Writing society: politics and history in the work of D.H. Lawrence

Simmonds, Roger (2004) Writing society: politics and history in the work of D.H. Lawrence. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis is a cultural materialist exploration of the trans-generic work of D. H. Lawrence. Combining formalist analyses with this historical approach, I provide perspectives on Lawrence which attend to the particularity of his texts' form while revealing their constitution as historical and material products. The consequence is neither a "radicalized" Lawrence nor a right-wing caricature of him, but a politically hybrid Lawrence whose texts are sites of struggle with the socio-historical contradictions of modernity. In chapter 1, I show how Lawrence can critique bourgeois culture and its material foundations more profoundly than has been assumed. Pansies, whose dialogical poetics undermines conventional literary genres and assaults a bourgeois "literature" which suppresses its materiality, is read as a critique of its own conditions of production. In chapter 2, I illustrate how Lawrence's post-war work is more embattled than• is usually realised, in its intense exploration of the contradictions of liberal capitalism; the notion of Lawrence's post-war texts as largely monologic and reactionary is radically undermined. In chapter 3, I argue that Lawrence's life as an exile does not signify, as it is normally understood to, a sustained hostility to England and nation-ness. Rather, Lawrence's articles on Englishness offer an abstract, bourgeois myth of England which occludes the conflicts of class and gender. Finally, in chapter 4, I illuminate the darker cultural roots of Lawrence's unconscious, which is commonly perceived as a liberatory force, opposing hegemonic cultural ideologies. While Lawrence critiques the hypocrisy and repression of modern democratic idealism, his positing of an extra-cultural unconscious is haunted by an intensified version of the very cultural repression he assaults.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Daly, M.M.
Keywords: D.H. Lawrence criticism
Subjects: P Language and literature > PR English literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 14448
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2014 08:59
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 05:35
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/14448

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