Saturday, September 19, 2015

Talking AT: September 19, 2015

THE moralists of the nursery used to denounce a sin which went by the name of "talking at", and was rendered the more expressive by the little stress which always fell upon the "at", as if to signify the stabbing, jabbing, pinpricking nature of the sin itself. The essence of "talking at" was that you vented your irritation in an oblique fashion which it was difficult for your victim to meet otherwise than by violence. This old crime of the nursery is very apt to blossom afresh in people of mature age when they sit down to write a novel.

"The Rights of Youth"
Review of Joan and Peter, by H. G.Wells. 
19 September, 1918
(E2 294)

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