Bengal light

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Alternative forms[edit]


Bengal light (plural Bengal lights)

  1. A bright blue flare prepared from nitre, sulphur, and the black sulphide of antimony; formerly used in signalling, but now chiefly as fireworks.
    • 1981, Marcel Proust, Swann's Way, trans. CK Scott Moncrieff & Terence Kilmartin, Folio Society 2005, p. 40:
      I saw no more of it than this sort of luminous panel, sharply defined against a vague and shadowy background, like the panels which the glow of a Bengal light or a searchlight beam will cut out and illuminate in a building the other parts of which remain plunged in darkness
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage, published 2007, page 161:
      at last, as if given up on our common sense, they took their leave with a salute of Bengal lights from which irony may not have been entirely absent.
    • "Details of a Sunset" , Vladimir Nabokov, collected stories Penguin p.90
      The last streetcar was disappearing in the mirrorlike murk of the street and , along the wire above it, a spark of Bengal light, crackling and quivering , sped into the distance like a blue star.