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    #1

    from Harold Pinter's BETRAYAL

    Now I'm reading Harold Pinter's BETRAYAL.
    But this play has such some difficult sentences that I can't understand their meaning without your help.
    Here is an another part, in which I have two questions.

    ROBERT: I agree with you. I am a very foolish publisher.

    JERRY: No you’re not. What are you talking about? You’re a good publisher. What are you talking about?

    ROBERT: I’m a bad publisher because I hate books. Or to be more precise, prose. Or to be even more precise, modern prose, I mean modern novels, first novels and second novels, all that promise and sensibility it falls upon me to judge, to put the firm’s money on, and then to push for the third novel, see it done, see the dust jacket done, see the dinner for the national literary editors done, see the signing in Hatchards done, see the lucky author cook himself to death, all in the name of literature. You know what you and Emma have in common? You love literature. I mean you love modern prose literature, I mean you love the new novel by the new Casey or Spinks. It gives you both a thrill.

    JERRY: You must be pissed.

    Question 1. "All that promise and sensibility it falls upon me to judge, to put the firm’s money on, and then to push for the third novel." In this sentence, what does "it" substitutes for? Is it an anticipatory subject like in "It's dangerous to walk in the road"?

    Question 2. I wonder whether the clauses "see it done" and so forth are imperative sentences or to-infinitives from which the author has omitted "to". Which is the subject(agent) of the verb "see"—You or I?

    Thanks for your frequent help.
    Last edited by eclaire1004; 15-Jul-2015 at 21:39.

  1. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Jul 2015
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    #2

    Re: from Harold Pinter's BETRAYAL

    ",all that promise and sensibility it falls upon me to judge,"

    Essentially it is an inverted form of, "it falls upon me [it is my job or duty] to judge all that promise and sensibility".

    "to put the firm’s money on, and then to push for the third novel, see it done, see the dust jacket done, see the dinner for the national literary editors done, see the signing in Hatchards done, see the lucky author cook himself to death, all in the name of literature."

    Here he is listing the duties he has to carry out as publisher. To "see it done", in this context means "to ensure that the novel gets completed" (i.e. to see it done to completion).

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