Fall 1958 • Vol. XX No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1958 |

D. H. Lawrence and the Art of Nihilism

Surely D. H. Lawrence's fictions have their affirmation of love, of immediate, passionate and physical eros. But it is also true that much of Lawrence's fiction is peculiarly unloving, unaffirmative, and even violently negative. It seems likely that an extended analysis of Lawrence's work might demonstrate that the very insistence on the irrational and amoral erotic is a desperate effort to match his equally insistent perceptions of the perverse and destructive center of both ordinary and idealistic behavior. In briefer compass we might at least delineate some of the nihilism which is as characteristic of the Laurentian literature as is erotic love. A close reading of two of his better short fictions, one early and one late, may also help in pointing a corrective finger at much of the recent sentimental and moralistic criticism of Lawrence. A counter-emphasis from the fashionable desire to make literature into pietistic affirmations of "creativity" is due. Lawrence, with one of his

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

The Pedestals of Brancusi

By Sidney Tillim

Surely D. H. Lawrence's fictions have their affirmation of love, of immediate, passionate and physical eros. But it is also true that much of Lawrence's fiction is peculiarly unloving, unaffirmative, […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.