Lawrence and His Demon

  • Richard Ellmann


Lawrence wrote his poetry, and much of his prose, as a healer. This description is not pejorative; it ranks him, as Auden has suggested, with Blake; it ranks him with Auden himself, and with the later Pound. It dissociates him from Yeats, Eliot and Dylan Thomas, whose poetry aims first at being visionary rather than therapeutic. Healing has two aspects: the patient must know first that he has a wound which needs to be searched. Here Lawrence’s Pansies (with his suggestion that he connects the word with panser) and Nettles establish his diagnostic skill, in the same way that Auden’s clinical excoriations of the will’s negative inversion and Pound’s satirical epigrams do. Then the wound must be dressed, and Lawrence’s “coming through” is a medication comparable in efficacy to Auden’s “Love” and Pound’s “claritas” and “unwobbling pivot.”


Diagnostic Skill Artistic Merit Church Bell Love Poem Collect Poem 
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Copyright information

© A. Banerjee 1990

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  • Richard Ellmann

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