New answers tagged

3

American girls were, indeed, much less chaperoned than their European counterparts and regarded this as their right. This would give them freedoms, such as going for a walk with a gentleman, or going on a row boat out on a lake, without a third party hanging about watching. "Shocking" does not necessarily mean "provoking" though overlap ...


1

In this sentence, "regard" is a verb. One might rephrase the sentence as follows: If some pleasures are worthy and others are low, why should society weigh all preferences equally, let alone regard the sum of such preferences as the greatest good? If we transform the question into a declarative sentence (and reword it a bit), we get the following:...


1

It's the New World and the 20th Century is less than a decade away. North American girls now felt it was acceptable to not be chaperoned all the time. By saying "birthright", the author is expressing this idea in an exaggerated way. In a similar vein, girls now thought they could say things that would be considered forward or even risqué by a ...


8

The pencil. Holmes is saying that the "broad-pointed, violet-tinted" nature of the pencil is not an unusual pattern for pencils, so Holmes can't identify anything sufficiently unique about them. Contrast this with The Adventure of the Three Students, which does involve an unusual pencil: “The pencil was not an ordinary one. It was above the usual ...


1

The sentences can be explained with the help of the fuller context: I speak to Lisa and Lisa speaks of parallel crying, the crying that comes alongside art but not precisely from it. Plot does not jerk the tears from you; some other force corresponds. This pleases me, as I have always preferred parallel lines to perpendicular ones. Perpendicular lines are ...


3

"Once" here means "ever", so Hamlet is asking, "Would the heart of man ever think it or imagine it / this?" The phrase "the heart of man" may refer to a conception of the heart as "the seat of intelligence, motion, and sensation", which goes back to Aristotle [1]. (Aristotle also held that "the heart as ...


2

Chekhov's gun … is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed. … "One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off. It's wrong to make promises you don't mean to keep." … — Chekhov's gun - Wikipedia. Chekhov’s Gun, Chandler’s Gun, and ...


2

Love is a very ambiguous word. Ancient Greek philosophy, for example, distinguished several categories of love, including the following: érōs: desire; sensual or passionate love (etymological source of the adjective "erotic"). agapē: unconditional love; also, especially in a Christian context, "the love of God for man and of man for God"....


4

From a grammatical point of view, the only plural antecedent is "protracted meetings" in the discussion that precedes the quoted passage: "What's the matter with MacDonald? Doesn't he like protracted meetings? And, by the way, what are protracted meetings?" "They're revival meetings—religious meetings, you know, for converting ...


1

"Otherwise" does not mean "already" in this circumstance. He means that the only instance in which talking about his creation would seem acceptable comprehensible to others is if they could convince themselves that he was insane. A mad man telling crazy stories is believable, because he's mad and bound to come up with anything. A sane ...


1

There is no dictionary meaning of the word "otherwise" as "already." A Google Ngrams search of the usage of "otherwise" for the years 1800–1820 does not reveal any examples of the word "otherwise" in that sense. (Click on the 1800–1820 option next to "Search in Google Books" under the graph.) Occam's razor ...


4

There are a couple of other occurrences in Hardy of “Turk” as an imprecation or mild oath. ‘Come to that, is it? Turk! won't thy mother be in a taking! Well, she's ready, I don't doubt?’ Thomas Hardy (1872). Under the Greenwood Tree; a Rural Painting of the Dutch School, volume II, p. 19. London: Tinsley Brothers. ‘Well, why shouldn't the man hang up her ...


4

Your understanding of "hard pushed" is correct. "hard pushed in argument" means "facing great difficulty in putting his side of the argument". "fling the New Yorker at him" is a bit more difficult to explain. Imagine that the Blacksmith is having a heated argument with another individual. It's common in this situation ...


2

In this answer I’ll give a possible further antedating of the phrase “dirt is matter out of place”. First, the speech by Palmerston. As reported by Richard Fardon (Anthropology Today 29:1, p. 25), it was given to the Royal Agricultural Society of England on 15th July 1852, and a report published in The Farmer’s Magazine for August of that year. The toast ...


5

"Dirt is matter out of place" is a phrase apparently originating from Lord Palmerston, but nowadays associated more with Mary Douglas who cited it to Lord Chesterfield. The origin of this phrase is a fascinating topic! Perhaps much more so than you realised when you asked the question. It's commonly attributed nowadays to Mary Douglas and her 1966 ...


2

A delousing station would generally be a place that gets rid of your lice (small insects that live in your hair). However, in this extract, it seems to means a place that will stop you from being a louse (a contemptible or unpleasant person) yourself. So delousing station is wordplay on the meaning of the word louse. The same thing is true for soul — the ...


1

It seems that Howard finds it entertaining to read stories that include fighting. The context is that the speaker, a young man named Howard, is speaking to Renmark, a stranger to the area, about their local library and its selection of books. He is evidently not much of a connoisseur of literature, judging from his remark "They say that's a novel". ...


1

From the excerpt, it seems an argument could be made that "soul" refers to some sort of ethicality - (moral) cleanliness and purity. The mention of a psychiatrist suggests some manner of mental illness. This could be from trauma or psychological disorder. White is a colour that generally represents purity and goodness. Additionally, the mention of ...


4

Temporal sphere means secular matters as opposed to the spiritual sphere, which concerns religious ones. Trevelyan is contrasting the absolutist spiritual sphere, where the Roman Catholic church was the only dogma and the Pope the highest authority, with the relativist temporal one. In medieval England, the monarchy was not absolute. The barons had asserted ...


2

It's not necessarily perfect grammar. People often speak elliptically. Consider it like "These chocolate chip cookies are amazing, even if they do cost three dollars each." So he's saying: "They're immense, [and so are worth it even] if they do cost a quarter each.".


1

Browning is alluding here to the philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg, a mystical Christian philosopher, who propounded the doctrine of correspondence: Moreover, there is no one thing existing in the created world, which has not correspondence with the things existing in the spiritual world, and which does not thereby, in its manner and measure, represent ...


3

My interpretation is that the passage means that "happiness will surely follow". A shotgun is a rather fearsome weapon, which would be sufficient to ward off most things. However, once one has achieved self-sufficiency and independence, one cannot keep from being happy. Happiness here is personified somewhat as something that comes to you, but you ...


-1

It's straight forward to me, without any paradox. Philip Wheelwright's translation (taken from Gareth Rees's answer) seems to say it most clearly: Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find [truth], for it is hard to discover and hard to attain. When you are searching, if you look at only those facts and ideas that fit with what you already know, ...


4

TL;DR: No-one knows exactly what Heraclitus meant. The trouble is that Heraclitus’ book has been lost and all that remains are fragments that survived through being quoted by other authors. Here’s a selection of translations of this fragment: If you do not hope, you will not win that which is not hoped for, since it is unattainable and inaccessible. Ingram ...


2

This quotation comes from a letter to Franz Xaver Kappus: I feel that there is nowhere a human being who can answer you those questions and feelings which have a life of their own within their depths; for even the best men go astray with words, when these are to express something very gentle and almost unutterable. But I believe nevertheless that you need ...


3

If you look at the totality of Hugo's quotation in French, it clearly encompasses evil-doers. This is a misleading translation of a sentence taken out of context. They have translated the word grand (which means big, great, tall in French) as grand, which in English has positive connotations that the word does not have in French. And they have left off the ...


11

The phrase is ‘the sword so often quoted’ and refers to the Sword of Damocles, which in turn refers to the: moral parable popularized by the Roman philosopher Cicero in his 45 B.C. book “Tusculan Disputations.” Cicero’s version of the tale centers on Dionysius II, a tyrannical king who once ruled over the Sicilian city of Syracuse during the fourth and ...


2

There seems to be a basic misconception in the question: namely, that the narrator of the poem is Eliot herself (or else, why would it be relevant whether Eliot “was an night owl”?). I feel that you wouldn’t make this mistake if it were prose: you wouldn’t read the first sentence of Moby-Dick and ask “why is Melville asking us to ‘call him Ishmael’ when his ...


1

The sentence you are asking about starts with “Eventually,” which indicates that it is a continuation of the action in the previous sentence. So we have: in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River […] Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs ...


2

The quotation comes from Margaret Fuller’s translation of Johann Peter Eckermann’s Gespräche mit Goethe (Conversations with Goethe): We then talked of the papers relating to his [Goethe’s] journey into Switzerland in 1797. […] I mentioned how pleased I was to see how various were the interests called into action by his journey; how he saw every thing; shape ...


3

The interpretations given in the question are both wrong. The trouble that you are having with your questions about quotations is that words have meaning in a context, and so you cannot reliably determine the meaning of a sentence on its own: it might be fictional, or metaphorical, or figurative, or ironic, or sarcastic; it might use unusual senses of some ...


3

TL;DR: This quotation is the result of a kind of collaboration between William Wordsworth, James Thurber, and Leonard Bacon. Here’s Thurber’s original version, or at least the version as quoted by Max Eastman—I have not been able to find the original, but presumably it was one of Thurber’s columns in the New Yorker: I think humor is the best that lies ...


0

Poetry doesn't have to rhyme or scan or have any of the attributes that we conventionally associate with a "poem". True poetry is something that conveys ideas and feelings that can't be attributed directly to the words. For instance a poem can describe an experience without ever mentioning the author's feelings; yet the reader will end up feeling ...


6

Shakespeare explains the meaning of this line in the subsequent four lines: One touch of nature makes the whole world kin: That all with one consent praise new-born gauds Though they are made and moulded of things past, And give to dust that is a little gilt More laud than gilt o’er-dusted. William Shakespeare. Troilus and Cressida, act III, scene 3. In ...


3

Kenneth Muir's edition of Troilus and Cressia (The Oxford Shakespeare, Oxford University Press, 1982) does not comment on this line. Kenneth Palmer's edition of the play (The Arden Shakespeare, second series, Routledge, 1982), glosses touch of nature as natural trait or characteristic. The lines spoken by Ulysses mean the following: One natural trait ...


13

Bwa Bach (“Little Bow”) was a nickname for Morfudd’s husband Cynfrig Cynin, referring perhaps to his crooked or hunched back. His jealousy of Dafydd led to the latter being exiled from his home in Ceredigion (“society and its goods are closed to me”). The lines quoted in the question are: Yn glaer deg, yn eglur dôn. Nac aro di, nac eiriach, Nac ofna er Bwa ...


2

This seems to be a reference to a person, also translated, less poetically, as ‘little hunchback’. The first reference I found was in ‘Bardic museum of primitive British literature and other admirable rarities ’ which translates the poem as: Tell me never resting friend, of the journey on some northern blast, over the dale. Ah, friend, go from Aeron ...


1

Could it just be a non-standard use by this author in this passage to achieve a bit of a poetic feel? I can't help but thinking about "equate", "equation", and "equative" which have the meaning of making equal, and I wonder if this is used in the sense of "one who equates", "one who is equal", or even "...


3

Barr is using the noun equator in its geographical sense. However, the Equator contrasts with Professor Stillson Renmark and University College in Toronto, in two ways: from a Canadian point of view, the Equator is far away, and when making inconsiderate or even disrespectful comments about something far away, you are much less likely to offend the person ...


6

Nothing in the passage suggests it means anything but the ordinary meaning of "equator." The significance of the sentence is to explain how servile and obsequious he is being. Is there any reason to speak with particular respect of the equator? But he would do so if he could win Miss Howard's approval and regard -- and without concern for his own ...


5

Wiktionary cites suck the oxygen out of as a variant of suck the air out of. The definition is as follows: Alternative forms suck all the air out of suck the oxygen out of Verb suck the air out of (third-person singular simple present sucks the air out of, present participle sucking the air out of, simple past and past participle sucked the air out of) ...


-1

Johnson is just saying that he knows everyone will criticize him for the choices he made in defining the words in the dictionary, because people are apt to disagree about these things. He uses the introduction to get in front of the criticism. And by lower employments he means writers (tongue in cheek), as opposed to like military generals, clergy, or other ...


Top 50 recent answers are included