tantalizing subordination

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  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    You know the rules, sb.

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    * give the complete sentence
    * give the source
    * explain the context in your words.

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    Senior Member
    Ok. This is the text:

    A shrewd publisher and practiced writer, as well as a pioneer printer, Caxton gives
    a most astute and inviting account of Malory’s work and the personage after whom
    it was named. Caxton himself evidently put small credence in the historicity of Arthur,
    but by appearing—in all modesty—to have been overwhelmed by the faith that eminent
    people had in Arthur’s existence, as well as by the survival of certain relics that
    seemed to support such faith, he encourages the reader to lay aside his own skepticism
    (although the warning remains: “ye are at your liberty” to accept or reject the truth
    of Malory’s narrative). In describing the work itself, Caxton is careful to emphasize
    its exemplary qualities, “the noble acts of chivalry” that knights performed in the old
    days, from which one may learn virtuous conduct; but he is also careful not to suppress
    the fact—though he presents it in tantalizing subordination—that the book
    contains much that is exemplary only in the negative sense: “cowardice, murder, hate,
    and sin,” which for some might, perhaps, enhance the book’s appeal.

    Source: An Abridged Edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature - New Edition
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    He mentions in an almost parenthetical afterthought that many readers may enjoy the book for its sex and violence.

    Tantalising: because he gives us a glimpse of the potential excitement contained in the book.

    Subordination: because he seeks to downplay this excitement by suggesting that it may serve as a negative exemplar.
    Last edited:
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