Excerpted from Writers in the Storm- How weather went from symbol to science and back again.

Six years later and two hundred miles to the southeast, Dickens summoned vastly drearier conditions for “Bleak House”—which, outside of the Book of Revelation, might have the most consistently dreadful weather of any work of Western literature. “It rains for the first twelve chapters,” Harris notes, “before pausing and raining again.” The skies are further blackened by soot and smoke—in Dickens’s words, “gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun.” Fog smothers the city. The mud is so abundant that it is “as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth”; in what may be the only dinosaur cameo in Victorian literature, Dickens imagines a forty-foot Megalosaurus slogging through it up Holborn Hill.

I can see "before pausing and raining again" means it's non-stop, but I can't understand the logic behind, before pausing = not yet paused, how can rain started again if it has never paused before?


Another way to word this might help:

Before it paused and rained for a second time, it rained for the first twelve chapters.

So, the writer is saying that there was rain for the first twelve chapters, then the rain paused, and then it started again. So no, it doesn't mean that it was non-stop. The rain stopped (paused) and then started again.


In your excerpt

It rains for the first twelve chapters,” Harris notes, “before pausing and raining again.”

Harris notes, “It rains for the first twelve chapters, before pausing and raining again.”

Harris point out that it was raining before pausing.
Your confusion is because of where the sentence was split by "Harris notes", which can occur anywhere before, after, or anywhere in the middle of a quote.

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