<marry-and-have-done-with-it> would pretty well stand for what I think

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 48, 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 asked Clifford whether he thought sex was a dynamo to help a man on to success in the world and said his brain worked well. Clifford said ……)

‘Well,’ stammered Clifford, ‘even then I don’t suppose I have much idea . . . I suppose marry-and-have-done-with-it would pretty well stand for what I think. Though of course between a man and woman who care for one another, it is a great thing.’

The blue sentence is not easy to me.
I rephrase it this way: Marrying a wife and finishing all the marriage ceremony(=marry-and-have-done-with-it) would stand for my thought very much(=pretty well).

How should I understand this sentence please?
Thank you in advance
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Just get married and stop thinking about it", which is what he did.
    'Pretty well' means 'more or less'. or 'well enough', what he thinks about marriage.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "to have done with something" = "[to make a decision] not to worry further about something"

    I suppose marry, and stop worrying about it would pretty well stand for what I think.

    (crossposted)
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I suspect there is a remote allusion here to another Biblical cliché, St. Paul's advice: 'It is better to marry than to burn'.

    Paul was proposing celibacy as the ideal state, but for those who experienced strong sexual urges he says it is better to marry, rather than go for celibacy, because in the latter case, you may give way to temptation and have sex outside marriage, in which case you will go to hell and be burned in its fires for eternity.

    I think Clifford is saying 'Deal with your sexual feelings by marrying and get that matter out of the way so you can concentrate on your career'.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not a easy topic for Clifford to be pronouncing about! He's described as not very keen on sex even before he was injured and became impotent. He seems to have married Connie just because it's what one does.

    I can't think of any point at which Clifford declares an opinion about sexuality, nor indeed where any character moralises. Apart from the biblical references that are still part and parcel of our Christian cultural heritage, there's no moralising or promotion of Christianity. The lack of Christian morality and apparent promotion of pagan beliefs was one of the reasons DHL's novels were considered immoral/obscene.
    I'm commenting just in case Longx concludes that this is what Clifford's really saying.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    he says it is better to marry, rather than go for celibacy, because in the latter case, you may give way to temptation and have sex outside marriage, in which case you will go to hell and be burned in its fires for eternity.
    The word used by Paul does not refer to being burned in Hell, but actually refers to burning with an emotion, which in this case is desire. It is better to marry than to burn therefore should be understood as "It is better to marry and be content, than to stay unmarried and be constantly inflamed with desire for sex."
     
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    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you very much, everybody.
    The lack of Christian morality and apparent promotion of pagan beliefs was one of the reasons DHL's novels were considered immoral/obscene.
    I'm commenting just in case Longx concludes that this is what Clifford's really saying.
    Very useful. With the constant guide from you native English speakers, I have basically mastered the novel, its themes, its rhetorical devices, its wording, relavant cultural backgrounds, and so on.:D
    I suppose marry, and stop worrying about it would pretty well stand for what I think.
    OK.
    I think Clifford is saying 'Deal with your sexual feelings by marrying and get that matter out of the way so you can concentrate on your career'
    It is better to marry than to burn therefore should be understood as "It is better to marry and be content, than to stay unmarried by be constantly inflamed with desire for sex."
    I have inserted these into a relevant footnote.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The word used by Paul does not refer to being burned in Hell, but actually refers to burning with an emotion
    The word in the original Greek is purousthai, which can have a literal or a metaphorical sense. Paul uses the same verb in a nearby passage in a context where it can only be metaphorical. The context in this case would allow either. Jospeh A Fitzmyer in his commentary on First Corinthians (Yale University Press, 2008), quotes M.L. Barré ("To marry or to Burn: Pyrousthai in 1 Cor 7:9" CBQ 36 (1974) 193-202) who gives reasons for understanding it literally, as a reference to hell fire.

    It appears most modern translations make it explicitly metaphorical, while older ones leave it ambiguous in English as it is in Greek. It may well be that Paul meant it to have a double meaning. I had always understood it literally.

    In any case, my suggestion is simply that the biblical passage may well have been in the back of Lawrence's mind when he put the quoted words in Clifford's mouth - with of course a meaning distinct from the biblical one.
     
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    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It may well be that Paul meant it to have a double meaning. I had always understood it literally.
    Commentators as diverse as St. John Chrysostom, Aquinas, Luther, and John Calvin all understood it metaphorically to mean burning with desire, as do most modern translators and commentators.

    Nevertheless, I agree that Lawrence certainly knew the passage, as would his character Clifford.
     
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