I would like to ask for help with the following sentence (from a short story by C.A. Smith):

The authentic talent of Francis La Porte, fiction-writer, was allied with an industry no less than prodigious. Unfortunately, he was self-critical to an excessive degree.

I am not sure I got it right - especially the "allied with an industry" part.

My understand would be: His true, great talent was tied/linked/associated with an industry that was at least prodigious. But the "industry" just does not make much sense to me, probably because it is used in a way I am not aware of?

1 Answer 1


The meaning of industry here is this:
American Heritage Dictionary "industry"

  1. Energetic devotion to a task or an endeavor; diligence:
    demonstrated great intelligence and industry as a prosecutor.

The meaning of prodigious is this:
American Heritage Dictionary "prodigious"
2. Extraordinary; marvelous: a prodigious talent.

So, Francis La Porte had an authentic talent coupled with an extraordinary devotion to his work.

  • Thank you! Is that a common usage in current English?
    – John V
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 8:21
  • It's less common than the other meaning of "industry", but it's not unusual. Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 8:30
  • Thank you. If I may one more thing, in order no to create a new question: Though editors importuned him for stories and bought readily the few that he submitted, Francis could seldom outdistance the wolf by a full running jump. // is the meaning of the last part literal? That he was rarely ahead with his work (I guess "the wolf" refers to the editors importuning him).
    – John V
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 8:37
  • That's certainly figurative, not literal. The passage does seem to describe someone who had a lot of unfinished work around him, so I suppose that's what it's referring to. It's not a standard metaphor that I recognize. Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 8:48

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