Aspects of survival in the poetry of DH Lawrence and Ted Hughes

Abstract :

The early poetry of Lawrence and Hughes is examined, with particular reference to the various ways in which each writer views the survival process. Lawrence’s concept of “consummation” and “blood-consciousness” is discussed and compared with Hughes’s idea of a Nature Goddess at the centre of existence. Lawrence’s utilization of the priest-figure, and Hughes’s adoption of the shaman’s mask are discussed. For Lawrence human survival depends on a sense of renewal through sexual polarity; for Hughes, survival is a series of encounters with the spirit of nature through shamanic experiences of death. Lawrence’s journey to the level of “blood consciousness” is examined with reference to examples from the first three sections of “Birds, Beasts and Flowers”. Emotional, as opposed to intellectual, awareness is compared with examples from “Crow and Gaudete”, by Hughes. The difference between Lawrence’s advocacy of the demonic and that of Hughes is discussed in terms of the developing perspectives of each writer with regard to Western scientific empiricism and a concomitant loss of spiritual awareness in an industrial age. Lawrence’s developing misanthropy is examined in “Birds, Beasts and Flowers” and links a hostility to feminism and democracy with a movement, in the poetry, towards animism and certain aspects of Etruscan and Greek civilization. Hughes’s volume “Cave Birds” is used to demonstrate the widening rift between Lawrence’s advocacy of masculine supremacy, aristocracy and violence, and Hughes’s concern with the idea of guilt and responsibility as catalysts to change. Lawrence’s death poems and Hughes’s nature poetry of the late 1970s and early 1980s are compared. Lawrence’s view of survival is inextricably linked to a myth of eternal return, as the Dark God of blood-consciousness recycles his universe from “oblivion” to a “new dawn”. Hughes depicts the Goddess of natural process as a feminine conscience and a healing presence in both human consciousness and the nonhuman world.

 

Details

Author Read VS
URL http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/177460
Date Accessioned 2016-09-26T06:30:39Z
Date Available 2016-09-26T06:30:39Z
Date Created
Identifier URL 1995
Language English
Subject English literature
Subject 2 English literature
Alternative Title
Degree Type Doctoral degree
Degree Description  D Litt