The Counterpane

The Elevated Counterpane


The outer covering of a bed, generally more or less ornamental, being woven in a raised pattern, quilted, made of patch-work, etc.; a coverlet, a quilt. (OED)

(In class the etymology of the word came up)


[An alteration of the earlier COUNTERPOINT2, the second element being made identical with the word PANE (F. pan, L. pannus cloth), used in 15th c. (cf. quots. 1459, 1464) in the sense ‘coverlet, bed-cover’, or with the same element in COVER-PANE covering cloth, q.v.]  

I read Chapters iii and iv of Moby Dick for class this morning and I had to look up the title of iv, “The Counterpane.” It is a lot of work to teach all new texts this semester and a lot of the time I usually give to myself is going to have to be spent reading. Reading these two chapters, however, makes me wish I could budget the time to read the entirety of Moby Dick. I have tons of sympathy for the student

s reading this for the first time, It is difficult, full of unusual vocabulary, style and syntax. In the 35 minutes I spent reading these two chapters I was transported to a place that I wish I could go more often, to the land of reading.

Elevated to LaGuardia


One response to “The Counterpane

  1. I’m glad I found this, looking online for a definition of ‘counterpane’–I am knitting up some 19th century counterpane patterns, and got curious about the word. Now I’ll have to read Moby Dick, because I’m curious about it–another of those books you grow up knowing the title but never seem to get around to reading. Cheers, Wendy

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