“ I agree that Lawrence has no sense of humour.”
It is a sweeping statement that Eliot makes. Lawrence
is a difficult writer and passing a judgement like
that would be like saying that Eliot was a racist. A
writer who had so much of passion for life like
Lawrence cannot be found devoid of humor. Leavis
makes a note of this comment of Eliot in his
introduction (to D.H.Lawrence: Novelist)itself.
“. I also agree that Lawrence was as much an
I always see this kind of judgement on Lawrence that
he was an anti-intellectual and that he favored some
primitive kind of impulsive life. No, he never wanted
to go back to the savage modes of life, though he
found certain impulses worth observing vis-ŕ-vis our
modern response to life. His emphasis was only on the
wholeness of the integrated psyche rather than a
specific mode of response to life, which was seldom
understood or always misunderstood.
Much as I would like to elaborate on your reply, I
nevertheless understand that I have limitations, and I
also realize what I could write on your interesting
reply point by point could only lead to an endless
debate. For, I might be only repeating Leavis, whose
standards of judgements are themselves one can find
great difficulty in agreeing upon with another.
I thank you, Prof. JP Earls and all others for
spending time on my request. I am glad that I had
some interesting responses which would be material for
me in my further study of Lawrence vis-ŕ-vis Eliot.
--- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> A great set of quotes. Thank you.
> 1. I agree that Lawrence has no sense of humour.
> No big deal.
> 2. I also agree that Lawrence was as much an
> snob, as Eliot was an intellectual snob. So much
> the loss
> for both of them. Therein, however, may lie the
> root of
> your question of the disapprobation between them.
> is confessedly and commitedly rural and animal.
> Eliot the same
> but urban and intellectual. Their values and
> preferences are
> prone to mutual rejection, rather than
> Perhaps a pity.
> 3. All agree. Lawrence was intutitive. Eliot wasn't.
> In fact
> I strongly believe one could make a case for
> Eliot's com-
> plete rejection of intuition, as a life skill and
> as an
> artistic support. More fertiliser for mutual
> Lawrence's intuitiveness is consistent with his
> and animal orientation.
> 4. Did Lawrence have a sexual morbidity in his work?
> "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" has evidence pro.
> THE RAINBOW
> the opposite. Obviously not to Eliot's taste. In
> neither sex nor death were subjects to Eliot's
> taste. Perhaps
> they offended his streak on New Emgland
> puritanism. More
> ground for disapprobation on Eliot's part.
> 5. A work of art.... Probably not by the 1920s
> of Vorticism, Cubism &c. No real exploration of
> the medium.
> Strict focus on content. No interest in the
> cutting edge
> of how to uses the senses in language.
> By the 19th century Romantic standards,
> Lawrence's work
> probably does qualify as art, but ELiot's every
> interest was
> in getting away from that.
> 6. Profound insights rather than ratiocinative
> powers... see
> #3. above.
> 7. That Lawrence had to struggle to get his good
> stuff out is a
> fair evaluation by Eliot. Eliot had a similar
> struggle, he
> just had the good sense to through the bad stuff
> 8. Lawrence's anti-religious attitude no doubt would
> be comfortable in the same room with Eliot's
> attitude (which is typically patronising. My Dad
> also was
> an Anglican, and I see interesting resonances of
> a similar
> character in Eliot.) This point alone would be
> enough to
> alienate the two from each other, in themselves
> and through
> thier critics.
> 9. Lawrence's mother. E.'s remarks rather remind of
> of E. on Blake.
> E. was marvellous at slotting in others'
> inadequacies of
> religious trait. I am gravely tempted to
> attribute this
> tendency to his Anglicanism as well, for the
> reasons cited in #8
> 10. I don't remember the orignal question which
> generated this thread,
> Seems to me it queried the disjuncture between E.
> and L.
> The above seem to indicate possible reasons
> Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
> Dept. of English
> Camosun College
> 3100 Foul Bay Rd.
> Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
> [log in to unmask]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 2:22 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re : Eliot and Lawrence
> Here are some quotes I managed to type(They are from
> Leavis' book: D.H.Lawrence: novelist. I dont have
> original source)
> "Lawrence has three aspects, and it is very
> to do justice to all. I do not expect to be able to
> do so. The first is the ridiculous: his lack of a
> sense of humour, a certain snobbery, a lack not so
> much of information as of the critical faculties
> education should give, and an incapacity for what we
> ordinarily call thinking. ...secondly there is the
> extraordinarily keen sensibility and capacity for
> profound intuition - intuition from which he
> he drew the wrong conclusion. Third, there is a
> distinct sexual morbidity". (After Strange Gods)
> "He never succeeded in making a work of art"
> "He was an impatient and impulsive man (or so I
> imagine him to have been; for, like the author of
> book, I never knew him). He was a man of fitful and
> profound insights, rather than of rationcinative
> powers; and therefore he was an impatient man; he
> expressed some of his insights in the form least
> likely to make them acceptable to most of his
> contemporaries, and sometimes in a form which almost
> willfully encouraged misunderstanding...Wrong as he
> often was (I think) from ignorance, prejudice, or
> drawing the wrong conclusions in his conscious mind
> form the insights which came to him from below
> consciousness: it will take time to dissociate the
> superficial error from the fundamental truth. To
> also, he seems often to write very badly: but to be
> writer who had to write often badly in order to
> something well. As for his religious attitude... we
> now begin to see how much was ignorance, rather than
> hostility; for Lawrence was an ignorant man in the
> sense that he was unaware of how much he did not
> know... "
> Of Lawrence's mother:
> "Vague hymn-singing pietism...which does not seem to
> have provided her with any firm principles by which
> scrutinize the conduct of her sons".(Foreword to
> D.H.Lawrence and Human Existence, by Fr. William
> Peter Montgomery wrote:I don't see anything wrong
> with being provocative.All ideas need to be
> challenged. My concern iswith the generalities,
> imply that Eliot had anegative attitude to Lawrence.
> Fine. I agree that heprobably did. All I want is to
> see some of thestatements on which your, possibly
> valid, assertionis made.I haven't looked at that
> of Eliot recently, so I'mnot familiar with the
> literature. How about a quote ortwo. Seems to me
> Eliot was consistent with hisoriginal assertions in
> After Strange Gods that modernwriters like Lawrence,
> and I think he even cited Pound,crreated characters
> who lacked real will. They arepeople to whom things
> happen. He got Pound flippingmad on that subject,
> as I remember they carriedon an endless
> in NEW about it. Nowthe question is, to what degree
> was Eliot influencedby another writer with his own
> anti-semetic bonesin his closet, Percy Wyndham Lewis
> and his book,MEN WITHOUT ART in which he tore into a
> numberof writers (including Eliot whom he called a
> PSEUDOIST)in some cases because they created
> characters wholacked executive will and
> He drove Hemingwayto utter destructiveness with that
> criticism. Ol' Pappytore Shakespeare and Company to
> bits when he read that.Seems to me those are really
> important qurestions.So there. I've put some minimal
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