I do not know what "of such" means in the following quotation:

“Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival . . . a survival of a hugely remote period when . . . consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity . . . forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds. . . .” —Algernon Blackwood.

Googling for the meaning of "of such" does not help, as Google returns definitions of "such," ignoring "of."


Merriam-webster dictionary definition of such number four is the contextual meaning for your passage.

4 : of the same class, type, or sort

"Of" preceding "such" in this passage shares a similar context with the word "among".


Of such great powers (or beings), there may be a survival == There may be a survival of such great powers (or beings)

Core Phrase to look up is not of such, but rather such great powers.

Of is the same usage as in your own wording :
... meaning of "of such" does not help
definitions of "such" ....


I think if you replace ‘of such’ with ‘about those’, then you’ll have a better chance of understanding this sentence.

‘Of such’ really means ‘talking about these’... great powers. Or ‘on the topic of... such great powers...’

Example: ‘Of Mice and Men’ - a book, about (presumably) mice and men. The ‘of’ just means ‘about’. As in ‘about... mice and men’.

Or: "The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings” Alice, Lewis Carroll

The ‘of’s just mean ‘about’. About shoes, about cabbages...

The ‘such’ in your example is an extra word that really means ‘those’. It identifies the ‘great powers or beings’.

So if you just replace ‘of such’ with ‘about those’, I think the sentence will make sense to you.

‘Of such’ in this sentence is not an expression, in my view. Rather, it is two separate words that happen to have shown up together.


I think such means very hear, exactly the same meaning in other instances.And when we say "of such" + noun it means it is very+ adj "form of the mentioned noun". For example, from the longman dictionary: The picture was of such clarity that it could have been a photograph. It simply means the picture is so clear that it could have been a photograph

  • Sorry, but this is simply not correct. The whole sentence may mean it was very clear, but ’of such’ does not. – Jim Aug 4 at 6:16
  • Yes: Jim is correct. A valid sentence is "The picture was of such clarity that the figure could not be discerned at all" -- that may be an unusual usage, but it demonstrates that of such merely means "of the class described". In my sentence, it's the class of blurry pictures. – Andrew Leach Aug 17 at 7:13

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