Excellent question. I don't know, but I didn't write the line. How does a worm fly in the night? How are lovers like a metal implement for making accurate circles? How can one take arms against a sea of troubles? How can one have a mind of winter? How is an infant like a fat gold watch?
None of which changes the fact that "laugh" is not and cannot be the subject in the line, even if it is a dumb line.
>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/06/08 12:51 PM >>>
How does a foetus laugh? Diana
"So the only question that makes grammatical sense is whether the comparison is between Apollinax and a foetus or between the way Apollinax laughs and the way a foetus laughs.Nancy"> > I don't know what the point is supposed to be here, but the grammatical subject of the sentence is "He." "Laugh" is not even in it: the word is "laughed"--a verb. The core sentence is "he laughed." The rest is modifiers. There may be a difficulty with "like" because it is, in current terms, an adjective and compares nouns, as in "he was like a foetus." But it has been, and colloquially now is, used as an adverb, as in "he laughed like a foetus laughed."> > There is no way "laugh" can be the subject of a sentence in which it does not even appear and is in a verb form slotted where verbs are. "Foetal" never appears either, only the noun "foetus." > > In modern English these forms are not interchangeable and syntax determines their function. When Eliot intends a noun/verb form for "laugh," he uses "laughter," as in the following line and the second line. One does have to read what is there and not what is not there.> > So the only question that makes grammatical sense is whether the comparison is between Apollinax and a foetus or between the way Apollinax laughs and the way a foetus laughs.> Nancy
> > >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/06/08 10:58 AM >>>> > > > But then wouldn't "laugh" be the subject of the sentence, with "foetal" modifying it?> His laugh then would be both foetal and irresponsible. Diana> Exactly. That's the point I've been trying to make.> Thanks for putting it so cogently, Peter.> > CR> > Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:> > > > No. //A laugh is capable of showing undeveloped (foetal) characteristics.//> P.> > ----- Original Message ----- > From: Diana Manister > To: [log in to unmask] > Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:52 AM> Subject: Re: On the Making of a Simile> Peter, so you are saying "a foetal characteristic" is capable of laughing?> > > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.> _________________________________________________________________> Helping your favorite cause is as easy as instant messaging. You IM, we give.> http://im.live.com/Messenger/IM/Home/?source=text_hotmail_join
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