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Questions tagged [literature]

Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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Comma uncommon usage

At the beginning of The Magician's Nephew, CS Lewis wrote: In those days Mr. Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street and the Bastables were looking for treasure in the Lewisham Road. In ...
jean-luc's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Understanding the joke, "Make an 'ell, I say" (from The Crux)

Reading chapter 1 of The Crux, there is a joke that I don't understand about the three "Foote girls," who are in their 50s and visiting Mr. and Mrs. Lane. Here is the paragraph in question: ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes
2 answers
184 views

What's the meaning of "sing'lar"?

And a mighty sing'lar and pretty place it is, as ever I saw in all the days of my life!" said Captain Jorgan, looking up at it. The term is mentioned in the first line of Charles Dickens's A ...
POP POP's user avatar
  • 131
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

In H. P. Lovecraft's work - how is "The Prolonged of Life" understood when it comes to meaning?

I'm translating one of the stories into my mother tongue and I'm struggling with the name of one of the elder gods - "The Prolonged of Life". I do not really understand how this is meant to ...
Petr Ro's user avatar
  • 91
0 votes
1 answer
59 views

What does "the jeering claque of the State police" mean?

I found this phrase in John Le Carré's novel Smiley's People. The whole sentence is: The chattering customers in the café became the jeering claque of the State police; the slamming of the bagatelle ...
Silent Sojourner's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Meaning of "teen" in Aeschylus's play "The Persians"

I came across the phrase "how shall I bear my teen?" in Aeschylus' play "The Persians". I also saw "the children of teen" in "Seven against Thebes". What ...
Ellen's user avatar
  • 91
2 votes
0 answers
127 views

Which work of Shakespeare "oftentimes better than a master of one" appears in if it it accredited to him? [duplicate]

A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one is apparently accredited to William Shakespeare. Just to clarify - I mean the FULL quote, not just 'Jack of all ...
Ziarek's user avatar
  • 131
5 votes
5 answers
1k views

What is the meaning of "the granite moulding of the inflexible jaw"?

I am quoting from the Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Three Quarter by Arthur Conan Doyle : "Yet even without knowing his brilliant record one could not fail to be impressed by a mere ...
aissam's user avatar
  • 775
1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Meaning of the structure [be + to + verb] in this context

I’m trying to understand the meaning of “whom they are to admire” in this long sentence: From these causes it results that the advocates of drastic reform divide themselves into opposing schools, ...
apadana's user avatar
  • 455
1 vote
0 answers
43 views

Meaning of "she has hern" in Faulkner's 'As I Lay Dying' [duplicate]

I am reading "As I Lay Dying" and have usually been able to look up the meaning behind the choice of words that Faulkner uses. However, I am unable to find a satisfactory definition of the ...
Nate's user avatar
  • 111
2 votes
2 answers
252 views

Meaning of "low, cherry voices" in Stephen King's 'The Jaunt'

In Stephen King's The Jaunt, I found this sentence: Five Jaunt attendants circulate, speaking in low, cherry voices and offering glasses of milk. It's either a typo (was supposed to be 'cheery') or ...
obym's user avatar
  • 29
1 vote
1 answer
505 views

What is the backdrop of a theatre play act called?

I'm not sure where else to ask this since I'm not very familiar with this area. What is the backdrop of a theatre play act called? Like when the actors are behind the curtains and their silhouettes ...
Anonymous Curiosity's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
535 views

What might the term "B-I-T-sweetie" mean in the context of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes's play "The Mule-Bone"?

I am currently reading through Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes's 1931 play, The Mule-Bone, and I am rather puzzled by the term "B-I-T-sweetie," which shows up in this exchange in Act ...
qoheleth's user avatar
  • 568
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Meaning of 'Thou shalt be pinched As thick as honeycomb, […].' in The Tempest

The Tempest, Act I, scene 2, lines 326-331: For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins Shall forth at vast of night that they may work All ...
user58319's user avatar
  • 4,112
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does this string ('[they] have stood Miss Shepherd in the stocks for turning in her toes') in David Copperfield mean?

What does the bolded string (in David Copperfield) mean? Why do I secretly give Miss Shepherd twelve Brazil nuts for a present, I wonder? They are not expressive of affection, they are difficult to ...
Carmen Alvarez's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
25 views

How is death "romanticized"? [closed]

Many times in question papers we can see that there's a question on "how death is romanticized in xxxx poem/ story?" My question is how do we determine that the writer has romanticized death ...
user479605's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
106 views

"learned" vs. "learnt" in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I have seen the answers to this question, yet I am not entirely sure how to interpret the difference between "learned" and "learnt" in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice says &...
SwedishOwlSerpent's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
101 views

'As that they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible'

There is a quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is as follows: “It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together, and yet for the advantage of some, conversation ought ...
Maria's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
7k views

What do 'flat-chested' and 'unromantic' mean when speaking of a house?

I am quoting from the Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Six Napoleons, by Arthur Conan Doyle: In half an hour we had reached Pitt Street, a quiet little backwater just beside one of the briskest ...
aissam's user avatar
  • 775
1 vote
0 answers
118 views

What denotational or connotational differences distinguish ‘thence’ from ‘therefrom’? [closed]

Thence vs. Therefrom When is it better to use each of these two words, thence and therefrom? Are they completely identical, or do they differ in denotations or connotations? If so, how? I’ve looked up ...
TylerDurden's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
59 views

My hound "taking charge of my gun"

In Edgar Allan Poe's short story Landor's Cottage, published in 1849, the narrator, having started to feel lost during a "pedestrian tour" and anticipating having to spend the night outside, ...
Joachim's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
46 views

How to analyze the following sentence in A Tale Of Two Cities? [duplicate]

May someone help me understand the syntax of the bold part in the following sentence? From A Tale of Two Cities, Book the Second - I. Five Years Later After bursting open a door of idiotic obstinacy ...
Cynthia Lin's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
149 views

What is the function of "the world over"

A few weeks before I had been an unknown school-teacher in Dayton, a little town in the mountains of Tennessee. Now I was involved in a trial reported the world over. (The Trial That Rocked the World ...
Cold Hand's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
88 views

Use of 'but' in 'Not a star but might not shoot down ...'

The young moon lies on her back tonight as is her habit in the tropics, and as, I think, is suitable if not seemly for a virgin. Not a star but might not shoot down and accept the invitation to become ...
Cold Hand's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
578 views

What does "god Audate" mean?

In Self-Reliance by Emerson, the online texts I have found say: He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling ...
user1689987's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
195 views

What is it called when a range of two opposites is used to describe everything? (both great and small, both good and evil, both body and soul, etc.)

What is the literary term for a construction that coordinates two opposites or complementary ideas to describe a whole and everything in between? Both great and small, both good and evil, both body ...
Autumn's user avatar
  • 69
1 vote
2 answers
47 views

What is the meaning of “half as dear and precious to each other as” in this?

'To be to you what you were once to him,' cried the younger, falling on his knee before him; 'to repay your old affection, brother dear, by constant care, solicitude, and love; to be, at your right ...
Asmaa's user avatar
  • 33
0 votes
1 answer
269 views

What does "take a high line" means?

Quote:"The greatest and perhaps the wealthiest. I am aware, Mr. Holmes, that you take a very high line in professional matters, and that you are prepared to work for the work's sake. I may tell ...
aissam's user avatar
  • 775
0 votes
1 answer
260 views

Who is Augustus De Morgan's "New Zealander"?

Augustus De Morgan's A Budget of Paradoxes (1863–1867) contains several references to an apocryphal "New Zealander," without explanation. What's the in-joke here? I grok from context that ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
  • 2,724
0 votes
1 answer
77 views

What does “This might easily be, the house having been long deserted” mean?

This passage is from Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit, chapter 29: There was a fair stroke of business doing, as Mistress Affery made out, for her husband had abundant occupation in his little office, ...
anjan 's user avatar
  • 721
2 votes
4 answers
101 views

Meaning of Newton's sentence on God and natural phenomena

I read this sentence in Newton's Principia, in General Scholium: This concludes the discussion of God, and to treat of God from phenomena is certainly a part of natural philosophy. (Cohen translation,...
zeynel's user avatar
  • 139
1 vote
2 answers
255 views

Meaning of this sentence from Ulysses by Joyce

I am not a native speaker and I fail to understand the meaning of the word "monks" (and even whether it is a noun or a verb) in the following quote, from the third chapter of Proteus: The ...
Abeille's user avatar
  • 19
0 votes
1 answer
182 views

What is a dry county in this context?

I'm reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, which contains this passage (emphasis added): These were said to be individuals who beat the tar out of each other, husbands belting wives, mothers ...
Thomas Johnson's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

I am glad you are come

In the Middlemarch novel by George Elliot, in the chapter 22 of the book three, Dorothea said to Will Ladislaw, a cousin of Mr.Casaubon, I am glad you are come…. This is not a printing error, but I ...
Dzung Nguyen's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
90 views

What is meant when light is like a benediction?

I've recently undertaken to expand and enrich my vocabulary, but the word "benediction" has me stumped. I believe I have a good sense of the denotative meaning, but the connotative meaning ...
A.L. Ion's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
147 views

What does the verb "scrolf" mean?

I was skimming through Laureen Beukes' novel Zoo City (having already read it once), and at some point my eyes fell on the following sentence on the 2nd page: Leaving the Mongoose to scrolf at its ...
m.a.a.'s user avatar
  • 1,621
-1 votes
1 answer
71 views

Which kind of love is "defeated love"?

In the end of J. M. Coetzee's short story "Nietverloren" a narrator complains about how South Africa changed, and there happens the following dialogue: “You sound bitter.” “The bitterness ...
Ihor Shnaider's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
3k views

The unusual phrasing "verb + the + comparative adjective" in the Lord of the Rings novels

I first noticed this phrasing in Sam's famous speech in the The Two Towers movie. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. The highlighted part seems to originate in the second book of ...
Sandervv04's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
98 views

Does the sentence "'This time, you won't get away,' squinted the man" make sense? [closed]

Usually, in literature they would use a myriad of words for "said" after quoting what the man says. Is using a different verb, like "squinted," correct in literature?
holylulu's user avatar
  • 133
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

What does the `'` mean in english word

I am kind stuck when reading a sonnet: That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin'd choirs, where ...
James's user avatar
  • 135
1 vote
1 answer
841 views

What is the meaning for the sentence: "I trust that age doth not wither nor custom stale my infinite variety"?

I did understand the words word by word but how do they make up a meaningful sentence is too much for me. I am quoting from the Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Empty House, by Arthur Conan Doyle: I ...
aissam's user avatar
  • 775
1 vote
2 answers
102 views

What is the meaning of "campaigner" in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes?

I am quoting from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Final Problem by Arthur Conan Doyle: "Because you will find me a dangerous companion now. This man's occupation is gone. He is lost if he ...
aissam's user avatar
  • 775
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

From whose perspective the author is saying in the following fragment

I am trying to translate the short story by J. M. Coetzee but can't understand how exactly to interpret the sentence in the second paragraph. The story narrates about a young boy who finds a strange ...
Ihor Shnaider's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
116 views

What does "a paper of sandwiches" mean?

I am quoting from the TV series "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" (episode 3, "The Naval Treaty"): After leaving at the station I went for a charming walk through some admirable ...
aissam's user avatar
  • 775
1 vote
0 answers
117 views

Did the English place name "Frome" used to be pronounced as it is spelled?

The English town Frome is famously pronounced as "froom". The following is two stanzas from the dedication of G.K. Chesterton's poem Ballad of the White Horse, from 1911. Up through an ...
Se F's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
211 views

Why isn't there a comma in "Unloose him Frodo!"?

I was rather shocked by the extremely sparse use of commas by Tolkien, but in most cases, it still falls "within reason". However, there is one place (so far) in The Two Towers which just ...
Faramir's user avatar
  • 19
1 vote
0 answers
45 views

tell me the meaning of this line "you might as well choke getting yourself born"

I have a question from "A Day No Pigs Would Die." I can't get the grammatical usage and exact meaning of the following lines “Calf,” I said to him, “you stay up your ma’s hind-side and you’...
Ashley Maria's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
129 views

what does the expression "I was feathered" mean?

I'm reading "A Day No Pigs Would Die." I’d just wound up running away from Edward Thatcher and running away from the schoolhouse. I was feathered if I was going to run away from one darn ...
Ashley Maria's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
217 views

What does this sentence mean? ‘Two of the bell and mark him, boy, whip-cat tippled already.’

An amused man passing me and pointing to a drunkard struggling to get back on his feet. ‘Two of the bell and mark him, boy, whip-cat tippled already.’ From How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.
shirin mf's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
224 views

The word "new" may be an Adverb or an Adjective

I am trying to understand this sentence where the word 'new' can both be an adverb and also an adjective. Can someone please help me explain the ambiguous structure and the meaning conveyed in the ...
Jonathan's user avatar

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