Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
Introductions and Reviews

Introductions and Reviews

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This volume collects together the introductions and reviews for which D. H. Lawrence was responsible over the whole duration of his writing career, from 1911 to 1930: it includes the book review which was the last thing he ever wrote, in the Ad Astra Sanatorium in Vence. The forty-nine separate items include some of his most compelling literary productions: for example, the fascinating Memoir of Maurice Magnus of 1921-2, his only extended piece of biographical writing. The volume's Introduction not only outlines the literary contacts of Lawrence's career which led him to doing such work, but gives a fresh account of the life of a literary professional who regularly wrote in support of work in which he personally believed, and who also (rather surprisingly) wrote reviews of nearly thirty books. All the texts, including a number previously unpublished in Britain, have been edited and are supplied with extensive explanatory notes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107457560
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/26/2014
Series: The Cambridge Edition of the Works of D. H. Lawrence
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 726
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.66(h) x 1.57(d)

About the Author

N. H. Reeve is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Wales, Swansea, author of Reading Late Lawrence (2002) and editor of The Woman Who Rode Away and Other Stories (1996). He has also written books on Rex Warner, J. H. Prynne, Henry James, and the fiction of the 1940s.

John Worthen is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Nottingham and was until 2003 Director of the D. H. Lawrence Research Centre there. He is author of several books on D. H. Lawrence, notably D. H. Lawrence: The Early Years, 1885-1912 (1991), the first volume in the three-volume Cambridge biography of D. H. Lawrence, and D. H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider (2006), and editor of a number of volumes in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of D. H. Lawrence. He is also author of The Gang: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and the Hutchinsons in 1802 (2002).

Date of Birth:

September 11, 1885

Date of Death:

March 2, 1930

Place of Birth:

Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England

Place of Death:

Vence, France


Nottingham University College, teacher training certificate, 1908

Read an Excerpt

Introductions and Reviews
Cambridge University Press
0521835844 - Introductions and Reviews - by D. H. Lawrence




In his paragraph on The Russian Spirit, Shestov gives us the real clue to Russian literature. European culture is a rootless thing in the Russians. With us, it is our very blood and bones, the very nerve and root of our psyche. We think in a certain fashion, we feel in a certain fashion, because our whole substance is of this fashion. Our speech and feeling are organically inevitable to us.

With the Russians it is different. They have only been inoculated with the virus of European culture and ethic. The virus works in them like a disease. And the inflammation and irritation comes forth as literature. The bubbling and fizzing is almost chemical, not organic. It is an organism seething as it accepts and masters the strange virus. What the Russian is struggling with, crying out against, is not life itself: it is only European culture which has been introduced into his psyche, and which hurts him. The tragedy is not so much a real soul tragedy, as a surgical one. Russian art, Russian literature after all does not stand on the same footing as European or Greek or Egyptian art. It is not spontaneous utterance. It is not the flowering of a race. It is a surgical outcry, horrifying, or marvellous, lacerating at first: but when we get used to it, not really so profound, not really ultimate; a little extraneous.

What is valuable is the evidence against European culture, implied in the novelists, here at last expressed. Since Peter the Great Russia has been accepting Europe, and seething Europe down in a curious process of katabolism. Russia has been expressing nothing inherently Russian. Russia's modern Christianity even was not Russian. Her genuine christianity, Byzantine and Asiatic, is incomprehensible to us. So with her true philosophy. What she has actually uttered is her own unwilling, fantastic reproduction of European truths. What she has really to utter the coming centuries will hear. For Russia will certainly inherit the future. What we already call the greatness of Russia is only her pre-natal struggling.

It seems as if she had at last absorbed and overcome the virus of old Europe. Soon her new, healthy body will begin to act in its own reality, imitative no more, protesting no more, crying no more, but full and sound and lusty in itself. Real Russia is born. She will laugh at us before long. Meanwhile she goes through the last stages of reaction against us, kicking away from the old womb of Europe.

In Shestov one of the last kicks is given. True, he seems to be only reactionary and destructive. But he can find a little amusement at last in tweaking the European nose, so he is fairly free. European idealism is anathema. But more than this, it is a little comical. We feel the new independence in his new, half-amused indifference.

He is only tweaking the nose of European idealism. He is preaching nothing: so he protests time and again. He absolutely refutes any imputation of a central idea. He is so afraid lest it should turn out to be another hateful hedge-stake of an ideal.

"Everything is possible"—this is his really central cry. It is not nihilism. It is only a shaking free of the human psyche from old bonds. The positive central idea is that the human psyche, or soul, really believes in itself, and in nothing else.

Dress this up in a little comely language and we have a real new ideal, that will last us for a new, long epoch. The human soul itself is the source and well-head of creative activity. In the unconscious human soul the creative prompting issues first into the universe. Open the consciousness to this prompting, away with all your old sluice gates, locks, dams, channels. No ideal on earth is anything more than an obstruction, in the end, to the creative issue of the spontaneous soul. Away with all ideals. Let each individual act spontaneously from the forever incalculable prompting of the creative well-head within him. There is no universal law. Each being is, at his purest, a law unto himself, single, unique, a Godhead, a fountain from the unknown.

This is the ideal which Shestov refuses positively to state, because he is afraid it may prove in the end a trap to catch his own free spirit. So it may. But it is none the less a real, living ideal for the moment, the very salvation. When it becomes ancient, and like the old lion who lay in his cave and whined, devours all its servants, then it can be despatched. Meanwhile it is a really liberating word.

Shestov's style is puzzling at first. Having found the "ands" and "buts" and "becauses" and "therefores" hampered him, he clips them all off deliberately and even spitefully, so that his thought is like a man with no buttons on his clothes, ludicrously hitching along all undone. One must be amused, not irritated. Where the armholes were a bit tight, Shestov cuts a slit. It is baffling, but really rather piquant. The real conjunction, the real unification lies in the reader's own amusement, not in the author's unbroken logic.


Memoir of Maurice Magnus

On a dark,∗ wet, wintry evening in November 1919 I arrived in Florence, having just got back to Italy for the first time since 1914. My wife was in Germany, gone to see her mother, also for the first time since that fatal year 1914.∗ We were poor—who was going to bother to publish me and to pay for my writings, in 1918 and 1919? I landed in Italy with nine pounds in my pocket and about twelve pounds lying in the bank in London. Nothing more.∗ My wife, I hoped would arrive in Florence with two or three pounds remaining. We should have to go very softly, if we were to house ourselves in Italy for the winter. But after the desperate weariness of the war, one could not bother.

So I had written to Norman Douglas∗ to get me a cheap room somewhere in Florence, and to leave a note at Cooks. I deposited my bit of luggage at the station, and walked to Cooks in the Via Tornabuoni. Florence was strange to me: seemed grim and dark and rather awful on the cold November evening. There was a note from Douglas, who has never left me in the lurch. I went down the Lungarno∗ to the address he gave.

I had just passed the end of the Ponte Vecchio, and was watching the first lights of evening and the last light of day on the swollen river as I walked, when I heard Douglas' voice:

"Isn't that Lawrence? Why of course it is, of course it is, beard and all! Well how are you, eh? You got my note? Well now, my dear boy, you just go on to the Cavalotti∗—straight ahead, straight ahead—you've got the number. There's a room for you there. We shall be there in half an hour. Oh, let me introduce you to Magnus—"

I had unconsciously seen the two men approaching, Douglas tall and portly, the other man rather short and strutting.∗ They were both buttoned up in their overcoats, and both had rather curly little hats. But Douglas was decidedly shabby and a gentleman, with his wicked red face and tufted eyebrows. The other man was almost smart, all in grey, and he looked at first sight like an actor-manager, common. There was a touch of down-on-his-luck about him too. He looked at me, buttoned up in my old thick overcoat, and with my beard bushy and raggy because of my horror of entering a strange barber's shop, and he greeted me in a rather fastidious voice, and a little patronisingly. I forgot to say I was carrying a small handbag. But I realised at once that I ought, in this little grey-sparrow man's eyes—he stuck his front out tubbily, like a bird, and his legs seemed to perch behind him, as a bird's do—I ought to be in a cab. But I wasn't. He eyed me in that shrewd and rather impertinent way of the world of actor-managers: cosmopolitan, knocking shabbily round the world.

He looked a man of about forty, spruce and youngish in his deportment,∗ very pink-faced, and very clean, very natty, very alert, like a sparrow painted to resemble a tom-tit. He was just the kind of man I had never met: little smart man of the shabby world, very much on the spot, don't you know.

"How much does it cost?" I asked Douglas, meaning the room.

"Oh my dear fellow, a trifle. Ten francs a day. Third rate, tenth rate, but not bad at the price. Pension terms of course—everything included—except wine."

"Oh no, not at all bad for the money," said Magnus. "Well now, shall we be moving? You want the post-office, Douglas?"—His voice was precise and a little mincing—and it had an odd high squeak.

"I do," said Douglas.

"Well then come down here—" Magnus turned to a dark little alley.

"Not at all," said Douglas. "We turn down by the bridge."

"This is quicker," said Magnus. He had a twang rather than an accent in his speech—not definitely American.

He knew all the short cuts of Florence. Afterwards I found that he knew all the short cuts in all the big towns of Europe.

I went on to the Cavalotti—and waited in an awful plush and gilt drawing-room—and was given at last a cup of weird muddy brown slush called tea and a bit of weird brown mush called jam on some bits of bread.∗ Then I was taken to my room. It was far off, on the third floor of the big, ancient, deserted Florentine house. There I had a big and lonely, stone-comfortless room looking on to the river. Fortunately it was not very cold inside—and I didn't care. The adventure of being back in Florence again after the years of war made one indifferent.

After an hour or so someone tapped. It was Douglas coming in with his grandiose air—now a bit shabby, but still very courtly.

"Why here you are—miles and miles from human habitation! I told her to put you on the second floor, where we are. What does she mean by it? Ring that bell. Ring it."

© Cambridge University Press

Table of Contents

Chronology; Introduction; Part I. Introductions; Part II. Introductions to Translations; Part III. Reviews; Appendices; Explanatory notes; Textual apparatus; A note on pounds, shillings and pence.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

'Worthen has played a key role in bringing definitive editions of Lawrence's texts before the wider reading public; his new biography makes one want to experience these books all over again.' Times Literary Supplement

'… stands as a scholarly and handsome companion to Cambridge's Late Essays and Articles …'. The Use of English

'… provides a fascinating outline of Lawrence's career as editor, translator and reviewer. The commentary, in particular the impressively full explanatory notes, offer a most generous wealth of miscellaneous information.' Dr Dieter Mehl, Universität Bonn

'Their editorial efforts also are most impressive … provides a fascinating outline of Lawrence's career as editor, translator and reviewer. Their commentary, in particular the impressively full explanatory notes, offer a most generous wealth of miscellaneous information …' Dieter Mehl, University of Bonn

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