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Meaning of "only a bird could have got in" in "The Castle"

Presumably it implies that you can't get inside except by flying. This stanza of the poem is describing the physical strength of the castle and its defences. There is no way to scale the walls, no way ...
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What does the term "worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance " mean?

What does "worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance" mean? First off, I didn't know the quote and haven't looked it up either but still I suppose Dickens wrote it correctly - ...
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2 votes

Help understanding this Arcadia abstract referencing "Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life (1998) and its filmic adaptation Arrival (2016)"

Journal abstracts have a word limit, and some authors seem to struggle to fit what they want to say into this limit, leading to terse descriptions that are hard to follow. If you suspect that this ...
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3 votes

What does "series of coughs" mean?

No great mystery here. The Cambridge dictionary defines "series" as: a number of similar or related events or things, one following another So in this instance, a "series of coughs&...
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22 votes
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How does soap undermine the church in "A Connecticut Yankee"?

This is a joke that Mark Twain used more than once. When he satirically wrote of a callow private secretary answering the letters written to a congressman in “The Facts Concerning The Recent ...
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3 votes

Comprehending “how but in custom and ceremony are innocence and beauty born”

A Prayer for my Daughter dates from 1919 and expresses what is, by modern standards, a pretty regressive attitude to women. Broadly, Yeats says that he hopes his daughter will be beautiful and ...
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4 votes
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What does Tennyson mean by "the rustic cackle ... [is] the murmur of the world"?

The background to this passage is that Geraint has come to “a little town in a long valley” and, finding the town busy with people and activity, has asked three times for the cause, to be told only ...
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-1 votes

What does Tennyson mean by "the rustic cackle ... [is] the murmur of the world"?

It means, metaphorically, that you think your extremely limited experience is everything in the world. The person addressed is familiar with the birdsong in his neighborhood ("the rustic cackle ...
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2 votes
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What does "Pulled-up" mean in the Lawrence Joseph poem Rubaiyat?

Pull up has various meanings, but here means "retrieve" (as from a computer system). This idiomatic sense is recent and perhaps IT jargon. I couldn't find it in many dictionaries but it's in ...
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5 votes

What does the "who has not dined with these?" mean?

The bit immediately prior to your quote reads: Indeed, the mansions and their inhabitants were so much alike in that respect, that the people were often to be found drawn up on opposite sides of ...
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2 votes

Translation of a phrase in Julius Pollux's "Onomasticon"

This is from the section περί ὀδόντων (on teeth) starting at §2.91. There’s a 1706 parallel Greek–Latin edition, edited by Gottfried Jungermann, which translates this passage as follows: τὸ δὲ ...
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12 votes
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What is meant by "I'm going to push my stuff in" in Dorothy Sayers's "Strong Poison"?

Waffles Newton is a journalist covering the trial of Harriet Vane for the murder of Philip Boyes, and he is talking to Salcombe Hardy, another journalist. This situation at the start of chapter 3 is ...
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