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D.H. Lawrence: Sex and the sacred

Wood, Jaqueline Elizabeth; (1995) D.H. Lawrence: Sex and the sacred. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is a thematic study of the relationship between Lawrence's understanding of human sexuality and the sacred in his shorter fictions. Sex is considered in its broadest sense, encompassing the physical act, gender and sexual politics. The sacred is viewed specifically from the individualistic perspecptive of Lawrence's "living" or "dark god". The thematic development, evolution and nature of both of these subjects are considered within the significant context of geographical location, which (after Virgil) I identify as the religio loci, and Lawrence calls "the spirit of place". For this reason the thesis is divided into three sections according to specific geographic locale: Part One - England; Part Two - America; Part Three - Europe. Part I examines the genesis of Lawrence's ideas and how they correspond to his own crises of personal and national identity. This section concentrates on the dialectical engagement of the male and female in the sex wars; the perceived difficulty of retaining a human identity in an increasingly technological and materialistic society; and the formulation of an imagined future (or salvation) in the wake of an absenting divinity. Part II forms an analysis of the repercussive effects of Lawrence's "savage pilgrimage" and his professed discovery of religion in America's desert regions. The section argues that Lawrence, inspired by his unyielding surroundings, formulated a breed of isolationism which endeavoured to counteract his personal sense of deracination, and what he identified as the universal drift toward bodily abstraction. Part III focuses on the final period of Lawrence's creative development, concentrating in particular on his reasons for returning to Europe, and the subsequent fusion of his sexual ideology and sacred beliefs in the idiosyncratic formulation of his carnal theology. I conclude that Lawrence is important both in his insistence that sex is the last bastion of the sacred in the modern age, and his advocation that it is through our most intimate connections that we may come to know God.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: D.H. Lawrence: Sex and the sacred
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099903
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