Reduce Canetti’s story to a morality fable of an ivory-tower intellectual becoming disconnected from reality, and forced by peasants to engage with life in all its messiness, and perhaps the Brothers Grimm could have adopted this for their collection. Ultimately though Kien’s misogyny is wearing, a block.

Source: https://timesflowstemmed.com/2011/09/03/auto-da-e/

Can you clarify me the passage in bold which I am not able to undestand. As if it was a non-complete concessive clause. Although Kien has a mysoginistic character…

  • 1
    block can mean "neurosis". For though, understand "however". There is a reversal of opinion: it is the kind of story which, if it were reduced to a morality fable, the Brothers Grimm might have adopted for their collection; ultimately, however, the misogyny is wearing, a block.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 10:20
  • So the mysoginy is the reason why the novel is hard to adopt as a fairy tale?
    – bart-leby
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 10:39
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    No, that is not the nature of the reversal. The reversal is as follows: This story, if it were reduced to its rudiments, would resemble a morality fable, one the Brothers Grimm might have adapted for their collection. Ultimately, however, the story is not sparse like a fable, and its relentless misogyny is wearing. Its misogyny makes it hard to take as is.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 11:14
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    The reversal is implicit. The story is not reduced -- that reduction is only a hypothetical, an idea we might entertain for a moment. That construction, where Reduce is at the head of the clause, is a form of if we reduce or if the story were reduced.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 11:24
  • 3
    You may be parsing wearing as the participle in a progressive construction, but it's not: it's an adjective. Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


For a concessive clause, though would have to be a conjunction, and there would have to be a second clause:

I find him interesting, though others disagree.

In this sentence, though is functioning as an adverb. This can be made clearer by changing the punctuation a little.

Ultimately, though, Kien’s misogyny is wearing: [it is] a block.


Consider this form of imperative-with-and construction:

Strip that wall-to-wall carpet away, and you're likely to find a beautiful hardwood floor beneath. Many of the houses in this neighborhood of the city have oak or walnut floors.

Treat this TNT roughly and it will explode.

Semantically that is equivalent to "if you strip the wall-to-wall carpet away", which is something between a hypothetical and a conditional. Consider the possibility...

The TNT example is closer to a direct conditional, a warning.

In the passage you're quoting, the reader is invited to entertain the idea of "Reducing" the story to its rudiments, that it could be so reduced:

"Reduce Canetti’s story to a morality fable... and..."

The phrase Ultimately, though, ... brings us back to the reality: the story is not one which consists only of its rudiments. It is as it is, in all of its unreduced misogyny. And that pervasive misogyny makes it difficult for the reader to continue, it wears the reader down.

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