let him not dare intrude


Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(para. 324, chapter 10) by Lawrence(the University of Adelaide,here):
Ah yes, to be passionate like a Bacchante, like a Bacchanal fleeing through the woods, to call on Iacchos, the bright phallos that had no independent personality behind it, but was pure god-servant to the woman! The man, the individual, let him not dare intrude. He was but a templeservant, the bearer and keeper of the bright phallos, her own.

I feel the sentence in blue is a little hard for me. Now I rephrase it:
The individual man(Mellors), let him not dare intrude.

But what's the meaning of "let him not dare intrude" please?
I never saw "let somebody +modal verb+ verb".

Thank you in advance
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  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    If we write "do not let him dare to intrude" does that help? The previous paragraph has her not wanting to be enslaved by love for Mellors, and she wishes she could have the pleasure of sex without the emotional tie, so she's effectively saying she wants the sex, without the man doing anything more than providing the penis.


    Senior Member
    Thank you. But we normally say "let somebody do something or not do something". I never saw "let somebody +modal verb+ verb".


    Senior Member
    British English
    Perhaps you are forgetting that "dare" is not a purely modal verb. It's perfectly acceptable to use it in this construction to describe an action. Working towards Lawrence's sentence from "let somebody not do something", "dare" replaces "do" and the bare infinitive "intrude" replaces "something". It could equally be "... dare to intrude".


    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    This is not really talking about Mellors in particular.
    The paragraph is describing a mystic relationship between the woman (in general) and the penis (in general). The man (the person attached to the penis) should not dare intrude into this relationship.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't know if let him not dare intrude is a direct quotation from antiquity, or a paraphrase from an ancient Greek or Latin text; but there is a well-established tradition of using the word let to translate or (in Latinate varieties of English writing) to represent the Latin subjunctive when it is used as a third person imperative.

    This form is, for example, used in a very familiar passage right at the beginning of the Bible, when God commands the world into existence: "Let there be light" and so on. Genesis 1 Parallel Chapters

    The verb need is rather odd here, when you think about it:
    - it is used as a modal in that it is followed by an infinitive without to
    - but it is used as a non-modal in that it is itself in the infinitive.
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    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Let him not dare intrude" is a relatively unusual variant of the more common construction, which would be "let him not dare to intrude".
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