Page 576. " George Orwell - a keen observer "
George Orwell
Public DomainGeorge Orwell
 George Orwell (real name Eric Blair, 1903-1950) was an English writer, most famous for novels such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. He was born in Bengal, then a British colony, into what he described as a 'lower-upper-middle-class' family, and he grew up in England. After leaving school he travelled to Burma, where his experiences as part of the Indian Imperial Police politicised him, leading to a lifelong hatred of colonialism. Both his essays and his fiction have a powerful political content that remains influential to this day. Ideas and quotations from Orwell's work have entered popular culture; the most notorious example of this being Nineteen Eighty-Four's 'Big Brother', now corrupted into a reality television show.
Page 581. " we're attempting to get the new Semiotics department off the ground "
Ferdinand de Saussure
Public DomainFerdinand de Saussure

 Semiotics is a relatively new field of academic study; old-fashioned scholars such as Julian and Henry would be particularly galled to learn that Classics was being phased out in favour of this. Semiotics, or Semiology, involves the study of signs in terms of culture, linguistics, literature and communication. It came to prominence in the twentieth century, after philosophers such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Louis Hjelmslev, Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco developed the field.

Fundamentally, Semiotics is concerned with the relationship between a particular thing, the word or picture that has come to represent it, and the people who communicate between themselves the idea of this particular thing using the word or picture. For example, it questions the seemingly arbitrary relationship between the word 'tree' and the real trees it can represent.

 

Page 582. " Hampden's own Salman Rushdie "

Salman Rushdie (1947-) is a British-Indian writer. His novels include Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses, the publication of which earned him great notoriety. Muslim Extremists objected to the novel's apparent blasphemy, particularly in a dream sequence which retells the story of Mohammed's life, and in a later dream sequence which portrays a fanatical religious leader called the 'imam' which many took as a criticism of the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini.

As a result of these perceived insults, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious opinion, in 1989, which called for Rushdie's death. Rushdie was forced into hiding, and the book caused a diplomatic crisis between the United Kingdom and Iran.

Page 595. " like the old pirate in Treasure Island "

Map drawn by Robert Louis Stevenson showing Treasure Island
Public DomainMap drawn by Robert Louis Stevenson showing Treasure Island
 Treasure Island is another famous novel by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (see bookmark to Page 493. " I said Davy Balfour from Kidnapped "). The book is an adventure story about pirates searching for hidden treasure, narrated by Jim Hawkins, a young boy from a village in England.

Donna Tartt cites Treasure Island as a key influence on her second novel, The Little Friend.