11 votes
Accepted

What is a "sixpenny hop" in D. H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers"?

Graham Handley's annotated edition of Sons and Lovers simply explains that it is "a cheap dance" (page 93). Originally, admission to such dances must have cost exactly six pence, as this ...
CDR's user avatar
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11 votes

Francis Bacon's "The Advancement of Learning"

The word mould could also mean earth, dirt, soil, and that's what it means here. From the OED: mould | mold: In singular and (later) plural: earth, esp. loose, broken, or friable earth; surface soil. ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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9 votes

Meaning of a passage in Milton's Sonnet 21

Milton is asking his friend Cyriack Skinner to take a brief break from studious pursuits. The opening stanza introduces Skinner, whose grandfather was the celebrated jurist Edward Coke, Chief Justice ...
verbose's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

Trouble understanding two lines from John Donne's poem "The Good Morrow"

tl;dr The speaker is saying, "Let it be the case that that sea-discoverers have found new worlds. Let there be maps that have shown many such worlds to others," and implying, "So what?&...
verbose's user avatar
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7 votes

Meaning of "It is the ego, demanding its feed" in "Smiley's People"

There is an idiom in English: feed one's ego, defined as To do something that encourages or affirms one's inflated sense of self-importance. Le Carré has pulled this idiom apart (something which ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

Difficulty understanding the meaning of the word "attitude" in Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Your argument is that the urn cannot have an “attitude” (in the sense “a posture of the body”), even considered as a figure of personification, because it is “presumably just sitting there, upright, ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
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In Lord Byron's "Don Juan," what was the lead character "half-smother'd" by?

This is a joke, a double entendre. die, v. I.6.e. 1600– intransitive. To experience sexual orgasm. Now somewhat archaic. Oxford English Dictionary. In the plain reading of the stanzas, Juan “nearly ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

What is the "tin box" in D. H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers"?

A “tin box” was a kind of trunk, which a family might use to transport their clothes and other personal items when travelling: Tin-box, Tin-case, a strong iron box tinned† and japanned,‡ for holding ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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3 votes

What is the meaning of "They don't let you" in "The House At Pooh Corner"?

I believe that phrase is an implication that there are certain things you can do as a child that you are not allowed to do as an adult. In the transition from younger child to older child, there is a ...
theboombody's user avatar
3 votes

Meaning of "It is the ego, demanding its feed" in "Smiley's People"

Essentially, Smiley is saying that it is a selfish statement, all about him. Ego is the self, and is often used as shorthand to describe thinking too highly of oneself. "Demanding its feed" ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

Meaning of speech in Synge's "Deirdre of the Sorrows"

This is indeed very elliptical. In order to make sense of the lines, it is necessary to know something of the legend that is Synge's source. A prophecy at her birth foretold that Deirdre would be the ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes

Meaning of description of Jim waking in "The Gift of the Magi"

Jim is not waking from sleep. He is stunned to see that Della has cut her hair, and it takes him a moment to recover. When he does get over the initial shock, it is as if he wakes up from a trance. ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes

Are there crossword puzzle clues in Roy Fuller's "News of the World"?

Crossword clues come with letter counts. An example could be Titan maps mountains (5)†. With no letter counts given, the statements in the second stanza are highly unlikely to be intended as crossword ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes

What does "the heathen" have to do with "horseback riding" here?

Jack is a lodger in a boarding house, and is frequently shown to be a show-off. He dresses flamboyantly, recites poetry and passages from plays, and generally tries to call attention to himself. In ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
1 vote

Why is Gatsby's house described as "ancestral"?

When I read the novel recently that line stood out near the end. Frankly, I took him (Nick) to be mocking Jay Gatsby's nouveau riche / pretender status and lifestyle. But that's just how I read it. ...
Omortis's user avatar
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