D. H. Lawrence provokes strong reactions among his readers. Some are immediately swept up in the enthusiasm, the commitment with which Lawrence battles to express his feelings and his ideas. Others are provoked, irritated and frustrated by the struggles sometimes met with in his style, by being bludgeoned with experiences, and the sudden sweep of a breathtaking generalisation. The professional critics are just the same: they seem to suffer from a ‘Lawrence effect’ which sows division and discord, so the critical establishment is now shattered into little fissiparous fragments, in their estimations of Lawrence. We are about to embark on detailed textual study of Lawrence’s three most admired, and most established novels. One of the conclusions we will reach at the end of this study is that nothing in these novels is resolved: nothing is finished, and contradictions abound – and readers will then be able to consider for themselves, whether they find these contradictory novels a great achievement or a grand failure.
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