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Here is the context:

Later I move over and talk with Jack and Wylla. Jack is leaving to head an English department down in Boise, Idaho. His attitudes toward the department here seem guarded, but negative. They would be negative, of course, or he wouldn't be leaving. I seem to remember now he was a fiction writer mainly, who taught English, rather than a systematic scholar who taught English. There was a continuing split in the department along these lines which in part gave rise to, or at least accelerated the growth of, Phædrus' wild set of ideas which no one else had ever heard of, and Jack was supportive of Phædrus because, although he wasn't sure he knew what Phædrus was talking about, he saw it was something a fiction writer could work with better than linguistic analysis. It's an old split. Like the one between art and art history. One does it and the other talks about how it's done and the talk about how it's done never seems to match how one does it.

My question about the sentence:

There was a continuing split in the department along these lines which in part gave rise to, or at least accelerated the growth of, Phædrus' wild set of ideas which no one else had ever heard of, and Jack was supportive of Phædrus because, although he wasn't sure he knew what Phædrus was talking about, he saw it was something a fiction writer could work with better than linguistic analysis.

is: What are these lines referring to?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, tchrist, user66974, RyeɃreḁd, bib May 19 '14 at 1:42

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2

"these lines" refer to the type of teachers who teach English.

That is, fiction writers who teach English vs systematic scholars who teach English.

Jack is a "a fiction writer mainly, who taught English" and he is supportive of Phædrus because Jack, as a fiction writer, sees Phædrus' ideas as something a fiction writer could work with better than the "systemic scholars".

  • I thought lines were words people say, what does 'lines' mean in 'these lines', that is what is really puzzling me. – Rui May 18 '14 at 18:33
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    Ah, I see. "lines" in this case is different to the meaning you understand (although I think the origin of the idiom "along these lines", which is the meaning you're after, is connected). If you think of the department as having a line of fiction writers facing a line of systemic scholars, these are the "lines" that the department is split by (a line of similar types). Definition of "Along these lines". But also see the idiom linked above. – jaredlt May 18 '14 at 19:00
  • I check the reference your gave, but I think that department along these lines should means ** department of similar type**? – Rui May 19 '14 at 20:21

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