D. H. Lawrence and the Trembling Balance
AUTHOR: Cowan, James C.
PUBLISHER: Pennsylvania State University Press
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The "trembling balance" in Lawrence's work, considered either as theoretical system or in its phenomenological form, is characterized by the dynamic qualities of interrelatedness and flux. Cowan shows that, in Lawrence's conception, the dynamic experience of life's quickness necessarily involves giving up static equilibrium in the ebb and flow of human consciousness between self and other, bringing about a sequence of stability, instability, resilience, and creative change.
Lawrence's conception of art as a recreation of the "trembling balance" of life is explored in his treatment of the figure of the artist in a number of his major novels. Because his conception of art is biologically based, Lawrence locates the aesthetic balance he seeks to establish between blood consciousness and spiritual consciousness firmly in the body, most often in the imagery of the male body. Lawrence identifies with Melville, who was for him an example of the "true artist" as myth-maker, reconciling Christian and pagan consciousness in an organic symbolism rooted in unconscious experience. Cowan provides a critical study of Lawrence's dualism, dealing with ideas and issues that were intensely personal for Lawrence.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/1/1990
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism