Lawrence’s Case of Wagner: The White Peacock and The Trespasser

  • Susan ReidEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


This chapter, “Lawrence’s Case of Wagner: The White Peacock and The Trespasser”, focuses on the extent to which Lawrence embraced or resisted the influence of literary Wagnerism, as espoused by Ford Madox Hueffer, Thomas Mann, George Moore, and H.G. Wells, a key theme that recurs throughout this book. His first novel The White Peacock drew instead on Bizet’s Carmen, praised by Nietzsche as “the opposite of Wagner”, while his critique of leitmotif in his review of “German Books” also bears striking parallels with Nietzsche’s attack on Wagnerian decadence. In The Trespasser, Lawrence knowingly courted a discourse of decadence and his own experiments with leitmotif in this novel can be seen to reach towards a modernist musicality that incorporates diverse influences, including Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Northampton NorthamptonNorthamptonshireUK

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