Sawdust commonly covered the floors of the cheaper bars and eating places, as it absorbed spills.
In the European folktale, Dr Faust or Faustus sells his soul to a devil for either knowledge beyond the scope of mortal man, or worldly success. After the time agreed in this bargain has passed, the devil claims his prize and drags Faust down to hell.
The Holy Land is the region in the eastern Mediterranean encompassing Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Syria and Jordan. Its holiness derives from it being the location of Jerusalem, a city of great religious significance for Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) is often numbered among the greatest poets of the Victorian era. He himself claimed in 1869 that
"My poems represent, on the whole, the main movement of mind of the last quarter of a century"
Critics often agree with Arnold's self-assessment and prize his poetry for its record of the religious and philosophical crises of the self in the Victorian period.
His poem "Dover Beach" plays a central role in Ian McEwan's book Saturday.
Avignon is a medieval city in south-eastern France with a rich history involving the Catholic church: it was the seat for several popes and the setting for many church councils.
Vézelay is an abbey in the Burgundy region of central France with beautiful twelfth-century architecture.
Canaan is an ancient term for the area of land promised to the Israelites by their God and is used as a metaphor for any kind of promised land.
Pocahontas (1595-1617) was well-known in Britain from the early 17th century. Pocahontas was a Native American princess who helped settlers in her native land (now part of the US state of Virginia). She converted to Christianity, took the name Rebecca, and eventually married one of the settlers, John Rolfe.
She is said to have saved the life of an English explorer, Captain John Smith, by intervening when her father was about to execute him.
"for her dowry as much as her figure"
The Athenaeum was a celebrated private members library, founded in 1807 and still open today.
In 1775 an important battle of the American Revolutionary War took place near Bunker Hill, outside Boston.
Fowles refers to Henry James (1843-1916), an American by birth who spent the last 40 years of his life living in England, eventually becoming a British subject. James was one of the pre-eminent novelists of his age, specialising in the exploration of the psychological depths of his characters, extremely long sentences and ornate, extravagant use of language.
Faneuil Hall was the site of speeches proposing American independence from Great Britain, made by men who later led the American Revolution.
The American Civil War was waged between 1861 and 1865, and originally sparked by attempts by the southern states of America to leave the union of states. During the war, Britain remained ostensibly neutral, even as British shipmakers supplied vessels to the southern, Confederate side, and the British government privately considered officially recognising the Confederacy as the legitimate government. Neither of these actions would have been popular in northern, Yankee areas like Boston.
The Boston Tea Party was a protest against unfair British laws (while America was still a British Colony) during which tea imported from England was thrown into Boston harbour.
Reconstruction is the name given to the period of around 15 years after the American Civil War and the policies of this period that attempted to restore the nation to unity. These policies were mainly focused on the southern states which had seceded from the rest of the country and were particularly unpopular in this region.
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) became US President when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.
While Lincoln's harsh policies towards the South had made him unpopular there but popular in the northern states, Johnson's more lenient approach angered many in the North while still not assuaging residual bitterness in the South. The opposition to Johnson's policies led to deep division within the government, which limited the amount that was actually achieved for the Reconstruction effort.
"Carpetbagger" is a pejorative term which was used by the inhabitants of the southern states to refer to the influx of opportunist businessmen from the northern states after the Civil War. These men formed alliances with freed slaves but were widely believed to be manipulating these people in order to maximise the profit they could make from the south, in whatever legitimate or unscrupulous way presented itself.
The Sphinx is a creature from Greek and Egyptian mythology, with the body of a lion, the head of a human and sometimes wings. In Greek mythology there is only one sphinx, who had a female head and guarded the entrance to the city of Thebes. All who wished to enter the city were asked a riddle; if they answered incorrectly or could not answer, she killed them.
The school that Charles considers modern is the Pre-Raphaelite, founded in 1848. The controversies surrounding the school were initially artistic (a painting of Millais' was called blasphemous), but soon their unconventional personal lives began to cause scandal as well.
The New Woman was a new ideal of femininity that emerged in the latter half of the 19th century. The New Woman was independent and independent-minded, would often pursue a profession (and more professions were open to her than her predecessors) and not hold a successful marriage as her sole ambition. She was more likely to engage in activites still frowned upon as unladylike, such as smoking or riding a bicycle.
The clothes Fowles describe almost but not quite fit into the genre of Artistic Dress, the name coined by the Pre-Raphaelite school for the styles worn by their female associates, which were heavily influenced by the clothing depicted in Pre-Raphaelite art. The rejection of all fashionable conventions is deliberate: these conventions were regarded by this group as either ugly, impractical, uncomfortable or unhealthy.