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D.H. Lawrence


Blog item for ‘Serendipitous Moments’ by Ruth Rikowski

In this piece, Ruth Rikowski briefly describes her ‘D.H. Lawrence Summer Journey’. It was actually a journey that we both went on, as she read various f bits out to me, as she was reading this summer 2012.

D. H. Lawrence: an incredible writer; a writer that profoundly changed both of our lives.

Ruth’s initial intention was to find out more about the so-called Nietzschean effect in Lawrence’s work; how much of it was real and how much imagined and/or exaggerated?

Together we concluded that it was more a Nietzschean way of life that Lawrence embraced; the ‘going for life’ mentality. It was this, rather than adhering to any particular philosophical positions of Nietzsche’s, such as the ‘Will to Power’, which Lawrence actually disagreed with.

And it was Frieda Lawrence, his wife, who loved Nietzche and read lots of him, who really drove all this forward – she wanted to nurture a male genius and to live life more fully.

Lawrence himself preferred reading and writing literature.

G. H. Neville, Lawrence’s closest childhood friend said in his book ‘A Memoir of D. H. Lawrence: the Betrayal’ (Cambridge University Press, 1981):

“We bemoan, I bemoan, Lawrence as a lost leader of men. I believe that, could his undoubted gifts have been applied in other directions, he would have become the leader of a new world movement. I know that he could have become such a leader, but I sometimes feel that, even now, he has completed his real work, and that, ultimately, when a right conception of our Lawrence has spread throughout the world, that dreamed-of leadership will yet be his.” (Neville, 1981, p. 142)

Do read the piece, and let us aim to live life more fully – even in the limiting and limited form of life that is capitalist society.

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Putting Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) and Douglas Kennedy (1955 – ) together on one blog. Whatever is going on? How can this make any sense – putting an 18th century classical novelist alongside a contemporary best-selling novelist (even if he does aim to be serious as well as popular)?

That would be most peoples reaction, I feel sure.

So, what is all this about?

Well, this demonstrates something about my thought processes at the moment. My thought processes as I write my novel; which has turned out to be much more of an epic than I ever originally intended it to be! My levels of absorption deepen and widen. We continue.

Now, I have always rather literally believed this blurb that they put on fiction books:

“All of the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”

I somehow thought that many fiction writers simply thought up stories out of thin air, as it were. Not that I thought that all novelists operated that way; D. H. Lawrence, for example, clearly did not. No, I was not that naïve. But I certainly thought that quite a lot did. But now I am questioning that a bit.”

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