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What is a "half-cut book" in Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray? Options
Bích San Hoàng
Posted: Friday, March 20, 2020 11:51:02 AM

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I am reading the novel and encounter this phrase:

The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the HALF-CUT BOOK that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often.

I did some Googling but to no satisfactory explanation. According to you, what does this phrase mean?

Many thanks in advance.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, March 20, 2020 11:58:51 AM

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Bích San Hoàng wrote:
I am reading the novel and encounter this phrase:

The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the HALF-CUT BOOK that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often.

I did some Googling but to no satisfactory explanation. According to you, what does this phrase mean?

Many thanks in advance.


It's only a guess on my part, but as the book lies beside the flameless tapers (candles), I would surmise that the book lies half open. In the same way as we say, "Cut the cards", to mean divide the cards into two parts, a "half-cut" book would be "cut" open.
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 20, 2020 3:17:57 PM

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FounDit wrote:
but as the book lies beside the flameless tapers (candles), I would surmise that the book lies half open.

My guess is that this is a book with pages that need to be cut and half-cut actually means half-read:

https://rhollick.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/uncut-pages/



-
Bích San Hoàng
Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2020 7:34:30 AM

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FounDit wrote:
It's only a guess on my part, but as the book lies beside the flameless tapers (candles), I would surmise that the book lies half open. In the same way as we say, "Cut the cards", to mean divide the cards into two parts, a "half-cut" book would be "cut" open.


Thank you. That is also my initial guess.

lazarius wrote:
My guess is that this is a book with pages that need to be cut and half-cut actually means half-read:

https://rhollick.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/uncut-pages/





Sounds reasonable enough. Thank you for your enlightening.
thar
Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2020 7:50:10 AM

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And then you cut to separate the pages



Although technically, if the pages have not been separated it is unopened.
If the edge has not been trimmed with a guillotine it is uncut.

Source
https://collation.folger.edu/2016/08/uncut-unopened-untrimmed-uh-oh/

I assume you came across the meaning of half-cut as 'drunk, intoxicated'? So although I know it doesn't mean that, it does conjure a mental image of the book staggering around and slurring its words - being drunkenly friendly and wrapping itself around you. Before being sick in the gutter. Whistle
Ursus Minor
Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2020 4:12:15 AM

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thar wrote:
And then you cut to separate the pages



At the start of the 19th century newspapers were sold uncut as well. People used to have a special knife, sometimes made of ivory, for cutting newspapers.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2020 8:01:15 AM

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That wrote - "I assume you came across the meaning of half-cut as 'drunk, intoxicated'? So although I know it doesn't mean that, it does conjure a mental image of the book staggering around and slurring its words - being drunkenly friendly and wrapping itself around you. Before being sick in the gutter. "

Thar!
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