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BOOK REVIEWS recently proven so prolific that it poses an overwhelming challenge to any author. But Joyce's Metamorphosis raises a perplexing question: Dare one ignore a quarter century of revolutionary scholarship when publishing a new book on Joyce? Perhaps a critic as astute and intelligent as Stanley Sultan might be sufficiently skilled to bring it off. Suzette A. Henke ______________ University of Louisville Lawrence & Lacan Earl Ingersoll. D. H. Lawrence, Desire, and Narrative. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. xi + 197 pp. $55.00 EARL INGERSOLL'S compelling Lacanian interpretation of four of the major novels of D. H. Lawrence, as well as his revaluation of the significance of the minor novel Mr Noon, represents a study that he has invested the past ten years in completing. He provides an innovative reading of Lawrence as a postmodern writer, offering new readings of The White Peacock, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love, and Mr Noon in support of his position that Lawrence studies have suffered from the failure of Lawrence scholars to examine the author within a postmodernist or deconstructionist framework. To overcome this neglect and to place Lawrence within the canon of postmodernist authors, Ingersoll uses Lacan's interpretation of the rhetorical and linguistic constructs of metaphor and metonymy as they reflect post-Freudian psychoanalytic theory as keys to providing the understanding of what many critics have considered serious flaws in Lawrence's narrative structure and character development. Specifically, Ingersoll sees his study as providing a new perspective from which to address the problems of discourse and closure that have arisen from previous readings of Lawrence. In adapting Lacan's interpretation of metaphor, metonymy, desire and gaze in their psychoanalytic constructs, he proposes to resolve many of the troublesome ambiguities of style and meaning previously projected in non-Lacanian readings of Lawrence's work. D. H. Lawrence, Desire, and Narrative begins with Ingersoll's provision of a brief but meticulous survey of leading Lacanian, feminist, and post-Freudian psychoanalytic approaches to literary criticism in general , focusing particularly upon the work of Kristeva, Jakobson, Brooks, Cixous, Foucault and Derrida. He also addresses a number of cinematic approaches that depend upon such Lacanian terms as "gaze" and "de487 ELT 45 : 4 2002 sire" and their function in narrative, principally those of Laura Mulvey and John Ellis, and elaborates upon their usefulness in appreciating and understanding Lawrence's narrative style. This survey, in itself, represents a valuable tool for understanding the significance of poststructuralism and its influence on late twentieth-century literary criticism . He laments the bogging down of Lawrence criticism in the still popular , traditional biographical and "structuralist" approaches to his work. These vacillate, he suggests, between the "pop-Freudian," the traditional biographical and the "trendy" journalistic biographical approaches that the trade houses have embraced in the wake of "Womanist" studies and the discovery of a popular audience that feeds on intimate, gossipy, revelation. He cites, as the most recent contributions of this kind, the studies of Frieda Lawrence's influence on her husband by Janet Byrne and Brenda Maddox. Such a direction, he proposes, while ranging in importance and value in view of the insight it provides into the evolution of Lawrence the writer as well as Lawrence the man, "has taken its toll on Lawrence studies." The result has been Lawrence's exclusion from his rightful place in poststructuralist or postmodernist criticism. More significantly, he posits, it has resulted in a virtual ignoring of Lawrence's work by Lacanian critics. This is lamentable, Ingersoll argues, because Lacanian theory provides a valuable means to move Lawrence studies away from problematic psychoanalytic approaches to his work with their anchorage or allegiance either to Freud or to Jung toward a more contemporary postFreudian acceptance and validation. His arguments for his position are convincingly developed; nevertheless, they are not altogether sustained if one considers the admirable body of work undertaken in Europe and in the United Kingdom over the past fifteen years under the leadership of Ginette Roy (University of Paris X-Nanterre) and of Peter Preston (University of Nottingham's D. H. Lawrence Institute). Each has acted as a conduit to encourage new directions in Lawrence studies and has, indeed, been...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 487-490
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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