Lawrence and the Contemporary English Novel

  • James Gindin


Literary influence permeates the culture at different levels of recognition and consciousness. At one end of a hypothetical continuum, echoes of a strong literary presence are quick, referential tags, like brand-name recognition; at the other, they penetrate more deeply, seeming to become a central part of the consciousness and perspective through which subsequent fictional experience is seen and presented. With the fiction of D. H. Lawrence, the process assimilating the distinctive literary voice into the general culture has been going on since the 1950s, along with a growing critical understanding of Lawrence’s art. Earlier, when Lawrence was likely to be hailed uncritically as prophet or excoriated as demon, roles magnified by his iconoclasm, his singular voice, and the many controversies he both provoked and engendered, his work seemed entirely new and strange, not part of a discernible literary tradition. Critics polarized, regarded him as issuing the call for salvation or fulminating clouds of pernicious nonsense, often playing him in tandem against Joyce, one or the other the reigning genius, the scourge or the end of modern fiction. But time and judgment have humanized Lawrence and connected him with a literary past.


Sexual Relationship Literary History Literary Tradition Literary Culture Literary Influence 
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© James Gindin 1987

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  • James Gindin

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