A "Strange Sapience": The Creative Imagination of D.H. Lawrence

By Daniel Dervin | Go to book overview

9
Creative selfhood

I do not maintain that every image of an erotic encounter is a primal scene representation, but I believe that such images may have specific traits which label them as "primal scene material." First among these traits is the characteristic double identification, which may be either simultaneous or alternating . . . -- Henry Edelheit1

But it is the fight of opposites which is holy. -- C,18

By now, we have seen something of the formation of the artist out of the matrix of early development. In order to get closer to Lawrence's inner turmoil, we have paid less attention to analysis of fully formed fictional characters than to interpretations of imagery and symbol, of memory and motif. And by rolling aside the stone of infantile narcissism we have been able to explore the cavernous early relationships with the mother. Their delineation may now in summary reveal the continuum along which the self develops.

The infant's whirl of primordial sensations resolves itself into partial representations -- fluids, substances, and various fragments -- of its own organism and of the mother at the so-called preobject stage. Out of such diffuse and oceanic experience emerges a fantasy of primary harmony which may carry the first inklings of a creative romance with the world. During this era of dual-unity the mother has been referred to in psychoanalytic parlance as the cosmic object or the holding environment in order to better approximate the child's felt experience prior to his achieving total-object comprehension of her as a separate person with her own individual self, needs, and relationships. Gratified wishes may contribute to idealization, frustrated wishes to projection; respectively, they may form the earliest building blocks for divine or demonic versions of the Family Romance fantasy.

In Winnicott's view the "good-enough mother" serves as an instinct barrier to the child, who must neither be left fully at the mercy of his own impulses nor solely to the slings and arrows of

-181-

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A "Strange Sapience": The Creative Imagination of D.H. Lawrence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Key to Titles ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Fantasy 14
  • 2 - Reality 39
  • 3 - Symbol 48
  • 4 - Body 76
  • 5 - Play 111
  • 6 - Origins 127
  • 7 - Projection 148
  • 8 - Sun 166
  • 9 - Creative Selfhood 181
  • Appendixes 201
  • Appendix 1 - On Symbol Formation 203
  • Appendix 2 - On the Relation of Aggression To Creativity and Sexuality 206
  • Appendix 3 - On Maturation Versus Development 212
  • Notes 215
  • Selected Bibliography 231
  • Index 241
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