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I did not understand the meaning of the following sentence:

Great anxiety is shown, on the contrary, that certain statements be made, and great satisfaction is taken in the statements found, or alleged to be found, in the masterpieces. (Source - UK) (Source - US)

I guess reading it with a different syntax might help me.

closed as off-topic by Nathan Tuggy, FumbleFingers, ColleenV, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, Glorfindel Jul 24 '16 at 14:37

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  • I've added a link to the source, and italicized certain because in context that's significant. But I can't read the preceding text, so I've no idea what "on the contrary" refers back to. Apparently, contrary to something said earlier, some people (also presumably identified earlier) thought it was important that some particular statements (again, presumably contextually identified earlier) should be made. They were thus pleased when they found these statements in some "masterpieces". Which masterpieces? I'm sure earlier text told you, but we can't tell from the excerpt. – FumbleFingers Jul 23 '16 at 22:45
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Let's break the sentence down to the barebones

Great anxiety is shown, on the contrary, that certain statements be made, and great satisfaction is taken in the statements found, or alleged to be found, in the masterpieces.

and now

Anxiety is shown in that statements be made and satisfaction is taken in the statements found in the masterpieces

That looks slightly more readable?

Let's paraphrase now,

Anxiety occurs because the statements to be made must provide satisfaction to those that hear it/read it.

I'll admit, the sentence was a bit confusing for me too

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I'll risk writing this as an answer because for the most part it looks like fun. :-) Please keep in mind that I can't access the whole paragraph, so I may (and quite possibly, do) misunderstand something.

It looks like fun to me because rearranging the sentence mechanically results in a much more readable sentence. Here is the rearranged version, all in exact words (with just one word added in parentheses to aid the readability):

On the contrary, in the statements found or alleged to be found in the masterpieces, great anxiety is shown that certain statements (must) be made, and great satisfaction is taken.

  • Bentley's contention is that DramCrit and LitCrit partisans of all stripes find in certain statements from the masterpieces proof that these "masters" shared their own peculiar beliefs. – P. E. Dant Jul 24 '16 at 5:25

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