D. H. Lawrence: Fifty Years on Film

By Louis K. Greiff | Go to book overview

Notes

1. D. H. Lawrence on Film
1
Harry T. Moore, The Priest of Love: A Life of D. H. Lawrence, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1981), 572.
2
D. H. Lawrence, “When I Went to the Film, ” in The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, ed. Vivian de Sola Pinto and F. Warren Roberts (New York: Viking Press, 1971), 444.
3
Lawrence, “Let Us Be Men, ” in Complete Poems, 450.
4
D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (New York: Viking Press, 1958), 302.
5
D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover, ed. Michael Squires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 152.
6
“D. H. Lawrence on Film, ” the title of this chapter, could be taken two ways — Lawrence on screen (a study of the films), or Lawrence on the topic of film (a study of his comments, attitudes, and fictional or poetic representations of the subject itself). While the first meaning provides the focal point for this study, the second meaning gives rise to a fascinating area of inquiry in itself and one which has been gaining significant critical attention in recent years. Anyone interested in pursuing the other meaning of Lawrence on film should consult San Solecki's “D. H. Lawrence's View of Film” and Nigel Morris's “Lawrence's Response to Film” as an introduction to the subject (see note 12 below). Among Lawrence's own works, two of major relevance to this second issue are The Lost Girl, because it is his only novel to take on the cinema and the “Picture Palace” centrally rather than marginally, and also his painting Close Up, which attempts to capture mechanical (and therefore pornographic) passion through image rather than inscription. Lawrence's essay “Pornography and Obscenity” may provide an oblique explication of the painting in its statement that “close-up kisses on the film …excite men and women to secret and separate masturbation”: see Phoenix (New York: Viking Press, 1968), 187. For a student of Lawrence on film in its first sense, the painting Close Up is especially interesting because the male partner (perhaps the more grotesque of the two grotesque lovers) clearly resembles Oliver Reed as he played Gerald Crich in Ken Russell's 1969 adaptation of Women in Love. Finally, a major and recent contribution to the subject of Lawrence's achievement in relation to film is Linda Ruth Williams's 1993 study Sex in the Head: Visions of Femininity and Film in D. H. Lawrence. Here Williams suggests, among other things, that Lawrence's many overt attacks on film are belied or deconstructed by his own inherently cinematic practices. In Williams's unique vocabulary, Lawrence's self-proclaimed “scopophobia, ” or revulsion against looking, merely conceals a far deeper and highly productive “scopophilia, ” or love of the very thing he professes to hate. If so, Williams's point becomes one more among many verifications of Lawrence's familiar warning never to trust the artist (usually a damned liar) but only his tale instead.

-231-

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