Restructuring the Lawrence image : dismissing misogyny and accepting feminism
Stadden, Pamela Ann
Master of Arts
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There have been various attacks upon Lawrence's literary reputation. Lawrence's representation of women is perhaps the most criticised aspect of his work, with formal criticism beginning as early as 1953 with Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Some critics even recognize John Middleton Murry's disparaging comments about Lawrence and women in Son of Woman as early feminist criticism (Balbert,4). However, the point of integration between feminist criticism and the Lawrence text is not nearly so important as the intense debate that has arisen concerning Lawrence and feminism. Lawrence criticism up until the 1980's has generally represented him as a misogynist writer. Only within the last few years has there been a resurgence of Lawrence philosophy through complimentary readings of Lawrence texts. I believe that some of the critics mentioned in this study--Blanchard, Simpson, MacLeod, Paglia--fall into this category, which is one of compassion and respect. Blanchard's "Love and Power: A Reconsideration of Sexual Politics in Lawrence", Simpson's D.H. Lawrence and Feminism, MacLeod's Lawrence's Men and Women and Paglia's Vamps and Tramps are included in this study. It should be noted that this resurgence is not a complete return to the values of the fifties, when male and female roles were clearly defined, a fact most notably demonstrated by Graham Hough in The Dark Sun. The readings are, instead, an acknowledgement of the male position, while yet retaining a level of faithfulness to feminism.