0

The context involves a woman in love with an abusive man. We are told of this relationship that:

As he drank and was of a violent character, she did not want to marry him, but was willing to live with him without.

  • “About Love.” In Anton Chekhov's Selected Stories. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014.

It seems 'without' is short for 'without marriage'. If so, how can we explain this usage? What warrants the apparent ellipsis here?

5
  • 2
    Perhaps only the fact that Chekhov is so famous that the translator (Garnett) can get away with it. The translation is over 100 years old. // Perhaps the 'intransitive adposition' is being anticipated. 'Without' perhaps meaning 'outside the house' ... 'in the doghouse'? Or as you guess, the metaphorical extension. Apr 15 '20 at 15:56
  • 1
    It would be useful if some native speakers of Russian could give their opinion by comparing the original version with its translation.
    – user373710
    Apr 15 '20 at 16:07
  • @EdwinAshworth I tried searching for 'intransitive adposition' and couldn't find anything. Is there a place I can go to learn about this?
    – Pound Hash
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:00
  • (a) At least outside of CGEL and similar treatments, 'adposition' is the blanket term, the hypernym, for prepositions and postpositions (there is the odd postposition in English [eg 'I gave up smoking many years _ago' / 'The drop in daily deaths notwithstanding, we must continue to socially distance']). (b) Many grammarians accept the English word subclass 'intransitive preposition' nowadays. (c) I seem to remember that 'without' in its archaic meaning 'outside' could be used after, as well as before, the noun group. So 'without' might be seen as a relict of 'the walls without', say. Apr 16 '20 at 11:56
  • I was able to access another more modern translation which simply does away with any mention of the troublesome 'without'. The sentence instead finishes simply with "was willing to live with him." This, in a way, is probably the answer to my question. The word 'without' should probably not even be there.
    – Pound Hash
    Apr 18 '20 at 15:42
3

Well, I've found the original text in Russian. The original text says, "she didn't want to marry him, however she didn't mind living this way", ie. without changes.

Hope it helped.

1
  • This then suggests the possible meaning of 'nevertheless' or 'regardless'. Perhaps this is what is meant by 'without'.
    – Pound Hash
    Jan 12 '21 at 20:52
1

My interpretation of the ellipsis is:

... she did not want to marry him, but was willing to live with him without doing so.

1
  • This interpretation leads to a conflict between the use of the negative in the first clause and the conjunction 'but' joining the second clause. If she didn't want to live with him, then the second clause should be joined with 'and', not 'but'.
    – Pound Hash
    Jan 12 '21 at 20:57
0

There is a somewhat archaic use of "without" to mean "outside". It could be that the sentence implies a readiness to live "outside" marriage so to speak

1
  • 2
    Yes, I know of that meaning. But the ellipsis remains.
    – Pound Hash
    Apr 16 '20 at 3:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.