another reversal??

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Mon Oct 8 13:23:12 UTC 2012

On 10/8/12 5:48 AM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
> On Oct 8, 2012, at 1:09 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>> I'm not even sure what to think here... Take a look at "adapted" in the
>> snippet below.
>>> I was sitting on a beach on that vacation in the summer of 2011,
>>> exactly 40 years after Merle Miller's essay "What It Means to Be a
>>> Homosexual" first appeared in the New York Times Magazine, when I
>>> opened On Being Different, the book Miller adapted from that essay.
>> Perhaps I'm misreading it.
> i don't see what the problem is.  we have
>    the book (that) Miller adapted ___ from that essay
> that is,
>    Miller adapted the book from that essay
> the essay came first, and Miller adapted the essay to make the book (by expanding on it).
> were you thinking of "from that essay" as a postmodifier of "the book" -- which would presuppose that there was a book inside the essay (and then says that Miller adapted it)?  that is, in fact, a possible additional reading of "adapted the book from that essay", involving another structure for the phrase (but not a reversal in the meaning of "adapted") -- a reading that's unlikely in the real world.

Victor may have been thinking what I was thinking, that essays in the
Times Magazine are often extracts from already completed books, adapted
to be self-contained. If an essay becomes the core of a book, it is
expanded; as there would, presumably, be a lot more material in the
book, adaptation doesn't seem to be an appropriate description. Granted,
it doesn't grate the way the Facebook "via" that you blogged about the
other day does, but it still does feel like a similar reversal, and it
does sound a bit odd to me.

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