THE DEED OF LIFE by Julian Moynahan


Email this review


For Professor Moynahan, in his finely written, forthright study, D. H. Lawrence was more a craftsman than a prophet, a teller of tales rather than an oracular spellbinder; the stylistic allotropic states of consciousness, the sequence of expanding symbols, the textual tone, the creation of characters- it is these the professor accents, from the major novels (Sons. Lady) to the fuhrerprinzip set (Kangaroo, Serpent). But in the end, willing or not, it is the Laurentian message, the content not the form, which overwhelms the critique, and inevitably so, for Lawrence was a ""messiah"" if ever there was one. As such he announced the three-fold relational revolution: man to woman, man to man and both to the living universe; each realm is lood-knowledge; we must not abstract Matter and Force, nor overconceptualize persons, power, property; modern society is death-in-life; ""It is the Deed of Life we have now to learn"", the sacramental awareness of ourselves and others, the instinctive and intuitive as against the ""half corpses"" of the industrial world. All this the professor dazzlingly describes, illuminatingly informs. But one thing he cannot do and neither could Lawrence: that is go beyond the same theme-thought which over and over, inside and out, upside and down was there whenever David Herbert set pen to paper. One is left, really, with genius and with ""guile"", for, psychologically speaking, it is quite possible Lawrence reached and/or preached blood-consciousness only through a personal brainwashing or, on his own terms, through abstractions. If true, how Ironic indeed. Nevertheless, a prime presentation and dynamic discussion.

Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press