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

By Daniel Dervin | Go to book overview

Appendix 1
On Symbol Formation

Thinking about symbolism within psychoanalysis begins at the very beginning when Freud in his famous Chapter 7 of The Interpretation of Dreams ( 1900) includes symbols under the heading of Indirect Representations. Ernest Jones retains this unconscious determinant and stresses the primitive nature, the condensation of several ideas within one image, and the "flow of significance. . . from the more essential to the less essential." The individual represses the affects of symbols and quite often may not be aware that he is using symbols at all. The number of symbols is great, but the number of ideas symbolized is small. These are ideas of the self ("the whole body or any separate part of it") and the immediate blood relatives, or of the phenomena of birth ("giving birth, begetting, or of being born oneself"), love ("more strictly sexuality. . . including excretory acts"), and death.

This appears sound enough, but I agree with Kubie's ( 1953) strictures against Jones for separating symbols from metaphors, similes, and other seemingly conscious literary representations. "There are no such discontinuities in nature as those who put symbolism of dreams in a category of its own would seem to imply," according to Kubie. This means not only that metaphors and similes may have funconscious components, but also that symbols may exist on conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels.

Kubie's work has proven to be valuable for a study of Lawrence. "Early in its formative process, every concept and its symbolic representatives develop two points of reference, one internal with reference to the boundaries of the body, and one external." This "dual anchorage" forms the basis for acquiring knowledge and serves as a "bridge between the inner and outer world." Of the many implications of this view, two stand out for our purposes: (I) The "infant experiences his psychic needs as changes in his vague sensory precepts of the parts, the products and the requirements of his own body." Thus the "first learning concerns itself entirely with bodily things," and all "expanding knowledge of the nonbodily world must relate itself automatically to that which has already been experienced in the bodily world." And (2) "Every conceptualization of the outer world comes into relationship with evolving conceptualizations of the body world" in such a way that "each can be and is used to represent the other."

To return to the English school of object-relations for additional insight is also to

-203-

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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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