chapter  I
Reductive Energy in The Rainbow
Pages 25

In The Rainbow as in Lawrence’s work at large, the vitalistic virtuesspontaneity, untamed energy, intensity of being, power-are endorsed elaborately. But the endorsement is noticeably more ambiguous on some occasions than on others. The vitality of the young Will Brangwen (he reminds Anna ‘of some animal, some mysterious animal that lived in the darkness under the leaves and never came out, but which lived vividly, swift and intense’) is one thing; the vitality that Will and Anna eventually release in themselves in their bouts of natural-unnatural sensuality is another. So for that matter is Ursula’s fierce salt-burning corrosiveness under the moon, or the corrupt African potency of Skrebensky. In the one instance life is affirmed directly, positively, unambiguously, if also with potential ferocity and violence-but in the other instances reductively, in disintegration or corruption.