high standard of well-informed mediocrity

Anya Smitty

Senior Member
Chinese
Sir Julian Jull had been a member of a House of Commons distinguished for its high standard of well-informed mediocrity.

Could anyone paraphrase this sentence?

Source: The Unbearable Bassington by Saki
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    What is causing you trouble? The contrast between "high standard" and "mediocrity" is intended to startle the reader, to comic effect. Would you like to try your own paraphrase first?
     

    Anya Smitty

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think the author wanted to stress the mediocrity of the House, but I don't understand what dose well-informed mediocrity mean.
    What is causing you trouble? The contrast between "high standard" and "mediocrity" is intended to startle the reader, to comic effect. Would you like to try your own paraphrase first?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    He means that tbetween them all the members of the House had a great deal of information at their disposal, but no member rose above the level of intellectual mediocrity.

    They knew a great many facts, but they had not enough intelligence to rise above the average level of thought or imagination.

    Saki has placed the derogatory term 'mediocrity' at the point where the reader has been led to expect a term of praise.
    This is an example of the figure of speech called bathos, or anti-climax.
     
    Last edited:

    Anya Smitty

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks! I agree with you!
    He means that tbetween them all the members of the House had a great deal of information at their disposal, but no member rose above the level of intellectual medicority.

    They knew a great many facts, but they had not enough intelligence to rise above the average level of thought or imagination.

    Saki has placed the derogatory term 'mediocrity' at the point where the reader has been led to expect a term of praise.
    This is an example of the figure of speech called bathos, or anti-climax.
     
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