entertaining, and snubbing, an angel unawares

chong lee

Senior Member
türkçe
Hi,
The quote is from the story "On Approval" by H. H. Munro.

"On the other hand, there was the ever-imminent danger of entertaining, and snubbing, an angel unawares."

I did not get what "an angel unawares" means.

Could you help me to understand ; thank you.



There was reasonable ground for doubt and caution; the artistic groups that foregathered at the little restaurant contained so many young women with short hair and so many young men with long hair, who supposed themselves to be abnormally gifted in the domain of music, poetry, painting, or stagecraft, with little or nothing to support the supposition, that a self-announced genius of any sort in their midst was inevitably suspect. On the other hand, there was the ever-imminent danger of entertaining, and snubbing, an angel unawares. There had been the lamentable case of Sledonti, the dramatic poet, who had been belittled and cold-shouldered in the Owl Street hall of judgment, and had been afterwards hailed as a master singer by the Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovitch — "the most educated of the Romanoffs," according to Sylvia Strubble, who spoke rather as one who knew every individual member of the Russian imperial family; as a matter of fact, she knew a newspaper correspondent, a young man who ate bortsch with the air of having invented it. Sledonti's "Poems of Death and Passion" were now being sold by the thousand in seven European languages, and were about to be translated into Syrian, a circumstance which made the discerning critics of the Nuremberg rather shy of maturing their future judgments too rapidly and too irrevocably.
 
  • Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    This is an allusion to a biblical quotation: 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares'. You might miss a genuine genius among a crowd of people who only think they are geniuses.
     

    chong lee

    Senior Member
    türkçe
    So does it mean
    if you are nice to strangers , you 'll have the chance to entertain an angel without knowing one is angel ?
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Munro is saying that a lot of the artists in this restaurant have little talent, thought they think they have, but if you assume they are all without talent, you might miss one who does have talent, which would be socially embarrassing. His use of entertain is unhelpful; the verb snub is what matters.
     

    MirandaEscobedo

    Senior Member
    British English
    Munro adds to the Biblical positive injunction to "entertain" strangers the modern term "snub" and the negative emphasis (as Szkot puts it well, "that this would be socially embarrassing"). The juxtaposition is revealing because of the contrast. "Entertain" suggests the generous appreciation that any stranger could be an angel -- or an artist -- (even though one is not aware of it) but this has been reduced to a fear of "snubbing" by this set of people, ie a narrow fear that they might make the wrong social choice.
     

    chong lee

    Senior Member
    türkçe
    I need clearness about what kind of embarrassing is that.

    You behaved one as a real genuis and it turned out one is not. So you embarassed. You are teased by your friends .

    Or

    You bahaved one as a not genuine genuis and it turned out one is not. You embarassed .
     
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