and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud ……and she lay there crying

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(para. 279) by Lawrence(the University of Adelaide,here):
Whilst all her womb was open and soft, and softly clamouring, like a sea-anemone under the tide, clamouring for him to come in again and make a fulfilment for her. She clung to him unconscious in passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion, (the bud of him) swelling and swelling till it filled all her cleaving consciousness, and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness, till she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling, and she lay there crying in unconscious inarticulate cries. The voice out of the uttermost night, the life!

I feel the longest sentence quite strange and hard to understand. Could you please explain the meaning of it?
Normally, we only use one "and" between the last two clauses, so I think the previous ands with a strike-through are all redundant.
And what's the meaning of "cleaving consciousness" please?

Thank you in advance
 
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  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The repeated ands give the necessary nuance of a constant stream of varying sensations. In English they cannot be omitted as they are essential to the writing.

    "Cleaving" is used in its sense of parting/dividing: his penis is pushing up through her vagina moving its walls apart.
    "consciousness" is here being used as an epithet for vagina which, at that moment, is the centre of her feelings/emotions/consciousness.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Wow, your explanation is very reasonable. But it's almost impossible for us to understand it that way, not even some native English speakers, I guess. You must be very very clever. Thank you a lot.

    To be honest, I thought "cleaving consciousness" to be a kind of mental disease.
     
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    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Now, does the "flushing up into her" refer to "making her flood rush so that her body becomes red"?

    And the part "she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion, (the bud of him) swelling and swelling till it filled all her cleaving consciousness" seems a little messy in structure.

    I feel we should insert "the bud of him" before "swelling", otherwise, readers will not clearly know what's the use of "swelling and swelling till it filled all her cleaving consciousness" in structure.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)

    I feel we should insert ....
    Are you trying to re-write Lawrence's work? :eek:

    It is the rhythms that are flushing up into her. The comma before swelling is there to indicate that the subject of swelling is "the soft bud of him" from earlier in the sentence (i.e. not the rhythms), so there is no need to repeat it. The singular "swelling and swelling till it filled" is another clue for the reader.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It certainly isn't easy to understand but when we native speakers read it we aren't trying to translate it and don't examine the structure in great detail unless we're doing literary criticism or studying his language. We simply notice and understand the words and put them together in a meaningful way, a sort of impression.

    'Flush' can also be used to describe flowing or rushing. It's the term used for that rush of water that cleans out a toilet, but please note that I am not suggesting anything is being cleaned out of Connie. She's experiencing a flush of feeling.

    There there's the 'flush' of reddening skin. The skin does redden visibly in places when a woman is aroused because of increased blood flow - the face, and upper chest and throat. Perhaps Lawrence's choice of word alludes to this as well. It certainly does not mean that Connie turned red. 'Pinker' would probably be a better way of describing it.

    I agree 'the swelling' business refers back to 'the bud'

    I'm rather shocked at your casual mention that we should re-arrange the writing, and describing it as 'messy'!:eek:
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Parla's made an excellent point about the poetic nature of the prose. It's full of allusions and references as well as symbolic and semi-mystical language.
    It's notoriously difficult to write really well about sex even when you don't have to worry about censorship.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you very much
    Are you trying to re-write Lawrence's work?
    No, but I have decided to translate it to help more Chinese know Western culture more(though my knowledge is very limited), because I find the old Chinese versions distorted the original novel very much.
    Longxianchen, is it not apparent to you that this is a rather poetic characterization of sexual intercourse
    Yes, but I can only feel a little./
     
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