Science, Ideology and the ‘New’

  • Jeff Wallace

Abstract

In Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow (1915), the Brangwens of the mid-nineteenth century experience industrial technology in the body: the winding engines of the pit become ‘a narcotic to the brain’, the whistle of the trains re-echoes ‘through the heart’. The variations in Lawrence’s fictional treatment of the relationship between humans, technology and the natural world suggest a constant process of reappraisal. At the beginning of the story ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ (1911), for example, a nameless woman stands ‘insignificantly trapped between the jolting black waggons and the hedge’ as a locomotive thumps past on its way to Brinsley Colliery. Despite the engine’s ‘loud threats of speed’, however, it is ‘outdistanced at a canter’ by the colt which is startled from the ‘flickering’ gorse.1 Revisiting this scenario in Women in Love (1920), Gerald Crich holds his terrified Arab mare to the level-crossing gate while the train goes past, in a display of power which horrifies the watching Brangwen sisters. A one-legged signalman observes the scene from the safety of his ‘little signal-hut’, ‘like a crab from a snail-shell’ (WL 93), while further on, near a second level crossing, a disused and rusting industrial boiler has been reclaimed by hens and wagtails.

Keywords

Titan Tuberculosis Bacillus Expense Posit 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    D.H. Lawrence, The Prussian Officer and other stories (1914; London: Granada, 1984), p. 222.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Morrell and A. Thackray, Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 11–12Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Stuart Macintyre, A Proletarian Science: Marxism in Britain, 1917–1933 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1986), p. 106.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Graham Holderness, D.H. Lawrence: History, Ideology and Fiction (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Humanities Press, 1982), p. 91.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002), p. 216.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Both versions are to be found in D.H. Lawrence, Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays, ed. Bruce Steele (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 221–9Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Wallace Martin, The New Age under Orage: Chapters in English Cultural History (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1967), pp. 18–19.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    For an elaboration of this theory of the performative, see for example Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York and London: Routledge, 1990).Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Chambers, D.H. Lawrence: A Personal Memoir, p. 34. See also H.A. Mason, ‘D.H. Lawrence and The White Peacock’, Cambridge Quarterly 7 (1977), p. 225Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Ezra Pound, ‘A Retrospect’, in Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, ed. T.S. Eliot (London: Faber, 1974), pp. 12Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    For further treatment of the double-bind for women in Lawrence, see Hilary Simpson, D.H. Lawrence and Feminism (London: Croom Helm, 1982)Google Scholar
  12. Cornelia Nixon, D.H. Lawrence and the Turn against Women (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    Sally Ledger, The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de Siècle (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    Anne Smith, ‘A New Adam and a New Eve’, in Anne Smith (ed.), Lawrence and Women (London: Vision Press, 1980), p. 13.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    Ann Oakley, Subject Women (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1981), p. 18.Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    Peter Middleton, The Inward Gaze: Maculinity and Subjectivity in Modern Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), p. 73.Google Scholar

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© Jeff Wallace 2005

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  • Jeff Wallace

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