NEW LAWRENCE BOOK
WOMEN IN LOVE: SEXUAL EXPERIENCE AND THE STRUGGLE WITH DEATH. by ARTHUR
128 pages. Prestige Books International. New Delhi-Sydney.
This book began as a paper delivered at the Twelfth International Lawrence
conference in Sydney, Australia in June-July 2011.
Arthur Efron began a new reading of Lawrence's novel after not having
studied it for ten years. Based on the American philosopher John Dewey's
book, Art as Experience, Efron recounts his new perceptions of Women
in Love. Efron calls his approach "deliberately experiential, un-apologetically
personal, character-centered, and focussed on the novel's depiction
of sexual experience."
A surprising failure in Lawrence's sympathetic imagination is discovered,
regarding the death in "Water Party" and in Birkin's thinking
on death. The sexual experiences of the main characters, as described,
often fail to match Lawrence's own ideas in the text.
Contrary to critical tradition, Lawrence's four central characters
cannot be understood within the plan of comparing and contrasting the
two pairs of lovers. The tragic relationship of Gudrun and Gerald has
been tacitly and unfairly moralized by its critics for decades. Instead,
when read experientially, it reveals genuine but defeated openings for
love. The notorious chapter "Excurse," the Birkin and Ursula
love-scene, is given an intensive experiential reading. The anal interpretation
is refuted and previously un-recognized values emerge. Lawrence's own
enthusiasm, during part of the writing of this novel, for a mass extermination
of the human race, remains as a problem never adequately faced by his
Lawrence critics quoted, and in some instances refuted, include Gary
Adelman, Peter Balbert, Gavriel Ben-Ephraim, David Boadella, Catherine
Carswell, H. M. Daleski, Paul Delaney, Gerald Doherty, David Ellis,
E. M. Forster, Graham Hough, John B. Humma, Earl Ingersoll, Carola Kaplan,
Mark Kinkead-Weekes, G. Wilson Knight, F. R. Leavis, Cornelia Nixon,
Joyce Carol Oates, David Parker, Jim Phelps, Keith Sagar, Barry Scherr,
Barbara Ann Schapiro (mis-spelled as Shapiro in the text, sorry), Mark
Spilka, Hugh Stevens, Jack Stewart, Marianna Togorvnick, Philip M. Weinstein,
and John Worthen, Also Howard Morphy, on Australian aboriginal art.
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Dr. Usha Dhawan
Prestige Books International
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New Delhi 10060