The elevation of environment in Lawrence

George Marinapolous, English 171, Sages and Satirists, Brown University, 2002

In Twilight in Italy, D.H. Lawrence has written a travel book that connects the environment he is traveling through to the people he has encountered. His observations about the existing connections between these two, are written in an impressively lyrical manner so that the reader can get a good sense of what Lawrence has experienced on his trip. However, the author also delves into the intangible where sometimes the reader cannot follow his true motivation for such thoughts. This happens when describing either the local people or the nature that surrounds him and the functions that each of them has. For example in the following example from San Gaudenzio describes the coming of spring through the existing flora and diverts his attention into the inner workings of spring:

Does it pass away, or does it only lose its pristine quality? It deepens and intensifies, like experience. The days seem to be darker and richer, there is a sense of power in the strong air. On the banks by the lake the orchids are out, many, many pale bee-orchids standing clear from the short grass over the lake. And in the hollows are the grape hyacinths, purple as noon, with the heavy, sensual fragrance of noon. They are many-breasted, and full of milk, and ripe, and sun-darkened, like many-breasted Diana. (page 83)

Questions

1. Does the anthropomorphism used to describe nature go beyond the realm of description and into the realm of the transcendental?

2. By using sensual language to describe the process that nature undergoes during springtime is Lawrence effectively conveying a sense of the environment he is in?

3. Why do you think that Lawrence has chosen to focus on such an elevated view of his travels while ignoring certain details?


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Last modified 26 October 2003