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"There's a bad time coming": Ecological Vision in the Fiction of D. H. Lawrence
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study aims to shed new light on the relation between humankind and nature in D. H. Lawrence's fiction. While this may seem like well-trodden ground in Lawrence criticism, my reading is ecocritical and re-examines his texts through the perspective of today's environmental awareness. With its criticism of the rapid mechanisation of society and people's alienation from their primitive and rural roots, some of Lawrence's fiction anticipates the ecological problems facing society today. This foreshadowing, though fragmentary and imprecise at times, points to facets of Lawrence's writings that have not been sufficiently examined. Central to my argument are the philosophical aspects of ecology: holism, anti-anthropocentrism, and environmental ethics.

Focusing on pastoral representations, scientific and mechanical imagery, and primitivism, I show that Lawrence's fiction presents a critical awareness of social development Although such social criticism implies a negative view of early twentieth- century society, it also posits a vision which challenges the dominant position of the capitalist belief in industrial progress by advocating a social order based on sustainable life-affirming values. This vision, I argue, can be related to today's ecological philosophy since it celebrates a holistic perspective of life and rejects man-centred, anthropocentric, social structures. A second claim of this study is that this vision becomes more explicit with time, Starting from Lawrence's first novel, The White Peacock and concluding with his last, Lady Chatterley's Lover, my study demonstrates a line of development in the fictional treatment of the protagonists' ideas about their present and future existence. While the examples of ecological ideas, such as the balance of nature, cyclic patterns, and holism, are largely fragmentary in the early texts, in the later works these elements are complemented by anti-anthropocentric ideas, biocentrism, and environmental ethics, thus transforming the social concern into an ecological vision.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2001. , 201 p.
Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0562-2719 ; 114
Keyword [en]
English language, Lawrence, D. H. (1885-1930), social criticism, literature and the environment, ecocriticism, literary ecology, ecological philosophy, holism, biocentrism
Keyword [sv]
National Category
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-588ISBN: 91-554-4931-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-588DiVA: diva2:166703
Public defence
2001-03-10, Ihresalen, SVC, Villavägen 4, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2001-02-17 Created: 2001-02-17Bibliographically approved

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