cabbage pannier

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Ashibaal

Senior Member
French
Hello everyone,
This is yet another extract from Patrick White (Australian, Nobel Prize in Literature)'s The Tree of Man (1955) (page 31):
Context :
"Already in the hard, later year the young cabbages were resistant balls of muscle, until in time they were the big, placid cabbages, all heart and limp panniers, and in the middle of the day there was the glandular stench of cabbages."
What would the pannier of a cabbage be? Its external leaves? And do you think the "pannier" in this metaphor is rather a wicker basket or the framework of a woman's skirt?
Thanks a lot.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You’ve misquoted it. It reads, in the hard later light

    The whole passage seems to be a rather idiosyncratic metaphor for sex. As one critic puts it:


    … this paragraph forms part of a sequence portraying Stan and Amy Parker as a young couple who have consummated their marriage.
    But quite what “panniers” alludes to, I don’t know.
     

    Ashibaal

    Senior Member
    French
    You’ve misquoted it. It reads, in the hard later light
    Correct

    The whole passage seems to be a rather idiosyncratic metaphor for sex. As one critic puts it:

    … this paragraph forms part of a sequence portraying Stan and Amy Parker as a young couple who have consummated their marriage.
    Oh yes, kind of. The critic is more nuanced than you are, though (it's not exactly a "metaphor for sex"), and that's not as idiosyncratic as that; flesh if flesh. Anyways... You're not wrong.

    But quite what “panniers” alludes to, I don’t know.
    That's too bad. Thanks anyway. Hopefully someone else will have an idea.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I see it as a reference to the outer leaves resembling a skirt. The view is "from below".

    31627
     
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