the cosmopolitan provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 4, Chapter One) by DH Lawrence (planetebook, here):
(background: Connie and her sister Hilda had both received aesthetically unconventional upbringing, and they visited many places, meeting all kind of people.…)

The two girls, therefore, were from an early age not the least daunted by either art or ideal politics. It was their natural atmosphere. They were at once cosmopolitan and provincial with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals.

The last sentence is quite difficult to me. How should I understand it please?
I rephrase it as:
Their (eyesight) were both(=at once) wordlwide(=cosmopolitan) and native/local(=provincial). And their art was worldwidely provincial(=with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art) , which matches with (their) plain(=pure) social ideals(i.e, their art reflected their social ideals).

Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Their (eyesight):cross::eek: were :cross::eek: both(=at once) wordlwide(=cosmopolitan):cross: and native/local(=provincial):cross:. And their art was worldwidely :cross::eek:provincial(=with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art) , which matches :cross: with (their) plain(=pure) social ideals(i.e, their art reflected their social ideals).


    They were -> Their outlook was..
    at once -> simultaneously
    cosmopolitan and provincial -> broad and limited.
    with -> and contained those
    the cosmopolitan provincialism of art -> provincial traits of character that are found everywhere
    that goes with -> and which always accompany
    pure social ideals -> those who have an uncomplicated view of the way that society should be.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I agree with much of post 2, but:
    the cosmopolitan provincialism of art -> provincial traits of character that are found everywhere
    I am afraid I do not see how that can be the meaning.

    'Provincialism of art' means 'seeing art from a provincial standpoint'. This on its own means regarding the art you have grown up with locally as the true form of art and judging everything else in relation to that.
    'Pure social ideals' I understand as 'lofty or noble, but probably unrealistic, views of what society should be'.

    'The provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals' therefore means a view of art which is limited in the same way as those social ideals.

    This provincialism is also cosmopolitan, because it goes beyond the merely local to include an appreciation of international works of art, but it is still provincial because it is limited to those which correspond to the 'pure social ideals'.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I am afraid I do not see how that can be the meaning.
    it can be the meaning if "art" is understood as OED: 5. An acquired ability of any kind; a skill at doing a specified thing, typically acquired through study and practice;

    1971 A. Maclean Bear Island (1972) i. 10 Captain Imrie had long mastered the art of dining gracefully at sea.
    and/or possibly: 11. a. Cunning; artfulness; trickery, pretence; conduct or action which seeks to attain its ends by artificial, indirect, or covert means.
    1849 Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 536 No art was spared which could draw Monmouth from retreat.


    However, rather than my interpretation as a play upon words, you may well be correct. I'm not sure it matters much. :)
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you both so much.
    I take it that this means the passage is about the appreciation and evaluation of works of art.
    But basing this paragraph on the whole novel, now I feel this paragraph is talking about the sisters' character: they had worldwide outlook(i.e,cosmopolitan) , but they were also deeply affected by the local convention(i.e, provincial). Just because of this kind of character of them, they were free and open enough to have sex with classmates. What's more, affected by the pure ideals, Connie would be easier to live in the love-paradise with Mellors in the future.
    They were -> Their outlook was..
    at once -> simultaneously
    cosmopolitan and provincial -> broad and limited.
    with -> and contained those
    'Provincialism of art' means 'seeing art from a provincial standpoint'. This on its own means regarding the art you have grown up with locally as the true form of art and judging everything else in relation to that.
    'Pure social ideals' I understand as 'lofty or noble, but probably unrealistic, views of what society should be'.

    'The provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals' therefore means a view of art which is limited in the same way as those social ideals.

    This provincialism is also cosmopolitan, because it goes beyond the merely local to include an appreciation of international works of art, but it is still provincial because it is limited to those which correspond to the 'pure social ideals'.
    I get it.
     
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    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    As the meaning of art, both of you sound reasonable.

    But personally, I tend to think it's related to the previous words: Between artists and cultured socialists, Constance and her sister Hilda had had what might be called an aesthetically unconventional upbringing. They had been taken to Paris and Florence and Rome to breathe in art:D
    This provincialism is also cosmopolitan, because it goes beyond the merely local to include an appreciation of international works of art
    Is that possible that cosmopolitan provincialism of art refers to provincial art which is affected by cosmopolitan one?


     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    They had been taken to Paris and Florence and Rome to breathe in art
    This confirms the point that we are talking about appreciation of works of art.
    Is that possible that cosmopolitan provincialism of art refers to provincial art which is affected by cosmopolitan one?
    I take it that in the phrase 'cosmopolitan provincialism of art' the word 'art' here mainly stands for 'appreciation and judgement of art'.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    OK. :thumbsup:

    And I feel provincial art(contryside art) is fit to express the pure social ideals, especially the idyllic life with romantic love.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    "Cosmopolitan and provincial" is an interesting phrase. It's odd, because they are opposites. Someone who is "cosmopolitan" has a view that is worldly, well-travelled, and familiar and comfortable with many cultures. But someone who is "provincial" has a narrow, limited view, usually based on their own experiences.

    Lawrence is saying the girls were "cosmopolitan and provincial". They travelled, they "breathed in" art, they listened to international Socialist speakers, so they were cosmopolitan. But at the same time, this was their only experience - travelling, listening to socialist thought, and viewing great art. As a result, they were "provincial" in that their experiences were limited.

    I think "cosmopolitan provincialism of art" means that they saw much international art, but it was viewed in a restricted manner; through the lens of pure social ideas.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    And I feel provincial art(contryside art) is fit to express the pure social ideals, especially the idyllic life with romantic love.
    'Provincial' does not mean 'countryside'. That would be 'rural', 'rustic' or 'country'.
    Provincialism in general means belonging to a local area (remember the population of Britain was about 80% urbanised at this time: so the 'local area' still refers to town or city life).
     
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    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    'Provincial' does not mean 'countryside'. That would be 'rural', 'rustic' or 'country'.
    Provincialism in general means belonging to a local area (remember Britain was about 80% urbanised at this time: so the 'local area' still refers to town or city life).
    Also I doubt that the great socialist speakers of Europe were talking about the idyllic life with romantic love... :oops:
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    'Provincial' does not mean 'countryside'. That would be 'rural', 'rustic' or 'country'.
    Provincialism in general means belonging to a local area (remember Britain was about 80% urbanised at this time: so the 'local area' still refers to town or city life).
    Ah? So it's hard to understand that provincialism of art(=local art) goes with pure social ideals. Cosmopolitian art can also express pure social ideals.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    No. Provincialism is not referring to "local art". It's referring to a way of looking at all art. Through a limited viewpoint.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I take it that in the phrase 'cosmopolitan provincialism of art' the word 'art' here mainly stands for 'appreciation and judgement of art'.
    Do you have another example of this interpretation?

    I looked at this again:

    The passage is preceded by:
    They had been taken to Paris and Florence and Rome to breathe in art, and they had been taken also in the other direction, to the Hague and Berlin, to great Socialist conventions, where the speakers spoke in every civilized tongue, and no one was abashed.
    with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals.
    They were at once cosmopolitan and provincial -> they expressed themselves both in a cosmopolitan and a provincial manner
    with -> in matters concerning
    the cosmopolitan -> the universal
    provincialism -> local reflections/references
    of art that goes with pure social ideals. -> of the style of art that accompanies certain specific social ideals [i.e. the ideals of the places/towns/regions/countries where they saw the art.]

    In short - the art reflected local values and this trait was seen everywhere.
     
    I agree with Wandle on the 'art' issue. The two topics are explicitly mentioned earlier: art and socialist politics. (noted by Long in his post #8)

    Between artists and cultured socialists, Constance and her sister Hilda had had what might be
    called an aesthetically unconventional upbringing. They had been taken to Paris and Florence and Rome to breathe in art, and they had been taken also in the other direction,
    to the Hague and Berlin, to great Socialist conventions, where the speakers spoke in every civilized tongue, and no one was abashed.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    So it's hard to understand that provincialism of art(=local art) goes with pure social ideals
    'Provincial' as a somewhat derogatory term in British usage means 'belonging to, or typical of, the provinces', where 'the provinces' means 'not London, but the other parts of the country, each seen as a local area or region'.

    The cultural dominance of London meant that 'provincial' came to have the meaning 'local, narrow, limited, naive'. The first step away from provincialism towards sophistication could be via the metropolitanism of London; followed perhaps by the cosmopolitanism of Europe and the wider world at a time when few people could afford foreign travel and television (let alone internet) was unknown.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Do you have another example of this interpretation?
    It is common enough for the word 'art' to mean 'art appreciation' and interest in that aspect of culture. It is a colloquial sense which I believe Lawrence uses here to avoid repeating phrases like 'the appreciation and judgement of art'.
    the art reflected local values and this trait was seen everywhere.
    I am afraid the steps of that interpretation seem to me rather stretched and the conclusion unconvincing.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Also I doubt that the great socialist speakers of Europe were talking about the idyllic life with romantic love... :oops:
    Please notice the different tenses:
    They were at once cosmopolitan and provincial with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals.
    I feel it's Lawrence that thought provincialism of art accompanies(=goes with) pure social ideals, not the socialists. Because according to the whole novel, we can see that Lawrence liked primitive, natural things, like vernacular.:)
    It's referring to a way of looking at all art. Through a limited viewpoint
    Then the similar question occurs:the cosmopolitan way of art can also accompany pure social ideals, can't it?
     
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    Long, I think you are close. But the 'social ideals' are clearly socialist or nearly so.

    I think Lawrence is suggesting that socialism, as an ideal--e.g. a worker's state-- is rather removed from reality (a limitation). Likewise, the women, though aware of art in Europe, were essentially provincial in their understanding of it (another limitation). Lawrence, perhaps straining a bit, is linking these two limitations.

    Please notice the different tenses:
    They were at once cosmopolitan and provincial with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals.
    I feel it's Lawrence that thought provincialism of art accompanies(=goes with) pure social ideals, not the socialists. Because according to the whole novel, we can see that Lawrence liked primitive, natural things, like vernacular.:)
    Then the similar question occurs:the cosmopolitan way of art can also accompany pure social ideals, can't it?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    :the cosmopolitan way of art can also accompany pure social ideals, can't it?
    I do not think Lawrence is making a contrast between an ordinary provincial way of looking at art and an ordinary cosmopolitan way, nor between provincialism as such and cosmopolitanism as such.

    He says the girls were at the same time cosmopolitan and provincial in their attitude to art, because although their experience and knowledge were cosmopolitan, their outlook was provincial: not in the ordinary sense of 'provincial' (post 18), but in the sense that their political and social ideals (however lofty) limited their appreciation of the wide spectrum of art they had come to know.
     
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