durance vile


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durance vile

A lengthy prison sentence. “Durance” meant “duration,” and “vile” has its contemporary meaning of loathsome. That pretty well described long-term incarceration from the Middle Ages down to much of today's world.
References in periodicals archive ?
Proceeding from altar boy to first novelist, it is wonderfully and dreadfully evocative--of malt lozenges and tile stoves; of gold-tipped Egyptian cigarettes and clotted milk with pumpernickel crumbs; of "Fuhrer, Folk, and Fatherland," "mussels and Weltschmerz," hunger, religion, sex, death, refugees, and Dresden's firestorm; of learning to cook in a prison camp, durance vile in a potash mine, and plaster death masks for a Berlin undertaker; of Heidegger, Sartre, The Three Musketeers, and the night that Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong showed up to hear Grass's student jazz band.
In the morning we departed, but Storace was obliged to tarry in durance vile till further orders.