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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
2answers
38 views

Use of negative to emphasize rhetorical question

How many of you despised him unfairly? / How many of you didn’t despise him unfairly? How much money did you throw away last month? / How much money didn’t you throw away last month? Once all ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Does “law” here refer to a scientific law?

Does "law" here refer to a scientific law? The first outstanding incident was the mediumship of the Eddy brothers, which has probably never been excelled in the matter of materialization, ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

What does “The scale is always heavily weighted” mean?

What does "The scale is always heavily weighted" mean? Even at the present day the air is charged with prejudice. If any man of standing at the present instant were to enter a London ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

“North-country” refers to where? [closed]

"North-country" refers to where? The author has come to the conclusion, as already stated, that up to a point they are under the control of the medium, and that beyond that point they are ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Does “ark of God” mean “Ark of the Covenant”? Does “I die with the Lord” mean “ I die for the Lord”?

Does the "ark of God" mean the "Ark of the Covenant"? Does "I die with the Lord" mean " I die for the Lord"? To the unfettered mind this sect or that seems a ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Is a “gas burner” something like a “stove”? room=space?

Is a "gas burner" something like a "stove"? room=space? She took up her station against the drawing-room wall, with her arms extended as if she were crucified. Then three gas-burners were turned ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

What does “public acceptance” here mean?

What does "public acceptance" here mean? Does it allude to their confession to spiritual interpretation before the public? “We have had experience in these latter days of mediums giving ...
-1
votes
2answers
38 views

Does “it argues ill” mean the same as “augurs ill”?

Does "commend" mean "praise"? Does "it argues ill" mean the same as "augurs ill" or not? Dr. (afterwards Professor) Balfour Stewart, in a communication to ...
0
votes
2answers
25 views

Are “stern” and “just” adjectives for “spirit”? Does “spirit” refer to a supernatural being?

Are "stern" and "just" adjectives for "spirit"? Does "spirit" refer to a supernatural being? The research into the phenomena of Spiritualism by Sir William ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

What's the meaning of “for” and “of” in this sentence?

This is the first paragraph of the novel Bones in London by Edgar Wallace: “There was a slump in the shipping market, and men who were otherwise decent citizens wailed for one hour of glorious war, ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

does the phrase “to get all sad” is used anywhere? If so, can you give me an example?

I am translating a short story from Turkish to English and in one of the places where the emotions are supposed to be really intense I cannot achieve the same meaning, at least I think I don't. In the ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Problem with “discoursed of”

I am reading Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and am confused by the first sentence: "The mental features discoursed of as the analytical, are, in themselves, but little susceptible of analysis. ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

agreat vs. a great vs. greater

Here is a quotation from the movie Great Expectations Part 2 (1999; Director: Julian Jarrold) If the danger would be 50 times agreat I should still have come to you. The meaning is clearly "...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

What is 'assonance'?

What is the exact definition of the literary device assonance? This web site Literary Devices explains it as: Assonance takes place when two or more words, close to one another repeat the same ...
0
votes
0answers
72 views

What's the meaning of “tender fancy” in Alice Munro's short story, “An Ounce of Cure”?

I came upon this sentence when I was reading a short story called An Ounce of Cure, written by Alice Munro. Here is the entire sentence: "It was not only that he at once said, publicly, that he had ...
0
votes
4answers
197 views

What does “hangs a cloud of thoughts…” mean?

I want to know what this sentence means; particularly the part that says "hangs a cloud of thoughts": About what goes on today hangs a cloud of thoughts concerning similar things undergone in ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

What does “when gents as is flush” mean?

A zookeeper explaining how to approach animals: 'Ittin' of them over the 'ead with a pole is one way; scratchin' of their hears is another, when gents as is flush wants a bit of a show-orf to their ...
0
votes
2answers
20 views

What does after the wisest mean in this context

This is a quote from "The Tempest" by Stephano: He's in his fit now and does not talk after the wisest. What does "after the wisest" mean in this context? According to most of the sources of ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

In Haruki Murakami's “Barn Burning”, I don't understand a quote involving the phrase “a priori” which I also only barely understand

Here's the quote: “I was married, but that didn’t matter, either. She seemed to consider things like age and income and family to be of the same a priori order as shoe size and vocal pitch and ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

on a daily line

I'm having trouble understanding the meaning of these words at the end of the second chapter of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The narrator reflects on what Tom Sawyer has learned in manipulating all ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Am I reading this wrong? Or is my understanding anachronical?

I started reading this short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, What to Do About It, published in 1933. And the story starts with a character trying to free a wheel from a tirelock: [...] he continued ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Meaning of Cobwebbed in context

...Rain, yet so fine it could scarcely fall but rather floated. It clung to everything it touched; the rushes in the deep choked ditches of the sea-marsh were bowed down with it, the small black ...
-2
votes
1answer
53 views

Paraphrase of “all of life has been a farce”, etc [closed]

In her collection of short stories, “Homesick for Another World,” a little girl is convinced that a hole will open up in the earth and take her straight to paradise, if only she murders the right ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Paraphase of “the power to conjure reality through writing”

It was like an enactment of the world inhabited by the protagonist of Moshfegh’s forthcoming novel, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” who works at a gallery in Chelsea, amid objects like a quarter-...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

The meaning of “a little Moor and how much it is”

The Duke of Falvertoon was one of those human hors d'oeuvres that stimulate the public appetite for sensation without giving it much to feed on. As a mere child he had been precociously brilliant; ...
1
vote
1answer
316 views

What is the meaning of “and it’s you are” in the poem I carry your heart with me?

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] BY E. E. CUMMINGS i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Modern British English novels suitable for learning English [closed]

I am learning English and for that purpose (among other things) I want to read a few novels. I have made a list of novels selected by personal taste, but since I am still learning, I am afraid that ...
1
vote
2answers
641 views

Dialogue consisting of questions and answers?

Is there a specific word for a dialogue between two characters in a play or novel, where that dialogue only consists of questions and answers?
23
votes
4answers
13k views

The meaning of “half woman, half girl”

"It was the same mirror I'd gazed into as a child, then as a girl, then as a youth, half woman, half girl." Educated by Tara Westover What does "half woman" mean? (For example: A ...
3
votes
2answers
331 views

Why is there no definite article in front of the word “wind” in the phrase “little eddies of wind”?

Why is the article "the" missing from the noun "wind" in the following excerpt? Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were ...
-1
votes
1answer
3k views

Should I capitalize Satan in my paper? [closed]

I am writing an essay on Paradise Lost, and the character satan comes up frequently. I know in the bible God or LORD is always capitalized, but should the same be done for satan? Isn't it kind of ...
1
vote
2answers
521 views

A word to say I'm “full of expectations and impatient to see it”?

When I watch series and I just "can't wait" until the next episode, is it OK to say "I'm stretched how it's going to end"? A simple translation from google gives me tight and uptight.
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Similar phrases to a “situation close to life”?

In Czech, when we talk about a scene in a book/movie that reminds us of our own lives, we say it is very "from life" (ze života). What are the ways to express such feeling in English?
0
votes
2answers
3k views

GRE - Primary purpose of the passage about The Life of Charlotte Bronte

Source In The Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857), the first and the most celebrated biography of novelist Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell promoted the long-persisting romantic view of Bronte as ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

A controversial GRE reading question(Buell’ study of village sketches…)

Source Buell’s study of village sketches (a type of fiction popular in the United States in the 1830s and 1840s) provides a valuable summary of sketches that portray the community as homogeneous ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Can't parse “He never went ..THAT he did not glance…” from John Williams

I'm reading Stoner by John Williams and there is the following sentence: He never went into that room that he did not glance at the seat he had once occupied, and he was always slightly surprised ...
6
votes
1answer
207 views

Oscar Wilde's story telling technique

Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is as dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red ...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Is “you” here used as generalized “you”?

Percy Weasley stuck his head through the door, looking disapproving. He had clearly gotten halfway through unwrapping his presents as he, too, carried a lumpy sweater over his arm, which Fred seized.  ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

Is 'to gleam above char' an idiom? [closed]

There is a phrase in Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad which seems to me an idiom, but I can't find it is. Here is an excerpt from the story with the phrase in question in bold: Lingard, a rich ...
4
votes
1answer
166 views

Great Expectations, paragraph disection

"Whether common ones as to callings and earnings," pursued Joe, reflectively, "mightn't be the better of continuing for to keep company with common ones, instead of going out to play with oncommon ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of “looking about” and “smart without a name”? [closed]

Im reading great expectations by charles dickens. "stood near the door looking about me," "so bitter were my feelings, and so sharp was the smart without a name, that needed counteraction."
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Confusion about the use of the present simple in a story

I am reading a plot summary of "Wuthering Heights", a story written by Emily Brontë. One day Mr Earnshaw, father of Catherine and Hindley, goes to Liverpool on business. When he returns, he brings ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

To “favor someone's side of the house”

I just read the sci-fi short story "And all the earth a grave", and I don't get the punch line. To summarize the story: A company starts an aggressive marketing effort on selling coffins, which ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Single quotes/italics — what quotation should I use to express thought?

'Everything's going to be all right.', I kept telling myself. "Everything's going to be all right.", I kept telling myself. Here, I didn't say "everything's going to be all right" out loud. What ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “Stands the wind in that quarter” mean?

I'm reading Mark Twain's The Prince and The Pauper and have come across this sentence in Chapter 23, after the woman has told the court that her pig is worth eight pence and is about to leave when an ...
1
vote
3answers
922 views

“they say she had a pretty hand” - What does it mean?

This is from Rewards and Fairies by Rudyard Kipling. (E-texts.) 'Did her ministers ever open Queen Elizabeth's letters ?' said Una. 'Faith, yes! But she'd have done as much for theirs, any day. ...
3
votes
1answer
269 views

What is the meaning of “But no last trump” in following sentence?

Bang, thud, and clank. Grim sounds to preface an evening’s amusement. But no last trump could have so galvanized the weary attendants on Thespis and Terpsichore standing in patient column of four ...
3
votes
3answers
650 views

Why is “be” used instead of “is” in this sentence “Be he alive, or be he dead”?

He was a big one, to be sure. At his belt he had three calves strung up by the heels, and he unhooked them and threw them down on the table and said: 'Here, wife, broil me a couple of these for ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

“Far hamlets to the east will know his antics”

He will pass beyond it through those desolate plains, and over the hills beyond them, beyond Bapaume. Far hamlets to the east will know his antics. And one day surely, in old familiar garb, ...
3
votes
1answer
500 views

Why is “advanced english class” not capitalized in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”?

In the following passage from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Cbhosky, "english" isn't capitalized: There is this one girl in my advanced english class named Susan. In middle school, ...