Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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3answers
60 views

What is the name of the term for character facial expressions showing meaning in a play?

Last year I learnt the term for a character's facial expressions showing the audience what they feel, as well as their tone of voice in the stage directions when reading a play. I am currently writing ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the proper pronunciation for Kipling's character-name “Mowgli”?

Does the first syllable rhyme with “glow” or with “how”? It is no use appealing to the Hindi for “Little Frog” or anything else, since Kipling confessed to making ...
7
votes
1answer
95 views

For whom the bell tolls - origin of “ask not” instead of “never send to know”

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls" is a popular cliche. My understanding is that it comes from John Donne's Meditation XVII (1623). But in Donne's poem, the line is any man's death diminishes me, ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

What H.G. Wells mean with the phrase 'a morning star of hope'? [closed]

In this answer a quote from H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds" was posted: That last stage of exhaustion, which to us is still incredibly remote, has become a present-day problem for the inhabitants ...
0
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5answers
54 views

“What would I not exact from you…?”

The meaning of the phrase in bold is incomprehensible to me. Could someone please explain or paraphrase the sentence for me? CAESAR. Vengeance! Vengeance!! Oh, if I could stoop to vengeance, what ...
4
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1answer
30 views

Grammar questions regarding an excerpt from The Giver

I've been reading Lois Lowry's The Giver recently, and have questions regarding a sentence from her book. I know that some sentences in literature, like The Giver, do not always follow strict grammar ...
0
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5answers
449 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 ...
21
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2answers
3k views

The “F-word” in N-gram Viewer

I was simply fiddling with Ngram viewer when my apparently naughty mind made me type the (real) "F-word" onto the text field, (the time was also chosen randomly, (1750-to-1993)), the results baffled ...
0
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0answers
43 views

can “Wardine be cry” in AAVE?

In "Infinite Jest", there is a passage of attempted AAVE which everywhere uses a construction of the following form unfamiliar to me: "Wardine be cry", "she be sit", etc. with "be" as an auxiliary ...
1
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2answers
76 views

What does “Snopesian” mean?

I ran into this word while reading J. Mitchell Morse’s The Irrelevant English Teacher. Here’s the full sentence it came from: The Snopesian quality of the Nixon administration is nowhere more ...
1
vote
3answers
52 views

usage of “is all” in a sentence from Hemingway [duplicate]

In this passage from "For whom the bell Tolls" "He looked down the hill slope again and he thought, I hate to leave it, is all. I hate to leave it very much and I hope I have done some good in it." ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “in the sere and yellow” mean?

I am currently reading "A Study in Scarlet" by Arthur Conan Doyle. On page 33 is a sentence I don't understand: Well, if a man can stride four and a-half feet without the smallest effort, he can't ...
7
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8answers
3k views

“Directly” in the meaning of “As soon as”

I've just read my first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. In it, I have found several instances of the word "directly" being used in a way I am not familiar with. It appears to have the meaning "when" ...
5
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4answers
2k views

What does 'rare device' refer to?

What does rare device refer to in the line 'It was a miracle of rare device' of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, Kubla Khan?
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2answers
69 views

Analysing “Ain't got no use for no coal company”

I'm writing my thesis and I have a problem analysing this sentence: "Ain't got no use for no coal company" (Grisham, 2014: 157). I know there's no subject - is it therefore an ellipsis? I don't ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Who really gave two figs?

I read the phrase in a poem called "the White Troops Had Their Orders but the Negroes looked like Men". The context: Who really gave two figs? Neither the earth nor heaven ever trembled... What ...
0
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

What special connotation does the word Inverness hold in Shakespeare's play Macbeth?

I initially looked up the meaning of this word and found out that it means literally the mouth of River Ness. However, in the play, this castle has been associated with evil and dark images and I was ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Wilde's imaginary name Bunbury: absurd?

In The importance of being earnest by Oscar Wilde, a man imagines a person by the name Bunbury, so another man calls that name absurd. Is it really? And why?
3
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

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 ...
1
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2answers
69 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 chatter, ...
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1answer
206 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?
0
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2answers
67 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
439 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
85 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 ...
5
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2answers
556 views

What does the phrase “a fine one” mean in this context?

In one one Daniil Kharms' short stories, Tikakeyev “insults” Koratygin by saying: A fine one you are! This causes a fight between the two. When I first read this, I didn't see the “insult”, ...
3
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1answer
4k 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?
1
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1answer
41 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 Woolf. ...
1
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1answer
31 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?
22
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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 ...
0
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2answers
58 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 ...
2
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2answers
1k 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 ...
0
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0answers
62 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 ...
0
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0answers
31 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
0
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1answer
52 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 shut ...
1
vote
1answer
32 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 ...
0
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0answers
61 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 ...
1
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2answers
59 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 ...
3
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3answers
446 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
275 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 ...
0
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1answer
53 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 ...
0
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1answer
102 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 ...
0
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3answers
92 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
96 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 celebrated ...
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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 ...
0
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1answer
190 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
207 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 ...
16
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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 writers....
0
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1answer
89 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 ...