Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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Suggestions for first classic [on hold]

I am not much into literature, but I want to give it some serious try. I have read some sci-fi and mystery novels with not very good language. I want to read a book written with beautiful words and ...
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3answers
45 views

Interpreting contemporary literature [on hold]

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
53 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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1answer
332 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
48 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
169 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
44 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
58 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
32 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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10answers
813 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
67 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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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" ...
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0answers
52 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 ...
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1answer
40 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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4answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
133 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?
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4answers
5k 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 ...
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3answers
104 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
99 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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0answers
183 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 ...
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4answers
152 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
168 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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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 ...
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1answer
68 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
158 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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2answers
16k 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 ...
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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.
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1answer
56 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
183 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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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
317 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
182 views
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1answer
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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
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1answer
231 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
72 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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2answers
210 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
211 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
98 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
137 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 ...
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1answer
84 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?
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1answer
251 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 ...
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2answers
308 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 ...
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1answer
871 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 ...
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3answers
119 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 ...
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2answers
254 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 ...
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3answers
590 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 ...