Questions tagged [literature]

Questions related to English vocabulary, forms, phrases, and syntax that is now more commonly seen in written literature than in everyday speech. Also used for questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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The meaning of "regular triplet"

Behind the mare was plainly audible the cadence of a swiftly trotting horse. “D’you hear anything?” said Guj. “No—nothing but the regular triplet,” said Hordene; and he lied when he answered. This is ...
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"from out there" - can it mean a different world or something like that?

I have been reading a lot of lovecraftian stories and in some of them, there is often a phrase such as "something from out there". There is e.g. a story by August Derleth that is called just ...
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40 views

are Martha Sarah and Marther Sarer the same names in "The Distracted Preacher" by Thomas Hardy?

In beginning of The Distracted Preacher a maid is introduced in Newberry estate. It seems that both names refer to the same person and different spelling deals with different pronunciation. Quote: A ...
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2answers
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What does "puffs" mean in this context?

And a Centre of Advanced Technology isn't going to be allowed to regard literature as a technology, even though it is. Look at the authors already out of print and likely to remain so. The levelling's ...
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Meaning of sentences from an introduction to "The House of the Dead"

From Julius Bramont's introduction to a 1911 edition of The House of the Dead by "Fedor Dostoïeffsky", from Project Gutenberg: Hence his rage with the calmer men, more gracious interpreters ...
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Translate this sentence. Rewrite it in your own words. Why does Conroy reference all of these works of literature in this paragraph? [closed]

I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language.-Pat Conroy This is from "A Letter to the Editor of the ...
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33 views

Meaning of "are they worth it? It was a secret showing of badges, of scars" [closed]

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They sat in the high seats at the back of the bus, and Poppy sank into her book. Up at the front sat a European woman in her forties, dressed ...
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23 views

Meaning of "eventlets"

What was the thing? They pointed out these eventlets to each other. They did not discuss or pass judgment, but defined themselves against the attitudes revealed by the unwitting characters in these ...
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1answer
28 views

Meaning of "something fancy and successful about her"

Doctor Fox looked at Elizabeth as he chewed, and nodded and smiled. She must be nearly forty now, like Dex. Thank God they were never foolish enough to marry, though no doubt Dexter had poked her when ...
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29 views

Meaning of "self-conscience"

‘I might go out,’ said Vicki. ‘People’s parents never like me.’ ‘My parents do,’ said Arthur. ‘Older parents, I meant,’ said Vicki. ‘They might wonder exactly what you’re doing here,’ said Arthur. ‘In ...
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29 views

Meaning of "He was in its moral universe"

He sat at the ravaged table and watched the girl dry herself with efficient strokes, sawing between her toes and twisting her shoulders to reach the backs of her thighs. This was modern life, then, ...
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Can the verb "to impress someone with something" be used in a negative way?

I am quoting from the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Greek Interpreter by Arthur Conan Doyle: His visitor, on entering his rooms, had drawn a life-preserver from his sleeve, and had so impressed him ...
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37 views

What does "abrading" mean in "my heart is racing and cool traces of sweat are abrading my neck"?

In the novel Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow, there's the following passage: Three a.m. When I awake my heart is racing and cool traces of sweat are abrading my neck, so that in the idiocy of sleep ...
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1answer
49 views

What is the meaning of this sentence from Thomas Hardy's book?

There is a paragraph in beginning of Thomas Hardy's "The Distracted Preacher": But when those of the inhabitants who styled themselves of his connection became acquainted with him, they ...
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Meaning of "two empty sets of garments hung opposite each other in a cupboard."

‘Where have you been all day?’ said Philip. ‘I waited for you. Let’s go out and eat.’ ‘I’m going on the train. Tonight.’ ‘Wait another couple of days. We’ll fly back.’ She shook her head. The music ...
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1answer
39 views

Meaning of "now that the blood had gone out of them"

‘Where have you been all day?’ said Philip. ‘I waited for you. Let’s go out and eat.’ ‘I’m going on the train. Tonight.’ ‘Wait another couple of days. We’ll fly back.’ She shook her head. The music ...
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1answer
87 views

Middlemarch, meaning of a sentence in Chapter 2

The following are the last two paragraphs of the second chapter of George Eliot's Middlemarch: He was not in the least jealous of the interest with which Dorothea had looked up at Mr. Casaubon: it ...
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32 views

Meaning of "just leave in the images..."

She walked down the neon streets, and up again, and found her way back to the hotel. It was dark. He was lying on the bed watching a band on television. A girl was sitting at the dressing table, also ...
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1answer
43 views

Meaning of "old houses full of stone and shutters and anachronistic lace. They notice that the..."

What do tourists do? They walk, they stand, they look, they buy. They fumble for money on buses, not knowing whether to pay the driver or the conductor. They visit famous monuments, fountains, old ...
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41 views

Meaning of "lit from behind through a cloud of metallic steam" and "strain a person’s sense ... " [closed]

They stopped on a rising note. Dexter was standing in the bathroom doorway, holding Billy by the hand, lit from behind through a cloud of metallic steam. ‘Some things, Morty,’ he said, ‘strain a ...
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1answer
41 views

Meaning of "But you are faking it" and "Rule number one of modern life"

Vicki said, ‘Don’t you care about Philip and Athena?’ said Vicki. Elizabeth said, ‘Course I care. I always care. But there’s no point in making a song and dance about it, like that night he stayed ...
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Meaning of "Joachim spent the time it took for Dave and I to be snapped attempting to chat up Brigitte."

From The Last Bandit. A Rock'n'roll Life by Nikki Sudden: Joachim spent the time it took for Dave and I to be snapped attempting to chat up Brigitte. I don't understand the meaning and the ...
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1answer
31 views

arrogant slow gait

ANNABEL and Midge came out of the tearoom with the arrogant slow gait of the leisured, for their Saturday afternoon stretched ahead of them. Hey there, What does this text mean by "the arrogant ...
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1answer
43 views

meaning of "braced for more sobbing" [closed]

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner someone laughed up high, there was a scuffling somewhere in the house, Dexter was up, he would see to it. Her muscles let go and she was away. ...
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Meaning of "jerking figures"

Beside one of the speaker boxes crouched an androgynous creature in a raincoat. Its neck was bent, its hair was slicked back like a schoolboy’s off its sweating, waxen face, it nodded its head in time ...
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What is this writing technique called in English?

How is this writer's technique called in English when the author seems to address someone in his epistle or a letter, but, in fact, is only indirectly addressing him (because, for example, that person ...
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46 views

what does "in the brief camaraderie of moving to music" mean?

Vicki charged down the front to dance beside girls she did not know but who meet her eye and smile at her as they leap and bob and twirl about in their cheap and cheerful dresses, in the brief ...
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1answer
36 views

Meaning of "The other right" and "back looping"

I was watching the sci-fi series "The Flash". Character1 is instructing Character2 about direction: Character1: "Turn right" Charater2 moves in the wrong direction. Charater1: &...
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1answer
55 views

Meaning of "he is trying to keep something alive." and "righteous set of Dexter's mouth..."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner ‘Sing something,’ said Poppy to Elizabeth. ‘Sing ‘‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’’.’ ‘Oh, not that,’ said Philip. ‘You do the come-ah come-ah,’ ...
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2answers
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How different are "the tracks" from "the steps" that one leaves in the snow?

Reading a story by A. Blackwood, I am not sure what to make of the following phrase: The night was still as ice, bitterly cold. Breathlessly they ran, following the tracks. Halfway his steps diverged,...
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254 views

What does "Some Polos" mean in this passage from "The Ferryman"?

The following is from The Ferryman, page 7 (depiction of a man, who was found in the bog, he was supposed to be an IRA informer, but something went wrong and IRA itself they killed him). What does &...
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71 views

The meaning of “Let-us-take-and-heave-him-over”

Just when the reasons were drowsy with blood-sucking I heard the regular—“Let-us-take-and-heave-him-over” grunt of doolie-bearers in the compound. First one doolie came in, then a second, and then a ...
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31 views

Why is there a comma in "'I'd like to be as rich as Marco,' he thought"?

This is a sentence from a story I was reading: 'I'd like to be as rich as Marco,' he thought. Why is a comma used after the word 'Marco'? Can you please explain the grammar behind that?
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56 views

What does "show Callum what he was missing" mean here? [closed]

I am wondering what "show Callum what he was missing" means in the following sentences: ‘I was on my phone,’ I say, ‘and I could see that Callum was with Ellie. She’d shared all these pics ...
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1answer
39 views

What does "he wasn’t very subtle about" mean here?

I am wondering what "he wasn’t very subtle about" means in the following sentences: Hannah speaks first. ‘Olivia.’ The cave replies in a whisper: Olivia, Olivia, Olivia. ‘God,’ Hannah says, ...
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1answer
42 views

What does "Can’t think of the last time I did that." mean here?

I am wondering what "Can’t think of the last time I did that." means in the following sentences: ‘Actually,’ I say, ‘I’m not all that tired. And I don’t have to get up early tomorrow ...
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1answer
25 views

What does "Had enough in there?" mean here?

I am wondering what "Had enough in there?" means in the following sentences: I push into the drawing room next door and as I walk through I stop short in shock. A figure’s sitting there on ...
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2answers
71 views

What does "ladies" mean here?

I am wondering what "ladies" means in the following sentences: ‘The first part,’ Angus says, ‘is: “Do brave deeds and endure”, which was the school motto. The second part was added in by us ...
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1answer
50 views

What does "a big tradition" mean here?

I am wondering what "a big tradition" means in the following sentences: ‘Survival?’ Hannah turns to him. ‘This game we used to play at school,’ Femi explains. Duncan’s wife Georgina chips ...
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1answer
27 views

What does "from the school, deep into the grounds" mean here?

I am wondering what "from the school, deep into the grounds" means in the following sentences: ‘Survival?’ Hannah turns to him. ‘This game we used to play at school,’ Femi explains. Duncan’...
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1answer
28 views

What does "the better versions of the sort of school we both went to" mean here?

I am wondering what "the better versions of the sort of school we both went to" means in the following sentences: ‘Well,’ I say. ‘Funny you should say that, but I did actually do a try-out ...
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What does "Not that that’s any shade on what you do" mean here?

I am wondering what "Not that that’s any shade on what you do" means in the following sentences: ‘Well,’ I say. ‘Funny you should say that, but I did actually do a try-out for the show.’ ‘...
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1answer
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"Though fully aware that to his well-known interest in psychical things was partly due his presence..". - meaning of the sentence

Reading an old story by A. Blackwood, I am unable to decipher the sentence in bold: He had told no fearsome story. He had evaded, indeed, many openings expressly made for him, though fully aware that ...
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1answer
42 views

What does "Despite the impression she works hard to convey of bohemian vagueness" mean here?

I am wondering what "Despite the impression she works hard to convey of bohemian vagueness" means in the following sentences: ‘How sweet,’ Mum’s saying to Hannah. ‘Five’s a lovely age.’ She’...
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2answers
55 views

What does "the mistrustful way he acts around Will" mean here?

I am wondering what "the mistrustful way he acts around Will" means in the following sentences: I watch Charlie until his gaze snags on mine – I make sure I’m the first to glance away. And ...
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1answer
128 views

What does "If I had anything to do with it" mean here?

I am wondering what "If I had anything to do with it" means in the following sentences: ‘Er – no,’ Hannah says. And then, quickly, ‘But as I say, we’re so out of the loop we wouldn’t know ...
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1answer
33 views

What does "we wouldn’t know anywhere" mean here?

I am wondering what "we wouldn’t know anywhere" means in the following sentences: ‘Such fond memories of Brighton,’ Mum is saying to Hannah. ‘You know, I performed down there a couple of ...
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1answer
25 views

What does "with that slightly haughty tone that creeps into her voice when she’s been shown up" mean here?

I am wondering what "with that slightly haughty tone that creeps into her voice when she’s been shown up" means in the following sentences: ‘Such fond memories of Brighton,’ Mum is saying ...
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3answers
258 views

What does "we learned" mean here?

I am wondering what "we learned" means in the following sentences: I notice Will and Dad sizing each other up surreptitiously. In Dad’s company, oddly, Will seems a little diminished, a ...
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What does "until she passes the five-year mark, Dad’s record to date" mean here?

I am wondering what "until she passes the five-year mark, Dad’s record to date" means in the following sentences: Séverine, Dad’s latest wife – French, not far off my age, one part ...

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