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175 resolved either characterologicalIy or fictionally, and that the book therefore suffers from a structural weakness which is not overcome by Lawrence's mere assertion in the very last sentence that Paul turns to the lights of the town, i.e., chooses life rather than death. It may be argued that this idea is precisely what Lawrence intended to convey; it may even be argued—Professor Weiss hints at this—that Lawrence himself had attained such a resolution of his own conflict and took this means of recording it. But it seems to many readers to have the ring of a wish-fulfilling statement which flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that the book so abundantly adduces. As an indication of what was in Lawrence's mind, perhaps it is accurate. Asa depiction of Paul's choice it is badly done. It looks more like ambivalence than resolution. Current ego-psychology helps us to make such distinctions; they are less likely to occur to us If we stick to the "safe" equivalence of psychic reality and the representation of reality in the story. In his introductory chapter Professor Weiss performs a useful service by pointing out that psychology has become a part of the basis on which fiction is judged. "From having been mildly interested in the psychological components of a work of art, the generality of readers is coming to insist that they be accurate, and inaccuracy puts as much of a tax on their sense of probability as gods from machines and other miraculous and melodramatic devices....The psychological accuracy of an action is the new decorum." It appears that "the generality of readers" has arrived at the place where Freud and Jones were over fifty years ago; it would be too bad if a cultural lag of this magnitude were permitted serious students of literature. But these remarks should not be taken to imply any derogation of Professor Welss's work. Leaving aside what might have been, and looking at what is before us, we can only praise his success in fulfilling the task he set himself. It is carefully delimited, clearly thought through, and meticulously wrought. By his own criterion of accuracy, he has acquitted himself with honor. University of Toledo Louis Fralberg 2. Lawrence's Short Stories. Klngsley Widmer. THE ART OF PERVERSITY: D. H. UWRENCE'S SHORTER FICTION. Seattle: The University of Washington Press, 1962. $6.50. When Kingsley Widmer's interesting book—THE ART OF PERVERSITY—appeared, our editor recalled immediately the substance of some chance remarks I had made to him a few years ago: that, though I had no great esteem for Lawrence's novels, I did have enormous respect for some of his short stories, wished more people knew about them, and hoped they would some day get the critical attention they deserved . Kingsley Widmer is now seeing to it that Lawrence's shorter fiction gets the attention it deserves and, because Mr. Widmer has a fine critical intelligence, his book will be read with interest and profit by those who already cherish Lawrence's shorter fiction. I hope it will also lead more people to these works. Some of them—like "The Rocking-Horse Winner," "The Horse-Dealer's Daughter," "Fanny and Annie," "The Lovely Lady," and "The Prussian Officer"—rank among the best short stories written in our time. 176 One of the very pleasant facts about Widmer's book is that his admiration at no point causes him to ignore Lawrence's cliches, his poetizing, his overuse of coincidence, his melodrama, his occasional suffocating humorlessness, and his tendency to take himself very seriously indeed. Mr. Widmer gives us five chapters and an Afterword. The five chapters attemtp to order all of Lawrence's shorter fiction around what Mr. Widmer believes to be their basic themes: viz, "Parables of Annihilation," "The Demon Lover," "The Destructive Woman," "The Extremity of Eros," and "Parables of Regeneration." The chapter titles do look somewhat too precious, but they finally make good enough sense, mainly because the author so well and carefully spells out their meaning in his chapters. One danger of Mr. Widmer's treatment is that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 175-177
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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