The King in Yellow: Analysis and Plot Summary of the Book that Inspired HBO’s True Detective


HBO has a monster hit on its hands with True Detective, a very dark Southern Noir cop show that takes place in Louisiana. The show is littered with references to the 1875 book by Robert Chambers entitled The King in Yellow. The connections between the show and the book are sometimes blunt and direct, such as similar place names, and at times obscure and thematic. But what is The King in Yellow about? has a plot summary and brief analysis. Here’s quick excerpt to get you familiar with the basic concepts of the book:

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Bikini Shakespeare? Thanks, YouTube

Ah, YouTube. While it’s undoubtedly a place to be entertained, discover amazing talent, and even learn, it’s also home to pretty much the worst in lowest-common-denominator promotional content of every stripe. Several readers emailed the eNotes tipline to let us know about “Bikini Shakespeare”, a series that combines poor readings of the Bard’s work with, yes, bikini models. It’s all part of a promotional campaign for a popcorn brand. Sadly, these videos have millions of views, while our educational Video Study Guides for Hamlet have less then 50,000. But don’t worry, we won’t resort to bikinis to get more views!

Shakespeare in the Original Pronunciation: Worthy Exercise?

Opening ext week at the University of Kansas, a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is billed as the first original pronunciation production of a Shakespeare play to ever be staged on American soil. The video above is from the rehearsals but does a good job of giving you an idea of what the play will sound like. It’s definitely an interesting approach, but is it useful from an academic standpoint? Would you enjoy seeing the Bard in this format? Let us know in the comments!

Why Are College Students Studying Less?

A new study, The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data by Philip S. Babcock and Mindy Marks has revealed the college students spend much less time studying today than they did in 1960– a drop of 13 hours per week. From the study:

Using multiple datasets from different time periods, we document declines in academic time investment by full-time college students in the United States between 1961 and 2003. Full-time students allocated 40 hours per week toward class and studying in 1961, whereas by 2003 they were investing about 27 hours per week. Declines were extremely broad-based, and are not easily accounted for by framing effects, work or major choices, or compositional changes in students or schools. We conclude that there have been substantial changes over time in the quantity or manner of human capital production on college campuses.

The study does not have any conclusions as to why this may be the case. What do you think? Are time-savers like have a real impact on how much time students need to study? Or are today’s students less engaged in their work?

75,000 Questions and Counting in the eNotes Q & A

The internet is full of Q & A sites, each with their particular strengths and quirks. We feel that as far as students are concerned, the eNotes Q & A stands head and shoulders above the rest for many reasons– chief among them that anyone in the world can pose a question to hundreds of real teachers. Our approach is to cultivate great questions from real students, and match them with excellent, fact-checked answers from real teachers. Word is getting out– we’ve just received and approved our 75,000th question!

Our Q & A is open to all– please stop by and ask an interesting question!