"self-indulgence, mad bad license"

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mesterhm

Member
Hungarian
This is from Alice Munro's story, "Lives of Girls and Women", from the novel with the same title. The narrator, Del, about 16, has to overcome her simple daydreams about sex, after a shocking experience (having to watch someone masturbating).
"My faith in simple depravity had weakened. Perhaps nowhere but in daydreams did the trap door open so sweetly and easily, plunging bodies altogether free of thought, free of personality, into self-indulgence, mad, bad license."
This, because of its rhyme and rhythm, sounds to me as a quotation from some song. But I could not find anything with google, except the actual Munro story.
Thanks.
 
  • Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    This is from Alice Munro's story, "Lives of Girls and Women", from the novel with the same title. The narrator, Del, about 16, has to overcome her simple daydreams about sex, after a shocking experience (having to watch someone masturbating).
    "My faith in simple depravity had weakened. Perhaps nowhere but in daydreams did the trap door open so sweetly and easily, plunging bodies altogether free of thought, free of personality, into self-indulgence, mad, bad license."
    This, because of its rhyme and rhythm, sounds to me as a quotation from some song. But I could not find anything with google, except the actual Munro story.
    Thanks.
    The only connotation that comes to my mind is the description of the poet Lord Byron as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know".
     

    mesterhm

    Member
    Hungarian
    Yes, "mad, bad" takes a step closer, thanks. But I still wonder about the whole line. Maybe elderly English-Canadian ladies could be asked. The story takes place in the 1920-ies, 30-ies.
     
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