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Lawrence and the Contemporary English Novel

  • James Gindin

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Sexual Relationship Literary History Literary Tradition Literary Culture Literary Influence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    D. H. Lawrence, Mornings in Mexico and Etruscan Places (London, 1974), pp. 146–147.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. H. Lawrence, Letters: Volume I, 1901–1913, ed. James Boulton (Cambridge, England, 1979), p. 503.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    D. H. Lawrence, “Poetry of the Present” [Introduction to the American edition of New Poems (1919)], in Complete Poems, ed. Vivian de Sola Pinto and Warren Roberts (New York, 1964), pp. 182–183.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Friedrich von Schiller, Naive and Sentimental Poetry and On the Sublime, trans. with introduction and notes by Julius Elias (New York, 1966), p. 110. It should be noted that the translation of the key terms of this work, Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, is problematic, for “naive” and “sentimental” carry connotations in English that are foreign to Schiller’s argument. “Simple,” “unreflective,” and “direct” hint at Schiller’s intended meaning for the first term; “complicated,” “self-reflecting” and “sophisticated” point to the second.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    James Joyce, Ulysses (New York, 1961), p. 212.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature (New York, 1924), pp. 165–166, 164.Google Scholar
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    Marjorie Perloff, “Lawrence’s Lyric Theater: Birds, Beasts and Flowers,” D. H. Lawrence: A Centenary Consideration, ed. Peter Balbert and Phillip Marcus (Ithaca, N. Y., 1985), p. 128.Google Scholar
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    For arguments asserting that influences on Lawrence also included Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, John Ruskin and Friedrich Nietzsche, see the respective chapters in D. H. Lawrence and Tradition, ed. Jeffrey Meyers (London, 1985).Google Scholar
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    Humphrey Carpenter, W. H. Auden: A Biography (Boston, 1981), p. 87.Google Scholar
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  13. 22.
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  14. 25.
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  17. 29.
    Edward Lucie-Smith, “The Poetry of D. H. Lawrence—With a Glance at Shelley,” D. H. Lawrence: Novelist, Poet, Prophet, ed. Stephen Spender (New York, 1973), pp. 226–227.Google Scholar
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    Calvin Bedient, Eight Contemporary Poets (Oxford, 1974), p. x.Google Scholar
  19. 36.
    Stephen Spender, World Within World (London, 1953), pp. 83–84.Google Scholar
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    A. Alvarez, “Lawrence’s Poetry: The Single State of Man,” D. H. Lawrence: Novelist, Poet, Prophet, ed., Stephen Spender (New York, 1973), pp. 210–211.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James Gindin 1987

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  • James Gindin

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