“What is there in common between us, do you think?”
“Nothing but our sex,” said Emily, with a burst of tears.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Dickens and Words
Lines and phrases in classic literature sometimes take on new, unintended meanings over the years because of changes in the meaning of words. "Knock up" is one that turns up a lot in English literature, and causes an unintentional giggle now (it used to mean just to knock at a particular person's door). And while I am not the first person to point this out, David Copperfield contains one line that has taken on an unintended meaning that arguably makes more sense than the original. It's in the big confrontation between Little Emily, Steerforth's ex-mistress who still loves him even though he ruined her reputation, and Rosa Dartle, Steerforth's ex-mistress who still loves him even though he scarred her face: