confess to mutual violation

october15

Senior Member
Portugal-Portuguese
Context:

(The Bishop entered the antechamber? The Bishop entered the antechamber? At this point you're going to coy on us, euphemizing about parts and positions when you've already confessed to mutual violation with a holy woman through a bloody arrow slot?)

When the bishop entered the antechamber, the anchoress imprisoned in a cell and Pocket, who was tending to her meals outside the cell, were making love through the arrow loop of the cell, as they often did.

The sentence in bold is kind of confusing to me. If mutual refers to both of them why add "with a holy woman"?

october15
 
Last edited:
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    October15, I confess your extract mystifies me. Do you have a link to the wider context?
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Ignoring (with some difficulty) both the social and the gymnastic implications, I'll concentrate on the part in bold.

    First point: An anchoress was not imprisoned against her will. At one point in the history of Western monasticism certain female hermits would ask to be sealed into a room, usually one attached to a church, where she would spend her life in ascetical prayer, meditation, and acts of penitentce. (This is the theory. There were probably "inconvenient" women who were walled up against their will, as well.) There would be a small window or opening through which local pious people, sometimes a servant, would bring her food and so on, and through which she might engage in "pious conversation" with them. (More theory.)

    Second point: A certain kind of popular piety chooses to refer to all consecrated religious figures, including priests, bishops, nuns, monks, hermits, anchoresses and whatever else as "holy men and women".

    Third point: Sexual contact was defined as a violation of a person's physical integrity, particularly that of someone who is meant to be "pure". "Mutual violation" is an arch term coined to refer to sexual relations between two such "holy" people. (I suppose an achoress's servant would be credited with holiness, as well, at least by association.)

    (This is all based on the words alone. If you were to provide context and background we could certainly give better answers.)
     

    october15

    Senior Member
    Portugal-Portuguese
    October15, I confess your extract mystifies me. Do you have a link to the wider context?
    (I've made slight corrections on the a.m. post).

    It doesn't make a difference if I post some more. Previous text is all about their encounters in the antechamber, prior to the bishop appearance.

    Pocket, who was raised in a abbey, meets the anchoress who his locked in a cell inside the abbey, no doors, no windows except this arrow loop. They fall in love and start making love through the arrow loop for monthes (it is supposed to be weird). One day the bishop shows up and catches them both on the act. Surprise! This is the exact moment after they are caught.

    I think the author is addressing the readers in this particular extract.

    Can anyone else help me out on this one?

    october15
     

    Rational_gaze

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't quite understand why specifying who the other party involved in the 'mutual violation' was would cause confusion.
     

    october15

    Senior Member
    Portugal-Portuguese
    Last try:

    My interpretation of the sentence in bold, assuming the author is addressing the readers:

    (...)when you've already recognized our mutual sin involving a holy woman?(...)

    Is this correct?

    october15
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    It sounds, as far as I can tell without the full context, as though a second narrator is speaking on behalf of the readers to the primary narrator, who is telling the story. (More specifically, as though the narrator is switching points of view for a moment and speaking on behalf of the readers.)

    Or perhaps Pocket is telling what happened and the narrator is protesting at his coyness after he has already been so crass as to engage in "mutual violation with a holy woman"?

    I think the use of "a holy woman" may be to emphasize the speaker's outrage. "You are violating yourself and a woman, and not just any woman - a holy woman!"
     

    october15

    Senior Member
    Portugal-Portuguese
    Or perhaps Pocket is telling what happened and the narrator is protesting at his coyness after he has already been so crass as to engage in "mutual violation with a holy woman"?
    I don't know. Pocket is the narrator from beguining to end and he sometimes adresses the readers. There's never the situation when the author steps out, as second narrator and adresses Pocket.

    My theory was that Pocket (the narrator) was scolding the readers for condoning with their mutual violation (while reading about it) and then playing coy on them both at this point (euphemizing about parts and positions) because the bishop was there.

    So "confess to" as if to say the readers were somehow watching, and therefore as guilty.

    october15
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Can you post a link to the text? ([mod hat: on]Even though it may figure in more than one post, the context should be given each time.[mod hat: off])

    I'm at the office now, but I'll try to take a closer look later on.
     
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