D.H.Lawrence: The Early Philosophical Works - A Commentary

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This second volume of the author's commentary on Lawrence's prose-works concentrates on the sequence of non-fictional texts written between 1913 and 1917, namely the Foreword to Sons and Lovers , Study of Thomas Hardy , Twilight in Italy , The Crown and The Reality of Peace . In all of them Lawrence was compulsively rewriting what he called my philosophy . They are difficult works, highly metaphorical, in places prophetically expressionist, even surreal. This extended commentary attempts to make sense of them, treating them as a succession of experimental writings which support each other, develop non-discursive modes of writing, and are linked by shared metaphors which reveal shared preoccupations. The analysis which enters them most usefully is like the close reading of poetry. An introductory Part 1 looks back to the early fiction treated in the first volume, to show how the young Lawrence was always preoccupied with a sense of being, of individual plenitude or flowering, of being part of a world which invites a religious response. Lawrence's youthful religious doubts were resolved neither by conventional faith nor by conventional positivism or scientism. The philosophical texts, among other things, show him turning the common modern sense of a world of scientific law into an individual feeling of being in a world which retains a sense of the divine.