which no alloy can possibly mix

Gabriel Aparta

Senior Member
Español - Venezuela
Hi, please, from Frankenstein:

I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.

I don't get that sentence, what is Mary Shelley trying to say?

Thanks
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Consider the meaning of "unalloyed", which is often collocated with "pleasure":

    unalloyed (adjective)
    UK /ˌʌn.əˈlɔɪd/ US /ˌʌn.əˈlɔɪd/ literary
    (especially of a positive feeling) not spoiled by any amount of negative feeling;pure:

    Spending time with one's family is never an unalloyed pleasure (= there are bad things about it too).

    Source: Cambridge Dictionary
    "A simple pleasure in which no alloy can possibly mix" is an "unalloyed pleasure" - there is nothing to spoil it.

    One should apply oneself to study that benefits the mind, and not to the kind of study that tends to weaken the affections and destroy one's taste for simple, pure and unalloyed pleasures.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Note that the phrase isn't simply "which no alloy can mix," but "in which no alloy can mix," in other words, "into which no alloy can mix."
     
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