‘Hibiscus and Salvia Flowers’: the Puritan Imagination

  • Tom Paulin


Lawrence wrote ‘Hibiscus and Salvia Flowers’ on the 31 January 1921. He was then staying at Fontana Vecchia, in Taormina, Sicily, a popular winter resort under Mount Etna. His poem may be regarded as a distinctively puritan response to the political situation in Italy — it is written ‘to the moment’ and represents a volatile complex engagement with Italian socialism. If we regard Lawrence as belonging to the libertarian, essentially right-wing strand within English non-conformism — as embodying an ethic of puritan individualism whose economic philosophy we now term ‘monetarism’ — it may be possible to argue that ‘Hibiscus and Salvia Flowers’ represents a movement of sympathy towards an ideological position hostile both to Lawrence’s late-Romantic heroism and to individualism.


Modern World Paradise Lost Economic Philosophy Hotel Price Revolutionary Socialist 
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© Tom Paulin 1989

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  • Tom Paulin

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