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In this, the third volume of my collected stories, I have made a somewhat different arrangement from that which I have made in the others. In those I put the stories I wrote in which the scene was laid in Malaya. Someet Maugham's Collected Short Stories

In the last sentence, What does 'which' point out? I guess 'the stories'. I am confused.

Please help me.

  • The sentence doesn't make any immediate sense. Where did you get it from? Can you add some more context? – nxx Mar 13 '14 at 15:12
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    I agree that "which" appears to point to "stories," but that sentence is particularly unclear. – George Cummins Mar 13 '14 at 15:13
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    Note that the passage is correctly quoted in the title but incorrectly quoted in the body of the question, where the in before the which is omitted. – StoneyB Mar 13 '14 at 16:57
  • My bad. Fixed.. – mplungjan Mar 14 '14 at 9:22
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Which has as its referent the NP the stories I wrote. It is the object of the preposition in, ‘pied-piped’ with which to the front of the relative clause.

           the scene was laid in Malaya [in [the stories I wrote]] 
           the scene was laid in Malaya [in [        which      ]] 
     v--------------------------------------------^
[in which] the scene was laid in Malaya 

The referent, the stories I wrote, is composed of the NP the stories and the relative clause ∅ I wrote, where represents the ‘null relative’ or ‘deleted’ relative pronoun.

And that entire string constitutes an NP which is the object of the verb put.

PARAPHRASE:

I wrote certain stories. In those stories the scene was laid in Malaya. I put all those stories in the earlier volumes, interspersing them with other works. I did not put them together in a single volume because they were quite long and I felt they should be separated by shorter works. In this volume, however, I have put together all the stories dealing with a single character, Ashenden, regardless of their length.

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From the context the subject are the stories from the other volumes

In this, the third volume of my collected stories, I have made a somewhat different arrangement from that which I have made in the others. In those [volumes of stories] I put the stories I wrote in which the scene was laid in Malaya. These are so long that I thought it would give the reader a rest if I interspersed them with short ones set in other parts of the world, so I divided them in each volume into groups. But I wrote a batch of stories dealing with the adventures of an agent in the Intelligence Department during the First World War. I gave him the name of Ashenden. Since they are connected by this character of my invention I have thought it well, notwithstanding their great length, to put them all together. They are founded on experiences of my own during that war, but I should like to impress upon the reader that they are not what the French call reportage, but works of fiction. Fact, as I said in the preface to the volume in which these stories appeared, is a poor story-teller. It starts at haphazard long before the beginning, rambles on inconsequently, and tails off, leaving loose ends hanging about, without a conclusion. The works of an agent in the Intelligence Department is on the whole monotonous. A lot of it is uncommonly useless. The material it offers for short stories is scrappy and pointless; the author has himself to make it coherent, dramatic, and probable. That is what I have tried to do in this particular series.

W. Somerset Maugham: Collected Short Stories. Volume 3. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1969 [1963]), p. 7.

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