Lawrence, Florence and Theft: Petites misères of Biographical Enquiry

  • David Ellis

Abstract

I had been lecturing on the Friday at the University in Florence, trying to say something sensible about ‘the place of D. H. Lawrence in the history of the English novel’. After a month in Italy I had learned to go slowly and look continuously at the students to make sure they were following. This deprives you of variety of pace, like those footballs whose two speeds derisive fans in my home town used to describe as slow and stop; and articulating every word somehow gives an additional ring of banality to the material. Yet on this occasion the students had seemed bright and attentive enough. That is how they had seemed when I had lectured in Naples two weeks before but a colleague who interrogated them afterwards told me that they had in fact followed very little. I sympathize with their predicament. I have enough Italian to follow someone who talks at me for ten minutes, but during the next ten I am beginning to rely on key words to pick up the gist. After that, I am reduced to observing their body language, sustaining my own role with affirmative nods, and living in fear of some such sudden enquiry as, ‘So you do agree, then, that chopping off the hands of these people would be the best solution to the problem?’

Keywords

Income Expense Straw Librium Metaphor 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Graziella Magherini, La Sindrome di Stendhal (Florence, 1989).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Catherine Carswell, The Savage Pilgrimage (Cambridge, 1981), 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Aaron’s Rod, ed. Mara Kalnins (Cambridge, 1988), 264:4–6.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Sea and Sardinia, ed. Mara Kalnins (Cambridge, 1997), 12:33–4.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    David Ellis and Howard Mills, Lawrence’s Non-Fiction: Art, Thought and Genre (Cambridge, 1988).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Women in Love, eds David Farmer, Lindeth Vasey and John Worthen (Cambridge, 1987), 33:15–20.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, ed. Oscar Levy (New York, 1974)Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    David Ellis, D. H. Lawrence: Dying Game (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 385–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ellis

There are no affiliations available

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