Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Extract from Octave Mirbeau - The Torture Garden:
“Dear Clara,” I objected, “is it really natural for you to seek sensuality in decomposition, and urge Your desires to greater heights by horrible spectacles of suffering and death? Isn’t that, to the contrary, a perversion of that nature whose cult you invoke, in order perhaps to excuse whatever criminal and monstrous qualities your sensuality involves?”
“No!” said Clara, quickly, “since love and death are the same thing! And since decomposition is the eternal resurrection of life… Look—” Suddenly she interrupted herself, and said:
“But why do you tell me that? You’re funny!” And with a charming pout, she added:
“How provoking that you don’t understand anything! How is it you don’t feel it? How is it you haven’t already felt that it is—I don’t even say by love, but by the heightened sensuality which is the perfection of love—that all the intellectual faculties of man awaken and become more acute? And it’s by this sensuality alone that you attain the full development of personality. Look! In the act of love, have you ever thought, for instance, of committing a beautiful crime? That is to say, lifting yourself above social prejudices and all the laws—above everything, in fact? And if you haven’t thought if it, then why do you bother making love?”
“I haven’t the strength to argue,” I stammered, “and it seems to me we are walking in a nightmare. This sun… this crowd… these smells… and your eyes—ah, your torturous and lustful eyes—and your voice… and your penchant for crime… all that terrifies me, and it’s all driving me mad!”
Clara gave a little mocking laugh.