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D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence believed profoundly in the fallen state of humanity. This fall had taken place, however, not as the result of a single sin or in the dim and distant past but in recent times. Lawrence held that the Industrial Revolution had begun a process of alienation of the individual from the whole spectrum of Being and from others. By the twentieth century 'man', as Lawrence referred to humanity, had finally alienated himself from himself as well. This notion of the fall of humanity centered around Lawrence's concept of the unconscious which, like Freud, he saw as lying below ordinary consciousness but, contra Freud, did not see as a repository of the individual's past experience. Instead he conceived of the unconscious as something very like the soul, a term he would have preferred had it not been "vitiated by the idealistic use" (Psychoanalysis 215). While Lawrence agreed with Freud that human motivity did indeed arise from the unconscious he rejected the "sack of horrors", the repressed material in the unconscious, that Freud held to be the source of motivity (Psychoanalysis 207). He held instead that the unconscious was, as his friend Murry put it, "the primordial principle of life [which] is manifested only in individuality" (179). But if the unconscious was the source of energy from which all life springs it was the disconnection of humanity from this source of energy and motivity that was the source of the problem of alienation that so severely afflicted the modern age.

Lawrence asserted that his ideas about the unconscious and the alienation of the modern individual from that great source had derived from the process of writing the two Brangwen novels, The Rainbow (1915) and Women in Love (1920). The writing of the books was, he said, "pure passional experience" and the two works on the unconscious which he wrote afterward, Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious (1921) and Fantasia of the Unconscious (1922), were o...

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D. H. Lawrence. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:57, July 01, 2022, from