multitudinous seas incarnadine

< Previous | Next >
Status
Not open for further replies.

SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
They could have had twice as much blood from me. The multitudinous seas incarnadine.
(Brave New World; A.Huxley)

Would you be so kind as to tell me what part of speech 'incarnadine' is?

Thanks.
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    This is of course a quote from Shakespeare: Macbeth, act 2 scene 2.
    Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
    Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
    The multitudinous seas incarnadine
    Making the green one red

    It means, in the words of No fear Shakespeare "http://nfs.sparknotes.com/macbeth/page_60.html" No, instead my hands will stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red. Incarnadine is a verb.
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It is of course a verb, as Keith says, in Macbeth. In Huxley, you only have a snippet, so it could arguably be an adjective. But I'd probably go along with Keith's analysis.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, it has an object in Brave New World: "the multitudinous seas". It doesn't have a subject, so we have to supply "They could have had twice as much blood from me [which would] the multitudinous seas incarnadine."
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, it has an object in Brave New World: "the multitudinous seas". It doesn't have a subject, so we have to supply "They could have had twice as much blood from me [which would] the multitudinous seas incarnadine."
    You are of course right that it's the subject that's missing, but only if it's a verb.

    However it looks to me as though this really is a deliberate change from verb to adjective.
    They could have had twice as much blood from me. The multitudinous seas incarnadine.
    They could have had twice as much blood from me. [They could have had] the multitudinous seas incarnadine.

    I'd call it simple hyperbole.

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited:

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    According to the OED “incarnadine” is originally an adjective and only secondarily used as a verb. It gives a reasonable number of references for both usages.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    According to the OED “incarnadine” is originally an adjective and only secondarily used as a verb. It gives a reasonable number of references for both usages.
    Thanks, that's useful to know.

    However in Shakespeare's Macbeth, it's definitely a verb.
    ...my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine...
    Therefore, if my hypothesis is correct, Huxley would have had to make the change to an adjective knowingly.
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Well, I've directed and acted in this play, and never come across any other use of encarnadine in my life. Especially not in combination with multitudinous seas. You'll have to twist it a long way away from the obvious original source to convince me that it's other than a straight quote.

    But then, why take the obvious answer when with a bit of ingenuity you can come up with a pretzel?
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, I've directed and acted in this play, and never come across any other use of encarnadine in my life. Especially not in combination with multitudinous seas. You'll have to twist it a long way away from the obvious original source to convince me that it's other than a straight quote.

    But then, why take the obvious answer when with a bit of ingenuity you can come up with a pretzel?
    (a) I've just pointed out #9 That in Shakespeare it's clearly a verb.

    (b) Since we're doing mock insults, I suggested it because your attempt at adding a subject seemed particularly pretzelish and not at all poetic. You offered:
    "They could have had twice as much blood from me [which would] the multitudinous seas incarnadine."
    Not exactly Shakespearean! I merely offered an alternative for discussion. My version was what occurred to me as I read it. Your version felt uncouth when I saw it.
     
    Last edited:

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    According to the OED “incarnadine” is originally an adjective and only secondarily used as a verb. It gives a reasonable number of references for both usages.
    fdb - Since there seems to be a minor disagreement, could you give some of the examples of adjectival use please? Thank you. :)
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Here's as much as I'm allowed to post from my digital OED:

    incarnadine, a. and n. arch.

    [a. F. incarnadin, -ine (16th c.), ad. It. incarnadino, var. of incarnatino carnation, flesh-colour, deriv. of incarnato incarnate.]

    A.A adj. Properly, Flesh-coloured, carnation, pale red or pink; but b.A.b also used for various shades of crimson or blood-red (cf. carnation2); in mod. use sometimes = Blood-stained (from Shakes. Macb. ii. ii. 62: see incarnadine v.).
    There are ten or so citations of adjectival usage given.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I am closing this thread.

    People agree that in Shakespeare's original usage, incarnadine is a verb.
    It has also been established that incarnadine may be used as an adjective.

    Whether incarnadine is an adjective or a verb in the topic sentence depends on speculative reconstructions of Huxley's intentions. It is not a question that can be answered by this forum.

    People should make up their minds about which makes the most sense to them.

    This thread is closed.
    Thank you all for your contributions.

    Cagey, moderator
     
    Last edited:
    Status
    Not open for further replies.
    < Previous | Next >
    Top