Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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15
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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 ...
0
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1answer
47 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 ...
0
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1answer
27 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 ...
3
votes
10answers
699 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 ...
0
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1answer
58 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, ...
7
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6answers
2k 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" ...
1
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0answers
41 views

Is there any evidence to suggest that P.G. Wodehouse was an influence on the works of Douglas Adams? [closed]

I saw someone recently make the claim: If you enjoy Douglas Adams' writing do yourself a big favor and read some P.G. Wodehouse. Huge influence on Adams I'm a huge fan of Douglas Adams, and so ...
0
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1answer
36 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 ...
2
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4answers
5k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “a man of the world”?

The name of one of the Ernest Hemingway's short stories is "A man of the world". It seems to me that I understand the meaning of this phrase out from the context of the short story. But all the same ...
1
vote
3answers
109 views

Is this line from The Merchant of Venice metaphorical?

From "The Merchant of Venice", Act IV: The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Can we consider that a metaphor?
2
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4answers
4k views

Charles Dickens' “for good and for evil” and “superlative degree of comparison”

Charles Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" starts with the words: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of ...
-2
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3answers
87 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 ...
1
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1answer
84 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: ...
3
votes
0answers
181 views

How is she to describe how she likes him, when he doesn't know? [closed]

There's a friend of mine—let's call her Lily—and a guy—David. Lily told me that she feels very happy each time she meets, talks, plays games, dines (and so on) with David. I guess she's falling in ...
0
votes
4answers
104 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
129 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of a mixed metaphor from “The Gift of The Magi”?

This is from The Gift of The Magi by O Henry (William Sydney Porter). Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. (part 4, paragraph 5 in the reference ...
0
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
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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4answers
116 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
15k views

What is the etymology of “…kick ass and take names”?

Inspired by What is this idiom?, but that question doesn't actually ask for where the expression originated. I Googled around, but couldn't find any reliable source. Surely the expression originates ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

What does this quote by Johnny Quid mean?

What does this quote mean: Oh, beauty is a beguiling call to death and I'm addicted to the sweet pitch of its siren." The quote is attributed to Johnny Quid in the movie RocknRolla.
0
votes
1answer
45 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, ...
3
votes
3answers
176 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 ...
1
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3answers
1k views

What does “noon hour” mean?

I came across the following sentence in a book. I wonder how should I interpret "noon hour": "And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the ...
28
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6answers
3k views

What great writers have used coordinating conjunctions at the start of sentences?

I had a discussion today with a friend over the validity of using (coordinating, correlative) conjunctions like but or and at the start of sentences. His position was that it breaks a rule of ...
0
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2answers
278 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 ...
0
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1answer
166 views
0
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1answer
34 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
201 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
68 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
177 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
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1answer
197 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 ...
0
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1answer
86 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 ...
0
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1answer
116 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

What is a “gilded shell” in Eliot's Wasteland? [closed]

A gilded shell Red and gold The brisk swell Rippled both shores What is a "gilded shell" here? Some kind of boat?
1
vote
1answer
228 views

What does this passage from “Great Expectations” mean?

I was reading Great Expectations the other day, and came across this passage that I couldn't make any sense of whatsoever: Why should I loiter on my road to compare the state of mind in which I ...
1
vote
2answers
296 views

What is Poetry? What does not count as Poetry? [closed]

Background: a google "define:poem" did not give me much closure: poem: a piece of writing in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by particular attention to diction ...
4
votes
1answer
727 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 ...
0
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3answers
116 views

What does 'had been took with fits and held down in 'em' mean?

The following appears in The Haunted House by Charles Dickens. What is the meaning of the bolded phrase? This very concise summary of the facts was all I could learn, except that a young man, as ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

What does this text from The Haunted House by Charles Dickens mean?

"Who is--or who was--the hooded woman with the owl? Do you know?" "Well!" said Ikey, holding up his cap with one hand while he scratched his head with the other, "they say, in general, that ...
3
votes
3answers
521 views

Dickens: meaning of “preserves” in “preserves of loaves and fishes”

What is the meaning of preserves in the opening passage of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities? There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there ...
1
vote
2answers
121 views

“..which did what lay in it…” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Ref: “A tale of two cities” by Charles Dickens. What does “..which did what lay in it…” mean in the following sentence? “As the bank passenger – with an arm drawn through the leathern strap, ...
0
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3answers
982 views

“To have a run upon it” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Ref: A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens What does “To have a run upon it” mean in the following sentence? “Tellson’s bank had a run upon it in the mail”
2
votes
1answer
173 views

Are there any famous English poems that every British-raised or American-raised person knows? [closed]

In the Chinese language, there is a poem named Quiet Night Thoughts(Jing Ye Si) by Li Bai, which is known by everyone that is native to China (from little kids to very old people, even if they are ...
0
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1answer
124 views

What is the objection of Siddhartha here? [closed]

I am reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse and I am not able to understand this passage But according to your very own teachings, this unity and necessary sequence of all things is ...
-3
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1answer
98 views

Difference between views of destiny [closed]

In APJ Abdul Kalam's book it was written - Whenever human beings find themselves alone, as a natural reaction, they start looking for company. Whenever they are in trouble, they look for someone ...
0
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2answers
219 views

Interpretation of “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”

In sonnet 18, line two Thou art more lovely and more temperate What does the word temperate imply? I googled it up and found that it means less extreme., if so then why compare temperateness ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

Meaning of “barrer” (noun) in W. Henley's poem “'Liza”

I don't understand the meaning in which the count noun word "barrer" is used in William Henley's poem 'Liza (the italics are the author's): ’Liza’s old man’s perhaps a little shady, ’Liza’s old ...
3
votes
2answers
160 views

Does hunx have an origin?

I was reading Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now. A character calls an old man, "an old hunx" during an argument. I was wondering if Trollope was writing in an accent or if hunx was an old slang ...