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Thread: D.H. Lawrence's Short Stories Thread

  1. #106
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Yes, let us proceed....ah Mabel....now I can envision her 'transfiguration' or at least that L intended it that way. One thing that definitely bothers me about this story and I might as well get it out there now, is that in many ways I see these two people as lonely hearts, desperate for human contact/love.
    I agree. They are in need of something. A new life.

    Personally I usually don't view that as an ideal receipe for a good relationship or a lasting one. They both seem so needy or at least Mabel is. The dunking in the lake and attempted suicide does seem to awaken here to life again.
    Well, I don't see it to "life again," but to a new life. The distinction is important.

    I can therefore see her rebirth as L would have intended it to be. The whole incident shocks her into being less inert -a word we have used often in the Frome discussion. Ah, 'inert' is a good word for aspects in this book as well. Even Fergussen is in a state of 'inertia', being resigned to his professional life.
    I'll have to think about "intertia." Their old life does have a mechanical aspect to it, at least Ferguson. Mabel's is more dead than mechanical. Inert implies that they can't get themselves to do something. Mabel does do something.

    There is no great passion or excitement in either of their lives. Hopefully this transfiguration will work out for them, but I feel they have a long way to go to break through their own 'old' selves to achieve it. When we get to the end of the story, I think you will see the tone again changes and doubt sets in - making us wonder if this is a happy or potentially happy ending. Personally I do not think it is.
    I think you're thinking in purely realistic terms. This I think is a difference between Hardy and Lawrence. When L uses the word transfiguration (and he specifically used it here in this story), he is saying the character went through a religious experience. This would not be your typical realistic experience. It is not an epiphany. The character is transformed into a new person. You (I'm going to assume) and I (although once perhaps I did come close) have never had such an experience. It is a monumental religious conversion. The Apostles meet Jesus and give up their lives and follow him; Moses sees the Lord God and gives up his life to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites. These are transfigurations. For L, sexual experience (and i don't mean raw, cheap sex, but a loving kind) is a religious matter. That is why he loves Genesis; sex is such an undercurrent and linked to the devine. Mabel will never be the same.

    In the paragraphs you have quoted, I think Mabel acts very unlike herself in this shock or transfiguration. For a woman so seemingly shy and resigned, I have trouble buying this scene.
    That is quite right. It does come sudden. She is new, another.

    This might just be personal, but it seems too sudden to be so aggressive in her actions - what do you think?
    I think Lawrence wanted you to see that exactly. She has gone through a "supernatural" experience. She has gone down to death and has risen.

    Also, she knew that Fergussen was a doctor and so to save her life had to remove her clothes. Yet she acts totally shocked at the gesture or action. I don't understand fully why she thinks this gives her the right now to literally come onto him in this fashion. She seems very clingy to me, and very needy. Also she puzzles me in her persistence in asking him or employing him to love her or say he loves her.
    Her intuition, perhaps. Her new found enlightenment. She turns out to be correct.

    '
    You love me,' she murmured, in strange transport, yearning and triumphant and confident. 'You love me. I know you love me, I know.'
    How does she know? They have both gone down and touched death together and come up. They have touched whatever religion stems from - life, nakedness, death - and so they have to be in love. For Mabel it is a logical conclusion. I think you're lookning at this from a rational mentality, and this for L is definitely not a rational enterprise.


    When I first read this story I felt the woman intimidated, scared F to some degree, or amazed him. As with other Lawrence stories, there is a theme of the woman being dominate towards the man (not always a good thing or outcome). This dominance was not an ideal to L. It seems in these passages in the house Mabel has the upper hand and is coercing F to love her or say he does. I feel F is almost under her spell and afraid to answer or act any other way that would oppose M's actions of sudden passion. If he does oppose her, he risks her trying again to end her life, and now he feels a responsibility towards keeping her alive. Doesn't he sacrifice something of himself in this process of being protective towards Mabel?
    Ferguson is probably the last part of this story's discussion. There's probably a lot to respond to above, so let's hold this off for a little, and i'll come back to this.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  2. #107
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Virgil, Ok, what you have said and pointed out to me is good. I totally get your drift and will comment on all of this soon. I have some other matters to attend to and will come back to this by evening. You have make many things much clearer to me. Great!
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  3. #108
    Registered User Asa Adams's Avatar
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    Janine and Virgil! I was able to pick up the volume 1 at my Library. So I am able to stick around if you by chance choose a story from the first volume of shorts or from England, my..... Thanks!
    penuriosus est is quisnam denies scientia

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  4. #109
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asa Adams View Post
    Janine and Virgil! I was able to pick up the volume 1 at my Library. So I am able to stick around if you by chance choose a story from the first volume of shorts or from England, my..... Thanks!
    Oh good Asa, I have volume 1 in front of me. I just glanced through it and most stories I have not read. One of those might be good. I would like to read something new. Vol.1 was one of the used books I recently ordered online.
    How long can you keep this book out of your library? We have not finished up the current story, but we are getting close. We can push to wrap it up soon -this week hopefully. Requires just the ending now.
    Have you been reading along? Discussions have been interesting, I think, so far.
    I am to pick next story, so let me go over the list in Vol.1, and get back to you (hopefully tomorrow) so you can start reading it and getting your thoughts together. I will inform Virgil by email since I said it would be one on the list online; but that was subject to change. Can always do those later, now that you got Vol 1. Glad you will join the discussion - 3 should prove to be even more interesting.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  5. #110
    Registered User Asa Adams's Avatar
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    Janine, Excellent. I have the volume for 3 weeks, but at the rate of the tiny library, I have dibs on it for as long as I wish, lol.
    I have not been keeping up lately, exams and everything. I hope I can start from here and we can work out a great pace.

    Get back to me on the next story, and I will start it right away.
    Thanks, Janine
    Asa
    penuriosus est is quisnam denies scientia

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  6. #111
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Feel free to pick the next story. I think we can wrap this current one in a day or so while we read the next story.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  7. #112
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Feel free to pick the next story. I think we can wrap this current one in a day or so while we read the next story.
    Virgil, good, glad you had read that last post of mine and Asa's, too.
    I looked over the book and read some of parts of the stories I did not know. Give me another evening to decide. I am not yet sure of which to choose, but soon; I want to pick a good one that will make for a interesting discussion.
    Virgil, do you know, are the stories in chronological order as to how Lawrence wrote them? "HDD" is in Volume II, "Things" is in Volume III. I felt, in reading some of the parts of the stories (last night) in Volume I, there is a sort of progression. Volume I felt more like L's earlier work.

    Asa, "president of the slow-readers club" - be patient and I will tell you soon the next story to start reading. I will read some of the stories quickly tonight or parts of them. See which to pick.
    Gee, Asa, do you have an "in" at your library? They must like you, if you can keep L out so long. I find that I check one L book in and out of my library all the time - one of the biographies I need to refer back to. I don't see a big demand in my library for L's books so they never say a word to me about it. Sad to say he is not popular or even heard of in my hometown. They prefer Danielle Steel, ick!
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  8. #113
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I looked over the book and read some of parts of the stories I did not know. Give me another evening to decide. I am not yet sure of which to choose, but soon; I want to pick a good one that will make for a interesting discussion.
    Virgil, do you know, are the stories in chronological order as to how Lawrence wrote them? "HDD" is in Volume II, "Things" is in Volume III. I felt, in reading some of the parts of the stories (last night) in Volume I, there is a sort of progression. Volume I felt more like L's earlier work.
    They are in rough chronological order, not strict. Out of Volume I, "The Prussian Officer" is a really cool story. But your call, Asa.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  9. #114
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    They are in rough chronological order, not strict. Out of Volume I, "The Prussian Officer" is a really cool story. But your call, Asa.
    Virgil, I think Asa requested I pick the story, unless he emailed you otherwise. I, too, was thinking of "The Prussian Officer" - I may have read it before, but that is ok. Let's do that one then.

    ***"The Prussian Officer" will officially be the next short story read.***

    Virgil, I am sorry, I still can't answer your long L post; I am too tired out tonight (went out and came back late) to answer posts and questions, even in "Frome". I have to delay until tomorrow. I will consider both first priorities, but for now I am going to vegatate and watch a movie. Sorry to keep you waiting on the ending of this story, but Asa can start reading now and I will after completing a short book, a non-Lawrence novella. I should finish up by the weekend and can start the new short story.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  10. #115
    Registered User Asa Adams's Avatar
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    Great. Monday will be our discussion if everyone is finished by then. Thanks again Janine, and Virgil! Prussian Officer it is.
    penuriosus est is quisnam denies scientia

    Asa Adams

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  11. #116
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asa Adams View Post
    Great. Monday will be our discussion if everyone is finished by then. Thanks again Janine, and Virgil! Prussian Officer it is.
    Asa, you must have just written this. I checked a couple of minutes ago and I was last poster. Good, glad you are pleased. Seems we can get this current story finished up by Monday - that sounds reasonable to me. It is my turn to comment on Virgils ideas in his last long post; I was too tired to think that hard tonight and will do so tomorrow, then we can move on to the end.

    I can't wait to read the next story. I read a bit of that one last night just to see what it was like and it sounded good. I know that is a well known or noteworthy one. I may have read it before but a second reading is always best anyway.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  12. #117
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Virgil, Ok, ready now to address this post of yours; sorry it took me so long.


    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    I agree. They are in need of something. A new life.
    Ok, we do agree on this one at least

    Well, I don't see it to "life again," but to a new life. The distinction is important.
    You are right - it is now a "new life" - not "life again" - that I did not state correctly. It is like the burning down of the Phoenix; the total death in the flames and then the "rebirth" or rather the "new birth".

    I'll have to think about "intertia." Their old life does have a mechanical aspect to it, at least Ferguson. Mabel's is more dead than mechanical. Inert implies that they can't get themselves to do something. Mabel does do something.
    I guess I had Frome on my brain when I said "inertia" Yes, I do think their old lives quite mechanical, but you are right - they did function, but so did Ethan. I meant they were 'inert' in their set ways and lives and resigned to their duties in them. True that Mabel makes the first moves and does 'something', but only after the death experience and the "new birth".

    I think you're thinking in purely realistic terms.
    Yes, I guess I was. Good for you to point this out. I had not thought of it quite that way or the next lines you wrote:
    This I think is a difference between Hardy and Lawrence. When L uses the word transfiguration (and he specifically used it here in this story), he is saying the character went through a religious experience. This would not be your typical realistic experience. It is not an epiphany. The character is transformed into a new person. You (I'm going to assume) and I (although once perhaps I did come close) have never had such an experience.
    Actually I do think I had this experience once, way back when I was in my late 20's, but I could not even explain it to someone cleary today. I absolutely did feel transformed or transfigured, and it was not like an epiphany, it was more profound than that. Odd, because right after that I read "Women in Love". The experience altered my entire life and my thinking. I am glad you came close or had a similiar experience. I think that that one pinacle in my life also opened my eyes wide to L's work and I was able to understand what he was saying. This experience made me open to his words.
    It is a monumental religious conversion. The Apostles meet Jesus and give up their lives and follow him; Moses sees the Lord God and gives up his life to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites. These are transfigurations. For L, sexual experience (and i don't mean raw, cheap sex, but a loving kind) is a religious matter. That is why he loves Genesis; sex is such an undercurrent and linked to the devine. Mabel will never be the same.
    I know I was never the same after this experience. But I am not sure you could say it was a 'monumental religious conversion', as for myself. Maybe I was only close, too.

    That is quite right. It does come sudden. She is new, another.
    Good, we are agreed on this point.

    I think Lawrence wanted you to see that exactly. She has gone through a "supernatural" experience. She has gone down to death and has risen.
    I understand the concept completely. Now I see the supernatural/religious part of it. It all makes more sense to me now. Thanks for pointing all of this out. It finally sunk into my brain in verbal terms. I knew it all, but in deeper, more unwritten senses.
    Her intuition, perhaps. Her new found enlightenment. She turns out to be correct.
    Like woman's intuition, I suppose; this being enhanced by the "transfiguative" experience.

    How does she know? They have both gone down and touched death together and come up. They have touched whatever religion stems from - life, nakedness, death - and so they have to be in love. For Mabel it is a logical conclusion. I think you're lookning at this from a rational mentality, and this for L is definitely not a rational enterprise.
    I am looking rationally about it and mentally. That is right L went way beyond the mental and looked to the deeper aspects of man. He is definitely not a rationalist. Would you call him an idealist?
    It is the Fergusson "transfiguration" I am in doubt of. I still am feeling this way especially at the very end of the book. I can't seem to help it. I can't get through my own rationality about it and look at it from my own realistic view. More on this later.


    Ferguson is probably the last part of this story's discussion. There's probably a lot to respond to above, so let's hold this off for a little, and i'll come back to this.
    Agreed - that part will come evenutally.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  13. #118
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I understand the concept completely. Now I see the supernatural/religious part of it. It all makes more sense to me now. Thanks for pointing all of this out. It finally sunk into my brain in verbal terms. I knew it all, but in deeper, more unwritten senses.
    Not that much to respond to. I think you can understand my thesis now.

    I am looking rationally about it and mentally. That is right L went way beyond the mental and looked to the deeper aspects of man. He is definitely not a rationalist. Would you call him an idealist?
    Definitely not a rationalist. Yes he is an idealist in the sense he's got a model in his mind on how the world and life works. Like I've said elsewhere, I don't buy into all of L's ideas. But he's definetly convinced. I think that's why many of his friends had problems with him. His ideas couldn't possibly meet reality.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  14. #119
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    It is the Fergusson "transfiguration" I am in doubt of. I still am feeling this way especially at the very end of the book. I can't seem to help it. I can't get through my own rationality about it and look at it from my own realistic view. More on this later.
    Ok, let's get to it. Here's the critical moment:
    'You love me?' she said, rather faltering.

    'Yes.' The word cost him a painful effort. Not because it wasn't true. But because it was too newly true, the saying seemed to tear open again his newly-torn heart. And he hardly wanted it to be true, even now.

    She lifted her face to him, and he bent forward and kissed her on the mouth, gently, with the one kiss that is an eternal pledge. And as he kissed her his heart strained again in his breast. He never intended to love her. But now it was over. He had crossed over the gulf to her, and all that he had left behind had shrivelled and become void.
    "Crossing the gulf" is an elocution Lawrence has used in the past.

    But even before this, Lawrence uses another phrase he circulates in other works:
    With an inward groan he gave way, and let his heart yield towards her. A sudden gentle smile came on his face. And her eyes, which never left his face, slowly, slowly filled with tears. He watched the strange water rise in her eyes, like some slow fountain coming up. And his heart seemed to burn and melt away in his breast.
    "Melt" is the word and it does signal a transfiguration in Lawrencian lingo. A charcter for L usually goes from hard to soft, from crystal to melt. That's the second time in the story that F's heart melts. The first is just after she sits up.
    'Do you love me then?' she asked.

    He only stood and stared at her, fascinated. His soul seemed to melt.
    Melts twice in the story, his heart ripped, and crosses the gulf. While it is not as clearly put as Mabel, I think Ferguson does also undergo a transfiguration. But here's the clincher:
    Her hands were drawing him, drawing him down to her. He was afraid, even a little horrified. For he had, really, no intention of loving her. Yet her hands were drawing him towards her. He put out his hand quickly to steady himself, and grasped her bare shoulder. A flame seemed to burn the hand that grasped her soft shoulder. He had no intention of loving her: his whole will was against his yielding. It was horrible. And yet wonderful was the touch of her shoulders, beautiful the shining of her face. Was she perhaps mad? He had a horror of yielding to her. Yet something in him ached also.
    A flame too. All Lawrencian language.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  15. #120
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Not that much to respond to. I think you can understand my thesis now.
    Yes, understand the thesis much better now and the ideas of L's you were concentrating on.

    Definitely not a rationalist. Yes he is an idealist in the sense he's got a model in his mind on how the world and life works. Like I've said elsewhere, I don't buy into all of L's ideas. But he's definetly convinced. I think that's why many of his friends had problems with him. His ideas couldn't possibly meet reality.
    I thought so, also - an idealist. Yes, many of his ideas couldn't possibly be realistic. I can see how he lost some of his friends along the way.

    Do you think you could post the next paragraphs you would like to address? I think it actually (realistically) might take one or two more days to complete this story.

    Asa agreed we should start the new story on Monday. We can all start reading it or read it on the weekend.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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