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My sources were extremely present to me! Options
Tomahawk71
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 3:05:55 AM

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Hi,

What does the bold sentence mean, please?




I wrote "A Murder of Quality" first in the gloomy pension in Bad Godesberg where junior British diplomats were stabled while they awaited accommodation, then in the tiny house in the Gringstrasse where we lived with our two children and our au pair. In consequence, I wrote the book lying down, on beds, in notebooks, in the few snatched hours that were left to me by family and diplomatic life.

"My sources were extremely present to me, as they will be to the reader. I hated English boarding schools. I found them monstrous and still do, probably because I began my boarding-school career at the age of five, at a place called St Martin's, Northwood, and did not end it till I was sixteen, when I flatly refused to return to Westcott House, Sherborne, on the solid grounds that I would take no more of such institutions."
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pjharvey
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 5:06:08 AM
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His sources were English boarding schools. They were extremely present to him because he had spent eleven years of his life in them.
Tomahawk71
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 5:26:36 AM

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pjharvey wrote:
His sources were English boarding schools. They were extremely present to him because he had spent eleven years of his life in them.


How about the readers, then?
pjharvey
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 5:34:00 AM
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As I understand it, he is going to write about English boarding schools; his readers will then have his sources present as well (after reading about them).
Tomahawk71
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 5:36:42 AM

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pjharvey wrote:
As I understand it, he is going to write about English boarding schools; his readers will then have his sources present as well (after reading about them).


So, he means "I know my sources very well and my readers will know those same sources very well, too".
Is that right?
pjharvey
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 5:47:41 AM
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Yes, that is exactly my understanding.
However, I have not read the book: is it really set in English boarding schools?
thar
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 6:06:04 AM

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That is my take, as well.

Present = here, now, with me.

It's not common now to hear it used for 'sources', but it is common in pop psychology, about past experiences being 'present' - always with you.


No good tfd listing for this.

I guess American schoolchildren don't, and didn't say 'present' in response to the register? (Although a posh school would say 'ad sum / ab est').
Romany
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 6:12:46 AM
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First off: who wrote the book - a man or a woman? If we don't know the gender of someone in English we do not call them 'he'. We use gender neutral pronouns or you can use s/he.

And I think what s/he's saying is pretty much as you have said. Most middle-class English children used to go to boarding school. The writer is therefore assuming that the people who will read the book will be middle-class too. And everybody, like the speaker, *hated* boarding school.

Thus, those days are still very clear in the writers mind - as they would be to anyone who went to boarding school. The writers is using *lived experience* rather than research for the book; and feels that's more authentic.

That's what s/he's saying; and s/he's sure that most people who read the book will know what she's talking about. It does NOT however, particularly mean that the book is going to be about a boarding school. While one or more of the characters may be in school it's unlikely that the whole books revolves around school. Unless it's a whodunnit?

A 'whodunnit' is a murder-mystery, like Agatha Christie's books.
pjharvey
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 6:59:03 AM
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Ah, ok! That's what it means - he assumes ("he" because I know it is John Le Carrè) that his sources are present to his readers too, because it is their common experience. That makes sense.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 7:10:18 AM

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It is a murder mystery set in the fictional,Carne school in Dorset.

It is the only book written by Le Carre not set in the world of espionage.

It also shows a little presumption on his behalf, only public school educated people will read his book and understand his references, those who went to state school and were therefore not boarders will not.


I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Tomahawk71
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 7:34:02 AM

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Sarrriesfan wrote:
It is a murder mystery set in the fictional,Carne school in Dorset.

It is the only book written by Le Carre not set in the world of espionage.

It also shows a little presumption on his behalf, only public school educated people will read his book and understand his references, those who went to state school and were therefore not boarders will not.


Yes, exactly! There is a little presumption here.
His book was translated into many languages and even non-British readers have the chance to read it.
almo 1
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 7:36:06 AM
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I know a little bit about English boarding school
through this cinema "if....", even if it is exaggerated.







Sarrriesfan
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 7:43:00 AM

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almo 1 wrote:


I know a little bit about English boarding school
through this cinema "if....", even if it is exaggerated.









Almo 1 "If" is a film or movie, in British English a cinema is the place you go to watch one.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
NKM
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 11:22:20 AM

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In American English, the place where one goes to see a movie is usually called a "movie theater" (or sometimes just a "theater").

- "We saw a great movie last night at that new theater in Hadley."

To us, "cinema" is more often used as an uncountable noun meaning "the film industry."

We sometimes use the British spelling of "theatre" in reference to stage presentations.

- "I'm a member of the Corinth Theatre Guild."

NKM
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 11:40:12 AM

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Back to the original topic …

I construed "present" as meaning "clear and well remembered", though I wouldn't actually use the word that way.



thar wrote:
I guess American schoolchildren don't, and didn't say 'present' in response to the register?

Back in the days of my long-ago youth, we did sometimes respond with "Present!" during roll call. As I recall, I suspect that at the time most of us thought it rather quaintly formal, and probably most teachers had already resigned themselves to hearing "Here!" instead.

Gabriel82
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2017 1:20:06 PM

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Classes at our school still say "here" and "present" to roll call each period.
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