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This comes from The Confidence Man from Herman Melville:

"To where it belongs with your charity! to heaven with it!" again snapped out the other, diabolically; "here on earth, true charity dotes, and false charity plots. Who betrays a fool with a kiss, the charitable fool has the charity to believe is in love with him,* and the charitable knave on the stand gives charitable testimony for his comrade in the box."

It seems that the author is saying "The charitable fool has the charity to believe who betrays a fool with a kiss is in love with him", so it does seem like an anastrophe, but this is the weirdest one I've seen. Usually, we inverse words, and not phrases.

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For a little context, let's start with this:

So what sort of sensation is misanthropy? The answer is that it is a multiple, self-contradictory sensation. If eros, as Anne Carson has shown, is "sweet-bitter," misos (the Greek word for hatred) might also leave room for the love of a cigar or of refreshing peach, of self-companionship, or even the need for companionship of others, as when awakened by peals of thunder in the night. Misanthropic sentiments thus are not necessarily divorced from empathy or sensuality, companionship or even love, but in Melville's rendering, might even rely on them. This love-hatred, or at least kind-cruelty, is not surprising, given that Melville often seeks to show how philia and agape (caritas) are themselves duplicitous. In Melville's satire on Emersonian and Thoreauvian friendship in the chapter titled "The Hypothetical Friends," Frank Goodman (the cosmopolitan) and Charlie Noble (Egbert) debate how "enmity lies couched in friendship" (CM, 203). in the face of the Pauline apothegm from his "Letter to the Corinthians" that "charity never faileth," in The Confidence-Man any charity given in confidence might prove a confidence game or be driven by an ulterior self-interest. To take just one example, in chapter three Melville shows how racism and suspicion disallow the passengers expressions of charity for the "Black Guinea": "here on earth, true charity dotes, and false charity plots. Who betrays a fool with a kiss, the charitable fool has the charity to believe is in love with him, and the charitable knave on the stand gives charitable testimony for his comrade in the box" (CM, 14). As Melville blurs foolish or doting charity with false, plotting charity, philanthropy and misanthropy seemingly confuse their affective coordinates.

(Melville’s Philosophies edited by Branka Arsic, K. L. Evans)

Half our problem is that Melville is layering metaphor. "Who betrays a fool with a kiss" is a reference to the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas with a kiss (see the Bible's book of Luke 22:46-47). This sets off (at least Christian) readers as we do not generally take Jesus to be a fool, but Melville is trying to make a point with the metaphor: if Christian charity is to assume the act of a kiss is a charitable (and therefore we assume honest) act expressing love or affection (because we, the receivers of the kiss are not always lovable or deserving of love), then it's foolish to trust such an act because the Confidence Man (the "knave" or, at the lowest level of metaphor, Judas) is in actuality giving an honest testimony or witness condemning Christ (the "comrade in the box") to the authorities.

Therefore, what Melville is trying to say (if I don't make angels weep in the effort), is that we are fools to believe charity is anything but fraudulent, because we are either fooling ourselves or being fooled.

Remember that Melville begins that statement with "To where it belongs with your charity! to heaven with it!" telling us, the reader, the he believes charity can only be truly expressed by the Divine and never by we duplicitous mortals.

And because Melville was layering metaphor to make a point, you can't analyze the statement via an anastrophe (well, at least in my opinion), because it isn't reversible without also reversing the layers of metaphor. I took a crack at it, but it made my head hurt.

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  • So you're saying it's not an anastrophe? It's confusing, because "believe is in love" seems ungrammatical.
    – Sayaman
    Feb 17, 2019 at 14:53
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    @repomonster, honestly, I think it is ungrammatical and this is one of those instances where editors lost to the notoriety of the author. Think of it as, "the fool who thinks the other fool is in love with him." Also, while I'm sure some will argue, I don't believe the statement is intrinsically an anastrophe. The phraseology is in the correct (common) order - Melville just said it badly (and that may get me lynched by Melville fans).
    – JBH
    Feb 17, 2019 at 18:18

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