D.H. LAWRENCE AND THE NEW WORLD by David Cavitch

D.H. LAWRENCE AND THE NEW WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The most striking thing about this new critical study of Lawrence is that it accents the novelist's psychosexual problems, hardly a revolutionary Slant, but one which We've long disregarded. Leavis is the culprit here, with his loud and influential apotheosis of Lawrence as a harbinger of lifegiving, ""healthy"" eroticism; also, the myth analysts of the Forties and Fifties who obligingly took the man's muddled visionary dances as emblems of Dionysian consciousness, choreography for the primordial darkness. Sons and Lovers, the most naturalistic of his works, was Lawrence's autobiographical dramatization of the Oedipal theme; ""one Sheds one's sicknesses in books. . . to be master of them,"" he said, but he was never again to strike so explicitly a confessional vein. Instead, his artistic prowess now thickening, now overflowing, he produced those astonishing fantasies of sexual irresolution (Aaron's Rod, Women in Love) or domestic idylls (The Rainbow, Lady Chatterley's Lover), journeying from England to Italy, from Australia to America, Wrangling with Frieda, earthbound and tacky, or with God (""I am,"" he kept saying, ""a fearfully religious man""), longing for the deep, mellifluous, secret union with woman and with man, and longing more for his ""innermost"" core, a tubercular martyr dreaming of the phoenix, the bright bird arising from ashes, wanting energy rather than mind, compulsively quoting his own scripture across three continents sounding the plangent note: ""again the world had come to an end for me. . . again my heart had been broken."" It's good to have so neurotic an icon keenly observed once more.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1969
Publisher: Oxford