she felt a bit of sensuality still, but what a weary, tired, worn-out sensuality

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 375, chapter 17) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie was staying in London with her father and sister.But she was not happy in London. ……)

In Paris at any rate she felt a bit of sensuality still, but what a weary, tired, worn-out sensuality. Worn-out for lack of tenderness. Oh, Paris was sad! One of the saddest towns: weary of its now-mechanical sensuality, weary of the tension of money, money, money, weary even of resentment and conceit, just weary to death, and still not sufficiently Americanized or Londonized to hide the weariness under a mechanical jig-jig-jig!


French men like to be romantic, so I infer that they must have been open in sex, and that's why Lawrence said she still felt a little sensuality in Paris.
But I'm not quite sure of the meanings of weary, tired, worn-out(weary=tired=worn-out=exhausted?).

So could you tell me how should I comprehend this sentence please?
Thank you in advance
 
Last edited:
  • goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    My post in your other thread addresses this in part, but I'd say if you interpret "sensuality" (in Lawrence's world) as a kind of "sexual life-force", you'd be on the right track.

    Connie's experience of Paris is that she can perceive faint vestiges of that "sexual life-force" in the city and its inhabitants, though it's not clear exactly how she's doing so: it could be anything from the high quality of the food and drink (as a sensual experience that affirms life), to a greater acceptance of human sexuality and physicality in daily interactions (people touching each other, flirting, etc.), to the frank presence of prostitutes in the city.

    But, that "sexual life-force" is now very weak (compared to some implied past), and most of it consists of a performance rather than an actual feeling. People are acting as though they're "sensual", but Connie perceives (or thinks that she perceives) that they're just acting, and the grim reality of daily life is too terrible -- too loveless and cold -- to allow for such a "sexual life-force" to really flourish.

    And, perhaps, they've been pretending for so long ("now-mechanical sensuality") that they're no longer able to differentiate between true (felt) sensuality and false (performed) sensuality. So they're "weary, tired, worn-out" -- there's almost nothing left of that fundamental, sensual energy.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Really thank you
    but I'd say if you interpret "sensuality" (in Lawrence's world) as a kind of "sexual life-force", you'd be on the right track
    This has been the clearest interpretation for me so far.:thumbsup::thumbsup: In fact, we don't have a counterpart word for this word in Chinese.
    And, perhaps, they've been pretending for so long ("now-mechanical sensuality") that they're no longer able to differentiate between true (felt) sensuality and false (performed) sensuality.
    I feel you mean: mechanical sensuality=performed sensuality.
     

    goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Lawrence's use of "sensuality" is, I think, a fairly idiosyncratic one. In addition, he often used deliberately ambiguous phrasing when a modern writer might use a more specific and overtly sexual term. In some of Chatterley's most sexually adventurous passages, that word "sensual" appears over and over again, and very nearly disguises the exact sexual acts going on (censors famously overlooked the real meaning of the passage on pp. 364-66).

    But in his world, sexual energy basically is life-force. I don't speak Chinese, but I have to imagine that a compound word using qi might be appropriate here.

    And yes, I think the idea of the sensuality being "now-mechanical" involves the idea that it's a performance. When someone does something "mechanically", they do it without feeling or conscious engagement -- as if by rote, like a robot or machine. Hermione Golightly used the phrase going through the motions in another one of your threads, and I think that's very apropos.

    "Mechanical" can also mean "with the inflexible rhythm of a machine". But I don't think that's applicable here in the sense of sexual technique ("mechanical thrusting"), but simply is another example of Lawrence's constant critique of post-Industrial Revolution values and mechanization.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'Weary' is an adjective used for people who are very tired physically and emotionally too. it's pronounced like fear/dear, whereas the verb 'to wear' is pronounced like 'where' and has a past participle worn (- out) used for humans being tired and emotionally exhausted too.

    'Children wear their parents out'.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top