Artistic Weakness: A Thematic Analysis of D. H. Lawrence’s St Mawr
Abstract. D. H. Lawrence’s St Mawr (1925) is known as a modernist example of an open-ended and inconclusive work of art. The novella is abound with ideological dualities such as nature vs. civilization; man vs. woman, and body vs. spirit that stem from and make the core of the writer’s personal, philosophical and political beliefs. This article argues that the open-endedness of the novella is more a sign of Lawrence’s artistic weakness at handling an overload of symbols and ideas rather than a modernist element enriching the novella with different layers of meaning open to different interpretations. It is argued that, approaching the end, the reader feels that he is entrapped within a complex web of ideas for which Lawrence’s attempt to reach a resolution proves futile. Lawrence’s artistic weakness shows itself in his uncertainty regarding a resolution for the complicated dualities and mysterious symbols he introduces in his novella. St Mawr, accordingly, seems an unfinished work overloaded with philosophical ideas rather than a multi-layered text created by the visionary power of the imagination.
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