The White Peacock

Synopsis

`Like a tree that is falling, going soft and pale and rotten, clammy with small fungi, he stood leaning against the gate, while the dim afternoon drifted with a flow of thick sweet sunshine past him, not touching him.' Lawrence's first novel is a compelling exploration of the estrangements of modern life. Focusing on three relationships - one destructively stillborn, one disastrously unfulfilling and one passionately unspoken - Lawrence exploits the language and conventions of the rural tradition to foreground man's alienation from the natural world. His evocation of the vanishing countryside of the English midlands, as soon through the eyes of the effete Cyril Beardsall, is both vivid and arresting, and as the novel draws towards its tragic conclusion Lawrence handles his themes with an increasingly visionary power. The White Peacock is both a fascinating precursor of the more famous novels to come and a moving and challenging book in its own right. In his introduction to this edition David Bradshaw reassesses this often underrated novel, and shows how Lawrence was already breaking the mould of English fiction.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1997