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TSE  February 2003

TSE February 2003

Subject:

Re: T.S.Eliot and D.H.Lawrence

From:

Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Thu, 13 Feb 2003 10:58:07 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (63 lines)

Obla Vishvesh wrote:

>But I had been nevertheless puzzled by the attitude he
>was hell bent on maintaining towards D.H.Lawrence. The
>damaging remarks that he made on Lawrence don’t appear
>to be becoming of a critic of his caliber.  It appears
>all the more puzzling, when one understands Lawrence
>as an artist who sought after the founts of a vital
>life (that is denied by modern life) that Eliot was
>engaged himself in a different level of search though.
>
>
>At a later time, I found this issue addressed by
>another great critic, F.R.Leavis.  Leavis argues (in
>his book “D.H.Lawrence : Novelist”) that it were the
>conditions created and nurtured by a few life negating
>interests unfortunately promoted by a creative writer
>as Eliot himself, which stood right in the way to a
>closer understanding of Lawrence. Art in its wholeness
>is much beyond an attitude of distaste and disgust
>towards life which characterized the works of
>Flaubert, and against whom Lawrence can be placed
>diagonally opposite. And Flaubert’s attitude towards
>life, Leavis argues, isn’t much different to what
>Eliot displayed. Leavis asserts that it is a “failure
>of intelligence” as Henry James put it aptly, on the
>character of Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary and
>it is precisely the presence of intelligence, an
>intelligence born of the whole integrated psyche that
>characterizes the works of Lawrence. Lawrence was very
>much against any life negating interests, for he had a
>magnificent perception of life in its fullness and
>lived from its sources than from the mind. The lack of
>such “intelligence born of the whole integrated
>psyche”, Leavis finds, makes him less of the
>“representative in consciousness of the complex need
>of the whole being”, and hence makes him a lesser
>artist than Lawrence.  (And Leavis, a great critic
>
>
>
>
Dear Vishvesh,
You know much more about Lawrence criticism than I do. But I have to
wonder about Flaubert being characterized as someone who denied life in
its fullness. I don't find that in his writing or in his life. In any
event, I don't hold a writer's personality for or against them.
The two writers are very different: Lawrence often (not always) writes
in a sentimental and vague language, that is he tells his readers how
they should feel. I remember reading page after page of The Rainbow,
being very moved, but by language that kept me wondering what on earth I
was reading. It was beautiful language, but it was not artistic, that
is, it was not given form. So I felt then--maybe I'd read the book
differently now. Flaubert was the master of observation. He was the
master of point-of-view and the effaced author -- showing, not telling.
Lawrence is compelling and lovely. I admire him, but I'd find it hard to
name him the greater artist, and certainly not on the grounds of his
love of life.

Thank you for opening up an interesting line of conversation. I'm sure
there will be people who know about Eliot and his writings on Lawrence.

Marcia

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