[ilds] Finally (2)

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 2 11:12:02 PDT 2010

"Gnomic aorist" usually applies to Attic Greek.  Dunno if Modern Greek has that tense.  From my very little Greek, I understand the "gnomic aorist" to be a past tense, the aorist (i.e., with the sense of completion) that represents some truth.  As the venerable H. W. Smyth says, in Greek Grammar (1956), "The aorist may express a general truth.  The aorist simply states a past occurrence and leaves the reader to draw the inference from a concrete case that what has occurred once is typical of what often occurs" (sec. 1931).  The aphorism, "Truth is what most contradicts itself in time," is in the present tense, not the past.  Gnomic, yes; aorist, no.  Durrell, however, definitely likes gnomic; he advocates a gnomic style somewhere.  Whether he was influenced by Classical or possibly Modern Greek is a very interesting question, which could fall under that rubric of Durrell's diction, previously discussed.


On Jun 2, 2010, at 7:57 AM, Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:

> And don't let us forget the 'gnomic aorist' either in this typically provocative Durrellian sentence and the cleverly disguised use of his ever enigmatically and yet precisely ambiguous constantly shifting sand-dune-like metaphor of the greek infinitive for 'duration'.
> David, could you unpack this for US? For me, abyway.
> Bill
> _______________________________________________

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