D.H. Lawrence : Lawrentian politics and ideology
This thesis aims to provide a critical re-evaluation of politics and ideology in the work of D.H. Lawrence. The thesis brings a number of authors (including the Marquis de Sade, Robert Louis Stevenson, H. G. Wells and Raymond Chandler) into dialogue with Lawrence - fIrstly in order to interrogate Lawrentian assumptions, but also to relocate a writer often seen as being eccentric to literary circles and to society generally. My Introduction surveys two broad schools of Lawrence criticism: first, the 'Lawrentian' kind, which inspects Lawrence's fiction through an often uncritical appreciation of the non-fictional writings - his 'philosophy' - and consequently is often reduced to an echo of the primary material. While recognising, in the manner of my second, socialist school of criticism, Lawrence's philosophy as ideology, a challenge is also made to the conventional left-wing judgement that such ideology indicates Lawrence's political 'failure'. Chapters One and Two provide extended analyses of, respectively, the novels Women in Love and Kangaroo: the first of these novels sees Lawrentian individuals attempting to 'solve' the problem of an oppressive industrial society by escaping it; the second shows the shortcomings of the 'freedom' won by such a supposed escape. Examining the contradictions of Lawrence's individualism, I argue the case that these texts present a rich commentary upon the economic and social contradictions of capitalism. My third chapter takes a broader view of Lawrence's shorter, ironical and satirical works, and argues that an openly satirical mode allowed Lawrence to break free from his contradictory 'philosophy' and engage in a critical dialogue with his own work that is much more penetrating than any critique by his Lawrentian admirers. Finally, the conclusion looks at the persisting problem of the 'Lawrentian' attitude in Lawrence studies, and at the enduring significance of Lawrence to our postmodem world.