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) Lawrence is one of the greatest figures of the Modernist era despite his discernible abondonment of movement conventions. Lawrence cleaves to the foundational premise of the nineteenth century Romantic Movement1 which places the concept of self at the center of artistic expression. This notion persists, albeit against the course of cultural development (yet in line with Lawrence’s treatment), into the early twentieth century Modernist Movement of which Lawrence was a part. The corporate intention of Modernist literature is to remove the personality of the author from the work. Lawrence, however, with his attestation of self, writes as an articulation of his personality and he makes known that “his works chart the profound unease many writers have felt faced with a world in which creative human values seem increasingly to be scarificed to materialism and to empty social and intelliectual forms” (11). In his essay, Tradition and the Individual Talent (1919), T.S. Eliot, a fellow modernist, writes: The progress of an artist is the continual self-sacrifice, a continual extrication of personality …. [art] is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from personality …. the emotion of art is impersonal and the [artist] cannot reach this impersonality without surrendering himself wholly to the work to be done (117-119). This statement serves as a classic definition of modernism at large; a movement rooted in the use of art as a demonstration of impressions and experiences and that marks true talent by a writer’s ability to separate him or her self from their creation. Still, D.H.
The Romantic Movement in literature began in the end of the 18th century and flourished in the 19th century. The literature is characterized by an emphasis on emotion, passion, and nature.
Torres 2 Lawrence dissents by using multiple mediums of art as a platform for his personal expression, with much of his theory rooted in the Christian Bible. In his work Apocalypse and the Writings on Revelation (1931), published postmortem, Lawrence uses his text to explore intrapersonal considerations, as well as to criticize the immutable social and religious structures of modern society. In her introduction to the work, Mara Kalnins tells us that Apocalypse is “a vigorous iconaclastic work, a radical and searching criticism of the political, religious, and social structures which have shaped our materialistic and technological age” (11). Apocalypse was Lawrence’s final book; it was also his final rebellion against the traditions of the Modernist movement and (despite the fact that he was “profoundly Christian”) the organized Christian religion. It was his digression from established practices and his attempt to communicate his personal system of thought about God, man, relationships and the universe. Lawrence believed that the Book of Revelation from the Bible revealed the “fundamental truths about human psychology.” Lawrence suggests that the Bible, just as any other story of man, should be duly investigated: the Book of Revelation tested as a “symbolic account of how to attain inner harmony”(12). It is, according to Lawrence, the novel of every man (the “man alive”) that communicates the significance of the individual and the relationship between the individual and the collective society. Thus, the Bible should be thoroughly examined and challenged in order to form ideas about its relevence and validity. In Why the Novel Matters (1966) Lawrence writes: The novel is the book of life. In this sense, the Bible is a great confused novel. You may say, it is about God. But it is really about
Torres 3 man alive. Adam, Eve, Sarai, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, David, Bath-sheba, Ruth, Esther, Solomon, Job, Isaiah, Jesus, Mark, Judas, Paul, Peter: what is it but man alive, from start to finish? Man alive, not mere bits. Even the Lord is another man alive, in a burning bush, throwing the tablets of stone at Moses' head (105). Lawrence’s concern with “man alive” does not align with Eliot’s call for the “extinction of personality” as Lawrence found it useless to ignore man’s investment in any aspect of life, but especially art. He held that to demonstrate the circumstances of humanism, writers must include their own human insight and characteristics; otherwise, it is not a true or reliable demonstration of man. In Apocalypse, Lawrence writes with personality and expresses personal views. Those views, in this regard, suggest that individual realization is found through personal analysis and the discovery of self; there is no place for the eradication of personality. Students of literary form might say that Lawrence never quite belonged among the modernists as he was uninterested with the aestheticism of the age, and in fact, Virginia Woolf said of him, “[he] echoes nobody, continues no tradition, is unaware of the past (qtd. In The Hostile Son, Oates). Still, many of his contemporaries and most modern readers admire his radical individualism “that refuses to continue an intellectual or literary tradition in order to proclaim the impersonal and the divine within ordinary men” (Oates). In his book, DH Lawrence and the Bible (2000), T.R. Wright comments on Lawrence’s deviation from other modernist writers:
Torres 4 Lawrence’s relationship to modernity in the sense of “progress” and technology, of course, was as ambivalent and problematic as his attitude toward the Bible. In some respects he can more accurately be described as a precursor to postmodernism than a modernist. His playful reworking of biblical material, redeploying fragments of the crumbling Judeo-Christian tradition in his own creative writing, can be read as a form of postmodern bricolage, building provisional beliefs with the otherwise discredited tools that lie to hands (2). Arguably, there is no other work from Lawrence that is as ambitious in asserting personal dogma and the need for biblical exploration as Apocalypse and the Writings on Revelation. In it he uses the Bible as a mine of private symbolism and meaning in order to discuss human psychology, authority, and the relationship between man and the state. In this work, just as in most apocalyptic writing, symbolism is used by the author to evoke complex thoughts and feelings in the reader because, as Lawrence writes, “man thought and still thinks in images” (93). It is Lawrence’s hope that his emblematic suggestions regarding our “being” and our function in society will enable us to identify these thoughts and feelings; and as a result, make discoveries that are personally relevant and initiate change. He explains his use of symbolism in his biblical allegory as an attempt to ascertain truths: “Allegory can always be explained: and explained away. The true symbol defies all explanation, so does the true myth. You can give meanings to either - you will never explain them away” (142). Lawrence’s interest in finding applicable associations between art and the condition of the individual man led his
Torres 5 examination of the Book of Revelation (A.D. 95) as the guiding point (of both debate and significance) for mankind in our journey toward enlightenment. Apocalypse was initially written as an introduction to the book Dragon of the Apocalypse by painter and mystic, Frederick Carter. Shortly after deciding to expand the introduction into a book of his own; however, Lawrence abandoned the manuscript, which was eventually published as Apocalypse and the Writings on Revelation in 1931 after his death. In Apocalypse, Lawrence writes an allegory of the Book of Revelation that challenges the reader to consider more relevant meaning for the text, meaning that would affect the reader as they live -- opposed to after they have died. The pervasive paradox of "life through death" from ancient to medieval times, and upheld in Christian tenets, is one that Lawrence challenges. In Apocalypse he confronts the traditionally revered last steps of human “life”: death, judgment, heaven and hell, by introducing the idea that action dictates how ones “last steps” will be ordered; or further, that man should concentrate on improving present life and be less concerned with the after-life: Man wants his physical fulfillment first and foremost, since now, once and once only, he is in the flesh and potent. For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. . . . The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos (149).
Torres 6 Despite the fact that his analysis of God’s will for man, and his interpretation of the Bible challenge the thinking of mainstream Christianity; the Bible can still “legitimately be called the genesis of [Lawrence's] fiction, its most significant precursor text; it not only generates a great deal of his own writing but provides the most important context for its understanding" (Wright 3). In speaking of his experience with Christianity, Lawrence writes of a saturation that occurred from the Bible being “poured into his helpless consciousness.” He tells us: Long before one could think or even vaguely understand, this Bible language, these ‘portions’ of the Bible …. they became an influence which affected all the processes of emotion and thought. So that today, although I have ‘forgotten’ my Bible, I need only begin to read a chapter to realize that I ‘know’ it with almost a nauseating fixity…. My very instincts resent the Bible (59). Still, despite his resentment for the Bible, Lawrence sermonizes the fundamental principals of the Christian faith in Apocalypse. Through world travels, broad reading, and exposure to a plethora of other cultures, religions and societies; Lawrence is armed with the same anthropology that Eliot uses in his poem The Waste Land (1922)2. He combines this new understanding of humanity with his prior association with spirituality and mysticism to write Apocalypse. Both Apocalypse and the Writings on Revelation and The Waste Land plainly reflect the authors’ struggle to discover the purpose of mankind in response to the events of the early twentieth century. To some extent, this struggle was generated by the developing scientific decrees on the established theory of human
One major theme of the poem is disillusionment, which Eliot indicates is the current state of affairs in modern society, especially the post World War I.
Torres 7 significance, particularly in terms of conventional religious belief. Furthermore, the devastation of World War I caused these misgivings about human purpose to shift from being an exploratory viewpoint into a very real component of personal experience. For all intents and purposes, the intellectual, artistic and personal lives of westerners become subjugated by the invariable questions attached to the state of the universe and human experience. With his new anthropology Lawrence discovers in the Christian text an earlier sub-text of pagan ritual and myth which are prominent themes in his apocalyptic allegory, he writes, “The Christian fear of the pagan outlook has damaged the whole consciousness of man” (86). Lawrence saw Christian thought expelling the remnants of pagan Gods and pagan symbols, and internalized this expulsion as an attempt to “suppress, destroy and deny” the mythical connections to Christianity. Yet, Biblical scholars do not deny that the Book of Revelation is riddled with pagan ritual and myth; although, most suggest that the pagan images are cathartic. According to John Gager, author of The End of Time and the Rise of Community (2008): There was a pressure for Christians to participate in the imperial cult's religious festivals, with a threat of punishment or death if they did not. So there was an existential crisis facing these Christians. The author of Revelation wrote in order to resolve this crisis by clearly demarcating the lines and by alienating them from the enticements of participation in pagan society and the imperial cult. The mechanism for this demarcation, they argue, is the use of symbolic language that creates a new sense of the cosmic reality in
Torres 8 which these Christians were living (qtd. Understanding the Book of Revelation, White) . Assuming that the imposing pagan images present in Revelation are a reflection of the culture in which Christians lived at the time the book was written, Lawrence seems flawed when he writes about the Biblical scene at the temple of Cybele3: This vivid scene in front of the temple, of the glorification of a new initiate and his identification or assimilation to the god . . . was, we know, the end of the ritual of the Mysteries of Isis. Such a scene has been turned by the Christian apologists into a Christian vision (106-07). If Gager’s claim is applicable here, then the Christian reading of this passage is not a turn from paganism, but instead an illustration of the Roman World in which the Christian lived. Throughout Apocalypse Lawrence appears to be unnecessarily critical of Revelation; and unsympathetic to the Bible as a whole despite the fact that it is the “foundation of his consciousness.” If we read the Book of Revelation, as he suggests, loosely and befitting to the individual, we find that it is a collection of symbolisms that have taken on multiple meanings and that transcend time, culture and religion. We find, just as historical theologian Bernard McGinn does, that it is a montage of human experience that reflects the eternal fight between good and evil: Apocalyptic literature is a re-invention of the mythological motifs going back to the ancient dragon conflict, of Sumarian mythology. So apocalyptic literature doesn't work through discursive, rational
Cybele is a deification of “Earth Mother.” The popularity of the Cybele cult in the city of Rome and throughout the empire is thought to have inspired the author of Book of Revelation to allude to her in his portrayal of the mother of harlots who rides the Beast.
Torres 9 presentation. It's symbolic, it's recapitulative or repeating, and it's deeply emotional, in its appeal. ....The great motifs of the conflict between good and evil, that according to the combat myths, shaped the beginning of history, in both the Jewish religion and later in the Christian religion, are shifted, in a way, towards the end, so that history has a continuity, and it demonstrates the on-going conflict between good and evil, which will reach a final goal, a final solution if you will, when evil is ultimately defeated (Understanding the Book of Revelation, White). D.H. Lawrence’s critique of the world and man’s role in the world in Apocalypse mirrors the same expression revealed by the author of Revelation and other authors of apocalyptic works. In her book English Literature in Transition 1880-1920 (2000), Judith Ruderman makes note of the major themes explored by Lawrence: …readers with even the slightest familiarity with the Bible can recognize the salience of Lawrence's central religious themes--the fall from grace, the end of the world, the resurrection of the body, and the return to Paradise--and the prevalence across his career of references to biblical figures and quotations. In addition, it seems natural to speak of Lawrence's characters, and of Lawrence himself, as would-be prophets or saviors. Still, Lawrence admittedly has problems with the rigidity of organized religion, specifically Christianity and the Bible; as he sought fluidity in spirituality and art:
Torres 10 Each thing, living and unliving, streams in its own odd intertwining flux, and nothing, not even man nor the God of man, nor anything that man has thought or felt or known is fixed or abiding (Art and Morality 525). Lawrence and his allegorical interpretation of the apocalypse intentionally reflect the theory of variability and encourage the proposal that art, life, faith and God must be shaped and reshaped according to the situational circumstances of the time: for both the individual man and society. To this end, Lawrence declares that the Bible is a living organism that lives because we live; and that will die when inflexibility in analysis allows it to become extraneous. What is relevant, despite the span of time or generation of men, is the discernment of the individual, the state, the world and the distribution of power. Lawrence parallels all of these things as they exist in the Book of Revelation with his own symbolism in Apocalypse. In introducing the Book of Revelation, Lawrence explains that the book was deeply embedded in his consciousness and had been since as a child he had heard it expounded repeatedly, endlessly, from the pulpit; he knew it inside out even before he started to think about its meaning (59). Revelation, the last of sixty-six books in the Christian Bible, is written in “apocalyptic” form (from a Greek word apokalypsis), a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope to those in the midst of persecution. Christians believe that Jesus gave the book to John of Patmos, an eyewitness of Jesus, in order to assure Christians that He would return to vindicate the righteous and judge the wicked.
Torres 11 John starts the book by explaining how he received the revelation from God, he begins, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place” (2002). John continues to narrate the account of how Christ came to him in a vision and told him of the things that would happen during the end days of the earth. He then records specific messages from Jesus to the seven churches in Asia4. But while dictating the messages to the churches, John begins to speak of dramatic and majestic images that portray the future rise of evil. These events, according to the revelation, are followed by the triumph of the king, the wedding of the Lamb, the final judgment and the coming of New Jerusalem. The book concludes with the promise of Christ’s return. To readers familiar with both the Book of Revelation and the apocalyptic metaphor written by D.H. Lawrence it is “abundantly clear, even from this brief sketch, not only that Lawrence was saturated with the Bible but that he continued throughout his life to reproduce its images” (Wright 10). These images lay out the writers philosophical and theosophical theories about the Bible. Slightly less dramatic than the apocalypse of the Bible is the anticipated catastrophe of the twentieth century of which Lawrence spoke in his letters. Living during World War I, he saw the destruction as a mark of the end of civilization. He wrote of a “great struggle with the powers of Darkness” (120) and revealed his feelings that the “whole thing is coming to an end – the whole of England, of the Christian era” (142). It is no surprise that Lawrence found the Book of Revelation to be significant to the time; and that characters and events of the Bible could be paralleled to his humanity and the world in which he lived. Joyce Carol Oates writes, “Lawrence is one of our true
The churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia (Lydia), and Laodicea (Phrygia) located in Asia Minor.
Torres 12 prophets, not only in his ‘madness for the unknown’ and in his explicit warning but in his lifelong development of a technique, a fictional and poetic way in which the prophetic voice can be given formal expression” (The Candid Revelation, Oates). As a modern prophet, Lawrence furnishes readers with insight into the destiny of man if he does not reflect on the larger significance of life; or heed the warnings afforded to us. Presenting his beliefs, Lawrence, through his use of mythic patterns, articulates the need for a balanced human consciousness in order for the human race to achieve wholeness. While the apocalypse of the Bible may use the universe as backdrop for its action; however, Lawrence suggests that its real setting is the human self. He sees in Revelation a text corrupted sometimes by allegory, but when read and reconstructed properly, it traces a myth of the self, its journey, and its transformations. To exhibit the myth of self or psyche, how the self is changeable, and the transcendence into a greater individual psychic being, Lawrence likens his individual self to the pale horse and the pale rider of the apocalypse: He is the royal me, he is my very self, and his horse is the whole mana of a man. He is my very me, my sacred ego, called into a new cycle of action by the Lamb and riding forth to conquest, the conquest of the old self for the birth of a new self. It is he, truly, who shall conquer all the other ‘powers’ of the self (102-03). Biblically, the pale horse is a representation of death, while the pale rider symbolizes Hades, the god of the underworld. Together with the red horse (warfare) and the black horse (famine), the pale horse and his rider are sent to earth to unleash judgment and destruction (Revelation 6:2-8). According to the author, it is during this time of judgment
Torres 13 that the unbelievers are allowed to turn away from their sin and embrace Christ. Lawrence rebels against the sentence of death found in the Bible by becoming the adjudicator and refusing to accept the ruling and the consequences attached to nonconformity. By escaping the psyche of his previously prescribed self, Lawrence is able to overcome all other facets of his personality; thus, controlling his circumstance. Lawrence’s reconstruction of the power structure can be traced to the theories of the nineteenth century philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, whom Lawrence had no doubt read. When Lawrence writes in Aaron’s Rod (1922), “…there is only one thing, your own very self. So you’d better stick to it. You can’t be any bigger than just yourself, so you needn’t drag God in….” (Lawrence XXI), the influence of Nietzsche’s theory of a “dead God” and his teachings on the importance of fostering one’s inner self is made evident. Then, in Kangaroo (1923) Lawrence expresses his own idea of a “superman” which was a constant theme in Nietzsche’s writings. The philosopher often spoke of our constant struggle to achieve some degree of power and our natural desire to assert our personal strength; as well as our need to dominate and reshape the world to fit our own predilections. Nietzsche, like Lawrence, confronts the foundations of Christianity, and asserts the power of life, creativity and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a “world beyond.” Nietzsche challenges each of us to find our “superman as the individual rising precariously out of the mire of mass mediocrity, and [own] his existence” (SEP 2008). Such a charge was accepted by D.H. Lawrence who, in Apocalypse, affirms his “superman” in the nature of “death,” a force with infinite power over all men.
Torres 14 In life and in text, Lawrence resists organized powers; both religious and governmental, and claims his independence from external forces. Yet, it is Lawrence who causes our certainty in the power of self to falter by introducing his credence that the individual is always manipulated by peripheral influence. He wants us to believe that it is the collection of individual wills that aids the power of the authority because the individual resolve is only a product of the desired outcome of the collective. He writes, “The State . . . cannot have the psychology of the individual. . . . and no collective act, even so private an act as voting, is made from the individual self. It is made from the collective self, and has another psychological background, non-individual” (146). According to his theory, state and religious powers are controlled by the will of the many individuals, but mankind’s inability to realize its power in this regard allows them to believe that the opposite is true. This belief is what prods us to, willingly and without question, render our power to those in authoritative positions. The untapped power of the individual attracts Lawrence to political analysis and meditation, resulting in his early recognition of “power-spirit” (67). According to Lawrence, this spirit is the key to understanding social organization and the cultures it produces. The “power-spirit” or “power-sense” (147), and the book of Revelation are, according to Lawrence, Christianity’s attempt to constrain and charter the natural powerspirit in us: Power is there, and always will be. As soon as two or three men come together, especially to do something, then power comes into being, and one man is a leader, a master. It is inevitable …. give homage and allegiance to a hero, and you become yourself heroic
Torres 15 But act on the reverse, and what happens? Deny power, in a greater man, and you have no power yourself. But society, now and forever, must be ruled and governed. So that the mass must grant authority where they deny power. Authority now takes the place of power, and we have ‘ministers’ and public officials and policemen (68). Here, Lawrence writes of man’s complacency in relinquishing his power to the ruling authority without questioning the appointment; and as a result, equating “power” to “authority.” It is part of our innate heroism that requires us to question the power of those in authority; but instead, we seek hero status through conformity -- from pledging our allegiances to those in power knowing that society frowns upon refuting the established supremacy. Lawrence contends that the individual should recognize and reclaim power because without our interference the democracy will fail. He claims that the organization of power will eventually fall apart without the intervention of the “powerless” because the disjointed efforts and individual agendas of the authorities will eventually fragment the illusion of wholeness: As a citizen, as a collective being, man has his fulfillment in the gratification of his power-sense. . . . In a hierarchy, each part is organic and vital, as my finger is an organic and vital part of me. But a democracy is bound in the end to be obscene, for it is composed of myriad dis-united fragments, each fragment assuming to itself a false wholeness, a false individuality. Modern democracy
Torres 16 is made up of millions of frictional parts all asserting their own wholeness (147). However, Lawrence pacifies the reader by insisted that even when no action is taken, the apocalypse (or the relative course of events involving destruction, war and societal restoration) will end with power being rightfully restored to the powerless: “the Apocalypse does not worship power. It wants to murder the powerful, to seize power itself, the weakling” (69). There is no power in power itself, but power is in the spirit of the individual who can harness it. Lawrence was aware that apocalyptic belief thrives in oppression. For a demoralized group of people, a prophecy that involves empowerment offers the hope that suffering will come to an end. Christianity, in fact, developed out of Judaism partly as a result of the Roman conquest of Palestine. As we move through history to the Reformation, when the German peasants flocked to the reformers' standards in order to try and release themselves from feudalism; and then to the twentieth century, where Marxism explicitly appealed to the oppressed of the world, we witness the trend where the exploited search for reprieve. Further west in America, Patrick Henry, a colonist in quest of freedom from British oppression cries, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Then, not long after, slaves in America fought for the same liberty. In all of these circumstances the oppressed were either waiting for, or experiencing some apocalyptic encounter (judgment, war or threats or war) that promised liberation from their tormentors. Throughout the history of human existence is the reality of the individual need to find hope in an end that involves regaining control and escaping the power of the nonspecific hierarchy. In Apocalypse, Lawrence writes to the disenfranchised, telling of
Torres 17 a time when all of mankind, those who have endured under the rule of an unworthy authority, will prevail: And the Apocalypse, repellant though its chief spirit be, does also contain another inspiration. It is repellant only because it resounds with the dangerous snarl of the frustrated, suppressed collective self, the frustrated power-spirit in man, vengeful. But it contains also some revelation of the true and positive Power-spirit” (73). It is his hope that in the fight for freedom (whether figurative or literal), the individual will gain the “revelation” that they have always been powerful. However, even in the Power-spirit, as Lawrence is aware, the individual can never be as potent as the collection of individuals; and no matter how disconnected, each member of mankind somehow contributes to the power of some organized collective. During the First World War, Lawrence was accused of spying for the Germans and officially expelled from Cornwall, England in 1917. It was during this time that he began to explore the world, including different cultures and religions. As a result, Lawrence became a “citizen of the world” and developed a holistic approach to life and religion. In his travels, and in his accompanying readings, he had: . . . come to the conclusion that the essential secret of life was harmony . . . . And he proceeded to put his philosophy into practice by forcing order into the established world, translating the mystic word harmony into the practical word organization (Women in Love, Lawrence).
Torres 18 Notwithstanding his politically motivated exile, and despite that fact that he had been ostracized (and at one point censored) by the authorities and his artistic contemporaries, In Apocalypse Lawrence knows that participation in society is inescapable; further, he shows that he is aware of the need to somehow be connected to other members of the collective, he writes: “Every citizen is a unit of worldly power. . . .since he must be a member of some political State, or Nation, he is forced to be a unit of worldly power” (147). His communal interdependence is reflected through his Christianity; although, reluctant to live by the recommendations of the organized Christian religion, he still applies the teachings as they fit his life circumstances. In text, Lawrence is in constant flux when considering the awareness of man and the alliance with external identities: His belief in the dual-consciousness of man causes internal conflict as he struggles to define himself and the individual components of his own consciousness. And although the individual man has needs that are rarely reflected by the larger group, he still is compelled to identify with a community. Lawrence writes, “One of the obscurest but profoundest needs of man is this need to belong to a group, a group called a church, or a nation, or an empire, and to feel the power thereof …” (161-162). While Lawrence urges us to be free from labels, or what he calls “false positions,” such as Christian and democrat, he still considers himself a Christian. He knew that “to have an ideal for the individual which regards only his individual self and ignores his collective self is in the long run fatal” (147). Christianity is the facet of his collective self to which he has the
most profound, recognizable and constant connection; therefore, the more intently he works to separate himself from the faith, the more allied the two become.
Torres 19 Lawrence’s association with the Bible resonates throughout Apocalypse. He declares that each part (meaning the individual) is “organic and vital” in creating the wholeness of a hierarchy, a government he claims to be “obscene.” This conviction echoes the words of the Apostle Paul as he also uses the human body to illustrate the responsibility Christians have to live and work together (Romans 12: 4-55). Further, his idea that power will always exist when “two or three men come together” is reminiscent of Jesus (Matthew 18:19-206) as he looked ahead to the “new day” when he would be present with his followers not in body, but through his Holy Spirit. In the body of believers (the church), the sincere agreement of two or three people is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands. Lawrence’s incessant use of Biblical symbols and references is bewildering, bearing in mind his negation of the Christian moral code. This is, until readers realize that he does not truly resent the Bible but resents the rigidity of the Christian faith in which he was raised. Therefore, he uses the Bible to illustrate universal concepts that embrace the faith without embracing the ritual. Lawrence narrates Revelation in a way that reveals the rich historical and spiritual complexity of the text. While Lawrence argues against the teachings of the Bible and Christianity as viable sources of assurance for all, he unwontedly preaches the basic principals of the Christian teachings. Readers can conclude; therefore, that Lawrence never intends to be removed from the movement in which he wrote nor the religion to which he was affiliated. Lawrence made clear that his intentions as a conscious individual were to illustrate the importance of “questioning”. A “passionately religious man,” Lawrence does not reject
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” 6 “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Torres 20 the teachings of the Bible; instead he scrutinizes the intentions of the writers, gives personal meaning to symbols and reforms the text in order to reconfirm his alliance with Christianity and the universal community. The Apocalypse and the Writings of Revelation is Lawrence’s external expression regarding the underlying meaning of Revelation. In it he questions the text in order to develop a theology that reconciles Christianity with ancient myths and mysticisms that are, according to Lawrence, vital parts in the quest of wholeness with the self and the heavens. Questioning, after all, facilitates understanding: Long before Christ, the questioning method of consciousness had arisen …. but everywhere it had to struggle against the older form of consciousness, to which the “question” was obnoxious …. it is impious to question the Gods …. [but] the whole way of spiritual, rational, and mental consciousness is a way of contrast (193). In Apocalypse, Lawrence is a proponent for improving the condition of the physical man. Through gaining understanding of human psychology and man’s relationship with the universe, he teaches how to connect with the external environment. He expresses his faith in the power of humanity and our ability to “re-establish the living organic connections with the cosmos, the sun and earth, with mankind and nation and family” (149). Accordingly, he encourages intraspection and the free criticism of the social and religious structures that rule the societies in which we live. The exploration of choice, and the assertion of the individual right to belong to a community without having to extinguish individuality, is the motivation behind Lawrence’s questioning the constraints set upon him by the Modernist movement to
Torres 21 which he belonged. It is also the ambition of his work in Apocalypse and the Writings of Revelation. The text gives credence to the need for viable theories of humanism and psychology as it relates to the modern world.
Torres 22 Works Cited Eliot, T.S. The Waste Land. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. John Gager, The End of Time and the Rise of Community, in Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1975. Glatzer, Nahum Norbert. Jewish History. Brandeis University, 2008. Lawrence, D.H. Aaron’s Rod. Retrieved from http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lawrence/dh/l41a/chap21.html Lawrence, D.H. Apocalypse. Ed. Mara Kalnins. New York: Penguin Books, 1995. Lawrence, D.H. The Letters of D. H. Lawrence. ed. James T. Boulton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Lawrence, D.H. Why the Novel Matters, D.H. Lawrence: Selected Literary Criticism, ed. Anthony Beal. New York: Viking Press, 1966. Magnus, Bernd, and Kathleen M. Higgins (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1996. Retrieved from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/ Moore, Harry T. The Priest of Love: A Life of D. H. Lawrence. Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1974. NIV/The Message Parallel Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondevan, 2002. Rudderman, Judith. English Literature in Transition 1880-1920. Durham: Duke University, 2002. Retrieved from http://www.accessmylibrary.com Stammler, Heinrich A. Apocalypse: V. V. Rozanov and D. H. Lawrence. Canadian Slavonic Papers. XVI (1974), pp. 221-244.
Torres 23 White, Michael. Understanding the Book of Revelation. Apocalypse. WGBH educational foundation. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/explanation/ Williams, Gertrude M. Priestess of the Occult: Madame Blavatsky. Alfred A. Knopf, 1946. T R Wright. D. H. Lawrence and the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 H.M. Robinson, Nietzsche, Lawrence and the Somatic Conception of the Good Life, New Comparison, 5 (1988).
Torres 24 References Aldington, Richard. Introduction to Apocalypse, 1932. Easson, Angus. “’My Very Knees Are Glad’: D. H. Lawrence and Apocalypse Again,” Aligarh Journal of English Studies. X, ii (1985), pp. 205-218. Goodheart, Eugene. The Utopian Vision of D. H. Lawrence, 1963. Gutierrez, Donald. Lapsing Out: Embodiments of Death and Rebirth in the Last Works of D. H. Lawrence, 1979. Kuczkowski, Richard. “Lawrence Enters the Pantheon,” in Review. IV (1982), pp. 159170.
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