Here’s an odd question…

How do you all fancy being my Research Assistants for the afternoon?!

For my next chapter, I need to quote a 1920s middlebrow novel or two where a character talks about sex, and says ‘We’re all just animals, really’, or anything like that.  The sort of sentence I’ve read dozens of times in novels of the period, but now can’t remember any at all.

If you can think of one off the top of your head, that would be amazing – otherwise perhaps you could keep your eyes open, and let me know??  Anything published around the 1920s (shortly before or after is fine) which isn’t high modernist – oh, and is British – would be absolutely wonderful.

Thanks, folks!

24 thoughts on “Here’s an odd question…

  • August 9, 2012 at 2:37 am
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    Before I try to find a specific quote, is 1908 (Love's Shadow) or 1931 (The Brontes Went to Woolworths) too far off the date? It seems like Love's Shadow had a lot of that sort of thing in it. [I have no idea if these are considered high modernist?] Gotta love those Bloomsbury reprints! :)

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    • August 9, 2012 at 8:06 am
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      Both would do; I can be a bit vague! Brontes would be very useful, actually, being fantastic and all. Gold star, Susan!

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    • August 9, 2012 at 11:19 am
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      I am actually impressed by your use of crowdsourcing. And since I have nothing helpful to offer I attempt to be remain relevant with humor.

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  • August 9, 2012 at 3:09 am
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    Off the top of my head, I'm thinking there might be a quote like that in Cold Comfort Farm. ? Seth Starkadder seems to fit the "animal" bill.

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    • August 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm
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      I just started reading Nightingale Wood and at the end of the 1st chapter: "What exalted lies are told of marriage! but one promise at least can be fulfilled: ye shall be one flesh." That Gibbons – sex on the brain.

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  • August 9, 2012 at 3:36 am
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    Not a British book, but I'm currently reading Coonardoo by Katharine Susannah Pritchard, which was published in 1929. One of the main characters, Mrs Bessie, says this:

    "Tell you what I've found out… Sex hunger's like any other. Satisfy it and you don't think about it. I mean… it won't get out of proportion. Work's the thing… not sex…"

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  • August 9, 2012 at 5:52 am
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    Yes, Cold Comfort Farm is the one, where Mr [pipsqueak character modelled on DH Lawrence] tries to get Flora into bed anywhere by banging on about how we're all just bodies and animals. Kate

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  • August 10, 2012 at 7:22 am
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    I can't find the volume right now, but there's a passage in Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh between the hero and his girlfriend/fiance that's just about right.

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  • August 12, 2012 at 5:08 pm
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    Meriam (the hired girl who keeps succumbing to Seth's charms when the sukebind is in bloom) in Cold Comfort Farm is described as a "beast of the field". Is there anything in Mary Webb? Precious Bane or Gone to Earth maybe? I've only read the first chapter of Gone to Earth, unfortunately; it was too (unintentionally) hilarious to finish.

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    • August 21, 2012 at 11:52 am
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      And now you see that I tried it! You got further than I did ;)

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  • August 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm
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    F.M. Mayor's 'The Rector's Daughter' features poor plain Mary who is not resigned to being a cheerful spinster but yearns for more:
    'I have longed for it'…'I have sometimes thought', Mary said with feeling, 'the kisses…'

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  • August 15, 2012 at 3:04 am
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    Surely DH Lawrence had something to say along those lines – Women in Love or Lady Chatterly's Lover.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm
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    DH Lawrence or EM Forster should definitely have something — I am 99% certain that Lady Chatterley's Lover has a line that would fit.

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    • August 21, 2012 at 11:54 am
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      Oh yes – although it's not nearly as sordid as people made out, is it?

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  • August 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm
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    I think "The Constant Nymph", a 1924 novel by Margaret Kennedy (the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey of its day) had something like this in it, but it’s a long time since I read it. I know it was very avant garde.

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    • August 21, 2012 at 11:55 am
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      Oh yes, I must read that, I've heard so much about it… I bet it's better written that 50 Shades! The only thing I've read by MK is a rather lovely book on Jane Austen.

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