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BOOK REVIEWS Though well-written and knowledgeable, Meyers's biography seems to lack enthusiasm for its subject one way or another. At one point, Meyers appears to agree with Maugham's "betters" when he says, "Maugham never suffered from writer's block. He was hardworking, hasty, always driven and sometimes careless___Maugham applied himself , did his best and (even when dissatisfied) published it anyway." At another point, he argues that Maugham "wrote outstanding works in every genre: plays, stories and novels, essays, travel books and autobiographies___Maugham 's books—tender and brutal, surprising and cynical —are always intelligent and entertaining," though in the preface Meyers refers to Maugham as "Somersault" for his jumping from one genre to another. However, the lack of enthusiasm may not be a problem so much with Meyers as with his chosen subject. As Meyers sums up, there are many reasons to admire Maugham both personally and artistically , but ultimately these qualities do not balance out the man's many flaws. That may be the real tragedy of Maugham's life. TBOY J. bassett University of Kansas Lawrence's Paul Morel D. H. Lawrence. Paul Morel. Helen Baron, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. lviii + 324 pp. $100 MY unqualified congratulations to Cambridge University Press for the publication of Paul Morel, a volume that sets a new standard for accessible and provocative source material amid the already well-established record of excellence permeating the litany of Cambridge's definitive editions of D.H. Lawrence's prolific work. The book is impressively edited by Helen Baron, who provides a lengthy and incisive introduction that encompasses this lively and poignant early version of Sons and Lovers, in addition to important correlative documents in an intelligently conceived volume that includes fragments from the later third draft of the novel, and short episodes from this penultimate manuscript that were rewritten by Jessie Chambers, who hoped "to influence [Lawrence ] into giving a kinder representation of herself and their teenage romance." Because the characterization of Mrs. Morel remains so crucial to the situational context of Paul Morel and to Lawrence's conflicted perspective on his own mother, Baron wisely includes an evocative piece of fifteen pages from a novel planned by Lawrence on his mother's childhood 239 ELT 48 : 2 2005 that was to be called Matilda and was initiated about the time that he began to write Paul Morel. Although Lawrence never finished this ambitious work, in my reading of the preserved fragment it is notable both for its depiction of Matilda's powerful will and confidence (as a mere pre-adolescent ) when she expresses her reluctance to kiss the parson, and of the conditioned hate for her father that she learns from her mother. As I later note in this review, it is precisely these elements in the short excerpt from Matilda—an awe over the mother's power and a contempt for the father's weakness—that receive significant emphases in the characterization of the parents in Paul Morel. Unlike other Cambridge editions of earlier versions of major Lawrence works that generally avoid editorial judgments about the quality of the variant drafts, Baron remains persuasive and outspoken on the issues of comparative achievement that inform the revisions and redraftings of Sons and Lovers. While it is understandable that editors will use their prefatory remarks to defend the design and inclusiveness of the works they edit, Baron aptly justifies her metaphoric claim about the disparate fragments of Lawrence's art that she includes in the volume: "All have an illuminating role in relation to the two major fictions; rather like a mosaic of mirrors passing reflections back and forth between them." Paul Morel was composed from mid-March to July 1911, about sixteen months before Lawrence wrote Sons and Lovers. Baron carefully recounts the chronology of what amounts to an intensely preoccupying and palimpsestic form of composition by Lawrence during this period, as he fitfully struggles through the complex issues and multiple versions of his first masterpiece; it is a work that will provide his most detailed and passionate depiction in all his novels of the essential texture of his family life and young manhood. Paul Morel is the second...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 239-244
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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