Less than two husbands

In Typee, Herman Melville wrote:

No man has more than one wife, and no wife of mature years has less than two husbands, – sometimes she has three, but such instances are not frequent.

One set of readers might object to the use of less than with count nouns; another might object to the unconventional matrimonial arrangements in the Marquesas Islands. I’d like to see a Venn diagram that shows the relations between the two sets, if only out of idle curiosity.

For more on the difference between less and fewer, see this post.


2 Responses to Less than two husbands

  1. krkbaker says:

    How interesting. I had no idea Melville wrote something like that. Thinking back over the women I know, I find it remarkably true.

  2. Stan says:

    Hello Kim. Typee is a very interesting and enjoyable book, though it can be difficult to figure out how much is fiction, how much is anthropology and how much is conjecture. I think the marital customs are accurately reported.

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