Les Misérables takes place during the French Revolution because it actually takes place during the June Rebellion of 1832

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        • mphadventuregirl says:

          But the years do not match. 1789-1799. The uprising is 1832. Plus the French Revolution was successful and the June Rebellion was not. I only know its the June Rebellion due to researching Les Mis.

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          • Krysta says:

            I don’t think most Americans know enough about the French Revolution to name the actual years, though. Most can’t name the years of the American Revolution or the Civil War. I think you’re right that someone would have to research Les Mis to really put it all together and get the full timeline!

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    • Krysta says:

      I definitely used to think it was set during the French Revolution because I knew nothing about the book–only what people told me. And people always tell me it’s set during the Revolution! It’s a misconception that spreads pretty easily!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Holly says:

    Love this post! The one about Sauron being just an eye is hilarious 🙂 I first read LoTR when I was about 10 and definitely thought that he was just a floating eye, thanks to the movies!

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, maybe we should blame Peter Jackson for this misconception! I appreciate that he had to find a way to visualize Sauron’s scary all-seeing gaze and make it a real and present threat. However, maybe the decision backfired in an unexpected way? 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ofmariaantonia says:

    I love C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. And it IS funny how he is often pigeon-holed as being a writer for children. He was such a prolific writer and really only 7 of his books are for kids.

    I especially love The Screwtape Letters and Till We Have Faces. Now I need to re-read the Space Trilogy. It’s been awhile.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, when I tell people I’m reading C. S. Lewis, they immediately get confused because they think he only wrote the Narnia series. It’s odd because his other works are actually still very popular today. He isn’t like some authors who only have one major work still around!

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    • Krysta says:

      Oh no!! At least you had a chance to introduce the wonderful thing that is C. S. Lewis to them! 😀

      Yeah, I think we see fighting in France and associate it with the only bit of French history many of us know!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ikram Reads says:

    I used to think Les Mis was set during the French Revolution as well until I took Euro History last year. I didn’t know C.S. Lewis wasn’t just a children authors, that’s so cool!! 🙂

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    • Krysta says:

      I thought Les Mis was set during the French Revolution, too, because that’s what everyone told me! I don’t think I found out the actual setting until I looked it up one day!

      And I didn’t know about Lewis’s other works for a long time. When I was growing up, I just read Narnia. I found his other works when I was older!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Andie says:

    Oh my god, I can’t mention how many times I get annoyed when people throw in the “Sauron is just an evil Eye” line- it’s even mentioned in the movies that that’s not true!! Holy hell, honestly now…
    Great post haha ❤

    Like

  5. winged says:

    As a Les Mis fan that misconception irks me so much …especially since the characters in the book actually discuss the French Revolution! But it’s easy for Americans (particularly who just know the musical) to forget France had a LOT of revolutions and rebellions…

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  6. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Such a great post! I always thought the first two were common knowledge- but maybe that’s just me being English? (or oblivious- whichever works 😉 ) I only found out the Lewis wrote other things recently- I mean it makes total sense because I knew he was a professor- but I’m a total dingbat 😉 I did know that about Les Mis, because I happened to do that time period of French history (1815-1871)- my history teacher took us to see the musical because it’s tangentially linked (and she loved it 😉 ) hehe the canon misconception takes me back to uni 😉

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    • Krysta says:

      I’ve met quite a few people who only know Lewis wrote the Narnia books. For awhile I thought maybe they just weren’t in circles that read Christian apologetics, but I also knows tons of L. M. Montgomery fans who only know about her Anne books, so I’m not really sure what’s going on. When I read a book by an author I like, I usually go online to see what else they wrote and whether I can get a copy at the library. But apparently not everyone researches like this.

      Then again, I’m sure there are tons of authors I don’t know much about. I still need to get reading more of George Eliot’s works for example. I’m not sure I could name them all….

      Ah! Why didn’t I have a cool teacher who took us to see Les Mis?! I’m so disappointed now! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • theorangutanlibrarian says:

        hehe well I think it’s just that we tend to just focus on the most famous books by an author- I remember reading Two on a Tower by Hardy and my mum being totally shocked that it existed, despite being a lifelong Hardy fan 😉 And when an author has a really large body of work, it’s hard to keep track of all of the books.

        Oh I definitely couldn’t! I’ve read shamefully few Eliot books.

        hahaha she was also a slave driver, so it was a nice change 😉

        Like

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