Questions tagged [literature]

Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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109 views

What is the meaning of “a personal odyssey of the self”? [closed]

I was reading the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari which has the following sentence: He describes his time in this far-away land as a personal odyssey of the self. What does this sentence mean?
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35 views

What's the origin of the phrase “fatal dower”?

I recently ran across the phrase "Constantine's fatal dower," which sounded like a quotation, so I googled it. The specific reference to Constantine that started my quest comes from Canto XIX of ...
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2answers
69 views

What does “the apricot and black humid evening” mean? [closed]

Mes fenêtres! Hanging above blotched sunset and welling night, grinding my teeth, I would crowd all the demons of my desire against the railing of a throbbing balcony: it would be ready to take off ...
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1answer
30 views

Which word can replace “provision” in this excerpt from Pride and Prejudice?

The sentence is: "Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and ...
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1answer
67 views

Meaning of “sleep” and “shave it through on the grub”

I read in "The White Silent" of Jack London and see this sentence 'Only one day. We can shave it through on the grub, and I might knock over a moose.' I do not understand meaning of 'we can ...
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1answer
38 views

Is there a literary device to show how a character or interactions with a character changes as the story goes on?

I'm trying to break down Wilfred Owen's Disabled, and I feel like there should be a device for describing his condition before and after the war. Girls treat him so differently. He used to be a ...
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1answer
75 views

What's a word to describe someone who loves to solve puzzles and mysteries? [duplicate]

One of my friends loves puzzles-jigsaw, logic, pretty much anything. He is also addicted to reading murder mysteries and tries to figure out who killed the guy. Basically, he enjoys working things out ...
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1answer
55 views

What is “monarchs of the stage”?

Joseph Conrad, "Karain, a Memory": His smallest acts were prepared and unexpected, his speeches grave, his sentences ominous like hints and complicated like arabesques. He was treated with a solemn ...
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6answers
7k views

“I you already know”: is this proper English?

I found this sentence in Terry Pratchett's "Interesting Times": (*) “Great wizard,” said Butterfly, bowing. “I you already know, but these two are Lotus Blossom and Three Yoked Oxen, other members ...
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3answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “you has the wind of me”?

I ran into this excerpt from the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson: I can see, can't I? I've tried my fling, I have, and I've lost, and it's you has the wind of me. Source: Google ...
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1answer
85 views

What is candlebox? No info in the dictionaries

Joseph Conrad, "Youth": In two days it blew a gale. The Judea, hove to, wallowed on the Atlantic like an old candle-box. It might appear to be a strange question, but see for yourself: no results ...
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1answer
95 views

What does Scandinavian Home mean? Late XIX, early XX century. Great Britain

Joseph Conrad, "The Nigger Of The "Narcissus": A Tale Of The Forecastle": the two young Norwegians looked tidy, meek, and altogether of a promising material for the kind ladies who patronise the ...
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1answer
165 views

What is “taytottlers”?

Joseph Conrad, "The Nigger Of The "Narcissus: A Tale Of The Forecastle": Donkin gulped greedily, glaring over the rim. Belfast made us laugh when with grimacing mouth he shouted:—“Pass it this way. ...
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2answers
67 views

Subject/Object Confusion in The Silmarillion [duplicate]

In Tolkein's "The Silmarillion", page 216 of the chapter "Of Túrin Turambar", the following is written: "[...] this Wildman was the Mormegil of Nargothrond, whom rumour said was the son of Húrin ...
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1answer
51 views

What did Jane Austen mean by “employ for captivation”?

I read the phrase employ for captivation in Jane Austen’s 1813 Regency novel, Pride and Prejudice: “Undoubtedly,” replied Darcy, to whom this remark was chiefly addressed, “there is a meanness in ...
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3answers
57 views

Looking for a well-known refrain or proverb indicating that some big trouble has just started

I am translating into English a famous refrain from Spanish, Ahí fue Troya. That means something like Then a big trouble started. I am looking for some correspondingly recognizable refrain I can ...
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1answer
49 views

What is the meaning of this qoute?

What is the meaning of this quote? Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, ...
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2answers
102 views

Definition, Origin, and Extent of “Matter” as a title in Literature

Why was "Matter" chosen for the Matter of Britain, the Matter of France and the Matter of Rome? What would the exact definition of "Matter" be in this instance? Written/Printed Material, or a Theme/...
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1answer
64 views

Meaning of this sentence in Lolita? [closed]

Here is the paragraph from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita- My task proved simpler than either of us had anticipated. Save for the correction of obvious solecisms and a careful suppression of a few ...
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1answer
43 views

What is the meaning of this sentence in Lolita?

Here is the paragraph from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita:- My task proved simpler than either of us had anticipated. Save for the correction of obvious solecisms and a careful suppression of a few ...
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3answers
50 views

What does this quote mean and how do you define it? [closed]

“Better than to exaggerate, I have lessened in all things.” - La Relacíon
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2answers
869 views

What do “Sech” and “Vich” mean in this sentence?

I am reading a book on life lessons, and the author quotes one of Charles Dickens's characters, Sarah Gamp, from his novel, Martin Chuzzlewit: Sech is life. Vich likeways is the hend of all things....
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1answer
45 views

what does “Let tomorrow wait its turn, today still has tonight on its side” mean? [closed]

Let tomorrow wait its turn, today still has tonight on its side. What does that mean? Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fL8ddOqPjk&feature=youtu.be
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0answers
35 views

As for you, Frodo, in so far as lies in me

It's from The Lord of the Rings: ‘Then I will declare my doom,’ said Faramir. ‘As for you, Frodo, in so far as lies in me under higher authority, I declare you free in the realm of Gondor to ...
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2answers
73 views

In a Tale of Two Cities, Dickens says “in short, the period was so far like the present period” in the first paragraph of the first chapter [closed]

What does he mean? Does he mean that the periods were very different, or very similar?
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Can't make sense of a paragraph from Lovecraft

I decided to start reading some work of Lovecraft.  Reading The Beast in the Cave, I got stuck at the first paragraph I encountered: The horrible conclusion which had been gradually obtruding ...
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3answers
2k views

What does “rhumatis” mean?

I know that Uncle Tom's Cabin is full of neologisms, and I try my best to grit my teeth and infer as best I can without racing down every such rabbit hole that presents itself, but with rhumatis, for ...
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1answer
64 views

Meter and rhythm in Poetry [closed]

Why is poetry called a 'literature in metrical form' or 'a composition forming rhythmic lines'?
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3answers
6k views

What does “FRANCE TO PLACE” mean?

From Pat Hobby, Putative Father by F. Scott Fitzgerald: He searched the orange pages frantically. Below the form sheets, the past performances, the endless oracles for endless racetracks, his eye ...
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3answers
53 views

his Ixion embrace

In the British science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, "The food of the Gods", I read: "No doubt he was among the first to discover them. They were scattered at intervals up and down the path between ...
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5answers
197 views

Jane Austen “Persuasion” Syntax Analysis

This is from Chapter four of "Persuasion" by Jane Austen: She was persuaded that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home, and every anxiety attending his profession, all their probable ...
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2answers
107 views

The meaning of Robinson Crusoe’s “and without with turf”

Towards night, I fixed upon a proper place, under a rock, and marked out a semicircle for my encampment ; which I resolved to strengthen with a work, wall, or fortification, made of double piles, ...
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1answer
69 views

Can the word “backhanded” be easily misunderstood by a young kid?

In a recent question at Spanish Language it has been asked about the translation of "backhanded" into Spanish as "treacherous". I answered that that is an adaptation more than a translation because of ...
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3answers
71 views

Meaning of “He every instant fancies …”

"Besides the good things which he possesses, he every instant fancies a thousand others which death will prevent him from trying if he does not try them soon." In this sentence, I didn't grasp the ...
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2answers
83 views

Who is stabbed here?

I'm not sure who is stabbed and who is snarling here. " Ralf launched himself like a cat; stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up." Thanks in advance
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2answers
74 views

What does it mean? 'pulling it low over her face' [closed]

"She walked out the kitchen into the living room and picked up one of Michael’s baseball caps that he’d left on the sofa, before pulling it low over her face." Can you give a description of an action ...
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1answer
55 views

What is the meaning of this sentence :“she drew up the blind in impatient jerks.”

What does this sentence mean? "When she had finished her hasty dressing she drew up the blind in impatient jerks". And what does "gulf" mean here? : "Between the long gulf of dark houses" thanks ...
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2answers
51 views

Trouble understanding a passage from the Scarlet Letter

Pg 1 of “the Custom House” “... fittingly be addressed only and exclusively to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy; as if the printed book, thrown at large on the wide world, were certain to ...
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1answer
27 views

Infinite in literature.

"To be alone with her. She ashed her cigarettes and put them out in an empty Coke she had been drinking, and when I bit into the sandwich, she said:" "To be alone with her" - Does it just describe a ...
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1answer
99 views

Meaning of “it pools in a little heart around the meat”

"When Pop plates it, the liver smells, but the gravy he made to slather on it pools in a little heart around the meat, and I wonder if Pop did that on purpose." "it pools in a little heart around the ...
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1answer
318 views

Meaning of “In an ill hour”

To all these words which Don Quixote said, a certain Biscaine squire, that accompanied the coach, gave ear; who, seeing that Don Quixote suffered not the coach to pass onward, but said that it must ...
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1answer
237 views

What is an “indirect dialogue/discourse”?

I came upon this paragraph during my practice for a literature test. "...Lin stood in the yard facing the front wall while flipping over a dozen mildewed books he had left to be sunned on a stack of ...
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1answer
317 views

How should I understand these lines from As You Like It?

I am currently on my second reading of As You Like It. I am having a really hard time comprehending lines 22-25 in Act 1, scene 2. Here are those lines as they appear in the version I am reading (The ...
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1answer
55 views

Is it possible to use present and past in one sentence?

In On The Road Jack admits to Justin W. Brierly that he loves Neal Cassady because he reminds him of his brother, Gerard, who dies when Jack was five years old. Is this grammatical? The first part of ...
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1answer
78 views

What does this quote from “The adventures of Sherlock Holmes” mean? [closed]

A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it. ...
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1answer
38 views

What does “through their youthful games an entire index of their future lives may be obtained.” mean in the context?

But animal children grow up and stop playing to a certain extent as age advances, precisely as human children do. Each settles down into a more practical condition of life. They dislike to have thier ...
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2answers
88 views

Meaning of “Stir fecund”

I came across this phrase in literature, and I am not sure what it exactly means? Any help would be appreciated. Examples: D. H. Lawrence: That in the dark of the night ahead other days stir ...
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1answer
80 views

Be we all here?

The passage below is taken from Life's Little Ironies by Thomas Hardy. My question concerns "Now be we all here?". I understand that it means "Now are we all here?". The writer might have left the ...
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0answers
89 views

Why is the math in Winnie the Pooh's so poor? Is it deliberate? [closed]

Earlier, I was reading Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne and lit upon this passage: Piglet is so small that he slips into a pocket, where it is very comforting to feel him when you are not quite ...
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1answer
436 views

What is the exact meaning of this excerpt from Chapter 52 of “Pride and Prejudice ” by Jane Austen?

While elaborating on the arrangement between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham in her letter to her niece Elizabeth Bennet, Mrs. Gardiner mentions the following: ...His debts are to be paid, amounting, I ...