chapter <knitted up from> fragments

Discussion in 'English Only' started by IceJB, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. IceJB Senior Member

    New York
    Mandarin
    Quote: A posthumous novel-length manuscript of Tremski’s was almost ready for the printer, with a last chapter knitted up from fragments he had left tailing. The new girl, gifted in languages, compared the two versions and said he would have approved; and when Forain showed a moment of doubt and hesitation she was able to remind him of how, in the long run, Tremski had never known what he wanted.

    Question: Was it saying that the last chapter was patched by others to the main part of the novel?

    Background: Forain was Tremski’s French publisher, who helped publish some of Tremski’s manuscrips (after his death) which were not actually complete. The new girl was referring to a new employee at Forain’s firm.

    Source: Forain, by Mavis Gallant, a short story from her collection ‘Paris Stories’, which you can find in Google Books by the title Paris Stories. (Paragraph 2, Page 274)

    Thanks to whoever can help!
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Knitted up here sounds like various remnants of wool knitted together to make something useful, like a scarf. To use a different examples, these fragments of writing were like pieces of a puzzle that the new girl put together to form a picture (or manuscript ending, in this case). Was it the picture Tremski would have wanted? We don't know and Forain wasn't sure, but the new girl reminded Forain that Tremski never knew what he wanted, so it's probably as good a solution as any.
     
  3. IceJB Senior Member

    New York
    Mandarin
    Your metaphor is very convincing, Copyright. So the new girl was the one who did this knitting up thing, I see.
    But what were the two versions she compared? The manufacture Tremski left without an ending, and the one with an ending knitted up by her?
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Yes, I think that's correct, although I can see why it's confusing. You would expect to compare two of the same complete thing – two manuscripts that are the same except for different endings – but in this case, one version has an ending and one doesn't.

    If we would like to return to her knitting, I would imagine the manuscript as a woolen scarf that's finished except for the tassels on the end. She has looked at the colors and combinations and patterns of the scarf and has created tassels to finish it off. Whether or not those were exactly as he would have done, we have no idea, but it's not bad.

    (Keep in mind that most analogies have problems, so I wouldn't lean too heavily on either one.) :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  5. IceJB Senior Member

    New York
    Mandarin
    It's a good tool for explaining things anyway. :)Thank you Copyright.
     

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