Lawrence and the Monster Machine
DOI link for Lawrence and the Monster Machine
Lawrence and the Monster Machine book
Beginning in the modernist works of D. H. Lawrence, the monster machine is turned into a potential instrument of its own subversion. In The Rainbow, the satanic coal mine that threatens the English countryside also generates the rainbow of the title: the mythic arc that materializes, literally out of nowhere, to disrupt the terminal logic of the machine-driven plot. The demonic machine is thus compelled to produce a visionary dispensation from the mechanical order it itself imposes, and though this dispensation is threatened in the sequel, the process of rationalization still induces, in Women in Love, a mythic condition of potential transcendence. Unfortunately, desperate to behold in life the liberation he had so far enacted only in fiction, Lawrence appears to succumb, in subsequent works, to his own vision. In The Plumed Serpent, the most famous of his later productions, myth is imposed as a remedy for instrumental reason with such authoritarian force that he inevitably duplicates the problem he seeks to elude. The novel is thus primarily of value as a limit case—an experiment that, in its extremity, discloses the limitations of myth as a narrative machine-breaker.