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Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about literature?

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Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about literature?

More than a hit game show, “Jeopardy!” endures as a perennial cornerstone of what might one day soon become a bygone era. Over 26 years and more than 8,000 episodes, host Alex Trebek and a rotating panel of three contestants have provided a certain tier of predictable comfort for millions of viewers around the country. Even those who don’t watch the show regularly can take refuge in the fact that it will be there (more or less) every weekday night.

It was then understandably shocking when Trebek announced he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019. Just a few months later, contestant James Holzhauer kicked off a legendary winning streak. As if viewers had been taking the show for granted, “Jeopardy!” was suddenly back in the proverbial spotlight with a ratings boost to boot. One can safely assume that a fair amount of viewers were shouting answers (or questions, rather) to their TV screens at home. It is a tradition, after all.

In January of 2020, Trebek told the press that he has no plans to retire “in the near future.” Should he ever decide to retire, it will mark the end of a veritable institution and one that will be difficult to replace. Meanwhile, the experience of playing at home lives on and will continue to do so even after the show has run its course.

To keep the tradition alive, Stacker scoured all the questions memorialized in the J! Archive, last updated February 2020, to compile the following list of 25 "Jeopardy!" clues about literature. Expect to find well-known names such as James Joyce and Charles Dickens, along with some of literature’s most iconic characters and locations.

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Clue #1

- Clue: Or, “The Parish Boy's Progress," which included picking a pocket or two.
- Category: LITERATURE: THE SUBTITLE
- Value: $1,200
- Date episode aired: Jan. 20, 2020

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British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Answer #1: What is ‘Oliver Twist’?

Charles Dickens’ second novel was first published in serialized form, appearing in semi-regular installments over the course of two years. Its lesser-known subtitle makes reference to John Bunyan’s 1678 novel “The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come,” as well as 18th-century works by William Hogarth. Numerous adaptations of “Oliver Twist” have appeared on stage and screen.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #2

- Clue: In this Steinbeck work, George kills his friend Lennie to spare him from a lynch mob.
- Category: LITERATURE
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Dec. 23, 2019

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MGM Studios // Getty Images

Answer #2: What is ‘Of Mice and Men’?

John Steinbeck’s harrowing novella centers on two migrant workers, one of whom has a learning disability. Set during the Great Depression, the story grapples with themes of loneliness and despair. A fixture in school classrooms, the frank use of racist language in “Of Mice and Men” occasionally draws scrutiny from concerned parents and educators.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #3

- Clue: This book with a lamb-free title marked the first appearance of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
- Category: POPULAR LITERATURE
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: Jan. 23, 2019

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Universal Pictures

Answer #3: What is ‘Red Dragon’?

Lecter was more of a supporting character in Thomas Harris’ 1981 crime thriller, which follows FBI profiler Will Graham on his hunt for a serial killer. A big-screen adaptation called “Manhunter” similarly featured brief appearances from Lecter, as portrayed by actor Brian Cox. Anthony Hopkins later immortalized the character in the 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs,” which was based on Harris’ follow-up novel.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #4

- Clue: 1949's "The Kingdom of This World," an early work in this style blending naturalism and fantasy, includes a manifesto of it.
- Category: LITERATURE IN SPANISH
- Value: $1,200
- Date episode aired: May 9, 2018

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Elena Schweitzer // Shutterstock

Answer #4: What is magical realism?

Telling the story of the Haitian Revolution from multiple perspectives, “The Kingdom of This World” introduces themes of voodoo and magic rituals. In the preface, Cuban author Alejo Carpentier refers to his distinct style as “the marvelous real.” It helped lay the groundwork for the magic realism genre and iconic novels such as “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #5

- Clue: In St. Petersburg, it's not far from Raskolnikov's murder spree in this book to the bridge where he considers suicide.
- Category: LITERATURE ON THE MAP
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: April 24, 2018

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Vasily Perov // Wikimedia Commons

Answer #5: What is ‘Crime and Punishment’?

Famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote this epochal novel following his return from 10 years in exile, forced labor, and military service. The story first appeared in serialized form and features a former law student named Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, who tries to emulate powerful historical figures by performing a vicious murder. Even as he evades the law, Raskolnikov receives punishment in the form of guilt and desperation.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #6

- Clue: In 1972, this author created the Kinte foundation.
- Category: AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: March 16, 2018

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Bettmann // Getty Images

Answer #6: Who is Alex Haley?

Author Alex Haley remains best known for the 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” which was quickly adapted into an award-winning miniseries. Based on family history as well as research, it tells the story of rebellious slave Kunta Kinte. The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation is “dedicated to fostering the exploration, rediscovery, and preservation of African American history, culture, archaeology, and genealogy.”

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #7

- Clue: Thomas Bracken and Janet Frame are two authors from Dunedin in this country who bring that city to the forefront.
- Category: UNESCO CITIES OF LITERATURE
- Value: $2,000
- Date episode aired: Dec. 5, 2017

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Sorang // Shutterstock

Answer #7: What is New Zealand?

They might have worked in the same city, but writers Janet Frame and Thomas Bracken bore little in common. Persistently troubled by mental illness, Frame frequently channeled her lifelong struggles while exploring “homelessness of self” in her work. By contrast, 19th-century poet and author Bracken was far more preoccupied with political and historical events.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #8

- Clue: Won in 2015 by Svetlana Alexievich, it's handed out annually by the Swedish Academy.
- Category: AWARDS FOR WRITING
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Sept. 14, 2016

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Pascal Le Segretain // Getty Images

Answer #8: What is the Nobel Prize in Literature?

A creator of “documentary novels” about the Soviet Union, author Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." One of her best-known works is an oral history of the Chernobyl disaster called “Voices from Chernobyl.” Alexievich is one of 116 Nobel Laureates to win the prize (52 of whom are women), which has been awarded 112 times between 1901 and 2019.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #9

- Clue: It's the story of a weaving apparatus equipped with a pleasant panorama.
- Category: PUNNY CLASSIC LITERATURE TITLES
- Value: $1,200
- Date episode aired: July 17, 2015

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Goldcrest Films International

Answer #9: What is a loom with a view?

“Jeopardy!” brought out the big puns for this literate-minded clue, which draws upon E.M. Forster’s classic 1908 novel “A Room With a View.” Divided between Italy and England, the story finds a middle-class Victorian woman breaking free from tradition.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #10

- Clue: Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels include "A Legend of Montrose" and one about this alliterative Scottish outlaw.
- Category: LITERATURE OF THE EARLY 1800s
- Value: $1,200
- Date episode aired: July 2, 2015

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United Artists

Answer #10: Who is Rob Roy?

The title “Rob Roy” will certainly ring some bells among Liam Neeson fans, but his 1995 film of the same name is not directly based on this book by Sir Walter Scott. Both stories feature Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor but take very different approaches. The film tells MacGregor’s life story while the novel presents him in a supporting capacity.

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Clue #11

- Clue: This Tolstoy tome centers on the 1812 invasion of Russia and the ensuing Russian resistance.
- Category: LITERATURE
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: June 13, 2014

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Robert Alexander // Getty Images

Answer #11: What is ‘War & Peace’?

Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece was originally envisioned as a trilogy that would largely center on the attempted overthrow of Tsar Nicholas I. When writing about the lives of soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars, Tolstoy shifted the focus toward that time period to create one of history’s most legendary tomes. Its first installments appeared in the journal Russian Messenger under the working title of “The Year 1805.”

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Clue #12

- Clue: Inspiring the film "Rescue Dawn" was Dieter Dengler's "Escape From" this Indochinese nation.
- Category: WORLD LITERATURE
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: May 14, 2014

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Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

Answer #12: What is Laos?

Navy aviator Dieter Dengler was one of just two POWs to escape from a Pathet Lao prison camp in Laos during the Vietnam War. His subsequent memoir was the inspiration for two separate films by director Werner Herzog. The first was a documentary called "Little Dieter Needs to Fly” and it features reenactments by Dengler himself.

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Clue #13

- Clue: Criticism of this gloomy novel and its loser title hero put Thomas Hardy off writing novels forever.
- Category: ENGLISH LITERATURE
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: April 9, 2014

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Answer #13: What is ‘Jude the Obscure’?

Leveling its own harsh criticisms against Victorian-era England, Hardy’s last completed novel was rumored to consist of autobiographical elements. It wasn’t just maligned by certain critics, but allegedly burned by the Bishop of Wakefield. While Hardy never completed another novel, he continued to write and publish poetry.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #14

- Clue: "The Boarding House" and "The Sisters" are two of the 15 stories appearing in this 1914 James Joyce collection.
- Category: IRISH LITERATURE
- Value: $2,800
- Date episode aired: Oct. 9, 2013

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Chris Young - PA Images // Getty Images

Answer #14: What is ‘Dubliners’?

Depicting middle-class life in early 20th-century Ireland, “Dubliners” was the first book published by legendary author James Joyce. Beyond the purposefully mundane veneer of its 15 short stories were cleverly concealed revelations, also known as epiphanies. It concludes with the famous short story “The Dead,” which became the inspiration for director John Huston’s final film.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #15

- Clue: "Well, my dear, take heart. Some day, I will kiss you and you will like it. But not now," he said in "Gone with the Wind."
- Category: ROMANCE IN LITERATURE
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: June 3, 2013

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Answer #15: Who is Rhett Butler?

Before it was the highest-grossing film of all time (when adjusted for inflation), “Gone with the Wind” was a wildly popular novel by Margaret Mitchell. First published in 1936, it was the top American fiction best-seller for two years in a row. In both the book and the film, Rhett Butler’s final words are a variation of the line, “My dear, I don’t give a damn.”

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Clue #16

- Clue: "The Road to En-Dor" (during WWI) and "Midnight Express" (later) are accounts of escaping a prison in this country.
- Category: ESCAPIST LITERATURE
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Oct. 18, 2012

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Barbara Alper // Getty Images

Answer #16: What is Turkey?

To get out of prison, author E.H. Jones and fellow inmate C.W. Hill convinced the guards that they were both clinically insane. Decades later, prisoner Billy Hayes escaped by way of rowboat at night. Hayes’ experience laid the groundwork for his acclaimed autobiography and an award-winning film of the same name.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #17

- Clue: This 1929 Thomas Wolfe novel is subtitled "A Story of the Buried Life."
- Category: AMERICAN LITERATURE
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: Feb. 9, 2010

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Robert Alexander // Getty Images

Answer #17: What is ‘Look Homeward, Angel’?

Thomas Wolfe’s (not to be confused with Tom Wolfe) debut novel is considered to be largely autobiographical, following young Eugene Grant as he comes of age in North Carolina. The author completed four long novels before passing away from tuberculosis at 37 years old. Held in high regard by his peers, Wolfe’s work later inspired authors such as Jack Kerouac.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #18

- Clue: Peter Ustinov directed and starred in the film version of the Yasar Kemal novel "Memed, My" this predatory bird.
- Category: TURKISH LITERATURE
- Value: $1,600
- Date episode aired: Feb. 13, 2009

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Selin Alemdar // Getty Images

Answer #18: What is ‘Hawk’?

The first novel by Kurdish writer Yaşar Kemal, “Memed, My Hawk,” kicked off the "İnce Memed" tetralogy. Each book in the series chronicles the life of Memed, who escapes from his small village and later returns as a Robin Hood-like folk hero. Rife with Marxist overtones, Memed’s first two novels were once reportedly seized by the Turkish government.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #19

- Clue: This central character of "The Three Musketeers" was a real person; much of the material is drawn from his memoirs.
- Category: FRENCH LITERATURE
- Value: $1,600
- Date episode aired: Dec. 25, 2008

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Philippe Bataillon // Getty Images

Answer #19: Who is D'Artagnan?

Charles de Batz de Castelmore—later known as d'Artagnan—was a real-life musketeer who served under King Louis XIV. His adventures were memorialized by French novelist Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras. A highly fictionalized version of the character appeared in three novels by Alexandre Dumas, the most famous of which remains “The Three Musketeers.”

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Clue #20

- Clue: Encyclopedia Britannica calls his "The Hunting of the Snark" "nonsense literature of the highest order."
- Category: BRITISH POETS & POETRY
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: June 28, 2006

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Public Domain //Wikimedia Commons

Answer #20: Who is Lewis Carroll?

Lewis Carroll was already a master of “nonsense literature” by the time he published this poem in 1876. It was preceded by similar and arguably more iconic fare such as "Jabberwocky" and “Through the Looking-Glass.” Each of these works features portmanteaus, which combine parts and sounds of existing words to create new words.

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Clue #21

- Clue: This Albert Camus novel begins with the discovery of a dead rat outside Dr. Bernard Rieux's door; more dead rats follow.
- Category: WORLD LITERATURE
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Sept. 30, 2005

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Keystone-France // Getty Images

Answer #21: What is ‘The Plague’?

Along with celebrated works like “The Stranger” and “The Fall,” this 1947 Albert Camus novel tackles the human experience through a philosophical lens. Reportedly based on a 19th-century cholera epidemic, it depicts a deadly plague that sweeps through the French-Algerian city of Oran. In 1957, Camus became the second-youngest recipient to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #22

- Clue: In 1943 this aviator created "The Little Prince;" a year later, his plane disappeared during a mission.
- Category: FRENCH LITERATURE
- Value: $2,000
- Date episode aired: June 24, 2003

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Roger Viollet // Getty Images

Answer #22: Who is Antoine de Saint Exupery?

A man of many talents, de Saint-Exupéry was best known as a famous aviator and occasional writer during his lifetime. He is believed to have died on a 1944 reconnaissance mission, but his body was never recovered. A modest success at first, “The Little Prince” would go on to become one of the best-selling and most translated books ever published.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #23

- Clue: Born in 1799, this poet, novelist, and playwright is to Russian literature what Shakespeare is to English literature.
- Category: PLAYWRIGHTS
- Value: $2,000
- Date episode aired: June 6, 2003

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Answer #23: Who is Alexander Pushkin?

Widely considered the father of modern Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin explored various forms of writing throughout his relatively short career. His best-known play is called “Boris Godunov” and it centers on a former Russian ruler of the same name. Pushkin passed away at 37 years old after suffering a fatal gunshot wound in a duel with his brother-in-law.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #24

- Clue: In Fred Gipson's novel, this "colorful" dog with one ear missing adopts a Texas frontier family in the 1860s.
- Category: AMERICAN LITERATURE
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: April 23, 1999

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Silver Screen Collection // Getty Images

Answer #24: Who is Old Yeller?

This Newbery Honor-winning book was turned into a classic Disney film just one year after it was published. For those out there who might read the book or see the film for the first time: Be sure to keep a box of tissues close by. Author Fred Gipson delivered two follow-ups, both of which take place on the Texas frontier and feature the Coates family.

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Amanda Edwards // Getty Images

Clue #25

- Clue: Many of the Dublin locales he personally frequented are featured in his book "Ulysses."
- Category: LITERATURE
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: March 27, 1997

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BARRY CRONIN // Getty Images

Answer #25: Who is James Joyce?

James Joyce’s most famous novel takes place in 1904, which is the same year he met his future wife, Nora Barnacle. Soon after their first encounter, the two would go into self-imposed exile and leave Dublin behind. Completed over the course of seven years, “Ulysses” draws upon everything from Joyce’s personal memories and Ireland’s vast history to centuries-old mythology.

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