8 Pages 1877 Words
At present, sex is the mind’s preoccupation,
and in the body we can only mentally fornicate.
To-day, we’ve got no sex.
We have only cerebral excitations.
The mind will have to glut itself,
and the ego will have to burst like the swollen frog,
and then perhaps we shall know true sex,
D.H. Lawrence from
“Leave Sex Alone”
Sex, Silence and other Pornographic Indiscretions
When twentieth century writer D.H. Lawrence began publishing poetry about the beauty and love that he found within sex, he became one of the most despised and censored authors of his time. With his notion that “sex isn’t sin” he claimed that sex is a creative passion until the human mind deforms and dilutes it. Despite the prevalence of sex in literature, its appearance in all genres has been met with misunderstanding, condemnation and even blatant oblivion or ignorance of its significance.
While poets like Lawrence have been blatant and undisguised in their socially contrasting ideas regarding sex, other poets have offered more subtle subversions on this topic. Geoffrey Chaucer, for example, incorporated a variety of sexual acts within his works The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. His medieval audience would have generally qualified sex in either one of two basic understandings- either as an element of romance or marriage that represented love and devotion or, as expostulated by St. Augustine and St. Jerome, as a sinful blemish that continually distorted the spirituality and faith in God of man. And, while Chaucer’s characters include prudish clergy as well as bawdy adulterers, his works support neither of these assertions. Evident in Chaucer’s fabliau’s, lays and even literary confessions is the suggestion that its very base, sex is neither an expression of love or sin, but rather a human preoccupation that completely lacks meaning and overall purpose. His characters discredit the significance of...
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