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Title: Imaginative response in the early works of D.H. Lawrence
Author: Mills, Paul
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1977
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Abstract:
This thesis was planned as a result of reading the notebook drafts of D.H. Lawrence's early poems in the light of his later travel essays - Mornings in Mexico, Etruscan Places - and Apocalypse, his last full-length prose work. The special sensibility Lawrence discovered in the Etruscan tomb paintings, and in the early Pagan writers of the Apocalypse, is, I have argued, one he himself possessed and the main aim of this thesis has been to explore the artistic implications behind this sensibility as it developed from the time of his early poems up to the completion of Women in Love. The terms 'imaginative response' and 'the imaginative process' denote the special meaning the Etruscan art of divination has, as defined by Lawrence himself, when applied to his own works. They refer to the creative process whereby objects, surroundings, or persons are perceived and described in the light of the emotion they evoke, until that emotion becomes clear and the poet can understand it. The word 'imaginative' refers to the type of mind driven to respond analytically in this way. So central are these concepts in Lawrence's work that characters in the early novels, stories and poems can be recognised by the success or failure of their imaginative response, upon which rests their ability to form appropriate judgements about themselves and others. Central to this also is the profound impression made upon Lawrence by his surroundings, and one of my aims has been to stress their dramatic function in his treatment of imaginative reactions. Much of this thesis concerns the manuscript revisions Lawrence made as he sought to discover and evaluate forms of imaginative thinking. The nature of the response - the way this can be achieved and the barriers which prevent it - has been examined with its stylistic as well as thematic consequences in mind. Thus, a line of development has been made clear which explains many fundamental links between the earlier poetry and prose fiction and the later novels. In revealing this line of development I have given attention to those poems which best exemplify Lawrence's ability in discovering his responses to people and places in his early life. Manuscript revision, both here and in The White Peacook proved particularly helpful in measuring how a successful style, one generally associated with his most admired early achievements, resulted from his direct treatment of problems surrounding imaginative thinking. My selection from his early works has therefore been made partly according to what is considered to be his best, partly according to how much manuscript evidence survives, but mainly according to the amount of concentration Lawrence was able to give to imaginative reactions. 'Odour of Chrysanthemums', 'Daughters of the Vicar', Sons and Lovers and 'The Prussian Officer' have therefore been treated intensively even though in the latter two cases no manuscript evidence was available. The Trespasser has been examined briefly as a case where Lawrence's presentation failed. Close study of significant passages from texts has been continued in the final chapter of The Rainbow and Women in Love but here a more general discussion is conducted concerning the problems involved in interpreting certain symbols and symbolic scenes. In Women in Love, it is argued, Lawrence denies almost all his characters the possibility that by true imaginative self-discovery they may escape from a common, tragic fate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.657812  DOI: Not available
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