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Conversely, Wyndham Lewis' Self Condemned is a terrifying relation of more than 'one man's life'; it is a statement of the impossible distance of an intimacy, too often, these days. At the beginning:

As soon as she saw that he was occupied with his correspondence (and she was not detained by her own, which had been nothing but a few bills), she shook off the contretemps of the Princess Casamassima discussion—such a highbrow feature for their breakfast-table talk was almost without precedent—and returned to the setting of her own little traps. The terrific success of the night before, and René had been in perfect honeymoon form, must really be put to some good use. The moment had come, it seemed to her, to seize time by the forelock while his eyes were still gooey and his brain still drugged with the fumes of the Venusberg. Her eyes shining, her waist arched in


and hips thrust out, she held up a page of her newspaper on which were displayed a bunch of late-spring coats, a bait for those who were so silly as to imagine that in warm weather fur coats grew cheaper.

"Now that ," she exclaimed, arching her eyebrows, "is what, if you ever had a really lavish fit—that is the sort of thing I should get you to buy."

René looked up from his correspondence, momentarily stung almost to fury by the brazen naively mercenary calculations of the good Hester, with her garishly stock notion of what was a propitious moment . . .

This image is not a 'criticism' of anyone, or rather, I use it in no such context. Nor am I concerned with the 'reality' of either character or situation, except that they are here—some pages (weeks, months, countries) later:

. . . "Will you kindly tell me at once what my wife has done," demanded René.

"What did she do?" echoed the policeman. And René noticed the change of tense.

"She did nothing?" he asked; his lips trembled. "And if she has done nothing, why did you demand my presence here?" The aggressive tone provoked the reappearance of the unmodified jowl of the dogs of the Law.

"She did do something , Professor. She threw herself under a truck."

It continues: ". . . The poor hair was full of mud, which flattened it upon the skull. Her eye protruded: it was strange it should still have the strength to go peering on in the darkness."

René took a step forward towards the exhibit, but he fell headlong, striking his forehead upon the edge of the marble slab—the remains being arranged upon something like a fishmonger's display slab. As he fell it had been his object to seize the head and carry it away with him. To examine his legal right had been his last clear act of consciousness . . .

D. H. Lawrence writes: ". . . But if your wife should accomplish for herself the sweetness of her own soul's possession, then gently, delicately let the new mode assert itself, the new mode of relation between you, with something of spontaneous paradise in it, the apple of knowledge at last digested. But, my word, what bellyaches meanwhile. The apple is harder to digest than a lead guncartridge . . ."


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