Sunday, February 27, 2011
After our "Women in Love" discussion in class about Loerke as a possible representation of the German Expressionist Art movement I immediately thought of artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Kirchner's work was loathed by anti-Semites and much of the art world because of its bold colors, abstracted forms, and risque subject matter. His work was labeled "degenerate" in 1933 by the Nazis. Soon after hundreds of his works were destroyed and five years later he committed suicide from a wild depression. Many of the other members of the German Expressionist group Die Brucke (The Bridge) suffered the same fate, as the beginnings of World War II made successful careers impossible. Here is a picture of Kirchner's early work "Marcella" from 1909-10, which reminded me of Loerke's nude girl on a horse. Ursula and Lawrence would probably find this painting erotic, stiff, and offensive. The young girl Marcella was actually a child model of the controversial Kirchner, their relationship leaves much to the imagination as members of the Die Brucke movement often had young models. The girl, according to recent findings is probably 14 or 15 in this painting. We can imagine Loerke's work of the nude girl on a horse to be similar in content. It's fascinating to see how characters from "Women In Love" are connected to the larger world.
Monday, February 21, 2011
This picture is by Edward Gorey, who was a writer and illustrator active in the latter half of the twentieth century. He frequently drew nonsensical and macabre images that took place in a vaguely Edwardian world. This image reminds me of D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love for a number of reasons. Superficially, it is like Women in Love in that it takes place in the Edwardian era country home of an industrial magnate. From the picture above the fireplace and the view through the window, it appears that this family’s wealth is based on some sort of factory. As in Women in Love, the owning family physically and emotionally distances themselves from the rough work of the exploited working class. To my knowledge this was not based on Women in Love, but several characters in the picture parallel characters in the novel. There is the founding father in the portrait and a lower-class-looking woman pleading with him in the foreground. An oddly dressed woman is scene carrying a large stone in the background, which reminds me of the time that Hermione attacked Rupert. The woman putting a baby in a vase (and the abandoned child in the bottom corner) reminds me of both Mrs. Crich and Linda (from “Prelude”), the two neglectful mothers that we read about. There is even a person falling out of a boat and into a lake in the background. Overall, the picture plays on the major theme of violence from Women in Love. The characters violent desires are contrasted with their somewhat strict and proper surroundings in both the novel and this picture. While this picture is (a little) more nonsensical than the novel, I believe that it embodies several major aspects of the novel. I cannot, however, account for the large presence of frogs in the image.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
While surfing the web this morning, I came across something pretty interesting. The BBC, in what they are calling their new, "Modern Love Season", will be making another adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love. Written by William Ivory, the adaptation will be a two-part drama, as Ivory, in an attempt to cohere to Lawrence's original vision, will mend The Rainbow and Women in Love together. And yes - for all of you wondering, the new adaptation will feature a recreation of the famous, in-the-buff, wrestling match between Rupert and Gerald.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Chapter XXIII, “Excurse,” in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love is incredibly revealing as it provides insight into Ursula Brangwen’s fiery personality and staunch attitudes toward marriage. The scene in this chapter also illustrates how Rupert Birkin’s desires remain unclear.
Rupert, in an attempt to ask for Ursula’s hand in marriage, gives her three rings wrapped in paper and says, “Look . . . what I bought” (Lawrence 302). When she asks him why he presents her with such gifts, he replies “coolly” that he wanted to do so and offers no further explanation (302). This scene is riddled with imagery that seems to mirror the personalities of these two characters. The fact that Rupert gives Ursula three rings shows how undecided he is. Each ring seems to reflect one of the three people in his life—Ursula, Hermione, and Gerald Crich. The blue ring could represent Hermione, “rose-shaped, beautiful sapphire, with small brilliants” (303). The yellow ring reminds the reader of masculinity, if not specifically Gerald: “a squarish topaz set in a frame of steel, or some other similar material, finely wrought” (303). The ring that symbolizes Ursula is the one she takes a particular liking to—the “round opal, red and fiery, set in a circle of tiny rubies” (303). This ring is the only one that fits Ursula’s fingers, exclusively on her ring finger, which invokes Ursula’s superstition. She believes that opals are unlucky. To this, Rupert replies, “I prefer unlucky things. Luck is vulgar. Who wants what luck would bring? I don’t” (304). If we focus on the imagery, Rupert seems to be saying that he prefers Ursula to Hermione and Gerald, though it is unclear whether or not he means it. Also, the concept of luck used here makes Rupert’s words appear hauntingly foreshadowing.
When Rupert and Ursula begin to argue, the latter starts to show resemblances to her ring. Lawrence’s narrative reinforces this idea through such lines as “Suddenly a flame ran over her” and “Her fury seemed to blaze out and burn [Rupert’s] face” (307). When she throws the rings at Rupert, one hits his face and the others hit his coat before they fall into the mud (309). The narrative does not reveal which of the three rings touches his face, but we can assume that it was the opal because of its previous distinction from the others and the fact that the narrative mentions how Ursula’s anger seemed to “burn his face.” We must also acknowledge that the ring touching Rupert’s face offers a stronger image than the others hitting his coat. Despite any importance one ring might hold over the others, however, they all end up in the dirt, turning beauty into something “dirty and gritty” (309). After they conclude their argument, Ursula “traces with her hands the line of his loins and thighs, at the back, and a living fire ran through her, from him, darkly” (313). As this quotation suggests, the red and fiery opal ultimately manifests itself not only in Ursula’s anger and resentment toward Rupert but also in her love for him and, conversely, his love for her.
Ursula’s fieriness relates to an earlier chapter, “Threshold,” in which Gudrun discusses with Gerald and Rupert how her sister feels about marriage. “I don’t think she wants an engagement,” says Gudrun. “Naturally, she’s a bird that prefers the bush” (289). If Gudrun’s intuition of her sister’s feelings is correct, then the red opal—its color bringing to mind liberation as well as fury and love—is a stark representation of Ursula.
Through this scene in “Excurse,” Lawrence uses these strong ring images and symbols in order to shed light on his characters and, perhaps, create a tension that foreshadows a greater conflict at the end of the novel.
Lawrence, D.H. Women in Love. New York: Penguin, 2007.
Friday, February 11, 2011
By Bryan Newell
His father told him that story.
He read the verses backward but that was not poetry.
A batlike soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness.
This race and this country and this life produced me,
I shall try to fly by those nets.
A face looking two ways, the oozing wall of a urinal
It thrilled him to think of it in the silence.
He suffered time after time in memory.
Through them he had glimpses of the real world about him
As if he really sought someone who eluded him.
Perhaps they had taken refuge in an ecstasy of fear.
He began to taste the joy of his loneliness.
He heard what her eyes said to him, he had heard their tale before
Feigning a still greater haste,
Battling against the squalor of his life and the riot of his mind
He seemed to have put himself beyond the limits of reality.
A cry for an iniquitous abandonment.
The echo of an obscene scrawl.
The stars of heaven were falling upon the earth
Nay, things which are good in themselves become evil in hell.
Amid peace and shimmering light he made a covenant with his heart
To say it in words
The idea of surrender had a perilous attraction
At once from every part of his being unrest began to irradiate
Pink tinges of suffocated anger
His destiny was to be elusive.
Mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose across the deserts of the sky
The first phrase of apprehension.
His anger was also a form of homage:
A symbol of the artist forging anew.
A priest of eternal imagination
What kind of liberation would that be?
Was that poetry?
*The above is a poem comprised entirely of Joycean phrases from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
However, though Ragtime, and in this case Aba Daba Honeymoon do portray a sense of frivolous fun in its kooky and “ragged” tune – it underlines a lot of derogatory and racial slurs within its text. When looking through some old images of record covers and even other media images – often times the portrayal of African Americans was very savagely drawn, depicting them almost as wild and barbaric and in many cases with an uncanny resemblance to monkeys. This obviously echoed the context and ideas of the times as viewing the African American race as inferior, primitive and savage. And though Aba Daba Honeymoon might portray these “monkeys” as being “happy and gay” it appears to be in a context of a very simplistic and rudimentary based pleasure (simply chatting away nonsense). A lot of these stereotypes and biases can also be found within Indissoluble Matrimony by Rebecca West that depicts the colored race in Evadne’s character as inferior, simple, and easily amused.
And HERE you can find the video!
|Women Golfing - 1905 (Middle Class Dress)|
|Evening Dress from 1912 - V&A Museum, London|
|Fashion Plate of the Upper Class in front of Harrods - 1909|
Judging by the first few chapters in Women in Love, D. H. Lawrence seems to have a fixation with women's fashion of the time. He frequently dedicates paragraphs to outfit descriptions, especially those of Gudrun (i.e. p.7: "She was aware of her grass-green stockings, her large grass-green velour hat, her full soft coat . . ."). So, to better understand what Lawrence is talking about and to create a visualization for myself (specifically of Ursula and Gudrun), I looked up some pictures online of English fashion in the 1910s. My favorite is the third image of the women in front of Harrods. I would guess that Gudrun is aiming for this look, since she has just come back from London at the beginning of the novel. However, she and Ursula's means probably land them somewhere around the first image of middle class women. Hope this helps!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
I will analyze a passage from the end of Stephen's epiphany on the strand, page 150-1, lines 854-902, beginning with the phrase “a girl stood before him in midstream...” This passage chronicles Stephen's final thoughts about his decision to reject the Jesuits offer to him to join their order. It depicts an important stage in the victory in his soul of creativity over faith. In the course of his walk on the seashore he has begun to hear “the call of life to his soul” replacing and overcoming the “inhuman voice that had called him to the pale service of the altar” but it is not until this moment that his faith really dies (Joyce 148). Joyce makes clear that this is the moment of the final death of his religion and the birth of his artistry in several ways. He does it by providing him with a new Virgin to worship, by filling the moment with bird imagery and by foreshadowing the poem he will soon write that uses religious imagery to serve his profane sensuality. The girl on the seashore wears Mary's co lors of white and blue. Stephen looks at her with a “worshipful gaze” and decides that she is a “wild angel” that has come to “throw open before him...the gates of all the ways of error and glory,” explicitly religious phrases that reveal his conversion from the worship of God to the worship of life and creativity (Joyce 150). The description of the girl compares her to a bird six times in eleven lines. Father Arnall employs bird imagery in his illustration of the eternity the condemned will spend in hell, but Joyce repurposes it to represent Stephen's escape from religion, an association made obvious by Stephen's preoccupation with birds after refusing his mother's request that he take Easter communion (Joyce 115, 197-8). Stephen calling the girl as a “wild angel” is no accident either. This word choice connects the scene to the writing of the only poem of Stephen's that we get to read, which is inspired by a vision of “seraphic life,” and which contains the line “lure of the fallen seraphim,” and portrays the girl he likes as a sultry temptress (Joyce 191). Thus Stephen's bird-girl represents his return to sensuality and creativity and his departure from the cold arms of religiosity.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The factor of the repetition of the same thing will perhaps not appeal to everyone as a source of uncanny feeling. From what I have observed, this phenomenon does undoubtedly, subject to certain conditions and combined with certain circumstances, arouse an uncanny feeling, which, furthermore, recalls the sense of helplessness experienced in some dream-states. As I was walking, one hot summer afternoon, through the deserted streets of a provincial town in Italy which was unknown to me, I found myself in a quarter of whose character I could not long remain in doubt. nothing but painted women were to be seen at the windows of the small houses, and I hastened to leave the narrow street at the next turning. But after having wandered about for a time without enquiring my way, I suddenly found myself back in the same street, where my presence was now beginning to excite attention. I hurried away once more, only to arrive by another detour at the same place yet a third time. Now, however, a feeling overcame me which I can only describe as uncanny, and I was glad enough to find myself back at the piazza I had left a short while before, without any further voyages of discovery. ….
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Inspired by a composer that was in the vanguard of British music in the 20th century, Benjamin Britten once wrote that hearing William Walton’s music was a “great turning point in his musical life.” We’ll trace the arc of Walton’s life and his associations with some of the greatest artists of his time.