Posted by Lewis on July 14, 2003
In Reply to: Thackeray: Vanity Fair posted by Holman on July 13, 2003
: In chapter 10, in fifth paragraph from the end, is the following: "I am not sure that she had not flung a main with him". What is "flinging a main"? Sounds nautical.
Are you sure it's not a very cheap edition with misprints - where somebody dictated it into a PC via an elderly secretary?
It could be "flung a main" meaning thrown by hand - perhaps a dance.
"Flogged a man" - suggesting kinky threesomes.
"Flugelhorn" - perhaps made sweet music together.
"Frogmarched" - another bit of domination.
Probably best to forget about it, unless there's an Essay to be done, in which case I suggest you waffle about the inherent ambiguities of speech in the context of past cultures.
If you like the "flogged a man" bit, you could always develop the idea of an unorthodox sexuality from other remarks and hints in the book.
It was written by Thwack-ery, after all - and Willy did want to make a piece, wherever possible.