Monday, March 13, 2006

The slang of prigs

I find Eliot's language is light and easy, while laden with meaning. It's both poignant and funny, and at all times strong and clear. I doubt Eliot would ever sacrifice clarity of meaning to following the prose fashions of the day.

Each page offers up a fresh batch of the quotable, be they pithy aphorisms or more detailed observations.

My favourite lines thus far are from an exchange in chapter 11:
"...All choice of words is slang. It marks a class."
"There is correct English: that is not slang."
"I beg your pardon: correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays. And the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets."

What's your favourite line?


Blogger piksea said...

I think so far my favorite line comes in that slang of prigs section. When Fred defines prig, with respect to the doctor. I don't have the book or my notes with me, but it's something to the effect of ~ as a doctor he is paid for his opinions, but as a prig he makes a present of them to you.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love "Dorothea says, 'After all, people may really have in them some vocation which is not quite plain to themselves, may they not? They may seem idle and weak because they are growing. We should be patient with each other, I think.'"

So far I love Dorothea.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Piksea: "Yes, mother, the opinions are paid for. But a prig is a fellow who is always making you a present of his opinions."

A few more lines I love:

A man's mind — what there is of it — has always the advantage of being masculine — as the smallest birch-tree is of a higher kind than the most soaring palm — and even his ignorance is of a sounder quality. (ch 2)

We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time... (end ch 6)

9:08 AM  
Blogger kimbofo said...

Favourite lines? Wow. So many. I'm afraid my poor book is being covered by scribbles and underlining on almost every page!

I love a lot of her descriptions. For example:

'It was a room where one might fancy the ghost of a tight-laced lady revisiting the scene of her embroidery.'

'Brooke is a very good fellow, but pulpy; he will run into any mould, but he won't keep shape.' (He sounds like a blancmange!!)

2:44 PM  
Blogger piksea said...

How about when Sir James claims that Casaubon has no good red blood in him and Mrs. Cadwallader agrees by saying, "Somebody put a drop under a magnifying glass and it was all semicolons and parentheses,"?

12:48 PM  

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