Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers: “We children were the in-betweens”
Thus Lawrence (1885–1930) wrote in January 1913, trying to invert the Gospel of John. His third novel, Sons and Lovers, one of the supreme Bildungsromane in English, was at the printer’s. Through luminous descriptions and emotively powerful scenes, he had more than found his novelistic voice, and now seemed compelled to rehearse a prophetic one—as though needing to sum up the message inside the black bottle of what he would later call his “colliery novel.” A prophet often begins by putting his right vision in opposition to a precursor’s wrong one: if, writing as a Neoplatonist or as a Hellenized Essene, John had privileged the Word over the Flesh and taken nearly two millennia of Christian civilization with him, then Lawrence, working toward a post-Christian civilization, would aggressively privilege the Flesh over the Word.
KeywordsBurning Steam Amid Pneumonia Morphine
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