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THE LITERARY CRITICISM
OF D. H. LAWRENCE
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.
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
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
on the subject"; and in the late 1950s Lionel Trilling
Studies, outrageous intellect, universally It will book." and creed. than and understood," to underrate
"a great, Lawrence's
ment "can of an be
of literary criticism a harsh attack
is a good restate
he the tells us in
criticism," account of
no more be
on John Galsworthy,
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
sonal, and in the second,
it is concerned
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
... A critic must lectually
be emotionally alive in every fibre, intel and skilful in essential logic, and then Sainte-Beuve remains to him a great
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...