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Destinies of Splendor

Sexual Attraction in D. H. Lawrence


Douglas Wuchina

Frieda Lawrence once remarked, «Nobody seems to have an idea of the quality of Lawrence’s and my relationship, the essence of it.… The deep attraction was there and that was what counts.» This insightful and original study investigates how one of the finest literary minds of the twentieth century experienced deep sexual attraction. In close readings of all of D. H. Lawrence’s major novels, Douglas Wuchina charts the growth of sexual attraction between Lawrencian couples as it affects both body and spirit. The theoretical framework is not Foucault’s or Lacan’s or Bakhtin’s but Lawrence’s own, with frequent reference to his innovative theory of the chakras and his rejection of modern partnership marriage in favor of «blood» attraction. Drawing on a variety of sources, psychological and sexological in addition to literary – this is one of the first studies to make extensive use of revealing drafts that have only recently become available in the Cambridge edition of Lawrence’s works – Destinies of Splendor persuasively argues that the familiar strategies of Freudian pathologization and feminist denigration of Lawrence are not viable and that it is possible to reaffirm Lawrence’s romantically sensitive vision of the sexual bond between man and woman.