Horace Gregory 's Short ( But Perfectly Formed D. H. Lawrence : Pilgrim Of The Apocalypse

Decent Essays

CHAPTER TWO Inquisitive D. H. Lawrence versus Anally Retentive Mr. Freud Horace Gregory’s short (but perfectly formed) D. H. Lawrence: Pilgrim of the Apocalypse (1933) explains how Lawrence’s two essays on psychoanalysis were motivated by his desire to understand. What he needed to understand was why he was as he was; how the development of masculinity and gender identity were influenced and how obstacles such as an over-possessive mother might impair these developments. Hence, his works on psychoanalysis were not written to be an acceptance of Freud’s doctrines but rather a critical approach to them. Gregory maintains the Lawrence’s essays on psychoanalysis ‘offered him the means of checking-back results of his convictions, and … …show more content…

What has to be realised, therefore, is that Lawrence’s introduction to psychoanalysis is different to his introduction to Freud and the two should not be confused. Arguably, though, on the question of understanding the influences on shaping one’s masculinity and gender identity, Lawrence’s encounters with Freud’s work were a turning point for him. Indeed, his assessments of Freud were that he was a pan-sexualist, that is, one ‘who makes sex accountable for everything,’ and his ‘reasoned’ assessment of Freud (and his work) was that he was a ‘psychiatric quack.’ Ironically, although sections in Sons and Lovers deal with situations that closely suggest what Freud called the Oedipus complex, Lawrence had written the book before he came to Freud’s work and before he mentioned Freud in his letters. Therefore, when we talk of the book’s oedipal quality and analyse Lawrence’s assessment of gender identity through Freudian psychology, this obviously presents its own problems. That is not to say such a quality does not exist in the book. It does; but Lawrence did not write with the criteria of Freud’s Oedipus complex in mind. Lawrence’s theories about the role of the mother and her influence on masculine development must therefore have been coloured by other reading. Some of what Lawrence had read up to this point is documented by Jessie Chambers.

Get Access