Women in Love – Strangulation & Porphyria’s Lover

He took the throat of Gudrun between his hands, that were hard and indomitably powerful. And her throat was beautifully, so beautifully soft, save that, within, he could feel the slippery chords of her life. And this he crushed, this he could crush. What bliss! Oh what bliss, at last, what satisfaction, at last! The pure zest of satisfaction filled his soul. He was watching the unconsciousness come unto her swollen face, watching the eyes roll back. How ugly she was! What a fulfilment, what a satisfaction! How good this was, oh how good it was, what a God-given gratification, at last! He was unconscious of her fighting and struggling. The struggling was her reciprocal lustful passion in this embrace, the more violent it became, the greater the frenzy of delight, till the zenith was reached, the crisis, the struggle was overborne, her movement became softer, appeased.

Loerke roused himself on the snow, too dazed and hurt to get up. Only his eyes were conscious.

‘Monsieur!’ he said, in his thin, roused voice: ‘Quand vous aurez fini—’

A revulsion of contempt and disgust came over Gerald’s soul. The disgust went to the very bottom of him, a nausea. Ah, what was he doing, to what depths was he letting himself go! As if he cared about her enough to kill her, to have her life on his hands! -pp.413-14

Reminiscent of a beautifully sinister poem:

Robert Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover’:

THE rain set early in to-night,
    The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
    And did its worst to vex the lake:
    I listen’d with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
    She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneel’d and made the cheerless grate
    Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
    Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
    And laid her soil’d gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
    And, last, she sat down by my side
    And call’d me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
    And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
    And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
    And spread, o’er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me—she
    Too weak, for all her heart’s endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
    From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
    And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
    Nor could to-night’s gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
    For love of her, and all in vain:
    So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I look’d up at her eyes
    Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipp’d me; surprise
    Made my heart swell, and still it grew
    While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
    Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
    In one long yellow string I wound
    Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
    I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
    I warily oped her lids: again
    Laugh’d the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untighten’d next the tress
    About her neck; her cheek once more
Blush’d bright beneath my burning kiss:
    I propp’d her head up as before,
    Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
    The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
    That all it scorn’d at once is fled,
    And I, its love, am gain’d instead!
Porphyria’s love: she guess’d not how
    Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
    And all night long we have not stirr’d,
    And yet God has not said a word!

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Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – No Greater Tedium

‘No—Paris,’ he resumed, ‘it makes me sick. Pah—l’amour. I detest it. L’amour, l’amore, die Liebe—I detest it in every language. Women and love, there is no greater tedium,’ he cried.

She was slightly offended. And yet, this was her own basic feeling. Men, and love—there was no greater tedium.

‘I think the same,’ she said.

‘A bore,’ he repeated. ‘What does it matter whether I wear this hat or another. So love. I needn’t wear a hat at all, only for convenience. Neither need I love except for convenience. I tell you what, gnadige Frau—’ and he leaned towards her—then he made a quick, odd gesture, as of striking something aside—’gnadige Fraulein, never mind—I tell you what, I would give everything, everything, all your love, for a little companionship in intelligence—’ his eyes flickered darkly, evilly at her. ‘You understand?’ he asked, with a faint smile. ‘It wouldn’t matter if she were a hundred years old, a thousand—it would be all the same to me, so that she can UNDERSTAND.’ He shut his eyes with a little snap.

Again Gudrun was rather offended. Did he not think her good looking, then? Suddenly she laughed.

‘I shall have to wait about eighty years to suit you, at that!’ she said. ‘I am ugly enough, aren’t I?’

He looked at her with an artist’s sudden, critical, estimating eye.

‘You are beautiful,’ he said, ‘and I am glad of it. But it isn’t that—it isn’t that,’ he cried, with emphasis that flattered her. ‘It is that you have a certain wit, it is the kind of understanding. For me, I am little, chetif, insignificant. Good! Do not ask me to be strong and handsome, then. But it is the ME—’ he put his fingers to his mouth, oddly—’it is the ME that is looking for a mistress, and my ME is waiting for the THEE of the mistress, for the match to my particular intelligence. You understand?’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I understand.’

‘As for the other, this amour—’ he made a gesture, dashing his hand aside, as if to dash away something troublesome—’it is unimportant, unimportant. Does it matter, whether I drink white wine this evening, or whether I drink nothing? IT DOES NOT MATTER, it does not matter. So this love, this amour, this BAISER. Yes or no, soit ou soit pas, today, tomorrow, or never, it is all the same, it does not matter—no more than the white wine.’

He ended with an odd dropping of the head in a desperate negation. -pp.401-2

Continuing the notion of Paris and Love and convention a lovely provocative poem is James Fenton’s ‘In Paris with You’:

Don’t talk to me of love. I’ve had an earful
And I get tearful when I’ve downed a drink or two.
I’m one of your talking wounded.
I’m a hostage. I’m maroonded.
But I’m in Paris with you.

Yes, I’m angry at the way I’ve been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess that I’ve been through.
I admit I’m on the rebound
And I don’t care where are we bound.
I’m in Paris with you.

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame
If we skip the champs Elysees
And remain here in this sleazy
Old hotel room
Doing this or that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There’s that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I’m in Paris with you.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris.
I’m in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I’m in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I’m in Paris with…..all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I’m in Paris with you.

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Torn like Silk

‘Do you know what it is to suffer when you are with a woman? She’s so beautiful, so perfect, you find her SO GOOD, it tears you like a silk, and every stroke and bit cuts hot—ha, that perfection, when you blast yourself, you blast yourself! And then—’ he stopped on the snow and suddenly opened his clenched hands—’it’s nothing—your brain might have gone charred as rags—and—’ he looked round into the air with a queer histrionic movement ‘it’s blasting—you understand what I mean—it is a great experience, something final—and then—you’re shrivelled as if struck by electricity.’ He walked on in silence. It seemed like bragging, but like a man in extremity bragging truthfully.-p.385

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Destruction of The Self

Birkin’s letter is read aloud and ridiculed by acquaintances in his absence, it expresses some interesting thoughts:

‘Isn’t that the letter about uniting the dark and the light—and the Flux of Corruption?’ asked Maxim, in his precise, quick voice.

‘I believe so,’ said the Pussum.

‘Oh is it? I’d forgotten—HIC!—it was that one,’ Halliday said, opening the letter. ‘HIC! Oh yes. How perfectly splendid! This is one of the best. “There is a phase in every race—”‘ he read in the sing-song, slow, distinct voice of a clergyman reading the Scriptures, ‘”When the desire for destruction overcomes every other desire. In the individual, this desire is ultimately a desire for destruction in the self”—HIC!—’ he paused and looked up.

‘I hope he’s going ahead with the destruction of himself,’ said the quick voice of the Russian. Halliday giggled, and lolled his head back, vaguely.

‘There’s not much to destroy in him,’ said the Pussum. ‘He’s so thin already, there’s only a fag-end to start on.’

‘Oh, isn’t it beautiful! I love reading it! I believe it has cured my hiccup!’ squealed Halliday. ‘Do let me go on. “It is a desire for the reduction process in oneself, a reducing back to the origin, a return along the Flux of Corruption, to the original rudimentary conditions of being—!” Oh, but I DO think it is wonderful. It almost supersedes the Bible-‘

‘Yes—Flux of Corruption,’ said the Russian, ‘I remember that phrase.’

‘Oh, he was always talking about Corruption,’ said the Pussum. ‘He must be corrupt himself, to have it so much on his mind.’

‘Exactly!’ said the Russian.

‘Do let me go on! Oh, this is a perfectly wonderful piece! But do listen to this. “And in the great retrogression, the reducing back of the created body of life, we get knowledge, and beyond knowledge, the phosphorescent ecstasy of acute sensation.” Oh, I do think these phrases are too absurdly wonderful. Oh but don’t you think they ARE—they’re nearly as good as Jesus. “And if, Julius, you want this ecstasy of reduction with the Pussum, you must go on till it is fulfilled. But surely there is in you also, somewhere, the living desire for positive creation, relationships in ultimate faith, when all this process of active corruption, with all its flowers of mud, is transcended, and more or less finished—” I do wonder what the flowers of mud are. Pussum, you are a flower of mud.’

‘Thank you—and what are you?’

‘Oh, I’m another, surely, according to this letter! We’re all flowers of mud—FLEURS—HIC! DU MAL! It’s perfectly wonderful, Birkin harrowing Hell—harrowing the Pompadour—HIC!’

‘Go on—go on,’ said Maxim. ‘What comes next? It’s really very interesting.’

‘I think it’s awful cheek to write like that,’ said the Pussum.

‘Yes—yes, so do I,’ said the Russian. ‘He is a megalomaniac, of course, it is a form of religious mania. He thinks he is the Saviour of man—go on reading.’

‘Surely,’ Halliday intoned, ‘”surely goodness and mercy hath followed me all the days of my life—”‘ he broke off and giggled. Then he began again, intoning like a clergyman. ‘”Surely there will come an end in us to this desire—for the constant going apart,—this passion for putting asunder—everything—ourselves, reducing ourselves part from part—reacting in intimacy only for destruction,—using sex as a great reducing agent, reducing the two great elements of male and female from their highly complex unity—reducing the old ideas, going back to the savages for our sensations,—always seeking to LOSE ourselves in some ultimate black sensation, mindless and infinite—burning only with destructive fires, raging on with the hope of being burnt out utterly—”‘-p.334-35

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Marriage; Achieving Something Beyond Love

Read first, Something Beyond Love.

He sat looking at her. She could feel his darkened steady eyes looking at her all the time. It made her a little bit frightened. She pushed her hair off her forehead nervously.

‘Do I look ugly?’ she said.

And she blew her nose again.

A small smile came round his eyes.

‘No,’ he said, ‘fortunately.’

And he went across to her, and gathered her like a belonging in his arms. She was so tenderly beautiful, he could not bear to see her, he could only bear to hide her against himself. Now; washed all clean by her tears, she was new and frail like a flower just unfolded, a flower so new, so tender, so made perfect by inner light, that he could not bear to look at her, he must hide her against himself, cover his eyes against her. She had the perfect candour of creation, something translucent and simple, like a radiant, shining flower that moment unfolded in primal blessedness. She was so new, so wonder-clear, so undimmed. And he was so old, so steeped in heavy memories. Her soul was new, undefined and glimmering with the unseen. And his soul was dark and gloomy, it had only one grain of living hope, like a grain of mustard seed. But this one living grain in him matched the perfect youth in her.

‘I love you,’ he whispered as he kissed her, and trembled with pure hope, like a man who is born again to a wonderful, lively hope far exceeding the bounds of death.

She could not know how much it meant to him, how much he meant by the few words. Almost childish, she wanted proof, and statement, even over-statement, for everything seemed still uncertain, unfixed to her.

But the passion of gratitude with which he received her into his soul, the extreme, unthinkable gladness of knowing himself living and fit to unite with her, he, who was so nearly dead, who was so near to being gone with the rest of his race down the slope of mechanical death, could never be understood by her. He worshipped her as age worships youth, he gloried in her, because, in his one grain of faith, he was young as she, he was her proper mate. This marriage with her was his resurrection and his life.

All this she could not know. She wanted to be made much of, to be adored. There were infinite distances of silence between them. How could he tell her of the immanence of her beauty, that was not form, or weight, or colour, but something like a strange, golden light! How could he know himself what her beauty lay in, for him. He said ‘Your nose is beautiful, your chin is adorable.’ But it sounded like lies, and she was disappointed, hurt. Even when he said, whispering with truth, ‘I love you, I love you,’ it was not the real truth. It was something beyond love, such a gladness of having surpassed oneself, of having transcended the old existence. How could he say “I” when he was something new and unknown, not himself at all? This I, this old formula of the age, was a dead letter.

In the new, superfine bliss, a peace superseding knowledge, there was no I and you, there was only the third, unrealised wonder, the wonder of existing not as oneself, but in a consummation of my being and of her being in a new one, a new, paradisal unit regained from the duality. Nor can I say ‘I love you,’ when I have ceased to be, and you have ceased to be: we are both caught up and transcended into a new oneness where everything is silent, because there is nothing to answer, all is perfect and at one. Speech travels between the separate parts. But in the perfect One there is perfect silence of bliss. They were married by law on the next day, and she did as he bade her, she wrote to her father and mother. -p.322-33

Ursula demonstrates her understanding in a later conversation with her sister Gudrun:

‘And what will happen when you find yourself in space?’ she cried in derision. ‘After all, the great ideas of the world are the same there. You above everybody can’t get away from the fact that love, for instance, is the supreme thing, in space as well as on earth.’

‘No,’ said Ursula, ‘it isn’t. Love is too human and little. I believe in something inhuman, of which love is only a little part. I believe what we must fulfil comes out of the unknown to us, and it is something infinitely more than love. It isn’t so merely HUMAN.’

Gudrun looked at Ursula with steady, balancing eyes. She admired and despised her sister so much, both! Then, suddenly she averted her face, saying coldly, uglily:

‘Well, I’ve got no further than love, yet.’

Over Ursula’s mind flashed the thought: ‘Because you never HAVE loved, you can’t get beyond it.’

Gudrun rose, came over to Ursula and put her arm round her neck. -p.383

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Yearning for The Past & Materialism of The Present

‘Look,’ said Birkin, ‘there is a pretty chair.’

‘Charming!’ cried Ursula. ‘Oh, charming.’

It was an arm-chair of simple wood, probably birch, but of such fine delicacy of grace, standing there on the sordid stones, it almost brought tears to the eyes. It was square in shape, of the purest, slender lines, and four short lines of wood in the back, that reminded Ursula of harpstrings.

‘It was once,’ said Birkin, ‘gilded—and it had a cane seat. Somebody has nailed this wooden seat in. Look, here is a trifle of the red that underlay the gilt. The rest is all black, except where the wood is worn pure and glossy. It is the fine unity of the lines that is so attractive. Look, how they run and meet and counteract. But of course the wooden seat is wrong—it destroys the perfect lightness and unity in tension the cane gave. I like it though—’

‘Ah yes,’ said Ursula, ‘so do I.’

‘How much is it?’ Birkin asked the man.

‘Ten shillings.’

‘And you will send it—?’

It was bought.

‘So beautiful, so pure!’ Birkin said. ‘It almost breaks my heart.’ They walked along between the heaps of rubbish. ‘My beloved country—it had something to express even when it made that chair.’

‘And hasn’t it now?’ asked Ursula. She was always angry when he took this tone.

‘No, it hasn’t. When I see that clear, beautiful chair, and I think of England, even Jane Austen’s England—it had living thoughts to unfold even then, and pure happiness in unfolding them. And now, we can only fish among the rubbish heaps for the remnants of their old expression. There is no production in us now, only sordid and foul mechanicalness.’

‘It isn’t true,’ cried Ursula. ‘Why must you always praise the past, at the expense of the present? REALLY, I don’t think so much of Jane Austen’s England. It was materialistic enough, if you like—’

‘It could afford to be materialistic,’ said Birkin, ‘because it had the power to be something other—which we haven’t. We are materialistic because we haven’t the power to be anything else—try as we may, we can’t bring off anything but materialism: mechanism, the very soul of materialism.’-p.310

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Romantic Midnight Visit

Some lovely writing:

‘Won’t you take off your boots,’ she said. ‘They must be wet.’

He dropped his cap on a chair, unbuttoned his overcoat, lifting up his chin to unfasten the throat buttons. His short, keen hair was ruffled. He was so beautifully blond, like wheat. He pulled off his overcoat.

Quickly he pulled off his jacket, pulled loose his black tie, and was unfastening his studs, which were headed each with a pearl. She listened, watching, hoping no one would hear the starched linen crackle. It seemed to snap like pistol shots.

He had come for vindication. She let him hold her in his arms, clasp her close against him. He found in her an infinite relief. Into her he poured all his pent-up darkness and corrosive death, and he was whole again. It was wonderful, marvellous, it was a miracle. This was the everrecurrent miracle of his life, at the knowledge of which he was lost in an ecstasy of relief and wonder. And she, subject, received him as a vessel filled with his bitter potion of death. She had no power at this crisis to resist. The terrible frictional violence of death filled her, and she received it in an ecstasy of subjection, in throes of acute, violent sensation.

As he drew nearer to her, he plunged deeper into her enveloping soft warmth, a wonderful creative heat that penetrated his veins and gave him life again. He felt himself dissolving and sinking to rest in the bath of her living strength. It seemed as if her heart in her breast were a second unconquerable sun, into the glow and creative strength of which he plunged further and further. All his veins, that were murdered and lacerated, healed softly as life came pulsing in, stealing invisibly in to him as if it were the all-powerful effluence of the sun. His blood, which seemed to have been drawn back into death, came ebbing on the return, surely, beautifully, powerfully.

He felt his limbs growing fuller and flexible with life, his body gained an unknown strength. He was a man again, strong and rounded. And he was a child, so soothed and restored and full of gratitude.

And she, she was the great bath of life, he worshipped her. Mother and substance of all life she was. And he, child and man, received of her and was made whole. His pure body was almost killed. But the miraculous, soft effluence of her breast suffused over him, over his seared, damaged brain, like a healing lymph, like a soft, soothing flow of life itself, perfect as if he were bathed in the womb again.

His brain was hurt, seared, the tissue was as if destroyed. He had not known how hurt he was, how his tissue, the very tissue of his brain was damaged by the corrosive flood of death. Now, as the healing lymph of her effluence flowed through him, he knew how destroyed he was, like a plant whose tissue is burst from inwards by a frost.

He buried his small, hard head between her breasts, and pressed her breasts against him with his hands. And she with quivering hands pressed his head against her, as he lay suffused out, and she lay fully conscious. The lovely creative warmth flooded through him like a sleep of fecundity within the womb. Ah, if only she would grant him the flow of this living effluence, he would be restored, he would be complete again. He was afraid she would deny him before it was finished. Like a child at the breast, he cleaved intensely to her, and she could not put him away. And his seared, ruined membrane relaxed, softened, that which was seared and stiff and blasted yielded again, became soft and flexible, palpitating with new life. He was infinitely grateful, as to God, or as an infant is at its mother’s breast. He was glad and grateful like a delirium, as he felt his own wholeness come over him again, as he felt the full, unutterable sleep coming over him, the sleep of complete exhaustion and restoration.

But Gudrun lay wide awake, destroyed into perfect consciousness. She lay motionless, with wide eyes staring motionless into the darkness, whilst he was sunk away in sleep, his arms round her.

She seemed to be hearing waves break on a hidden shore, long, slow, gloomy waves, breaking with the rhythm of fate, so monotonously that it seemed eternal. This endless breaking of slow, sullen waves of fate held her life a possession, whilst she lay with dark, wide eyes looking into the darkness. She could see so far, as far as eternity—yet she saw nothing. She was suspended in perfect consciousness—and of what was she conscious?

This mood of extremity, when she lay staring into eternity, utterly suspended, and conscious of everything, to the last limits, passed and left her uneasy. She had lain so long motionless. She moved, she became self-conscious. She wanted to look at him, to see him.

But she dared not make a light, because she knew he would wake, and she did not want to break his perfect sleep, that she knew he had got of her.

She disengaged herself, softly, and rose up a little to look at him. There was a faint light, it seemed to her, in the room. She could just distinguish his features, as he slept the perfect sleep. In this darkness, she seemed to see him so distinctly. But he was far off, in another world. Ah, she could shriek with torment, he was so far off, and perfected, in another world. She seemed to look at him as at a pebble far away under clear dark water. And here was she, left with all the anguish of consciousness, whilst he was sunk deep into the other element of mindless, remote, living shadow-gleam. He was beautiful, far-off, and perfected. They would never be together. Ah, this awful, inhuman distance which would always be interposed between her and the other being!

There was nothing to do but to lie still and endure. She felt an overwhelming tenderness for him, and a dark, under-stirring of jealous hatred, that he should lie so perfect and immune, in an other-world, whilst she was tormented with violent wakefulness, cast out in the outer darkness.

She lay in intense and vivid consciousness, an exhausting superconsciousness. The church clock struck the hours, it seemed to her, in quick succession. She heard them distinctly in the tension of her vivid consciousness. And he slept as if time were one moment, unchanging and unmoving.

She was exhausted, wearied. Yet she must continue in this state of violent active superconsciousness. She was conscious of everything—her childhood, her girlhood, all the forgotten incidents, all the unrealised influences and all the happenings she had not understood, pertaining to herself, to her family, to her friends, her lovers, her acquaintances, everybody. It was as if she drew a glittering rope of knowledge out of the sea of darkness, drew and drew and drew it out of the fathomless depths of the past, and still it did not come to an end, there was no end to it, she must haul and haul at the rope of glittering consciousness, pull it out phosphorescent from the endless depths of the unconsciousness, till she was weary, aching, exhausted, and fit to break, and yet she had not done.

Ah, if only she might wake him! She turned uneasily. When could she rouse him and send him away? When could she disturb him? And she relapsed into her activity of automatic consciousness, that would never end.

But the time was drawing near when she could wake him. It was like a release. The clock had struck four, outside in the night. Thank God the night had passed almost away. At five he must go, and she would be released. Then she could relax and fill her own place. Now she was driven up against his perfect sleeping motion like a knife white-hot on a grindstone. There was something monstrous about him, about his juxtaposition against her.

The last hour was the longest. And yet, at last it passed. Her heart leapt with relief—yes, there was the slow, strong stroke of the church clock—at last, after this night of eternity. She waited to catch each slow, fatal reverberation. ‘Three—four—five!’ There, it was finished. A weight rolled off her.

She raised herself, leaned over him tenderly, and kissed him. She was sad to wake him. After a few moments, she kissed him again. But he did not stir. The darling, he was so deep in sleep! What a shame to take him out of it. She let him lie a little longer. But he must go—he must really go.

With full over-tenderness she took his face between her hands, and kissed his eyes. The eyes opened, he remained motionless, looking at her. Her heart stood still. To hide her face from his dreadful opened eyes, in the darkness, she bent down and kissed him, whispering:

‘You must go, my love.’-pp.300-2

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – The Formula to Understand all People

Lawrence has this irritating method of writing passages that are wonderfully constructed, sound neat and eloquent and give the impression of lexical density so that I come away feeling I have just read something quite insightful but for the life of me can’t piece it together and extract that all-important meaning.  The following lines are a conversation between two characters and presents the argument that all people are fundamentally identical because they, we, are all governed by the same principles.  It even specifies ‘two great ideas’ but neglects to go any further.  I don’t know whether I’m missing something or perhaps am meant to apply my own definitions to this framework of thought but feel obliged to record it as something to ponder over – any help welcome:

The motor-car ran on, the afternoon was soft and dim. She talked with lively interest, analysing people and their motives-Gudrun, Gerald. He answered vaguely. He was not very much interested any more in personalities and in people-people were all different, but they were all enclosed nowadays in a definite limitation, he said; there were only about two great ideas, two great streams of activity remaining, with various forms of reaction therefrom. The reactions were all varied in various people, but they followed a few great laws, and intrinsically there was no difference. They acted and reacted involuntarily according to a few great laws, and once the laws, the great principles, were known, people were no longer mystically interesting. They were all essentially alike, the differences were only variations on a theme. None of them transcended the given terms. 

Ursula did not agree-people were still an adventure to her-but-perhaps not as much as she tried to persuade herself. Perhaps there was something mechanical, now, in her interest. Perhaps also her interest was destructive, her analysing was a real tearing to pieces. There was an under-space in her where she did not care for people and their idiosyncracies, even to destroy them. -p.265

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – The Italian Cat

When one thinks about it, it seems only natural that animals in different countries should only understand their country’s language such that a dog in England will respond to English as a dog in Korea, bad example… a dog in France should only respond to French. But this is on the premise that animals actually understand human language. My understanding is that actually they might grow accustomed to certain sounds and attach them to corresponding actions but really its the way things are said, the intonation, the tone, the body language etc that actually communicates. So that the following passage in Lawrence’s Women in Love is quite funny:

Birkin rang the bell for tea. They could not wait for Gudrun any
longer. When the door was opened, the cat walked in.

‘Micio! Micio!’ called Hermione, in her slow, deliberate sing-song. The
young cat turned to look at her, then, with his slow and stately walk
he advanced to her side.

‘Vieni–vieni qua,’ Hermione was saying, in her strange caressive,
protective voice, as if she were always the elder, the mother superior.
‘Vieni dire Buon’ Giorno alla zia. Mi ricorde, mi ricorde bene–non he
vero, piccolo? E vero che mi ricordi? E vero?’ And slowly she rubbed
his head, slowly and with ironic indifference.

‘Does he understand Italian?’ said Ursula, who knew nothing of the
language.

‘Yes,’ said Hermione at length. ‘His mother was Italian. She was born
in my waste-paper basket in Florence, on the morning of Rupert’s
birthday. She was his birthday present.’-p.260
 

And that’s the end of that. No one objects, no philosophising, nothing, just natural acceptance. Does anyone else find this odd?


Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Deus Ex Machina

The following again is from Gerald Crich’s stock of crystalised visions and presents a beautiful yet perhaps obtuse bit of prose communicating an extension to his beliefs around man’s purpose in life, productivity and industry – read previous post first: Man’s Purpose 

[Bear in mind, Gerald Crich is a colliery owner/ manager]

Immediately he SAW the firm, he realised what he could do. He had a
fight to fight with Matter, with the earth and the coal it enclosed.
This was the sole idea, to turn upon the inanimate matter of the
underground, and reduce it to his will. And for this fight with matter,
one must have perfect instruments in perfect organisation, a mechanism
so subtle and harmonious in its workings that it represents the single
mind of man, and by its relentless repetition of given movement, will
accomplish a purpose irresistibly, inhumanly. It was this inhuman
principle in the mechanism he wanted to construct that inspired Gerald
with an almost religious exaltation. He, the man, could interpose a
perfect, changeless, godlike medium between himself and the Matter he
had to subjugate. There were two opposites, his will and the resistant
Matter of the earth. And between these he could establish the very
expression of his will, the incarnation of his power, a great and
perfect machine, a system, an activity of pure order, pure mechanical
repetition, repetition ad infinitum, hence eternal and infinite. He
found his eternal and his infinite in the pure machine-principle of
perfect co-ordination into one pure, complex, infinitely repeated
motion, like the spinning of a wheel; but a productive spinning, as the
revolving of the universe may be called a productive spinning, a
productive repetition through eternity, to infinity. And this is the
Godmotion, this productive repetition ad infinitum. And Gerald was the
God of the machine, Deus ex Machina. And the whole productive will of
man was the Godhead.

He had his life-work now, to extend over the earth a great and perfect
system in which the will of man ran smooth and unthwarted, timeless, a
Godhead in process. -pp.197-98


Anyone working in consultancy, performance improvement, business effectiveness etc. should take heart and certainly commit this passage to memory as it will invariably provide greater credence to such work in effect imbuing it with a most profound and ultimately deified significance.

But something that interests and maybe puzzles me is whether the passage fundamentally equates godliness to automation? hmmmmm…… Honestly, I don’t have a clear idea of how to interpret this passage, but what I do know is that I like it and it sounds very interesting – as always, extremely keen to read any thoughts and comments

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment