Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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Words that are spoken one way but written another

I was recently involved in answering this question: Renumeration vs Remuneration (reimbursed financially), which is correct? Which asks whether "renumeration" or "remuneration" is correct in terms ...
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2answers
63 views

“letting oneself be summoned out of”

In Heidegger's view, man has a tendency to lose himself in his world and "forget" his mortality, and by extension that of his world. He falls in with the crowd (the "they"), engages in idle ...
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1answer
33 views

What does “through the prism of my senses” mean? [closed]

Taken from V. Nabokov's Lolita "through the prism of my senses they were as different as mist and mast" Hmmm?
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2answers
53 views

Literary Critique [closed]

I apologize if this is off-topic or belongs in a different thread category. To my understanding, a literary critique (or a literary criticism) is essentially a scholarly book review, but I can find ...
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1answer
74 views

What is “Betty Jay”?

Chapter III of Silas Marner contains this puzzling phrase: Betty Jay scented the boiling of Squire Cass's hams, but her longing was arrested by the unctuous liquor in which they were boiled; and ...
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1answer
405 views

What does “uninterpenetratingly” mean?

I was looking up the longest words in certain works of fiction when I discovered this monstrosity: uninterpenetratingly. It is used in Chapter 108 of Moby Dick as follows: How dost thou know that ...
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1answer
282 views

What is the origin of the phrase “War never changes”

All the games of the Fallout franchise start their intro with the phrase War. War never changes... I was wondering if this was an original phrase or was it from literature or some speech?
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1answer
40 views

What exactly does the sentence mean?

His lack of the ghost of a notion what any one else was feeling that annoyed her, had always annoyed her; and now at his age, how silly! The above was quoted from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia ...
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1answer
18 views

Martin Fierro chapter division name

The book Martin Fierro has been divided into (in Spanish) "Cantos", chapters written in prose. What is their name in english?
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2answers
51 views

Is there a term for fiction authors whose writing style is technically the most important feature of their books?

I'm re-reading "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov right now, and I must say, the author is very consistent in never allowing himself merely to narrate: each paragraph, if not each sentence, is loaded with ...
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50 views

“Were” rather than “would have been”: when did that change?

Please read the following stanza from Byron's "Don Juan": Amongst her numerous acquaintance, all Selected for discretion and devotion, There was the Donna Julia, whom to call Pretty ...
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30 views

What's a word that means or historic character who sybolizes a spy whose own lack of knowledge reveals his subterfuge?

The context is a spy who becomes revealed to the person who is spied upon because the spy lacks knowledge of the target's (the spied upon's) specialty work
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1answer
42 views

Any hidden meaning in 'Toddy'?

I'm a pretty bad fellow myself,' the stranger remarked, 'but Macfarlane is the boy - Toddy Macfarlane I call him. Toddy, order your friend another glass.' Or it might be, 'Toddy, you jump up and ...
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1answer
24 views

What does it mean to beat one's hands together?

In Bram Stoker's Dracula, characters are described as beating their hands together (see chapters 21, 17, and 11), typically in situations of stress or helplessness. What is this gesture? At first, I ...
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0answers
53 views

Mark Twain and the tenses

Maybe I'm being too pedantic for my own good, but here's the thing. There is in Mark Twain's short story titled Journalism in Tennessee a passage in which, if you take a good close look, the simple ...
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2answers
48 views

Explanation of a phrase

I was reading the book The Power of Habit, and I came across this beautiful phrase : Water is most apt analogy of how habit works."Water hollows out for itself a channel, which grows broader and ...
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1answer
52 views

What exactly did Mr. Peggoty and the Yarmouth boatmen do by “putting off?”

The following is an excerpt from Dickens' David Copperfield Chapter XXIII when Steerforth was explaining to Copperfield what a proctor is: You shall go there one day, and find them blundering ...
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2answers
198 views

What does “cup and Chaucer” mean?

I've recently come across a phrase unknown to me: "cup and Chaucer". What does it mean? Obviously it is connected with the popularity and influence of Geoffrey Chaucer as the Father of English ...
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1answer
73 views

Meaning of “I'll break it for him,” (Chapter 3 Moby Dick)

I'm Indonesian, and currently reading Moby Dick. In chapter 3 I found a phrase that I can't get to know its meaning. The sentence is: "Landlord!" said I, "what sort of a chap is he - does he ...
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3answers
61 views

Interpreting contemporary literature [closed]

There's something I just don't get of English usage in contemporary literature. Take the following excerpt: I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer-its dust and ...
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2answers
77 views

Would the “Purple Fawn” in this context refer to a shop? [closed]

Wodger, of the "Purple Fawn," and Mr. Jaggers, the cobbler, who also sold old second-hand ordinary bicycles, were stretching a string of union-jacks and royal ensigns (which had originally ...
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0answers
16 views

Who would be a good author for someone learning English? [duplicate]

My wife is trying to improve her English skills and would like to start by reading as much literature as possible. My question is: what are the English or American authors that are easy to understand ...
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2answers
609 views

Is 'artisks' a word? (I met this word in 'The Invisible Man')

In 'The Invisible Man' by H.G.Wells, there is a sentence;"Wait till the summer," said Mrs. Hall sagely, "when the artisks are beginning to come. ..." Mrs.Hall is the wife of Mr.Hall, who is the ...
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1answer
149 views

A word for someone that loves learning/ curious, has wonder about the world In general [duplicate]

I need a word that describes the love of learning, discovering, or it could even be a word that describes a curious person.
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2answers
195 views

What does 'leaving a little puff of blue in the air' mean?

In the book I am reading (H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man), a man was shot and the scene was being described, then I met the following sentence: Adye leapt backwards, swung around, clutched at this ...
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1answer
97 views

'not fool enough to dance on the old strings', is it an idiom? This phrase is from 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells

In the book of 'The Invisible Man' by Wells, there is this sentence; "Kemp, you're not fool enough to dance on the old strings. Can't you see my position?" In this particular scene, Griffin(the ...
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5answers
1k views

Tolkien and archaic English

I once read that JRR Tolkien, a linguist by profession and of The Lord of the Rings fame, wrote his masterpiece using elements of archaic English to emulate the Bible. Following a question on ...
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1answer
74 views

What does 'get something about me' in this context?

I am reading 'The Invisible Man' by H.G.Wells and there is this scene. Griffin(the invisible man) broke in Dr.Kemp's house and they met. After Griffin finally made Kemp understood that he is actually ...
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1answer
44 views

What does 'saving his regard' mean in this context?

I am reading 'The Invisible Man' written by H.G.Wells and here I have this phrase 'saving his regard'. A man named Marvel, who was chosen by the Invisible Man(Griffin) to do things for Griffin, was ...
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1answer
57 views

Usage of 'comprise' in a linguistic manner

The small man did not hesitate. "I'm stealing.", he declared in a soft, simple voice, that did not comprise even the faintest tremble. Is this a good, nice-sounding way of describing a way of ...
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3answers
150 views

Are graphic novels considered literature? [closed]

Most of the definitions I have found for the word literature basically define it as written material. Some graphic novels contain words but that is not a requirement. Can graphic novels be ...
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1answer
132 views

Can someone explain this quote from 'The Tempest'?

I was reading a Russian translation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, when the queer word choice by the translator made me open the original work to see what the author actually wrote. And here it is: ...
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4answers
335 views

Difference between allusion and connotation (in english literature) [closed]

I am not sure if it's just my imagination (because I can't find any comparison of the terms in literary theory dictionaries) but these seem very close terms? Can you explain any overlap and ...
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2answers
255 views

English books reading complexity ratings

Is there some rating for book regarding how hard they are to read for foreigners? Or the way to figure out how more difficult is book A than book B? I have begun reading "All The King's Men" and ...
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1answer
101 views

Hemingway sentence coordinating clauses with commas

She had a great talent and appreciation for the bed, she was not pretty, but he liked her face, she read enormously, liked to ride and shoot and, certainly, she drank too much. Is this ...
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6answers
4k views

What do we call 'Shakespearean trash-talk'?

A classic example: In the opening scene of Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke and Mowbray seeks the adjudication of the king. They hurl accusations of treachery and cowardliness at each other. They ...
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4answers
330 views

Word for a less-than-optimal positive outcome or ending?

I'm looking for a word that describes the ending our outcome of a story that is positive for the protagonist but not the most positive outcome that could have happened. For example: The protagonist ...
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10answers
1k views

What is the correct term to describe literary works that are only partly fictional?

I'm trying to find the correct English word to describe a body of literature that is fiction in essence, but all background like places, circumstances, organizations, etc. is actually borrowed from ...
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1answer
83 views

What does the following line imply?

In the following excerpt from the short story Three questions by Leo Tolstoy is a line I have questions about: 'Do you not see,' replied the hermit. 'If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, ...
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3answers
261 views

Where can I find a modern English version of King James’s “Counterblaste to Tobacco”?

I find A Counterblaste to Tobacco by James I very interesting. Many people are under the impression that anti-tobacco sentiment began in the last century, and this document pretty thoroughly refutes ...
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2answers
756 views

What does “bright topaz denizens of a world of green” mean

Here is the extract from a poem "Aunt Jennifer's tigers" by Adrienne Rich- Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen bright topaz denizens of a world of green. They do not fear the men beneath ...
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1answer
238 views

How to find out an Irony in a sentence [duplicate]

How can I find out what Irony has been used in a sentence?
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1answer
40 views

Help formulating: an object is held on the forearm, leaning against the breast

There's simply no way I can think of formulating this in a nice way :(. I got a character in my short story that's carrying a heavy cube. I want to say that the cube is leaning on her breast. You ...
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1answer
380 views

What is an “aglet-baby” exactly?

This is a line from the Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare Grumio [to Hortensio]: Marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby . . . Although 'aglet' is an extremely uncommon word, its meaning can ...
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1answer
86 views

Meaning of 'It is to the feminine as the hug of a bear is to the scratch of--well;--anything with claws.'

"A man's sense of humor is a barbarous and a cruel thing, Miss Innes," he admitted. "It is to the feminine as the hug of a bear is to the scratch of--well;--anything with claws. Is that you, ...
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1answer
83 views

Was James Joyce confused about “prone” and “supine” or am I?

I've been re-reading "Ulysses" and noticed this Stephen totters, collapses, falls, stunned. He lies prone, his face to the sky (emphasis mine) and Stephen, prone, breathes to the stars. ...
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3answers
326 views

What do you call an abrupt, abstract ending to a sentence?

While reading the poem Pike by Ted Hughes, I came across this line: The gills kneading quietly, and the pectorals. As you can see, the line ends quite abruptly. How would one term this literary ...
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1answer
327 views

Where in Romeo and Juliet is Count Paris' relation to Prince Escalus stated? [closed]

The Wikipedia page for Count Paris, in addition to some other sources, states that he is related to Prince Escalus. I have searched the text, but all I can find is mention that he is a "nobleman" and ...
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1answer
127 views

Meaning of “drawn by hunger and pride” when describing a face

When Rayber had first opened the door in the middle of the night and had seen Tarwater's face - white, drawn by some unfathomable hunger and pride - he had remained for an instant frozen before ...
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1answer
189 views

How to pronounce Alois in A Dog of Flanders? [closed]

The e-book I have downloaded from Amazon has Alois, but Wikipedia seems to have Aloise. I do not know which one is correct in the first place. I shall assume Alois is the correct one. A Dog of ...