Critical opinion is largely united in seeing D. H. Lawrence's novel The Plumed Serpent as a strange and troubling work, offering a puzzling synthesis of primitivism, idealized masculinity, and authoritarian politics. However, there has been little attempt to grapple with the book's Mexican setting beyond its function as site of cultural exoticism. This article argues that the cultural projects of Mexican revolutionary nationalism in the 1920s provided a key impetus for the utopian thought experiments of The Plumed Serpent. Specifically, the article contends that contemporary Mexican debates around indigenousness were absorbed by Lawrence as he prepared the novel.


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