The Literary Criticism of D. H. Lawrence

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The Literary Criticism of D. H. Lawrence Author(s): René Wellek Source: The Sewanee Review, Vol. 91, No. 4 (Fall, 1983), pp. 598-613 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27544211 . Accessed: 28/12/2010 10:04 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=jhup. . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

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THE LITERARY CRITICISM
OF D. H. LAWRENCE

REN?WELLEK
is an extreme irrationalist. He wants to Lawrence "release us from the horrid grip of the evil-smelling DH. old Logos"; he detests abstract philosophy, the particularly to "blood-conscious he constantly Kant"; "beastly appeals to the "solar to the consciousness," ness," "phallic plexus," for the instinctive, the sub "dark gods"?so many metaphors intuitive. and the utterly conscious, Literary spontaneous criticism seems to have no chance whatever,

rence was a radical and intelligent critic of industrial civiliza tion, traditional sexual morality, and human relationships in general.

though

Law

Still, in 1937, F. R. Leavis could call him "the finest lit erary critic of our time?a great literary critic if ever there one." The one book of

was

lished during his lifetime, Studies in Classic American Lit in 1943 as erature (1923), was praised by Edmund Wilson "one of the "now few first-rate books admired not power "Literary do that have ever been written

literary

criticism

Lawrence

pub

on the subject"; and in the late 1950s Lionel Trilling
Studies, outrageous intellect, universally It will book." and creed. than and understood," to underrate

called

"a great, Lawrence's

shrewdness,

of pungent

formulation.

Actually
ment "can of an be

his concept
age-old

of literary criticism a harsh attack

is a good restate
he the tells us in

criticism," account of

Phoenix,

introducing
no more be

on John Galsworthy,
feeling pro

a reasoned

duced upon the critic by the book he is criticizing.
can never science a science: The it is, in the first touchstone place, much not

Criticism
too per

sonal, and in the second,
ignores.

it is concerned
is emotion,

with

values
reason.

that
We

a work of art by its effect on our sincere and vital judge emotion, and nothing else." "A critic must be able to feel the a art in all its complexity and its force. impact of work of

REN? WELLEK

599

... A critic must lectually
morally

capable
very

be emotionally alive in every fibre, intel and skilful in essential logic, and then Sainte-Beuve remains to him a great

honest."

critic who has "the courage to admit what he feels, as well as ex the flexibility to know what he feels." Here Lawrence plicitly recognizes the role of the intellect and even of logic while still reserving first place...
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