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Title: Nailing the Chameleon: Problems of Authorial Identity and Representation in the Work of D.H.Lawrence.
Author: Hurst, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0000 4736 534X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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Whilst D.H. Lawrence's proclivity for matters of a sexual nature continues to fuel the public imagination, his standing within the academic community is at a nadir. Less frequently remarked upon for his sensitive handling of human relationships than for his alleged dogmatism, misogyny or interest in fascism, he has faded from the forefront of scholarly debate and has come to been ·seen as a marginal player, scarcely worth attention. A revision of his work and literary identity is long overdue. I argue that Lawrence is a writer who constantly shrugs off the damaging stereotypes which have been thrust upon him: he is a chameleon, who is slippery and difficult to pin down. Although he often articulates his ideas in authoritarian fashion, his sense of certainty is invariably undercut by anxieties about the creative process and, specifically, about his own linguistic medium. Some of his strongest writing, this thesis contends, is found at those points where he is most alive to the failings of words. Criticallyacclaimed fiction like The Rainbow and Women in Love point to the imperfect nature of language; yet it is in his less fashionable novels of the twenties where linguistic and hermeneutical concerns are most successfully scrutinized. Meaning, here, is shown to be multiple, conditional upon perspective, and impossible to circumscribe. Lawrence is a figure who never ceases to surprise. His self-images are fragile, his letters projecting a persona which is, at times, devoid of the arrogance for which is often >' criticized; he refuses to take at face value the significance of artistic enterprise, interrogating its status in an increasingly commercial climate; and careful examination of his aesthetics reveals him to be more closely aligned with Bloomsbury ~heorists Clive Bell and Roger Fry than has been previously acknowledged. Even representations of his work on film, which characteristically rehearse the stereotypical notion that he is a sexual obsessive, are capable of betraying the complexities of his interests. His cinematic afterlives, like his novels and the literary persona he himself constructs, are far from univocal. He is not, as frequently assumed, solely concerned with physical intimacy, but with the far-reaching social questions with which troubled early twentieth- century Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available