36

While "flounder" is a negative term, it denotes a process, not an end result. If you flounder ashore after a shipwreck, that you have escaped drowning does not make your motion retroactively graceful. Bradbury is emphasizing that he was trying different things, basically at random, without much thought, and one of them proved fruitful.


34

According to Wikipedia, Eva Martin's translation was published in 1915. At this period, it is likely that few British readers would have a reason to know the value (in Sterling) of the Russian Rouble (they couldn't just Google the exchange rate!) This statement very clearly places these individuals in society, in a way that saying X roubles would not. ...


31

There are two issues here. Using real world profanity may make books fall afoul of censors. This was even more of an issue back in the 60s and 70s when the first books were published, especially given that minors might take them out of libraries. Real world profanity can break suspension of disbelief. Religious in particular, for Pern, since it is depicted ...


28

Minced oaths, from well-known ones like "gosh" and "darn" and "heck" and "fricking", to more obscure ones, are common in the real world, but even more so in fiction and especially fantasy. I've read children's stories, set in versions of the real world with some fantasy elements, where characters say "ruddy" ...


25

Even though cucumber sandwiches were at one point associated with poshness, as Rand al'Thor writes, I don't think this is the association on which the passage is based. Nothing in the passage indicates that it is about poshness or about the English upper classes, so that association seems irrelevant. Instead, it's the characteristics of the food itself that ...


24

Kefitzat Haderech is a Jewish phrase that means "contracting the path". Herbert defines Kwisatz Haderach as "the Shortening of the Way" (Dune: Appendix IV), clearly meaning to reference the Hebrew here. As seen in this answer on SFF, a large quantity of names in Dune are inspired by words from Semitic languages such as Hebrew or Arabic.


17

Since Hamlet was published in several editions during the Jacobethan era, it is worth looking at how these early editions rendered these lines, using the old-spelling editions published by Internet Shakespeare Editions. The first quarto (Q1), published in 1603, which has sometimes been called a "bad quarto", gives the lines as follows: O that this ...


14

The word stay here means stop or pause. From Merriam-Webster: intransitive verb 1: to stop going forward : pause 2: to stop doing something : cease Or from the Macmillan dictionary: 4 [transitive] formal to stop something such as a court case from continuing The defence has filed a petition to stay proceedings. The sense is: If ...


14

The other answers have explained the meaning of the line—that Macbeth shall be king, as he was promised by the witches—but there is more to say about the choice of wording. The difficulty here arises because Lady Macbeth is expressing herself evasively. Why doesn’t she come straight out and say, “thou shalt be king as thou art promised”? The reason is that ...


14

This is an interesting observation. Checking definitions of the word "flounder" reveals that they are, as the OP claims, mostly very negative. The key to the usage in this sentence is, I think, this definition from the Oxford dictionary: Struggle or stagger clumsily in mud or water. ‘he was floundering about in the shallow offshore waters’ If we ...


14

The murderer’s choice of words here is an attempt to deflect or minimize his responsibility for the failure to kill Fleance. He knows that he and his fellows failed Macbeth (“We have lost best half of our affair”) due to their incompetence (“Who did strike out the light?”), and chooses his words to Macbeth carefully to avoid being punished. The phrasing “...


12

Stanley Wells's edition of the play (The New Penguin Shakespeare, 1972) has the following gloss for "bogs": bawdy; it is not certain whether bog meant "privy" in Shakespeare's time R. A. Foakes's edition of The Comedy of Errors (The Arden Shakespeare, Routledge, 1962) does not gloss "bogs" at all. A Shakespeare Glossary by C. ...


11

The first example in Der Orden des Phönix seems to be Solch wilde Gedanken wirbelten durch Harrys Kopf, und seine Eingeweide verknoteten sich vor Zorn The original English is These furious thoughts whirled around in Harry’s head, and his insides writhed with anger Next we find Harry spürte, wie seine Eingeweide einen mächtigen Satz ...


11

Cucumber sandwiches, specifically, are a stereotypical part of English "posh" culture, along with afternoon tea and "More tea, vicar?" From Wikipedia: Cucumber sandwiches formed an integral part of the stereotypical afternoon tea affair. By contrast, people of the era's lower working classes were thought to prefer a coarser but more ...


10

Not only does it cast doubt on Rodolpho's masculinity, the context in which this quote comes from suggests a lot more of Eddie and his attitude towards Rodolpho. While I quite agree with the word choices Matt highlighted, and his description of those words, some of the implications given are a little restrictive. looked so sweet there, like an angel – ...


10

TL:DR - The language has been carefully chosen to cast doubt on Rodolfo's adulthood and masculinity Eddie is a traditional, older, blue collar dock worker with a conservative attitude to masculinity and the role of men in the family. Rodolfo, his wife's cousin, is the opposite. He is young, liberal and harbours wild dreams of a singing career. Eddie has ...


10

This is the original sense of the word airline. Now obsolete, it survived in works on surveying and military history into the 1960s. The OED says: airline, n. 1. a. Chiefly U.S. A direct line through the air; a straight line between two points on the earth's surface. with citations dating back to the early 19th century: 1829   J. F. Cooper Wept of Wish-...


9

Sense 2 of "Hobgoblin" in my OED is fig. An object which inspires superstitious dread or apprehension; a bogy, bugbear. It gives citations dating from 1709 to 1841-2, the latter being the very Emerson quotation you ask about. Emerson (then aged in his late 30's, so hardly, as was insinuated in an earlier edit of the question, a whippersnapper) ...


8

I have used this in the past: Open Source Shakespeare: Concordance of Shakespeare's complete works. For example, you can type “beauty” into the box and get this page that shows the occurrences in each work. Here's Hamlet to The Tempest, showing that there are 5 occurrences in Hamlet and 2 occurrences in The Tempest: (In this case there seems to be a bug—...


8

Most of these aren't saying "whore". The one that does is "Hohore", which according to this page is actually "ho whore"; "ho" here is the exclamation. Also, note the r in "hore". The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest attestation for "hoe" (for any spelling without r) meaning "whore" is from the 1964 book Deep down in Jungle: Main who', best girlfriend....


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 ...


8

As with any folk song, the origins of the lyrics can be a bit murky, but given transcriptions collected by folklorists in the early part of the twentieth century of this or related songs, we see that the E-I-E-I-O isn't meant to refer to the letters but is rather just a vocalization to continue the melody. An Ozarks version from 1922 has lyrics: Old ...


7

To say anything definitive about The Waste Land is challenging; indeed, this work seems to evade interpretation with each new line and stanza. With many interpretations carry with them some merit, I contend that the line "heap of broken images" is meant to evoke something broader about modernist art: this line is a metatextual reference to the poem itself ...


7

Holofernes is a character in the biblical Book of Judith (which is considered canonical in Catholic and Orthodox tradition, but not in Protestant). He was a Assyrian general under king Nebuchadnezzar, who invaded nations and destroyed their temples in order that they should instead worship the king. When laying siege to a Hebrew town, the widow Judith ...


7

A Roadside Stand describes a small-time farmer trying to sell their produce from a stall by a busy road. The farmer is poor, wanting only a small slice of city wealth, and feels bitter that drivers won't even look at the stand, let alone stop and buy something. In this context the "trusting sorrow" is a neat encapsulation to express what is described over ...


7

If you enter the google books search "part second" you will see this construction was a perfectly normal practice in the 1700 and 1800s. Here are some of the hits I got: to The Ploughboy: A Poem, Part Second (W. Cook, 1855), to Sadlier's Catholic first reader: part second, Part 2 (James A. Sadlier, 1883), and to Zoonomia ; Or, the Laws of Organic Life: Part ...


7

What Lady Macbeth means with "what thou art promised" is the kingdom that Macbeth was supposedly "promised" in the witches' prophecy. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter! So he is Thane of Glamis, became Thane of Cawdor and the remaining ...


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