which he saw Britain as defending in the Great War

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ShareisBeauty

Senior Member
Chinese
(Henry James) He was destined, so passionately attached was he to these values, which he saw Britain as defending in the Great War, to become a British subject in 1915. But what would have happened,had he not done so? That is really the theme of 'The Jolly Corner'. The ghost whom he is tracking down in the deserted old house near Washington Square is none other than his own. (A.N. Wilson After the Victorians
Q:" He was destined, so passionately attached was he to these values, which he saw Britain as defending in the Great War, to become a British subject in 1915. " To track the sentence order variation master Wilson at his free will , I would understand the order as normally as follows (deep structure not surface structure) , though not Wilson's stylistic treatment. He was destined to become a British subject in 1915, for he was so passionately attached to these values, and he saw (when he had migrated to England) Britain as defending these values in the Great War.
Thanks
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It seems rather a mess to me. The main clause is easy to see, because "destined" must be followed by a to-infinitive, so we have :
    He was destined to become a British subject in 1915.​
    Usually a parenthesis is marked by two matching punctuation marks, and the same punctuation mark is not used within the parenthesis, but Wilson has ignored this convention and has used a third comma to mark a non-defining relative clause.

    The main parenthesis is
    so passionately attached was he to these values​
    "These values" then has a modifier:
    which he saw Britain as defending in the Great War​
    This is a rather unusual clause, because "which" is the object not of the main verb "saw" but of "defending":
    He saw [regarded] Britain as defending these values in the Great War​

    Your reading is exactly right, except possibly for "when he had migrated to England", which is not included within the quotation. However, I think James lived in England long before the Great War, so this is fine.
     
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