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The entire canon of classic and contemporary literature is soupy with scatological references. Close readings of texts formerly thought to be dung-free have yielded a boon of crap themes.

THE TORRENTS OF SPRING: A companion to A Moveable Feast, this love story repeatedly alludes to Hemingway’s experience with harrowing intestinal distress after binging on hash-laced fudge while visiting Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in their home at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris. (Trivia: Gabriel Garcia Marquez cited this work as his main influence when writing Love in the Time of Cholera, another romantic tale based on severe diarrhea.)

PROMETHEUS UNBOUND: Percy Bysshe Shelley originally penned this four-act drama in verse as an inside joke regarding his friend George Gordon Byron and that weekend in Switzerland when Lord Byron, who was constipated, ate more than twenty sandwiches made of chocolate and figs between thick slices of pumpernickel bread on the advice of John William Polidori, Lord Byron’s terrifyingly incompetent physician.

At the last minute he went with retelling the story of the god who gave man fire (Dr. Polidori gave Lord Byron explosive diarrhea) only to be eternally punished by Zeus (Lord Byron dismissed Dr. Polidori soon after).

THE MOVIE GOER: The title of Walker Percy’s National Book Award-winner refers to a character edited out of the final draft of the novel. The character often announced his intention to have a lengthy bowel movement by saying, “I think I’ll go see what’s playing at the Prytania,” before locking himself in the bathroom for an hour, sometimes longer.

THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO: The alleged infraction for which Fortunato is punished with immurement and eventual death is never made perfectly clear by Poe in this story. Clues in the text, however, indicate that Poe is using fiction to avenge a practical joke from years past which involved his stomping upon a bag filled with cat feces and fresh bird droppings after said bag was placed on the front stoop of his row house and set afire by his real-life nemesis, Rufus Griswold.

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE: A 19th century British clan forces its most elderly member into seaside exile, where the old man’s chronic flatulence and noxious bowel movements no longer sully the already-disgusting toilets scattered throughout the family’s ancestral estate.

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