The Last Poems of D.H. Lawrence: Shaping a Late Style
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In the first book to take D. H. Lawrence's Last Poems as its starting point, Bethan Jones adopts a broadly intertextual approach to explore key aspects of Lawrence's late style. The evolution and meaning of the poems are considered in relation to Lawrence's prose works of this period, including Sketches of Etruscan Places, Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Apocalypse. More broadly, Jones shows that Lawrence's late works are products of a complex process of textual assimilation, as she uncovers the importance of Lawrence's reading in mythology, cosmology, primitivism, mysticism, astronomy, and astrology. The result is a book that highlights the richness and diversity of his poetic output, also prioritizing the masterpieces of Lawrence's mature style which are as accomplished as anything produced by his Modernist contemporaries.
terms, aided literally and metaphorically by the impedimenta of the tombs. This emphasis on transition highlights the significance of doors, gates, exits and entrances both in relation to the tombs and in the late poetry. Lawrence’s association of the life/death transition with the Etruscans is suggested by his depiction of the ‘leopards or panthers of the underworld Bacchus, guarding the exits and the entrances of the passion of life’ (SEP 49), when describing ‘The Tomb of the Leopards’. In his
1928. Subsequent to the emergence of a number of pirated editions, Lawrence The Last Poems of D.H. Lawrence 70 located a Paris bookseller named Edward R. Titus, who printed 3,000 copies of the novel, to be sold at only 60 francs. Significantly, Lawrence composed a foreword for this edition to expose the fraudulent practice of the pirates: this was subsequently expanded into ‘A Propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, ‘a sort of key to the whole novel’ (L vii 531). Establishing his methodology in
rabbity generation, with indiarubber tubing for guts and tin legs and tin faces. Tin people! It’s all a steady sort of bolshevism—just killing off the human thing, and worshipping the mechanical thing. (LCL 217) In the aphoristic poem ‘There Are Too Many People’ (cited earlier in this chapter), the term ‘rabbity’ is used to designate the parasitic tendencies of modern man who destroys the natural world (‘nibble[s] the face of the earth to a desert’) and hops about in restless, manic motion. In
‘fluidity’ and ‘living change’ which are shored against the robotic fixity of the wheel (CP 662). Yet while the essay and novel associate such renewal with sexuality, the poem merely attributes these characteristics to ‘The gods, who are life’ (CP 662). While the essay and novel address the issue of getting back the ‘grand orbs of the soul’s heavens’ and Apocalypse is concerned with the reacquisition of stars such as Hesperus and Betelgeuse, the poems confront the question ‘How are we to get back
1927 (see L vi 167–8). The idea of dividing the work into two distinct halves labelled ‘Rhyming’ and ‘Unrhyming’ poems came in November 1927 (L iv 206 and n. 1), at which time Secker also stated that he was sending Lawrence volumes of his published poetry. By 14 November 1927 Lawrence was at work (L vi 213) and by 11 January 1928 he had organized both volumes and was typing: at this stage he was using the new titles ‘Lyrical Verse’ and ‘Free-Verse’ (L vi 264). 23 Lawrence and Late Style 11