D.H. Lawrence's Border Crossing: Colonialism in His Travel by Eunyoung Oh

By Eunyoung Oh

D.H. Lawrence's Border Crossing builds upon advancements inside of postcolonial thought to argue for a reconsideration of the idea that of "spirit of position" in D. H. Lawrence’s go back and forth books and "leadership" novels – works that list Lawrence’s a variety of encounters with racial and geographical "others." Exploring his dating to colonialism, Dr. Oh shows how Lawrence’s trust in several "spirits" belonging to those disparate locations permits him to go beyond the hierarchies among city and colony, among civilized and "primitive" worlds.

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Extra resources for D.H. Lawrence's Border Crossing: Colonialism in His Travel Writings and 'Leadership' Novels (Studies in Major Literary Authors)

Example text

Along with emotional fluctuations, the lack of authority in Lawrence’s narrative reveals how Lawrence responds to the local culture and people during his journey. That is, by choosing the opposite narrative strategy to the “neutral” and “descriptive” voice of the conventional travel book, he refuses to let his travel writing be read as an authoritative text, which “represents” the place. Lawrence’s repudiation of the characteristic authority of travel writing probably has not a little to do with his challenge to the cultural authority of British Literature; the English, notoriously, censored The Rainbow and Women in Love.

With the exception of Mornings in Mexico, Lawrence’s travel books do not deal with colonial frontiers like those in Africa, Asia, or South America. But the marginal places like the Lago di Garda and Sardinia where Twilight in Italy and Sea and Sardinia are set also face the threat of the capitalist world system; not only colonized Mexicans (or Africans) but also Italian peasants are threatened by machine civilization, which relentlessly destroys an “organic” relationship with the land and local people.

In his clear, yellow eyes is the self-possession of full admission. The Aztecs said this world, our Sun, would blow up from inside, in earthquakes. Then what will come, in the other dimension, when we are superseded? (emphasis added, MM, pp. 16–7) As many critics have agreed, Lawrence in Mornings in Mexico is concerned with the incompatibility between primitive and modern European consciousness, and, more importantly, explores the limits that both modes of life inevitably have. Lawrence does not lean either toward the primitive world or toward the civilized world, and his balancing between two incompatible worlds pervades his later works written in the 1920s.

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