glory in our spite, and strip the rotten old show

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 52, Chapter Four) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford was getting rich and famous. His friends came visite him talking about sex and men-women relationship. Dukes said ……)

Set the mind and the reason to cock it over the rest, and all they can do is to criticize, and make a deadness. I say all they can do. It is vastly important. My God, the world needs criticizing today . . . criticizing to death. Therefore let’s live the mental life, and glory in our spite, and strip the rotten old show. But, mind you, it’s like this: while you live your life, you are in some way an Organic whole with all life.

The blue sentence is a little confusing. How should I understand it please?
I rephrase it this way:
Let's live the mental life, with glory(=honor) when were are spiteful(=in our spite), and let's (remove/deprive(=strip) the rotten old false appearance /a pretense(=show).

Is that right?
Thank you in advance
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    "The rotten old show" probably means "the conventional way of thinking"/"the establishment"/"the status quo". I don't see exactly why "strip" is used.

    The problem here is that Lawrence is too good at imagining what someone like Dukes might say: it's very difficult to understand because it is 1. Expressing a philosophy which was no doubt common at the time amongst people of his class but is less familiar to us, 2. Using the colloquial English of his social group, which is again unfamiliar to modern speakers, and 3. Expressing a stream of thought which is meandering and not completely coherent.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you both.
    "The rotten old show" probably means "the conventional way of thinking"/"the establishment"/"the status quo".
    But in a previous paragraph, Dudes(also Lawrence's opinion) says:
    'Because I infinitely prefer the spontaneous spite to the concocted sugaries; now they are poison; when I begin saying what a fine fellow Clifford is, etc., etc., then poor Clifford is to be pitied. For God’s sake, all of you, say spiteful things about me, then I shall know I mean something to you. Don’t say sugaries, or I’m done.'

    Dukes thought intellectuals, who lived a mental life, were false and deceptive, that's why I thought show=false appearance.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Having read the wider context I'm still not convinced by your theory - this would be the only time I've ever seen "show" used like this, and it seems too far away from his previous statement for it to be a continuation of his theme.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The blue sentence is a little confusing.
    Let us live the mental life: Let us criticise the establishment, the way things are done.
    Let us glory in our spite: Let us celebrate the fact that we are upsetting all the 'best' people.
    Let us strip the rotten old show: Let us strip away the pretences of the establishment, remove the false front erected by the system.

    'Show' here refers to 'the system', the existing organisation of society.

    There are traditional expressions using 'show' in the sense of 'the way things are done'.
    A good show is something well done. A bad show or poor show is a wrong way of doing things.
    'The rotten old show' means 'the dreadfully bad traditional way of doing things'.
     
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    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Now I find some words from an article(here):
    He reveals the purgative value of criticism—its positive function as negation:“My God,the world needs criticising today—criticising to death.Therefore let’s live the mental life,and glory in our spite,and strip the rotten old show”(37).Dukes provides the reader with the rationale for the structure and content of the novel’s mortification rhythm: the corrosive techniques are intended to strip the reader’s old ways of knowing and relating.

    The red part seems to be relevant to the word, show, even though I'm not clear about the meaning of the sentence.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I'm not clear about the meaning of the sentence
    The verb 'strip' has two distinct transitive senses: (a) when the object is the thing removed, as in 'The workmen stripped all the paint' (from the wall); and (b) when the object is the thing laid bare, as in 'The camp followers stripped the fallen soldiers' (of their weapons, clothing etc.).

    In the Lawrence excerpt, I read 'strip' in sense (b): lay bare, or expose, the established way of doing things. However, the article quoted in post 8 uses 'strip' in sense (a): strip away, or remove, the reader's old modes of thought.
     
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