Thursday, 3 May 2007

Skin-Deep Beauty

An elder monk notices a younger monk leering at a hot chicky babe in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, and, in order to disengorge a sanctified appendage behaving sinfully, says rather misogynistically to the hornbag youth:
The beauty of the body stops at the skin. If men could see what is beneath the skin, as with the lynx of Boeotia, they would shudder at the sight of a woman. All that grace consists of mucus and blood, humors and bile. If you think of what is hidden in the nostrils, in the throat, and in the belly, you will find only filth. And if it revolts you to touch mucus or dung with your fingertips, how could we desire to embrace the sack that contains that dung?
Such a wonderful elaboration of the adage "beauty is only skin deep" is not, however, of Umberto Eco's invention. The above passage is in fact attributable to one Saint Odo de Cluny, but what he was referring to when speaking of the lynx of Boeotia not even the internet could tell me.

Yes, for once, Google failed me.

1 comment:

The Dutchman said...

The boeotian lynx is, of course, extinct.