D.H. Lawrence: The Thinker as Poet by F. Becket

By F. Becket

D.H. Lawrence: The philosopher as Poet addresses a specific physique of language and concept inside of Lawrence's oeuvre the place the metaphorical, the poetic and the philosophical are intricately enmeshed. Lawrence emerges as a author who pulls metaphor clear of its purely rhetorical moorings: his special type is the hallmark of 1 who thinks no longer analytically yet poetically, concerning the start of the self, the physique subconscious, advanced forms of otherness and approximately metaphor itself as a method of realizing.

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This is due sometimes to a change of direction in the thought of Lawrence as he developed his views, and sometimes for more tangible reasons of official censorship as he modified them. 1 We are not yet able to view all the extant versions of the essays in one volume. Of the early versions which are available in The Symbolic Meaning one essay in particular, T h e Two Principles', absent from Studies in Classic American Literature, departs significantly from the project of literary criticism, and demonstrates the extent to which Lawrence was at that time preoccupied with the ideas that surface later, slightly transformed, in, not least, the books on the unconscious.

We shall never rest till we have heaped tin cans on the North Pole and the South Pole, and put up barb-wire fences on the moon. Barb-wire fences are our sign of conquest. We have wreathed the world with them. The back of creation is broken. We have killed the mysteries and devoured the secrets. It all lies now within our skin, within the ego of humanity. ('The Crown', in Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine, p. 281) This description exploits the 'pioneering' metaphor that he borrowed from Freud and developed ironically in Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious.

Thereafter the Biblical terms deployed in the Foreword to Sons and Lovers return. In 'Study of Thomas Hardy' it is the statements on the artist's 'metaphysic' which endure as Lawrence's most useful proposition, coming to fruition as they do in the creativecritical injunctions of Studies in Classic American Literature and the earlier versions of these writings, some of which were collected posthumously as The Symbolic Meaning}Q Aside from this, there is a meditation on the body in the 'Study' which relates to, and is yet different from, the functioning of the (instinctive) body in the later books on the unconscious.

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