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发表于 9-24-2020 12:13:42 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 choi 于 9-24-2020 12:26 编辑

John Banville, Subject, Predicate, Mystery. Wall Street Journal, Sept 19, 2020 (in the Review section that appears every Saturday).
https://www.wsj.com/articles/sup ... -pieces-11600439558
(book review on Brian Dillion, Suppose a Sentence. NYRB, 2020)

Quote:

paragraph 1: "The sentence is humankind’s greatest invention. Our constitutions and our laws are graven in sentences, and in sentences our histories are written. We declare love, and war, by way of the sentence. There have been civilizations, those of the pre-Columbian southern Americas, for instance, that did not have the wheel, but they had to have had the sentence, otherwise they would not have been civilizations. It is the essential contrivance that sets us apart from—though not above—the other animals. What should we do without it? Grunt.

first clause of paragraph 3: "He [Dillion] takes his title from one of Gertrude Stein's smugly meaningless effusions

paragraph 5: "He [Dillon] begins, mischievously, with Hamlet's last words, though not his last words as we generally know them. 'There are three variant texts of Hamlet, and, in at least one the Dane [Hamlet the person] dies differently: "-- the rest is silence. O, o, o, o." '  [end of quote] Though it lacks subject. verb and predicate [All commentaries on English grammar say a predicate includes a verb], 'O, o, o, o' is a sentence. and though it is a short one, it is not the shortest among Mr Dillon's choices -- that honor goes to Charlotte Brontë's 'The drug wrought' -- but the commentary attached is the briefest in the book, and ends thrillingly. Hamlet's 'O, o, o, o' is, Mr Dillon writes, 'surely nothing more or less than the vocal expression, precisely, of silence. "O" is the tragic apotheosis of zero.' "

Note:
(a)
(i) WSJ places the review behind paywall. There is no need to read the rest.
(ii) John Banville
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Banville
(1945- ; an Irish novelist)
(ii) NYRB stands for New York Review Books
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Review_Books
(1999- )

(b) "Our constitutions and our laws are graven in sentences"
(i) grave (vt; past tense: graved, past participle: graven or graved; the etymology of grave as a verb and a noun are identical): "to carve or cut (something, such as letters or figures) into a hard surface : ENGRAVE  <graved the dates of his birth and death on the headstone>"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/graven
(ii) In "engrave":
en-  (prefix; from Latin in-)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/en-

(c) "There have been civilizations, those of the pre-Columbian southern Americas, for instance, that did not have the wheel"
(i) wheel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel

section 2 History: "Although large-scale use of wheels did not occur in the Americas prior to European contact, numerous small wheeled artifacts, identified as children's toys [photo], have been found in Mexican archeological sites, some dating to approximately 1500 BC. It is thought that the primary obstacle to large-scale development of the wheel in the Americas was the absence of domesticated large animals that could be used to pull wheeled carriages. The closest relative of cattle present in Americas in pre-Columbian times, the American Bison, is difficult to domesticate and was never domesticated by Native Americans; several horse species existed until about 12,000 years ago, but ultimately became extinct. The only large animal that was domesticated in the Western hemisphere, the llama, a pack animal, but not physically suited to use as a draft animal to pull wheeled vehicles, and use of the llama did not spread far beyond the Andes by the time of the arrival of Europeans." footnotes omitted).

(ii) my comment: That is no excuse. A wheelbarrow comes in handy.
(iii) There had been no cattle in American continent before Europeans arrived. See McTavish EJ et al, New World Cattle Show Ancestry from Multiple Independent Domestication Events. Proc Nat Acad Sci (2013) 110: E1398–1406.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625352/

Significance: "Cattle were independently domesticated from the aurochs, a wild bovine species, in the vicinity of the current countries of Turkey and Pakistan [from here to China, among other places] ∼10,000 y ago.  

text: "Domesticated cattle consist of two major lineages that are derived from independent domestications of the same progenitor species, the aurochs (Bos primigenius). The aurochs was a large wild bovine species found throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in North Africa; it has been extinct since 1627. These two primary groups of domesticated cattle are variously treated by different authors as subspecies (Bos taurus taurus and Bos taurus indicus) or as full species (Bos taurus and Bos indicus). For simplicity, we refer here to these two groups as taurine and indicine cattle, respectively. The most obvious phenotypic differences between these groups are the noticeable hump at the withers (ie, the shoulders of a four-legged mammal) and the floppy rather than upright ears of indicine cattle.  The taurine lineage was probably first domesticated in the Middle East, with some later contributions from European aurochsen; the indicine lineage was domesticated on the Indian subcontinent * * * the taurine and indicine groups are thought to share a most-recent common ancestor ≥200,000 y[ears] ago. * * * The first cattle in the Americas were brought to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, from the Canary Islands, by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage across the Atlantic in 1493

(A) The word indicine is not found in English dictionaries.
(B) zebu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebu
("Zebu are characterised by a fatty hump on their shoulders, a large dewlap, and sometimes drooping ears")

Its etymology is from Modern French zébu.
(C) Latin-English dictionary:
* indicus (adjective masculine; from Ancient Greek [adjective] indikós, from [proper name] Indía): "Indian"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/indicus



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 楼主| 发表于 9-24-2020 12:18:51 | 显示全部楼层
(d) "He takes his title from one of Gertrude Stein's smugly meaningless effusions
(i) Gertrude Stein
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Stein
(1874 – 1946; American; lesbian; "Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life * * * Two quotes from her works have become widely known: 'Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,' and 'there is no there there,' with the latter often taken to be a reference to her childhood home [which was no longer there when she revisited as an adult] of Oakland")
(ii) Gertrude (given name)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_(given_name)
(" is derived from Germanic roots [note plural of root: ger + thrud] that meant 'spear' and 'strength.' 'Trudy,' originally a diminutive of 'Gertrude,' has developed into a name in its own right")
(iii) The poem of Gertrude stein at issue is titled "Suppose An Eyes" in the 1914 book "Tender Buttons."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tender_Buttons_(book)
("the title's French implication of nipples")

I try but can not find meanings of the poem Suppose An Eyes. An eyes? Grammatically incorrect.

(e) 'There are three variant texts of Hamlet, and, in at least one the Dane [Hamlet the person] dies differently: "-- the rest is silence. O, o, o, o." '
(i) Hamlet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlet
("Three different early versions of the play are extant: the First Quarto (Q1, 1603); the Second Quarto (Q2, 1604); and the First Folio (F1, 1623). Each version includes lines and entire scenes missing from the others")
(ii) Hamlet. Act 5, Scene 2. Sparknote, undated.
https://www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/hamlet/page_332/

In the left column is Shakespeare's work, and in the right column, translation into modern English.

(f) "Charlotte Brontë's 'The drug wrought' "
(i) wrought: "archaic  a past tense and past participle of work [which (work) lexico.com says may be either transitive or intransitive]"
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/wrought
(ii) Brian Dillon, The exaltation of Lucy Snowe; Starting with a single Brontë sentence in an extract from Brian Dillon's Suppose a Sentence. TLS, Sept 25, 2020
https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articl ... tence-brian-dillon/
("This economical sentence * * *  appears in chapter 38 of Charlotte Brontë's 1853 novel Villette. The book is less well known and less romantic (or Romantic) than Jane Eyre * * * she is engaged as a lowly schoolteacher in the Belgian town of [fictional] Villette, which is transparently Brontë's stand-in for Brussels. Here Lucy despairs of her vain, lazy female pupils, is bullied by the school's proprietor Madame Beck, and falls in love – she will not admit it outright to the reader [she directly speaks to readers  in the novel] – with the schoolmaster, Paul Emanuel. * * * Lucy Snowe is also, to a large and detailed degree, Charlotte Brontë. Aged nineteen, Brontë had become a teacher at Roe Head girls' school, and felt the great loss of the freedom to imagine, and to write, that she and her siblings, in spite of the rigours and tragedies of their home, had enjoyed at Haworth ['is a village in City of Bradford, West Yorkshire': Wikipedia]. * * * The most dramatic of Lucy's hypochondriac fits happens late in the novel – the chapter is titled 'Cloud' – when Paul Emanuel has announced he is leaving the school, and Lucy fears he will vanish without another word passing between them. The whole establishment, staff and pupils, knows the source [Paul Emanuel] of Lucy's distress, but Madame Beck insists on the pretence [British spelling of pretense] that she has a headache, and so hurries her to bed with a draught of laudanum: opium mixed with alcohol. But Beck has miscalculated – 'I know not whether Madame had over-charged or under-charged the dose' [this is Lucy Snowe speaking] – and instead of sending Lucy to sleep the drug enlivens her, mind and body. * * * Lucy gets up, dresses, and races out into the moonlit city * * * and the reader may be quite unsure whether any of it is meant to be real. Brontë told her first biographer, the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, that she had never taken opium * * * She did not tell Gaskell that she had read Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater * * * And so Brontë's modest sentence might mean: the drug worked, or went to work, performed its usual or intended function. The sentence could as easily mean that the drug went to work on, influenced or manipulated, the raw material of Lucy Snowe's imagination")  (italics original).

TLS stands for The Times Literary Supplement
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Times_Literary_Supplement
("first appeared in 1902 as a supplement to The Times [of London] but became a separate publication in 1914" /  table: Based in  London)
Both TLS and The Times belong to News UK, owned by Rupert Murdock.
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