The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

Breed is stronger than pasture. Options
Daemon
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/7/2009
Posts: 23,980
Neurons: 71,118
Location: Inside Farlex computers
Breed is stronger than pasture.

George Eliot (1819-1880)
excaelis
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 6:21:47 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
Posts: 10,981
Neurons: 32,652
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Baa-Ram-Ewe
Baa-Ram-Ewe
To your fleece, your breed, your clan be true.
Sheep be true, Baa-Ram-Ewe.

Sanity is not statistical
MTC
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:13:11 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/2011
Posts: 2,780
Neurons: 8,606
The quotation is from Ch 11 of Silas Marner:

This emphatic compliment of the Squire's to Nancy was felt by others
besides Godfrey to have a diplomatic significance; and her father
gave a slight additional erectness to his back, as he looked across
the table at her with complacent gravity. That grave and orderly
senior was not going to bate a jot of his dignity by seeming elated
at the notion of a match between his family and the Squire's: he was
gratified by any honour paid to his daughter; but he must see an
alteration in several ways before his consent would be vouchsafed.
His spare but healthy person, and high-featured firm face, that
looked as if it had never been flushed by excess, was in strong
contrast, not only with the Squire's, but with the appearance of the
Raveloe farmers generally--in accordance with a favourite saying
of his own, that "breed was stronger than pasture".

"Miss Nancy's wonderful like what her mother was, though; isn't
she, Kimble?" said the stout lady of that name, looking round for
her husband.

(http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/george-eliot/silas-marner/11/)

Silas Mariner was published in 1861. Darwin's Origin of the Species was published on 24 November 1859. It's interesting to speculate whether Eliot had Darwin's ideas in mind when she (through one of her fictional characters) apparently coined the saying, "breed is stronger than pasture." We moderns see the saying through post-Darwinian eyes: Nature is more important than Nurture, and Heredity is more important than Environment in determing an individual's character. But the Squire--Eliot's character-- may simply have been saying in his view one's ancestry is more important than education or occupation in determining character or worth.
Verbatim
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 4:04:10 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/3/2012
Posts: 2,042
Neurons: 242,792
Daemon wrote:
Breed is stronger than pasture.

George Eliot (1819-1880)




Every saying carries only so much weight and then, only so far. Remember that any pronouncement of the Victorian epoch may be suspect of bigotry.

It is doubtful that the "breed" in the exclusive sense of privileged ancestry may have survived past the decadence and fall of the Roman Empire.
The breed that followed was not superior, rather burdened by bad character and culturally deficient.
Even more doubtful is that such breed could have transcended the Dark Ages without the help and vigor normally associated with "nurture".

Incidentally, the verb "breed" also denotes rearing, bringing up, nurturing.

LostinSC
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 5:24:34 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/30/2012
Posts: 400
Neurons: 1,328
MTC writes:

"We moderns see the saying through post-Darwinian eyes: Nature is more important than Nurture, and Heredity is more important than Environment in determing an individual's character. But the Squire--Eliot's character-- may simply have been saying in his view one's ancestry is more important than education or occupation in determining character or worth."

My, oh my.. How long has this trivial argument been debated?

Long before I was born.. (Yet, will continue long after I'm wrapped in the warm earth of the Holy Cross Cemetery, I'm sure.) Whistle

And -- I contributed my most dedicated, enthusastic and wonderful ignorance to the discussion 50 years ago. Some of the best years of my life were spent in starting conversations of which I knew little or nothing, debating both sides within myself and sometime with differing proponents, and then end up the night puting my head on the pillow with a mind full of inquiry. Brick wall

The conclusion is an illusion. The important essence, to Losty, is the process to reach that illusionary conclusion. That's the fun part.



The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. H. L. Mencken
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:14:57 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/10/2009
Posts: 1,648
Neurons: 4,678
A person's character is not dependent upon--or the result of-- one's environment or 'the place from which one feeds.'
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines. Copyright © 2008-2018 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.