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Answer the following questions
1. The time of the events described in the story — what do you know about it ? How would you characterize this period in the world history ?
2. What do you know about Moscow Olympic Games held that year ?
3. What is the reason for the Professor’s visiting international sport competitions held in his country ? Why ?
4. Reread the description of the Professor’s lodgings. Does the place in any way characterize his lifestyle ? In what way ?
5. What is ‘a veritable feast’ for the old man ? Why ? Find the answer in the text.
6. How does the Professor come to know so much about Britain and its cultural heritage ? What does his profound knowledge imply ?
7. Why did the Professor choose translation of Shakespeare’s works as his lifelong work ?
8. Do you think that the Professor managed to achieve self-realisation ? Why ?
9. In what way does the Iron curtain policy affect the main characters’ life and career ?
Study the list of the remarks given. Find out whom these remarks belong to and decide what exactly the author wanted to say.
1. “Coincidences, writers are told(usually by the critics) must be avoided, although in truth the real world is full of incidents that in themselves are unbelievable.”
2. “The people on the streets had lined faces, stripped of all emotion …, leaving the impression of a nation of old men.”
3. “Reading over my work again last year made me aware I must repeat the exercise before I die.”
4. “Punch, Time and the Observer, a veritable feast.”
5. “ …But they still allow me to teach the subject at the University…”
6. “…Their presence is always in the forefront of our minds…”
7. “You must see the world for yourself if you hope to paint a picture for others.”
Find all the words with the help of which the author describes the English Professor. Every little detail matters, doesn’t it ? Pay special attention to the clash between his looks and his personality. What do you make of him ?
10. “…There was nothing to hurry for, or to be happy about …” What place does the author depict ? What associations come to your mind while reading the description of it ?
Focus on style. Read the definition of a stylistic device and find its examples in the text.
Ironyis a stylistic device based on simultaneous realization of the meanings: the literal meaning is the opposite of the intended meaning, used in ridicule or humour [e.g. Nice weather, isn’t it ? (said on a rainy day)]. Irony must not be confused with humour, although they have very much in common. Humour always causes laughter. Irony does not create an evidently ludicrous effect.
Master storytellers should try hard to finish their story in a masterly way. Read the last lines of the story again and say whether Archer did his creative best here.
He released my hand, turned and shuffled back into the shadows of the side streets of Budapest.
I read his obituary in The Times once again as well as the headlines about Afghanistan and its effect on the Moscow Olympics.
He was right. We never met again.
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