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There is nothing in London... Options
Turnpike
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022 6:26:50 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/2018
Posts: 202
Neurons: 8,610
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
The sentence in bold letters... What does it say?
What does "to call oneself" mean in this context?

London transforms. London can affect any aspect of
a man's life. If one knows where to search there is everything in
London. But also - and this is the crux of one of the van driver's
anxieties - in London one can come across things without looking for
them. London, he fears, is full of stray chances and unlooked-for
opportunities and these can erode a man. There is nothing one
cannot be, nothing one cannot call oneself, nothing therefore one
cannot forget in London.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022 7:45:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 35,764
Neurons: 251,282
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I understand it to mean that because London is so big, and no-one really knows anyone else (or, at least, not many people) it is easy to pretend to be something/someone you are not.

The van-driver COULD tell people that he is Sir William Archbald of a minor noble family. No-one would know he was lying. He could "forget" his real background, and any troubles he may have had.

The van-driver thinks that there are more temptations like this in London than in other places.

thar
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022 8:15:05 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 25,768
Neurons: 104,595
Yes, if you stress this as
There is nothing one cannot be ( =I can be anything)
There is nothing one cannot call oneself ( =I can call myself anything)
there is nothing, therefore, one cannot forget (=therefore I can forget anything/wipe out my past - I can reinvent myself)
But, having said earlier that you can also lose your identity and moral compass.

The double negative so beloved in English for dramatic flourish. Whistle
Turnpike
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022 8:23:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/2018
Posts: 202
Neurons: 8,610
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
thar wrote:
Yes, if you stress this as
There is nothing one cannot be ( =I can be anything)
There is nothing one cannot call oneself ( =I can call myself anything)
there is nothing, therefore, one cannot forget (=therefore I can forget anything/wipe out my past - I can reinvent myself)
But, having said earlier that you can also lose your identity and moral compass.

The double negative so beloved in English for dramatic flourish. Whistle

First of all, I hate double negatives.
Then, thanks to you and Dragon! :)
thar
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022 8:36:21 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 25,768
Neurons: 104,595
I think it is the English language's distaste for being too direct.
Never state a firm opinion, when you can appear less confrontational by acknowledging the absence of the opposite. Whistle
Turnpike
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022 8:39:37 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/2018
Posts: 202
Neurons: 8,610
Location: İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
thar wrote:
I think it is the English language's distaste for being too direct.
Never state a firm opinion, when you can appear less confrontational by acknowledging the absence of the opposite. Whistle


Like: You are not intelligent./You are not unintelligent.
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