a life irony as subtle yet piercing as those endured

achiever

Member
French and arabic
Hello,
Would help me to understand the bold part of this sentence? (from an English test)


James Joyce, the author of many novels, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, saw deeply into the hearts of his
characters, but, in a life irony as subtle yet piercing as those endured by his characters, he himself could barely
see text well enough to proof his own galleys.

yet= however?

those refers to what?
Thank you
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    "Yet" here means "but." "Those" = life ironies.

    Does your English test really say that James Joyce wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover? :eek:
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Considering that the person who wrote the test is obviously an ignoramus (because why else would he say that James Joyce wrote Lady Chatterly's Lover?), it should not surprise you to be told that the bold part is unintelligible babble.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    "Yet" here means "but." "Those" = life ironies.

    Does your English test really say that James Joyce wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover? :eek:
    You DO realise that Florentia is surprised because that is factually WRONG, don't you?
    Which makes us wonder what sort of "English" course you are doing.
    James Joyce, the author of many novels, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, saw deeply into the hearts of his
    characters, but, in a life irony as subtle yet piercing as those endured by his characters, he himself could barely
    see text well enough to proof his own galleys.
    Apparently Joyce was visually impaired, but he didn't write that novel
    yet = but
    those = life ironies
    (As Florentia already told you),

    To re-phrase the bold bit: in an irony equivalent to the ironies his characters endure.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    'Yet' should be understood as a conjunction, rather than an adverb:
    yet - CONJUNCTION
    But at the same time; but nevertheless:
    yet - definition of yet in English | Oxford Dictionaries
    "in a life irony" = "in an irony of life"
    "as subtle yet piercing" =
    "as subtle but nevertheless as piercing". Note that "subtle" and "piercing" are qualities which make the author's irony similar to/like that of his characters';
    "in a life irony like those endured by his characters..."
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    But what does it mean? How is it a "piercing irony" that while Joyce understood his characters (which is hardly surprising; he invented them...), he also had bad vision? And what "piercing ironies" do his characters "endure"? The whole sentence is absurd.
     

    achiever

    Member
    French and arabic
    You DO realise that Florentia is surprised because that is factually WRONG, don't you?
    Which makes us wonder what sort of "English" course you are doing.


    Apparently Joyce was visually impaired, but he didn't write that novel
    yet = but
    those = life ironies
    (As Florentia already told you),

    To re-phrase the bold bit: in an irony equivalent to the ironies his characters endure.

    Yeah, I do. I got the sentence from an English book called "MANHATTAN PREP" it is about English language
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    The whole sentence is absurd.
    I agree; Joyce didn't write Lady Chatterly and no specific characters are cited for us to decide whether there is actually anything "subtle" or "piercing" about the irony.
    But this may be designed to test a student's ability to parse parts of speech, rather than a direct test of cultural knowledge.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Well, this is weird . . . this sentence seems to be shoehorned into various tests on the internet (the goal seems to be to identify "see" among other verbs that could go before "text"), but most of them have Finnigan's Wake as the cited work among his "many novels." This seems to be the printed source: Manhattan Prep's 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems, which has "Finnigan's Wake." How poor Lady Chatterly got in there, I don't know; she shows up on a couple of sites. I think someone stole copied it carelessly somewhere - here, for example.

    I agree with others that "life irony" is strange, and that a nearsighted author having character insights is not really ironic at all.
     
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