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Pictures and Fictions

Visual Modernism and the Pre-War Novels of D.H. Lawrence

Nancy Kushigian

D.H. Lawrence wanted to write a new kind of fiction. To do so, he turned to the images and aesthetic ideas of visual artists. Pictures and Fictions is the first full-length study to explore the nature of Lawrence's early intellectual and stylistic debt to the Italian Futurists, to 19th century English arts and crafts, botanical drawing, aestheticism, and genre painting, and to early Germanic expressionism. Drawing on both published and unpublished texts, the author discusses The White Peacock within its West Midlands industrial setting, tracing the formative influence on Lawrence of his board school training, where drawing and empirical method were conceptually tied. Through close textual analysis the study proposes that Sons and Lovers may be read as a Künstlerroman, and that there and in The Rainbow Lawrence uses a pictorial method that radically influences our critical interpretations by presenting visual subtexts that sometimes reinforce, but sometimes contradict verbal narrative.