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“What did you say to Strickland when you saw him?’(Said by me, the narrator of the story)

'I asked him to come with me to Holland.' (Said by Stroeve; “he” refers to Strickland)

I was dumbfounded. I could only look at Stroeve in stupid amazement.

'We both loved Blanche. There would have been room for him in my mother's house. I think the company of poor, simple people would have done his soul a great good. I think he might have learnt from them something that would be very useful to him.'

'What did he say?'

'He smiled a little. I suppose he thought me very silly. He said he had other fish to fry.’


Excerpt from The Moon and Sixpence

W Somerset Maugham

Context: Strickland and Stroeve both loved Blanche, who had been the wife of the latter. Now that Blanche was dead, Stroeve didn’t blame Strickland but invited Strickland to go to Stroeve’s home, which was in the countryside, when Stroeve said the quoted sentences to Strickland. Both Strickland and Stroeve were currently in Paris, and Stroeve asked him to go to Holland, so it was in the future.

Hi. For the bold part, can I think of them as implied type III conditionals with reference to an unrealized future?

Thank you.

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zuotengdazuoFor the bold part, can I think of them as implied type III conditionals with reference to an unrealized future?

... to an unrealized future of the past.

Yes.

CJ

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Thank you, CJ. But why do you add "of the past"? The bold part is an imagined future relative to the time when they are speaking and it is direct speech.

It sounds to me more like the future relative to the time when Blanche was still alive, and she's dead at the time of their conversation.

CJ

Thank you again. Well, I might not have explained the context clearly. I'd like to give it a further shot. Stroeve had never invited Strickland to the former's home when Blanche was still alive. Stroeve and Blance were originally a happy couple. But after a series of events,she abandoned her husband in favor of Strickland. And not long after this, she killed herself, probably because of Strickland. It was the death of Blanche that drastically changed Stroeve. Stroeve gave up his career as an artist and decided to go to his old home in Holland. Before he set off, Stroeve met Strickland and aksed the latter to go with him. So Strickland's visit to Stroeve's old home is in the future relative to the quoted conversation rather than when Blanche was still alive.

In other words, it’s Blanche’s death that leads to the proposed visit, not Blanche’s living. Is it clear?
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zuotengdazuoSo Strickland's visit to Stroeve's old home is in the future relative to the quoted conversation rather than when Blanche was still alive.

It's rather complicated for someone who hasn't read the book and followed all the twists and turns of plot from the beginning.

Nevertheless, what I see in the quoted excerpt is this, focusing on the tenses:

What did you say ... I asked him
I was ... could only look ...
We both loved ...
would have ... would have ... might have
What did he say
He smiled ... he thought ... said ...
had other fish to fry

The final line is Strickland's refusal to go with Stroeve to Holland.

And yet you write: Strickland's visit to Stroeve's old home is in the future.

As I see it, there is no visit to Stroeve's old home because Strickland has refused to go.

What I find a little unusual here is that the anchor event (as I see it) is the refusal, which we readers do not find out about until after the "would have"s.

As I see it, it's

If he had accepted (rather than refused), there would have been room, etc.

The refusal is in the past from the viewpoint of this conversation, so the unfulfilled "would have been room" (and so on) are in the future of this past refusal.

CJ

CalifJim

As I see it, it's

If he had accepted (rather than refused), there would have been room, etc.

The refusal is in the past from the viewpoint of this conversation, so the unfulfilled "would have been room" (and so on) are in the future of this past refusal.

CJ

Thank you very much, CJ.

So the unfulfilled imaged “would have been room” (and so) is in the future relative to the past refusal, not in the future relative to the time when the quoted conversation took place.

Right?

zuotengdazuo

So the unfulfilled imaged “would have been room” (and so) is in the future relative to the past refusal, not in the future relative to the time when the quoted conversation took place.

Right?

Right.

CJ

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