It's a long time since we've seen you, Bendrix.

For some reason I am a man known by his surname - I might never have been christened for all the use my friends make of the rather affected Maurice my literary parents gave me.

Could anyone paraphrase this for me? What did my friends do with the name Maurice?


2 Answers 2


"rather affected" - somewhat pretentious or fake

"my literary parents" - well-educated, but probably snobbish, parents

"christened" - given a Christian name, old-fashioned way of saying given a name

"never...all the use" - the negative never lets us know that the name is not used

Translated to more modern English it might read: "My smarty-pants parents gave me the very pretentious name Maurice, but since my friends so rarely use it, it's almost like I was never named at all."

  • Haha, I’m enlightened, thanks! One more question, is Maurice really a pretentious name for you English native speakers?
    – Emma Zhou
    Feb 26, 2019 at 15:53
  • Much more pretentious than "Space Cowboy".
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 26, 2019 at 20:16
  • @EmmaZhou Sorry, just saw your reply. I wouldn't say, to me, that Maurice is a pretentious name. I'm not sure if all native English speakers would agree, but at least in North America, I don't imagine it's very pretentious. The being said, I may not be educated enough to understand how affected (pretentious) the name is, because I cannot draw the connection between "Maurice" and literature the original author implied.
    – Rick
    Apr 9, 2019 at 15:40

He's saying that he might as well have not been given the first name Maurice because no one uses that part of his name.

"for all the use" is usually used to denote little or no use. For instance, a bottle of scotch in a house where no one drinks alcohol might be described: "The bottle might as well have been empty for all the use they made of it."

  • Thank you so much! Exactly, it’s “for all the use” that confused me in the first place.
    – Emma Zhou
    Feb 26, 2019 at 15:49

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