like the sort of conceit the knight most loathed, the <conceit of self-abasement>

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Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 416, chapter 18) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie told told her father that her lover Mellors, a previous officer, preferred to be a soldier...…)

Sir Malcolm, however, had no sympathy with the unsatisfactory mysticism of the famous C. E. Florence. He saw too much advertisement (=disguise) behind all the humility. It looked just like the sort of conceit the knight(Malcolm) most loathed, the conceit of self-abasement.

Personally, if somebody shows conceit, he/she looks down on others, but if somebody is self-abased, they look down on themselves.
So how can a person be conceited and self-abased at the same time please?
Thank you in advance
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It is the mysticism which is the disguise. 'Advertisement' means self-promotion.
    Sir Malcolm thought Florence was only pretending to be humble: in order to increase his reputation.
    how can a person be conceited and self-abased at the same time please?
    The idea is that Florence is pretending to be humble, in order to show what a wonderfully good person he really is.

    This is all based on the Christian concept that humility is a good thing.
    Christ's teaching often stressed that a true believer should be humble and that that was the way to heaven.
    Thus Florence, by exchanging the position of a senior officer for a humble job and low status, would prove that he was the best sort of person.


    Senior Member
    English - British
    the conceit of self-abasement
    If the expression were fully logical, it would be 'the conceit of pretended self-abasement'.

    However, Lawrence deliberately avoids that in order to create impact by putting two opposite terms together.
    This literary device is called oxymoron.
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