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"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 ...


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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 ...


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TL;DR: William Cowper’s “dwell in the midst of alarms” is a re-working of William Wilkie’s “dwell amidst alarms”. Wilkie’s Epigoniad (1757) was an epic poem in heroic couplets telling the story of the Epigoni, the sons of the Seven against Thebes. The phrase “dwell amidst alarms” appears twice. In book III, the Argive hero Diomedes has challenged Leophron, ...


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C.S. Lewis's Studies in Words has more on this, but basically this point in time was when it was turning toward a pure insult and dropping the social implication entirely -- but not quite. It was a lengthy process, taking over centuries. As an insult, it still meant "someone who acts like a villain rather than in noble manner expected of nobles."


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