D.H. Lawrence between the Relative and the Absolute: From Religion and Science to Art and Life
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionFjågesund, P. (2020). DH Lawrence between the Relative and the Absolute: From Religion and Science to Art and Life. Études Lawrenciennes, (51). https://doi.org/10.4000/lawrence.1474
The paper will first of all attempt to examine Lawrence’s relationship with the relative and the absolute in the context of the intellectual climate around the turn of the century. The focus here will be primarily on the two institutions that claimed to provide absolute answers, namely religion and science, and on Lawrence’s response to and liberation from them. Following Lawrence’s intellectual development as expressed through such non-fictional works as Study of Thomas Hardy, “The Crown”, “On Being Religious” and ultimately Apocalypse, the paper will also explore the extent to which his thinking around this issue develops or changes over time. As a preliminary conclusion, it seems that Lawrence throughout his life retains a fundamentally anarchic stance, rejecting the idea of the absolute as hostile to life, whose fundamental characteristic is precisely the opposite: dynamic, totalising, all-encompassing and ever-changing. Furthermore, art is introduced as an expression of the only reconciliation between a continuous stream of vital impulses, but like life itself art too is only “complete for the moment” (STH, 59), i.e. a perpetual work in progress.