What does this mean?
A vivid description of France and England and life in general. But this sticks in my mind wanting to know its meaning. It is at the end of the first paragraph.
"...the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
What did they mean "insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only"?
Examine the full clause, "some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only," as an intro to the next paragraph:
"There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever."
The royalty are the 'authorities' who insisted on being received and, therefore, expected to remain in power.
Hope this explains it for you.
Bye for now,
Jan 15, 2009 11:09 am
Thank you for taking the time to look at this and reply.
I looked at this again this morning and focused on the antecedent of “it”. The authorities insisted on “what” being received…? Then I saw that it must be this great contrast that Dickens writes about. My first thought after that was that this time period is anything but a stable time that Dickens is describing and an ideal situation for men of power to take advantage of. Hence, this royalty raise their voices and command that you may observe a contrast, but you must not do anything about it. This was a time of revolution and the uprising of people putting kings and queens on edge no doubt as you indicate.
Jan 16, 2009 9:32 am
Dickens’ timelessness is a wonder. His elite had their idiosyncrasies but their methods are much like ours. Both keep control through tradition, but differ in that Dickens' authorities relied on fear while ours on propaganda partly via illiteracy. A bookmark passed out a few years ago said, “One out of 5 Canadians cannot read this message.” I encountered it in upper-middleclass schools. In ’93 the National Adult Literacy Survey revealed that nearly 25% of adult Americans with an average of 10 years of schooling had 4th grade literacy skills or lower. “Nearly half…scored in the lowest two levels of literacy…that the National Goals Panel stated are well below what American workers need to be competitive in an increasingly global economy” (Wagner & Vensky, 1999, p. 1). 71% of those at the lowest level believed they “read English well” (Kirsch, Jungeblut, Jenkins & Kolstad, 1994, p. 20). Such ignorance keeps our elite well entrenched.
Jan 17, 2009 7:24 pm
Jan 22, 2009 2:34 pm