japonisme: we were a passionate couple

23 September 2008

we were a passionate couple

[This was Lawrence's first book, a first edition with 1910 date on the copyright page. It was quickly changed to 1911. Apparently only a handful of copies in the first issue state are known to exist.

The United States' first appearance was significant since it contained sexually explicit passages considered too suggestive for the time and were taken out and/or revised for the first British edition, which didn't appear until later.

The original had pages 227 and 230 revised for the British issue, including
p. 230 originally as: "God! – we were a passionate couple – and she would have me in her bedroom while she drew Greek statues of me…"; and was changed to: "Lord! – we were an infatuated couple – and she would choose to view me in an aesthetic light…."] 1


We got married. She gave me a living she had in her parsonage, and we went to live at her Hall. She wouldn't let me out of her sight. God! -- we were a passionate couple -- and she would have me in her bedroom while she drew Greek statues of me -- her Croton, her Hercules! I never saw her drawings. She had her own way too much -- I let her do as she liked with me.

Then gradually she got tired -- it took her three years to have a real bellyful of me. I had a physique then -- for that matter I have now."

He held out his arm to me, and bade me try his muscle. I was startled. The hard flesh almost filled his sleeve.

"Ah," he continued, "You don't know what it is to have the pride of a body like mine. But she wouldn't have children -- no, she wouldn't -- said she daren't. That was the root of the difference at first But she cooled down, and if you don't know the pride of my body you'd never know my humiliation. I tried to remonstrate -- and she looked simply astounded at my cheek. I never got over that amazement.

She began to get souly. A poet got hold of her, and she began to affect Burne-Jones -- or Waterhouse -- it was Waterhouse -- she was a lot like one of his women -- Lady of Shalott, I believe. At any rate, she got souly, and I was her animal -- son animal-son boeuf. I put up with that for above a year. Then I got some servants' clothes and went.

I was seen in France -- then in Australia -- though I never left England. I was supposed to have died in the bush. She married a young fellow. Then I was proved to have died, and I read a little obituarynotice on myself in a woman's paper she subscribed to. She wrote it herself -- as a warning to other young ladies of position not to be seduced by plausible "Poor Young Men."

Now she's dead. They've got the paper -- her paper -- in the kitchen down there, and it's full of photographs, even an old photo of me --" an unfortunate misalliance." I feel, somehow, as if I were at an end too. I thought I'd grown a solid, middle-aged- man, and here I feel sore as I did at twenty-six, and I talk as I used to.

One thing -- I have got some children, and they're of a breed as you'd not meet anywhere. I was a good animal before everything, and I've got some children."

He sat looking up where the big moon swam through the black branches of the yew.

"So she's dead -- your poor peacock!" I murmured.

He got up, looking always at the sky, and stretched himself again. He was an impressive figure massed in blackness against the moonlight, with his arms outspread.

"I suppose," he said, "it wasn't all her fault."
"A white peacock, we will say," I suggested.

D. H. Lawrence

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Blogger willow said...

Oh-oh-oh!!! This was a GORgeous post...the passage...the art. Sigh. Perfect.

23 September, 2008 14:59  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh willow, how you make me smile!

it all came as a revelation to me, too. i had the images but didn't know about the book! imagine my wonder as i learned and as i read. and he's even from our right era.

23 September, 2008 15:31  
Blogger PIGNOUF said...

Quel beau message, comme d'habitude.
A bientôt...:)

24 September, 2008 09:44  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

tu es trop aimable

24 September, 2008 10:15  
Blogger Willym said...

This makes me want to revisit Lawrence - and so beautifully illustrated. What a wonderful post. Mille grazie

26 September, 2008 02:17  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

you're welcome of course, and thanks to you too!

i went through a phase of passionate dhl involvement in my twenties and then haven't read him much since then.

until recently, and yeah--i do find it uneven, i'll admit, but when he's good, he's sooooooo good.

26 September, 2008 13:28  
Blogger Roxana said...

I love dh lawrence - and the blue and golden peacocks are magnificent!

26 September, 2008 15:42  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, roxy-- isn't the comparison stunning!

26 September, 2008 16:07  

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