chapter
16 Pages

Introduction

This study investigates the political implications of the works of D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf through the lens of the concept of social space. At first glance, the combination of Lawrence and Woolf seems rather unusual. Critics have hardly discussed these writers together, and when they have, their focus has fallen mainly on differences between them. Reading through essays, letters, diaries, and fictions of Lawrence and Woolf, we are often struck by radical contrasts in style, aims, temperament, and background. Lawrence never went along with the contemporary modernist “movements” promoted in his lifetime by such figures as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Virginia Woolf.1 He refused to follow theories of aesthetic autonomy and impersonality and mercilessly mocked the “critical twiddle-twaddle about style, and form, all this pseudoscientific classifying and analysing of books” (“John Galsworthy,” Phoenix 539). Lawrence’s frequent attacks on literary experimentalism point to his self-willed dissociation from the high modernism with which Woolf is often linked. His attitude toward gender and sexuality is another key feature that has led scholars to regard him in opposition to Woolf.2 In contrast with Woolf ’s feminism and advocacy of androgyny, Lawrence evinced a determined misogyny, evident, for example in the notorious Fantasia of the Unconscious and presented homosexuality as one of the most hideous diseases afflicting modern society.