Travel expresses D. H. Lawrence’s negotiating on the border between the character’s inside and his/her outside. What the stream-of-consciousness representatives resolved as the refuge into the personage’s interiority is here still a function of the exteriority – a mode of thinking that renders, in fact, the impossible Lawrencian divorce from the matter, from the touchable, sensorial aspect of our existential given. Human mind has sinuosities, it is often unaccountable and surprising, Lawrence seems to admit. But the temptation of the exterior physical reality is still there, and one cannot deny the interconnectedness between the elements of two essential oppositions: mind-flesh; individual-environment. While recording an obvious process of inner dissolution, Lawrence muses on the threads that still link us to what we usually call objective reality; he still toys with the narrative possibilities of the landscape; he still projects exteriority upon his existential dilemmas, preaching, not only in purely narrative terms, but also with the philosopher’s voice, the faith in that palpable “something” in which our consciousnesses are inextricably immured. Beyond the lure of objectual symbolism that the writer cannot escape, his discourse tries to capture a paradox: dealing with (and being in) the object and the subject at the same time.
Unlike the majority of critical studies on D.H. Lawrence’s travel writing, which focus on the biographical purport of travel, Camelia Anghel’s thesis centres round the textual aspect of the literary, which definitely contributes to the originality of the approach. In an age when cultural studies visibly undermine the authority of the textual evidence and of the aesthetic, the book regards Lawrence’s works as a sum of literary discourses that incorporate the substance of sociohistorical criticism, thus revaluing the unifying potential of a structuralist pattern and the British writer’s atypical modernism.
Prof. Rodica Mihăilă, University of Bucharest