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I'm currently reading a book of D. H. Lawrence, "The Princess and other stories", and I encountered an adjective in "Sun" that I can't figure out entirely. I'm not a native English speaker.

The true Juliet lived in the dark flow of the sun within her deep body, like a river of dark rays circling, circling dark and violet round the sweet, shut bud of her womb.

What exactly is a "deep body"? I can't understand the meaning of "deep" in that context. Is it another word for large or thick?

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    I'm a native speaker, but the meaning isn't obvious to me, either. Probably not "large" or "thick", though.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented May 9 at 11:20
  • Could it mean the deep parts of her body, i.e. that she (metaphorically) carries the dark flow of the sun deep within her?
    – gidds
    Commented May 9 at 16:48

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I think that in this line the word "deep" simply has its usual meaning of profound, or far from the surface (i.e. the opposite of "superficial"). What is unusual is that Lawrence has reordered the the sequence of words to read "within her deep body" instead of the more normal "deep within her body", forming what is called an anastrophe.

The context is that Juliet is imagining the sun as having sexual intercourse with her. Earlier in the story we are told that "the sun knew her, in the cosmic carnal sense of the word", and in the role of a male sexual partner, the sun penetrates inside her body. She is described as submitting to her lover and entering into a mystical connection with him/it:

Something deep inside her unfolded and relaxed, and she was given to a cosmic influence. By some mysterious will inside her, deeper than her known consciousness and her known will, she was put into connection with the sun, and the stream of the sun flowed through her, round her womb.

This is where the word "deep" appears, and it describes her ancient primeval instincts, her true female self, represented by her womb, that has been buried and suppressed beneath her civilized, modern exterior.

She herself, her conscious self, was secondary, a secondary person, almost an onlooker. The true Juliet lived in the dark flow of the sun within her deep body, like a river of dark rays circling, circling dark and violet round the sweet, shut bud of her womb.

that is, the "true" Juliet is to be found, both literally and metaphorically, deep within her.

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  • A figure of speech called Hypallage or transferred epithet.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 10 at 12:01

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