Dialogues with D. H. Lawrence: Connection, Collaboration, and Allusion

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Jo Jones (University of Manchester); Laura Ryan (University of Limerick)
contact email: 

In a 2023 article, the Black British writer Derek Owusu describes the transformative experience of reading D. H. Lawrence’s St Mawr (1925) as simultaneously an awakening to language and to a wider sense of connectedness. ‘I don’t have the words to describe what happened to me while turning the pages of that short story,’ he writes, ‘but I know language became something three-dimensional, and everything around me seemed connected by an unexpressed narrative.’

Connection – and the difficulty of connection, whether between humans across lines of gender, race, and time, or between man and the universe – was often a focus of Lawrence’s work and thought. He wrote in a letter of 1914, ‘I think the only re-sourcing of art, of re-vivifying it, is to make it more the joint work of man and woman’ (L2 181). Here, critical focus has lighted on the gendered implication of Lawrence’s words, but this is to overlook the element of collaboration that he sees as crucial to the production of art. No significant or wide-ranging study placing Lawrence in dialogue with other readers, writers, and thinkers has emerged in the past three decades. Instead, he has been frequently understood in a Romantic light: as an isolated genius set apart by his class and region. While efforts to understand Lawrence in his cultural context therefore abound, there is a dearth of criticism exploring his ‘joint work’ in terms of collaboration and conversation.

This collection looks to situate Lawrence within a diverse, expansive, and expanding network of connection, collaboration, and allusion. Whilst scholarship in recent years has worked hard to show the role that intertextuality and influence play in modernist texts – “making it new” with careful attention to what had come before (rather than a complete refutation, as F.R. Leavis and Hugh Kenner asserted) – these elements have hitherto been neglected or otherwise under-represented in Lawrence studies. A series of edited collections in the 1980s and early 1990s employ a rather narrow definition of ‘influence’, for example, outlining the direct impact Lawrence exercised upon a select group of exclusively white (and mostly male) English and American novelists. Rather than singling him out – or locating him within a hierarchy – we want to place Lawrence in dialogue with others, conceiving his ‘joint work’ as a complex and multidirectional flow of ideas across time and place.

The editors invite chapters exploring the writers, works, ideas, and philosophies that impacted Lawrence’s own oeuvre, and the work of those for whom Lawrence was (and remains) an important interlocutor. Though aimed at an academic publisher, we are open to non-traditional submissions (interviews, autobiographical writing, creative non-fiction, poetry) and encourage innovative approaches. Contributors may wish to consider topics including (but not limited to):

 

-        Intertextuality in his work: his allusions to other authors, poets, artists, and composers

-        Creative relationships or collaborations with his contemporaries

-        Lawrence as a translator

-        Lawrence participating in other genres beyond modernism: Decadence, Symbolism, Naturalism, Realism, etc.

-        Lawrence’s work from perspectives beyond the literary: science/law/education

-        Lawrence within a community of authors, whether contemporaneously or posthumously

-        Lawrence in other languages: translated and/or in new national contexts

-        Adapting (or reclaiming) Lawrence in the 21st century, for example through ecocriticism, feminist theory, queer theory, Marxism, or disability studies

-        Lawrence’s reception through time and in different spaces

-        Lawrence’s writing process: drafts and different versions as intertexts in conversation with each other

-        Collaborating and/or connecting with Lawrence in later times: adaptations of Lawrence’s work on film or on stage; rewritings of his work; fictionalisations of his life

 

If you are interested in contributing, please submit an abstract of 400 words and a short bio to Jo Jones (Jo.jones@manchester.ac.uk) and Laura Ryan (laura.e.ryan@ul.ie) by 30th November 2024.