Writing Matter: Science, Language and Materialism

  • Jeff Wallace


What did it mean for Lawrence to connect the art of Paul Cézanne with the ‘actual existence’ of matter? The judgement was in no sense purely art-historical. Early in 1929, Lawrence completed ‘Introduction to These Paintings’, the essay in which the claim was made, and as the year progressed two further, sustained discursive essays, ‘A Propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and Apocalypse, emerged. Despite their differing focuses, all three essays show Lawrence, at this late stage in his life, returning to the subject of science with renewed, if still highly critical, interest. Science, he wrote in a draft fragment of Apocalypse, had become a ‘nothingness’ of the same order as the atom which now, according to modern physics, was unimaginable; and therefore, ‘I give it up’ (A 164). Yet Lawrence had spent most of his creative life claiming to give science up, and the essays suggest that he still had not quite succeeded.


Vitalist Argument Linguistic Relativity Materialist Reading Vocal Chord Symbolic Conception 
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© Jeff Wallace 2005

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  • Jeff Wallace

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