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By the time he is finished with this first volume.

Up to now he is finished with the first volume.

Are these two sentences synonymous and indicating that the author has just written the first part of his work and that the other volumes will be released in the next future?


P.S.

I came across this sentence:

By the time Kotkin is finished with this first volume, the Stalin that he produces is an “uncanny fusion of zealous Marxist convictions and great-power sensibilities, of sociopathic tendencies and exceptional diligence and resolve”.

Not sure how to to exactly understand time determination "by the time".

2

By the time Kotkin is finished with this first volume, the Stalin that he produces is an “uncanny fusion of zealous Marxist convictions and great-power sensibilities, of sociopathic tendencies and exceptional diligence and resolve”.

Stephen Kotkin wrote a biography of Joseph Stalin. The sentence you quote is a review of the book.

Imagine yourself standing behind the shoulder of an artist who is painting a picture of a woman. You can see what he is doing with the canvas. At first you see just some lines, then some dabs of color, and then gradually it merges into an image. You can then say to a friend:

I stood and watched an artist paint a woman's portait. I could not make out much at first. Then I saw some similarity with the model. By the time he was finished with the painting, the woman that he produced on the canvas had a very romantic air about her.

In the same vein, the author of the review did not know what an image of Stalin would emerge in the book. The reviewer started reading. At first it was just a variety of historic facts about Stalin. Then the reader gradually discovered that the various facts mentioned by Kotkin (like dabs of colors on a canvas) merged into an image of Stalin. What kind of image?

an “uncanny fusion of zealous Marxist convictions and great-power sensibilities, of sociopathic tendencies and exceptional diligence and resolve”.

It's as if the reviewer stood behind Kotkin's shoulder and watched him gradually produce an image of Stalin. And the reviewer now relates this experience to the reader.

2

"By the time he is finished with this first volume" cannot stand on its own. "By the time" basically means "When". So

By the time I was 18 years old, I had already met my future wife.

means

When I had reached the age of 18, I had already met my future wife.

"Up to now" means "previously". For example:

Up to now I have never met a truly beautiful woman, but then I saw Jenny.

Means something like

Earlier in my life I have never met a truly beautiful woman, but then I saw Jenny.

  • 1
    "Up to now I have never met a truly beautiful woman, but then I saw Jenny." Perhaps it ought to be "up to then" (since it's in the past), or "but now I see Jenny". Tenses do need to agree in the two clauses. – Victor Bazarov Oct 9 '15 at 15:02

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