pass through the camel's eye

GeneD

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I had carefully prepared myself to take rather a back seat in that ship because of the uncommonly select material that would alone be permitted to pass through the camel's eye of that committee on credentials. It's from "The innocents abroad" by Mark Twain. Some more context, if needed, can be found here: http://www.literaturepage.com/read/twain-innocents-abroad-9.html

Is it an idiom, "through the camels eye"? I've found only "camel through the eye of a needle", but it's obviously something different.
 
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Rover_KE

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It looks like a misquotation to me.
 

GoesStation

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I'm just finishing the same book, and I've been thinking about how challenging Twain's writing might be for an English learner. He writes in a style which demands careful attention to the ever-present possibility that he is mocking someone.

In this case I wouldn't be surprised if he was repeating someone else's misunderstanding of the Bible passage he refers to. He clearly doesn't hold the committee in high esteem.

American and British practice is to give the full first and last name of an author. Your readers will know that you mean Samuel Clemens, but you should spell out his full pen name, Mark Twain.
 

bubbha

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I think it's a deliberate mix-up by Twain of the Biblical concept of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. I think "permitted to pass through the camel's eye of that committee" can be replaced by "approved by that committee".
 

GeneD

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I'm just finishing the same book, and I've been thinking about how challenging Twain's writing might be for an English learner. He writes in a style which demands careful attention to the ever-present possibility that he is mocking someone.
Yes, I think the same at times (especially when I stumble upon some camel of Mark Twain's :)). But the things are not that bad, I reckon, since I find the narrative extremely hilarious and I think I catch most of the jokes there.

American and British practice is to give the full first and last name of an author. Your readers will know that you mean Samuel Clemens, but you should spell out his full pen name, Mark Twain.
Thanks for the entire reply and this particular correction above. Indeed, I habitually shorten the first name just as we do when writing in Russian. So I shouldn't write R. Burns; it should be Robert Burns, right?
 

emsr2d2

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Thanks for the entire reply and this particular correction above. Indeed, I habitually shorten the first name just as we do when writing in Russian. So I shouldn't write R. Burns; it should be Robert Burns, right?

Yes, you need to use the full name. There are probably lots of people called "R Burns" to whom you could be referring.
 
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