Tuesday, January 1, 2008

D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover

I have to say this before I type my favorite quotes from D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover: I don't believe in banning books, especially not for "children" (as so many teens are called nowadays). If you are questioning a subject, then you are probably mature enough to understand the content (i.e. you are old enough to read and think about the book and it's subject). I despise anyone who tries to take away the right to think.
Lady Chatterley's Lover
D. H. Lawrence

"Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habits, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen."

"Having suffered so much, the capacity for suffering had to some extent left him [Clifford]."

"He [Clifford] had so very nearly lost his life, that what remained was wonderfully precious to him...But he had been so much hurt that something inside him had perished, some of his feelings had gone. There was a blank of insentience."

"...they [Constance and Hilda] were just as good as the men themselves: only better, since they were women."

"And however one might sentimentalize it, this sex business was one of the most ancient, sordid connections and subjections. Poets who glorified it were mostly men. Women had always known there was something better, something higher...The beautiful pure freedom of a woman was infinitely more wonderful than any sexual love. The only unfortunate thing was that men lagged so far behind women in the matter. They insisted on the sex thing like dogs."

"Neither was ever in love with a young man unless he or she were verbally very near: that is unless they were profoundly interested, TALKING to one another."

"With the stoicism of the young she [Connie] took in the utter, soulless ugliness of the coal-and-iron Midlands at a glance, and left it at what it was: unbelievable and not to be thought about." {My thoughts: I'm a tree-huggin' hippie, born to a coal-miner. This is the only way to deal - to not argue, every time you turn around.}

"Tevershall pit bank was burning, had been burning for years, and it would cost thousands to put it out. So it had to burn. And when the wind was that way, which was often, the house was full of the stench of this sulfurous combustion of the earth's excrement. But even on windless days the air always smelt of something under-earth: sulfur, iron, coal, or acid. And even on the Christmas roses the smuts settled persistently, incredible, like black manna from skies of doom." {My thoughts: This quote is so true of Grundy, VA.}

"The wood was her one refuge, her sanctuary."

"The bitch-goddess, Success, was trailed by thousands of gasping dogs with lolling tongues. The one that got her first was the real dog among dogs, if you go by success!"

"The final fact being that at the very bottom of his soul he [Michaelis] was an outsider, and anti-social, and he accepted the fact inwardly, no matter how Bond-Street he was on the outside. His isolation was a necessity to him..."

"The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal experience."

"Be as promiscuous as the rabbits!" said Hammond.
"Why not? What's wrong with rabbits? Are they any worse than a neurotic, revolutionary humanity, full of nervous hate?"

"It's an amusing idea, Charlie," said Dukes, "that sex is just another form of talk, where you act the words instead of saying them...Sex might be a sort of normal, physical conversation between a man and a woman."

"Well, Charlie and I believe that sex is a sort of communication like speech. Let any woman start a sex conversation with me, and it's natural for me to go to bed with her to finish it, all in due season. Unfortunately no woman makes any particular start with me, so I go to bed by myself; and I'm none the worse for it...I hope so anyway, for how should I know?"

"...criticism and knowledge are not the same thing..."

"Round the near horizon went the haze, opalescent with frost and smoke, and on the top lay the small blue sky; so that it was like being inside an enclosure, always inside. Life always a dream or a frenzy, inside an enclosure." {My thoughts: I hate living in valleys and this is why!}

"He [Clifford] loved the old oak trees...He wanted to protect them. He wanted this place inviolate, shut off from the world." {My thoughts: shut off from the destructive world.}

"It seems to me that it isn't these little acts and little connections we make in our lives that matter so very much. They pass away, and where are they? Where...Where are the snows of yesteryear?...It's what endures through one's life that matters; my own life matters to me."

"You [Connie] and I [Clifford] are married, no matter what happens to us. We have the habit of each other...little by little, living together, two people fall into a sort of unison, they vibrate so intricately to one another. That's the real secret of marriage..." {My thoughts: Yes, taken out of context!}

"But how could she know what she would feel next year? How could one ever know? How could one say yes? for years and years? The little yes, gone on a breath! Why should one be pinned down by that butterfly word? Of course it had to flutter away and be gone, to be followed by other yes's and no's! Like the straying of butterflies."

"And dimly she realized one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only an appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the reassumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst."

"An inward dread, an emptiness, an indifference to everything gradually spread in her [Connie] soul."

"Nothingness! To accept the great nothingness of life seemed to be the one end of living. All the many busy and important little things that make up the grand sum - total of nothingness!"

"Home was a place you lived in, love was a thing you didn't fool yourself about, joy was a word you applied to a good Charleston, happiness was a term of hypocrisy used to bluff other people, a father was an individual who enjoyed his own existence, a husband was a man you lived with and kept going in spirits. As for sex, the last of the great words, it was just a cocktail term for an excitement that bucked you up for a while, then left you more raggy than ever. Frayed! It was as if they very material you were made of was cheap stuff, and it was fraying out to nothing."

"If you were young, you just set your teeth, and bit on and held on, till the money began to flow from the invisible; it was a question of power. It was a question of will; a subtle, subtle, powerful emanation of will out of yourself brought back to you the mysterious nothingness of money: a word on a bit of paper. It was a sort of magic, certainly it was triumph. The bitch-goddess! One could always despise her even while one prostituted oneself to her, which was good."

"Make you your mind to it, and you've solved the problem."

"From the old wood came an ancient melancholy, somehow soothing to her, better than the harsh insentience of the outer world. She liked the inwardness of the remnant of forest, the unspeaking reticence of the old trees. They seemed a very power of silence, and yet a vital presence. They, too, were waiting: obstinately, stoically waiting for the end; to be cut down, cleared away, the end of the forest, for them the end of all things. But perhaps their strong and aristocratic silence, the silence of strong trees, meant something else."

"Her [Connie] body was going meaningless, going full and opaque, so much insignificant substance."

"The physical sense of injustice is a dangerous feeling, once it is awakened. It must have outlet, or it eats away the one in whom it is aroused."

"So different are impressions on two different people!"

"He [Mellors] resented the intrusion, he cherished his solitude as his only and last freedom in life...his recoil away from the outer world was complete; his last refuge was this wood; to hid himself there!"

"...it's man that poisons the universe..."

"How she [Connie] hated words, always coming between her and life: they did the ravishing, if anything did: ready-made words and phrases, sucking all the life-sap out of living things."

"The whole world was ravished."

"Society was terrible because it was insane." {My thoughts: How very friggin' true!}

"Mrs. Bolton was admirable in many ways. But she had that queer sort of bossiness, endless assertion of her own will, which is one of the signs of insanity in modern women." {Remember, this was originally published in 1928; to think, that then, I probably would've been considered insane!}

"For even satire is a form of sympathy...And here lies the vast importance of the novel, properly handled. It can inform and lead into new places the flow of our sympathetic consciousness, and it can lead our sympathy away in recoil from things gone dead...But the novel, the gossip, can also excite spurious sympathies and recoils, mechanical and deadening to the psyche. The novel can glorify the most corrupt feelings, so long as they are conventionally "pure." Then the novel, like gossip, becomes at last vicious, and, like gossip, all the more vicious because it is always ostensibly on the side of the angels. Mrs. Bolton's gossip was always on the side of the angels. "And he was such a bad fellow, and she was such a nice woman." Whereas, as Connie would see even from Mrs. Bolton's gossip, the woman had been merely a mealy-mouthed sort, and the man angrily honest. But angry honesty made a "bad man" of him, and mealy-mouthedness made a "nice woman" of her, in the vicious, conventional channeling of sympathy by Mrs. Bolton.
For this reason, the gossip was humiliating. And for the same reason, most novels, especially popular ones, are humiliating too. The public responds now only to an appeal to its vices."

"She was old; millions of years old, she felt."

"The fault lay there, out there, in those evil electric lights and diabolical rattlings of engines. There, in the world of the mechanical greed, greedy mechanism and mechanized greed, sparkling with lights and gushing hot metal and roaring with traffic, there lay the vast evil thing, ready to destroy whatever did not conform. Soon it would destroy the wood, and the bluebells would spring no more. All vulnerable things must perish under the rolling and running of iron."

"He [Mellors] was not afraid of himself. But he was quite consciously afraid of society, which he knew by instinct to be a malevolent, partly-insane beast."

"One of those creatures of the afterwards, that have no soul, but an extra alert will, cold will."

"A terrible hollow seemed to menace him somewhere, somehow, a void and into this void, his energy would collapse. Energyless, he felt at times he was dead, really dead...But his dread was the nights when he could not sleep. Then it was awful indeed, when annihilation pressed in on him on every side. Then it was ghastly, to exist without having any life: lifeless, in the night, to exist."

"It was a world of iron and coal, the cruelty of iron and the smoke of coal, and the endless, endless greed that drove it all. Only greed, greed stirring in its sleep."

"The iron and the coal had eaten deep into the bodies and souls of the men."

"Only today education is one of the bad substitutes for a circus. What is wrong today is that we've made a profound hash of the circuses part of the program, and poisoned our masses with a little education."

"It seems to me [Mellors] I've died once or twice already. Yet here I am, pegging on, and in for more trouble."

"Pay money, money, money to them that will take spunk out of mankind, and leave 'em all little twiddling machines."

"When the last, real man is killed, and they're all tame: white, black, yellow, all colors of tame ones: then they'll all be insane."

"Let's live for summat [something] else. Let's not live ter [to] make money, neither for us-selves nor for anybody else."

"The human body is only just coming to real life. With the Greeks it gave a lovely flicker, then Plato and Aristotle killed it, and Jesus finished it off."

"The human world was just getting worn out. Perhaps it would turn fiercely destructive."

"I don't believe in the world, not in money, nor in advancement, or in the future of our civilization. If there's got to be a future for humanity, there'll have to be a very big change from what now is."

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