Category Archive 'D.H. Lawrence'

18 Jun 2013

D.H. Lawrence On Marriage

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We are just in the throes of a great revolt against marriage, a passionate revolt against its ties and restrictions. …

[E]verybody, pretty well, takes it for granted that as soon as we can find a possible way out of it, marriage will be abolished. The Soviet abolishes marriage: or did. If new ‘modern’ states spring up, they will certainly follow suit. They will try to find some social substitute for marriage, and abolish the hated bond of conjugality. State support of motherhood, state support of children, and independence of women. It is on the programme of every great scheme of reform. And it means, of course, the abolition of marriage. …

[T]he first element of union is the Christian world is the marriage-tie. The marriage-tie, the marriage bond, take it which way you like, is the fundamental connecting link in Christian society. Break it, and you will have to go back to the overwhelming dominance of the State which existed before the Christian era. …

Perhaps the greatest contribution to the social life of man made by Christianity is — marriage. Christianity brought marriage into the world: marriage as we know it. Christianity established the little economy of the family within the greater rule of the State. Christianity made marriage in some respects inviolate, not to be violated by the State. It is marriage, perhaps, which has given man the best of his freedom, given him his little kingdom of his own within the big kingdom of the State, given him his foothold of independence on which to stand and resist the unjust State. Man and wife, a king and queen with one or two subjects, and a few square yards of territory of their own: this, really, is marriage. It is a true freedom because it is a true fulfillment, for man, woman, and children.

Do we want to break marriage? If we do break it, it means we all fall to a far greater extent under the direct sway of the State. Do we want to fall under the direct sway of the State, any State? For my part, I don’t.

Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 1931.

26 May 2009

Taken (2008)

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In reviewing the recent Liam Neeson film Taken on the occasion of its DVD release, Big Hollywood’s Leo Grin invokes approvingly a quotation from D.H. Lawrence that seems a little familiar somehow.

    He is a man with a gun. He is a killer, a slayer. Patient and gentle as he is, he is a slayer. Self-effacing, self-forgetting, still he is a killer. . . All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted. — D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)

Every once in awhile an action film comes along that revives. That proves that — no matter how strong the political correctness of an age, no matter how pale and pathetic its notions of masculinity, no matter how much Ritalin is force-fed to little boys, no matter how many toy guns, xylophone mallets, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots get banned from stores and playgrounds — there are certain aspects of the male soul that are inviolate, and certain primal yearnings that are evergreen. Taken (2008) is one of those films, and its release last week on DVD and Blu-ray should be heralded by lovers of all things red-blooded, hairy-chested, and morally sound.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

03 Feb 2008

Wall Street Journal Book Reviewer Cites Well-Known Quotation

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Friday Book Review by Geoffrey Norman:

Blackway, the villain in “Go With Me,” Castle Freeman Jr.’s short novel, is a creature of the cut-over, used-up back-country of Vermont, where people once logged timber and now clip coupons. He is the product of a culture of easy violence, a man to be feared.

When he stalks a young woman and kills her cat, she logically asks for help from the local sheriff. And the sheriff logically sends her to see the boys down at the mill. It used to make furniture, but now “they made a better Windsor chair in North Carolina, in Taiwan, than they did in Vermont.” The boys at the mill don’t run lathes anymore; they drink beer and talk. When Lillian shows up asking for help, they team her up with Lester and Nate. The three set off on a quest to find Blackway and deal with him.

There is a clear moral arc to this storyline, and suspense too. But “Go With Me” is also a literary novel, with echoes of “Deliverance” and Cormac McCarthy. The primitive at the heart of the book is a staple of American fiction. He can be noble like Natty Bumppo or downright evil, like Faulkner’s Popeye. His symbolic function was summed up by D.H. Lawrence:” The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.


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