Chewing my keyboard

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Half-aware and half-alive

I have been reading Lady Chatterley's Lover. This particular decision reading matter-wise was purely determined by the fact I wanted an MS Reader ebook for Cedric (the PDA), saw Lady Chatterley's Lover and was curious on the grounds that it was banned in the 1960s as a result of being obscene. There's nothing to encourage something's popularity than banning it.

Despite the fact it's notorious for being about a lady f***king her gamekeeper, it's actually a very political novel about the effect of creeping industrialisation on the landed aristocracy, class relations and the human condition. The most telling quote is not the one on Handango but:

'Sex is really only touch, the closest of all touch. And it's touch we're afraid of. We're only half-conscious, and half alive. We've got to come alive and aware'

It's all about Marxist alienation and Cartesian dualism... the way that the miners are mechanically and metallically incorporated into the machine of the collieries by the cold emotionless husks of thinking men. The anti-establishment vibrancy of the gamekeeper and the passion for the body, is contrasted with the dead passion for the mind of Lord Chatterley who is Cambridge educated and only seems to care for books and technology.

And it's there we diverge, the D.H. Lawrence and I. Whereas he seems to see the joy of communicating with an intelligent man as the two girls do at the beginning as being separate from the 'sex thing' as he so charmingly and 1928ingly puts it, the 'sex thing' being a dreary side-effect that must be consented to... I see the pleasures of the mind and body as interlinked. There is nothing that inspires passion such as either burning desire repressed behind a mask of reason such that its promise cries out to be unleashed or verbal sparring with someone who is smart and brandishes it with wit and mischief. In the latter case, the mental challenge, eyes locked, words and ideas used like rapidly flicking rapiers in combat, can so easily evolve into physical sparring. It is in those sort of fights that the senses come alive for what comes after.


  • At September 8, 2004 at 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have you encountered the old joke? Two cars pull alongside each other at a traffic light. They roll their windows down and one asks the other to lend him fifty pence. The second says, "Never a borrower nor a lender be. Shakespeare." and rolls the window back up. They drive on and come alongside each other at the next traffic light. The first opens his car window, and shouts to the other, "Cunt. DH Lawrence."

    Alex Koczanski (no Red Dwarf jokes please)


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