except where it ran its course in fiction

IceJB

Senior Member
Mandarin
Quote: For the moment, the three were behaving well. It was as much as Forain expected from anybody. He had given up measuring social conduct, except where it ran its course in fiction. His firm made a specialty of translating and publishing work from Eastern and Central Europe; it kept him at a remove.

Question: How can I understand the italic clause? Does it mean that Forain only measured social conduct in fiction?

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 1 from bottom, Page 262)

Thanks to whoever can help!
 
  • gramman

    Senior Member
    Does it mean that Forain only measured social conduct in fiction?
    I'd say yes, but that doesn't settle the question of what she means by "ran its course." My guess is that she means Forain, when dealing with a fictional context, makes judgements about how people should behave (social conduct) that involve some sort of predictability. In other words, he's not surprised to see people do things that seem to be out of character in real-world settings.
     

    IceJB

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I'd say yes, but that doesn't settle the question of what she means by "ran its course." My guess is that she means Forain, when dealing with a fictional context, makes judgements about how people should behave (social conduct) that involve some sort of predictability. In other words, he's not surprised to see people do things that seem to be out of character in real-world settings.
    I understand. Thank you gramman.
     
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