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Burgum, E.B. (1966). Lawrence's Sons and Lovers: Daniel A. Weiss: Oedipus in Nottingham: D. H. Lawrence, with a Foreword by Richard Ellman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1962. vii + 128 pp.. Am. Imago, 23(2):180-183.

(1966). American Imago, 23(2):180-183

Reviews of Books

Lawrence's Sons and Lovers: Daniel A. Weiss: Oedipus in Nottingham: D. H. Lawrence, with a Foreword by Richard Ellman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1962. vii + 128 pp.

Review by:
Edwin Berry Burgum, Ph.D.

Mr. Weiss' affectation of a literary style may obscure for some readers the merit of his book on D. H. Lawrence (with particular attention to Sons and Lovers). He follows skillfully three different but related lines of investigation. The first seems to me the best handled, but it is also the easiest to pursue. It is the relation of the novel to the biography of its author. Too often psychoanalysts have used the personages of a literary work as though they constituted the life of its author, even as no analyst diagnoses a patient without knowledge of his life history, the family structure, the particular growth process, and so on. Fortunately with Lawrence such facts are well enough known so that Weiss can proceed in the opposite way, and use the facts of Lawrence's life to explain the neuroses of the “sons and lovers.”

To take any other course is to clap theory on the fictional material. But this is just what Weiss does when he turns to his second approach, according to which the novel is an illustration of analytic theory. Weiss tells the reader that he had to decide whether to use Freud or Jung (assuming that theirs were the only theories to be taken seriously). Almost with regret, Weiss admits that Lawrence cannot be fitted into the Jungian system. The reason is simple. In a Jungian novel, the “realism” of the concrete must be made symbolic of the eternal verities of man and his human condition. It must (as in Finne-gans Wake) present the concrete material in such a way that it unmistakeably and intentionally conveys symbolic meanings. Such a way of writing is entirely foreign to Lawrence who is nothing but concrete.

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