chapter  IV
Living disintegration
Pages 5

It is considerations of this kind indeed that lead one inevitably to the judgment that, by comparison with his debt to the poets, Lawrence’s debt to the organicist social philosophers-Coleridge, Carlyle, Ruskinis a minor affair. This indebtedness has its significance for the student of his art, certainly; but the significance can easily be exaggerated.9 For in the writings of the ‘philosophers’ there is none of that cross-fertilizing of the vocabulary of corruption and the vocabulary of dissolution so characteristic of the poets and Lawrence alike. In exposing the malaise of a disintegrated culture-communal life subjected more and more to the principles of mathematics and mechanics-the philosophers used the language of organicism in a rhetoric of sheer rejection; and though Lawrence does so too from time to time, as in the following passage from Women in Love, he is apt to sound one-noted where this rhetoric is not countered by forces that make for dubiety and tension.