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We all, in the first place, matter enormously to ourselves,and will bother about our writing if we feel ourselves to be somehow at stake or on show as we write. We can never, of course, display at any one time the entire complex of characteristics that makes us what we are. Writing of different sorts brings different parts of our personalities into play: a job-application will present a different persona from that revealed in a declaration of love, while any subsequent letters of resignation will reflect yet further facets of our elusive essence.

How would you interpret 'bring(s) different parts of our personalities into play' here?

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Hi Taka,

We all, in the first place, matter enormously to ourselves,and will bother about our writing if we feel ourselves to be somehow at stake or on show as we write. We can never, of course, display at any one time the entire complex of characteristics that makes us what we are. Writing of different sorts brings different parts of our personalities into play: a job-application will present a different persona from that revealed in a declaration of love, while any subsequent letters of resignation will reflect yet further facets of our elusive essence.

How would you interpret 'bring(s) different parts of our personalities into play' here?

Different kinds of writing require us to use different parts of our personalities in the activity. 'In play' also suggests to me that the outcome of this use may be somewhat unpredictable.

Consider the use of the word 'play', in the sense of activity with an unpredictable outcome, in this famous excerpt from Macaulay's 'Lays of Ancient Rome'.

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:

. . . . . .

I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?''

Best wishes, Clive
I thought the sentence meant something like 'Different kinds of writing show different parts of our personalities the existence of which we usually don't really recognize', as such words as 'display', 'present', 'reveal' and 'reflect' are used in the text. Am I wrong?
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I'm curious, Taka, as to what exactly you wish to be interpreted in the quoted phrase, since what follows the colon seems to be an elaboration of the phrase. Is it, as Clive surmises, the meaning of 'into play'?

EDIT: Oops. I did not see your last post, Taka, before writing my question. I will go back and read it now.
Takaparts of our personalities the existence of which we usually don't really recognize

I don't believe it has anything to do with what we do or don't recognize in ourselves, only with what we actively (even knowingly) bring into play--because the particular circumstance calls upon the need for that part of our [multi-faceted] personality.

DavkettI don't believe it has anything to do with what we do or don't recognize in ourselves,

Then, how about, more simply, ''Different kinds of writing show different parts of our personalities" (actually, the existence-part is not a crucial point of my question)?
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TakaDifferent kinds of writing show different parts of our personalities
That is, I think, the essential meaning.
Great!

Thank you, davkett, and Clive!
I would take "bring into play" as a metaphor from chess.

For instance, if you "bring your knights into play", at chess, you move your knights into the part of the board where the "play" or action is. (You may even create that "play" by the very act of moving your knights there.)

Meanwhile, your rooks may still be "out of play", behind their respective pawns.

MrP
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