valorsminion asked: You are starting a noble pursuit. This is an incredible comic, and I can't get enough of it! It is truly awe-inspiring to be reading while it's still happening unfolding unraveling, when the end is...unwritten.
Thank you! I had to stop briefly due to time constraints but hope to resume in the summer.
Our Mutual Friend was Charles Dicken’s last novel and considered to be one of his most complex critiques of British class structures. Lizzie Hexam is one of the characters and apparently like, the nicest person, ever. (Dickens’s Lizzie, unlike Tom’s, is illiterate.)
Tom has not read the book. (Confession: I have not, either.)
In The Unwritten, Lizzie would be the “mutual friend” between Wilson Taylor and Tom Taylor.
I am so confused because as far as I can tell, University College and King’s College are not the same school. In fact, the two schools are rivals!
In The Unwritten Issue #2, Tom Taylor decides to go to University College to try and hunt down Lizzie Hexam. The school tells him that Lizzie does not go to University College. But in Issue 1, Lizzie clearly says to Tom at TommyCon that she goes to King’s College. Even if King’s College is simply part of her alibi and she isn’t a real student there, Tom is still looking in the wrong place.
This is the second inconsistency I was able to find in the first two issues (the other being the ethnicity of Tom’s alleged biological parents, the Eastern European Drasics.) I am not sure if these are slip ups, or deliberate to try and show how tentative ‘reality’ is in the book.
221B Baker Street is the apartment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Tom is right, Doyle made up 221B. Baker Street was not extended until years later. There was actually a big squabble between the Abbey National Building Society (located at 219-229 Baker Street from 1930s onward) and the Sherlock Holmes Museum (set up in 1990, located at 237-241 Baker Street, but with a plaque reading 221B) over which building was the real 221B.
In the comic, Rupert Swope drops Tom Taylor off in front of 186 Baker Street, a few blocks away. I was able to find the exact spot on the street where Tom is dropped off, right in front of the HSBC bank and the Box Office for City Tours.
Winnie the Pooh’s home has a sign above the door labeled “Sanders.” That is why Tom scoffs at the alias and jokes about The Hundred Acre Wood (Pooh’s home.)
Kensington is a district of London, England and the setting of many stories, including Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. (Peter Pan is similar to Tommy Taylor in that both are based after ‘real’ people.) Kensington is first mentioned in the Domesday Book dating back to 1086.
In his work The Republic, the ancient Greek philospher Plato used the Allegory of the Cave to illustrate the nature of education.
Plato tells a story about his teacher Socrates and his brother Glaucon. In the story, Socrates describes people who have lived in a cave their entire lives, staring only at a wall. Behind the wall, there is a fire. The prisoners stare at shadows as their slavers pass by.
Socrates tells Glaucon that the prisoners in the cave can only understand reality from the shadows passing by. A true philosopher is like a prisoner who is free from staring at shadows, someone who comes to understand that the shadows were not reality and instead sees what was casting the shadows. Once freed, how could you ever go back?
If Wilson views fictions as shadows on a cave, who is casting them?
Many of the greatest American authors originated from, wrote in, or wrote about New York. Taylor references them here:
- Stephen Crane, best known for the Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage (1865)
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose books, including The Great Gatsby, romanticized New York City.
- Damon Runyon was more of a newspaperman than an author, but his relationship and characterization of New York actually created a new archetype of New Yorker: Runyonesque. His short stories inspired the musical Guys and Dolls.
- Dorothy Parker (ostensibly the Parker Wilson Taylor is referring to) wrote for the New Yorker and was a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table society of artists and critics.
- Bel Kaufman wrote the book Up the Down Staircase which captured the spirit of New York City college life.
- Arthur Miller, the famous Broadway playwright who wrote The Crucible andDeath of a Salesman
- John Dos Passos is one of the Lost Generation writers, most famous for his U.S.A. Trilogy: The 42nd Parallel, Nineteen Nineteen, and The Big Money. He is famous for critiquing the gaps between rich and poor.
- Saul Bellow, a famous Jewish American writer who won the Nobel Prize for Humboldt’s Gift.
- Thomas Wolfe, a New York City author whose books Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River inspired many other authors, including Jack Kerouac and Ray Bradbury.
Wilson Taylor refers to these authors as “the architects…the master engineers.” Engineers of what? Social engineering?
Wilson Taylor also put a pin in New Amsterdam (he’s rather Eurocentric in his literary references, don’t you think?) New Amsterdam is now known as New York.
In 1664, the English took over New Amsterdam and renamed the area to be New York (After the Duke of York and Albany.) A decade later, the Dutch won it back and tried to name it New Orange.
New Orange. Yeah.
In 1674, a year after New Orange, the Dutch traded the land to England for what is now modern day Suriname. The New York name was then reinstated.
(I assume no one consulted the original Lenape inhabitants of these lands.)
In Issue 1, initially Tommy’s next stop after TommyCon London is New York City. This plan quickly gets derailed.