Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/465

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PROPYL ALCOHOLS—PROSE

of the blocks show that the building was never completed. The Propylaea were approached in Greek times by a zig-zag path, terraced along the rock; this was superseded in Roman times by a broad flight of steps. In medieval times the Propylaea served


(Rcdrawn from the Alhenische M illeilungen by permission of the Kaiserliches Archaeologisches Institut.)

as the palace of the dukes of Athens; they were much damaged by the explosion of a powder magazine in 1656. The tower, of Frankish or Turkish date, that stood on the south wing, was pulled down in 1874.

See R. Bohn, Die Propylaeen der Akropolis zu Alhen (Berlin, 1882); W. Dorpfeld, articles in Miltheilungen d. d. Inst. Athen. (1885) vol. x. (E. GR.)


PROPYL ALCOHOLS (C3H7OH). Two compounds of this formula exist as explained in the article Alcohol. Normal propyl alcohol, CH3·CH2·CH2·OH, was obtained in 1853 by G. C. B. Chancel, by submitting fusel oil to fractional distillation. It may be prepared by any of the methods applicable to primary alcohols. It is an agreeable-smelling liquid, boiling at 97.4° C., and miscible with water in all proportions. It cannot be separated from water by fractional distillation, since it forms a mixture of constant boiling point (see Distillation). Oxidation converts it into prop ionic acid. It is distinguished from ethyl alcohol by its insolubility in a cold saturated calcium chloride solution.

Iso-propyl alcohol (CH3)2CHOH, was obtained by M. P. E. Berthelot in 1855 by heating the addition compound of propylene and sulphuric acid with water, and in 1862 by C. Friedel by the reduction of acetone. It is a colourless liquid boiling at 82.7° C.


PROROGATION, a postponement, specifically the termination without dissolution of a session of parliament by discontinuing the meetings until the next session. The Lat. prorogation (from prorogare, to ask publicly) meant a prolongation or continuance of office or command, cf. prorogalio imperii (Liv. viii. 26), or a putting off or deferring of an appointed time, cf. dies ad solocndum prorogare (Cic. Phil. ro, 24). A prorogation of parliament affects both houses, and thus differs from an “ adjournment, ” which does not terminate the session and is effected by each house separately by resolution. Further, at a prorogation, a bill which has not passed all of its stages must begin again ab initio in the next session, and all proceedings, except impeachments and appeals before the House of Lords, are quashed. A prorogation is effected by the sovereign in person, or by commission. If, at the demise of the Crown, parliament stands prorogued or adjourned, it is by 6 Anne c. 7 to sit and act at once; similarly the Crown must by proclamation order parliament to sit, if prorogued, when the militia is embodied or the reserves are called out.


PROSCENIUM (Gr. vrpoamjvtov), that part of the stage in the ancient Greek theatre which lies in front of the UKTII/13, scena, the back wall; the word appears to embrace the whole stage between the opxajorpa and the amyvvj. In the modern theatre the word is applied to that part of the stage which is in front of the curtain and the orchestra, and sometimes to the whole front of the stage, including the curtain and the arch containing it, which separates the stage from the auditorium.


PROSE, a word supposed to be derived from the Lat. prorsus, direct or straight, and signifying the plain speech of mankind, when written, or rhetorically composed, without reference to the rules of verse. It has been usual to distinguish prose very definitely from poetry (q.v.), and this was an early opinion. Ronsard said that his training as a poet had proved to him that prose and poetry were “ mortal enemies.” But “ poetry ” is a more or less metaphysical term, which cannot be used without danger as a distinctive one in this sense. For instance, an ill-inspired work in rhyme, or even a well-written metrical composition of a satirical or didactic kind, cannot be said to be poetry, and yet most certainly is not prose; it is a specimen of verse. On the other hand, a work of highly wrought and elaborately sustained non-metrical writing is often called a prose-poem. The fact that this phrase can be employed shows that the antithesis between prose and poetry is not complete, for no one, even in jest or hyperbole, speaks of a prose-verse.

Prose, therefore, is most safely defined as comprising all forms of careful literary expression which are not metrically versified, and hence the definition from prorsus, the notion being that all verse is in its nature so far artificial that it is subjected to definite and recognized rules, by which it is diverted out of the perfectly direct modes of speech. Prose, on the other hand, is straight and plain, not an artistic product, but used for stating precisely that which is true in reason or fact. The Latins called prose sermo pedestris, and later oratio soluta, thus showing their consciousness that it was not poetry, which soars on wings, and not verse, which is bound by the rules of prosodical confinement.

Prose, however, is not everything that is loosely said. It has its rules and requirements. In the earliest ages, no doubt, conversation did not exist. The rudest fragments of speech were sufficient to indicate the needs of the savage, and these blunt babbling were not prose. Later on some orator, dowered with a native persuasiveness, and desirous of making an effect upon his comrades, would link together some broken sentences, and in his heat produce with them something, more coherent than a chain of ejaculations. So far as this was lucid and dignified, this would be the beginning of prose. It cannot be too often said that prose is the result of conversation, but it must at the same time be insisted upon that conversation itself is not necessarily, nor often, prose. Prose is not the negation of all laws of speech; it rejects merely those laws which depend upon metre. What the laws are upon which it does depend are not easy to enumerate or define. But this much is plain; as prose depends on the linking of successive sentences, the first requirement of it is that these sentences should be so arranged as to ensure lucidity and directness. In prose, that the meaning should be given is the primal necessity. But as it is found that a dull and clumsy, and especially a monotonous arrangement, of sentences is fatal to the attention of the listener or reader, it is