D. H. Lawrence as Poet
If a difficult problem were being set for what Mr Bennet calls the ‘young aspirant’ in criticism, there could scarcely be found a better topic than Mr D. H. Lawrence. He is not the sort of man who becomes master of Balliol or an Oracle to thoughtful, cautious rentiers. His personality is abrupt, independent, and unreliable. His writings are full of faults and also of possible qualities. You can dislike him irrelevantly, or because you have the Anglo-Saxon complex about sexual matters or because you share the pedant’s follies about correctness and ‘models’ or because you hate a man with a red beard. You may like him equally irrelevantly, because you share his lust for metaphysics, or because you think he has a working hypothesis of Love and Hate, or because he was stupidly persecuted during the war. But the point I wish to make about Mr Lawrence’s work in general, and his poetry in particular, is simply this; he is a great artist in words. And he is an artist almost unconsciously, certainly without troubling about it. To me it is a matter of indifference whether Mr Lawrence’s philosophical and psychological notions are accurate and original or not. (Who wants to argue Dante’s theology or Tasso’s history?) What I seek in poetry is poetry. In some of Mr Lawrence’s free verse I seem to find it.
KeywordsSexual Matter Good Topic English People Great Artist Authentic Voice
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