If Elizabeth Bennet’s house is ten miles away from Mr. Darcy’s house, how far will her mother go to arrange a suitable marriage?

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An English major explains his career options to three mechanical engineers for fifteen minutes. How many beers will the English major drink in explaining that, really, he has it figured out as he’s applying to eighteen grad schools, and after the PhD, maybe become a professor, or go for a post-doc, maybe? What if he’s trying to impress someone? What if that someone’s also a mechanical engineer?

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A Victorian gentleman had no parents and then gained one mysterious mentor. What are the odds that he is related to this mentor in fact?

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Similarly, an American expatriate talks about the war and can’t seem to hold onto a relationship. What are the odds that he has a hidden injury? What are the odds that he will consume more alcohol than physically possible?

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The night before an essay is due, Student A writes her essay on id and ego in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse at 600 words/minute, while Student B writes his essay on the fallacy of division in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road at 500 words/minute. At what hour, the next day, will their grader step away from their essays and shriek like a wild banshee into his four-dollar-a-piece throw pillows?

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If, on Monday, two Bronte sisters fancy the same Byronic hero, then by Sunday, how many Bronte sisters will be happy? Will it be the same number of Bronte sisters who were happy before Monday?

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Ellen has five times the dowry as her sister Charlotte, but Charlotte is twice as attractive as Ellen, and three times as funny. How many times will each sister reject her initial suitor until each finally marries her initial suitor? What if this is a Jane Austen novel?

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The area of a post-doc’s field is “marine life as fallibilism in Shakespeare’s first three comedies.” The field’s relevant texts range two works wider than that of the field “atomism and horses in Shakespearean tragicomedies.” What is the length and the width of the post-doc’s job search?

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The course reading of an advanced-level Renaissance course reads as follows:

The Shepherd’s Calendar

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The New Atlantis

Paradise Lost

The Lady of May

Sovereignty

(A) How many hours might the average student save by reading the Spark Notes instead of the full text?

(B) How many students will skip the reading altogether and listen to the people who did the reading in hopes of piecing together enough of the plot to briefly participate and receive discussion credit?

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Joan opens a savings account and deposits $300 to avoid monthly fees. The account earns 5% interest, compounded continuously. If, in three years, she wants to spend the money on an inflatable wall for her four-roommate apartment in Queens so she can pursue an English PhD in the city, will she have regretted spending the $300 on opening the bank account?

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How many liters of a 20% alcohol solution must be added to 30 liters of a 50% alcohol solution to make Jay Gatsby satisfied?

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A sixth-year-PhD student leans against a building. If the student makes a 70-degree angle with the ground, how long will she lean like that as she ponders her decision to pursue a career in English scholarship? How far from her dreams must she stray to attain the most basic of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Will the leaning hurt her back before the dread of not preparing for the next day’s lecture surfaces?