The poetry of D.H. Lawrence: Extending romanticism.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 09:01 by Christopher. Pollnitz
A textual study of the College note-books, in which Lawrence collected his early manuscript verse, is correlated with biographical data from the Eastwood and Croydon periods. Some new information on the life is deduced, and a chronology of the early verse is constructed. The chronology enables a systematic study of Lawrence's poetic development, clarifying his affinities with the English Romantics. "Dim recollections", an unpublished poem, displays a debt to wordsworth, and echoes of Coleridge, Shelley and Keats are discovered. An historical comparison is made between the Romantic imagination, or the imaginations of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, and Lawrence's sexual and sensory metaphysic, as revealed in his poetry. The comparison centres on the 'glinting web', a symbol for the interrelatedness of man, woman and natural vitality. Another chapter considers the contributions made by Swinburne, Meredith and Hardy to Lawrence's understanding of sexuality and death. Analysed as a narrative and symbolic progression, LOOK! We Have Come Through! points to similarities and differences in Keats's and Lawrence's transcendent moments. The symbolism of Birds, Beasts and Flowers also links poem with poem by patterns of apocalyptic recurrence and the figure of the dark man. The volume's metaphysic, 'physicalism', radically alters the underlying idealism of the Romantic imagination. Lawrence's sensitivity to physical immanence is reinforced by his reading of the anthropologists Frazer, Tylor and Harrison. Utilizing his knowledge of primitive attitudes to the world, Lawrence reinvigorates Romantic Nature, opening new dimensions of myth by techniques comparable to those of other modernist poets - to T.S. Eliot in The Waste Land, for example. Last Poems again sounds the mythic potential rooted in our perception of the phenomenal world.