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66 Western American Literature 20th century literature, he criticizes Lawrence when necessary. When, in a letter about his history textbook Movements in European History, Lawrence says “I feel in a historical mood. . . . The chief feeling is, that men were all alike, and always will be, and one must view the species with contempt . . . and find a few individuals to rule the species,” Sagar points out the dangerous elitism of these sentiments, nor does he fail to indicate a few pernicious aspects about Lawrence’s “blood religion.” despite its central importance in Lawrence’s work. A good biography will evince some degree of originality, not an easy feat considering how much attention Lawrence’s life and career have received. Sagar enlivens his biography with some arresting insights and judgments. It is almost a convention today in Sons-and-Lovers criticism to assume that this novel suffers from Lawrence’s confusion about his relationship to his mother. Even Lawrence claimed later that he would have written “a differ­ ent Sons and l.overs now: my mother was wrong, and I thought she was absolutely right.” (Sagar, p. 59). Yet, according to Sagar, “his mother had been neither right nor wrong, or both right and wrong, and the novel as we have it, making no such judgements, is the better for its ambiguity” (p. 59). Moreover, Sagar ranks The Captain s Doll above The Fox. A distraction in Life is the inadequate separation between Sagar’s text and that of his quotations. The quotes are barely differentiated from Sagar’s words in the kind and size of type used. As there are many quotes, this is a sizable annoyance. However, Sagar is judicious in his selection of quotes (many from Lawrence’s letters and works), and deft at integrating them into his narrative. How much do we need this book? \\re already have an authoritative and comprehensive biography in Harry T. Moore’s The Priest of Love. Though Sagar's book will not replace Moore (nor will it replace L. D. Clark’s more recent The Minoan Distance), it meets the need for a shorter, reliable, and very readable account of an extraordinary life, all in a handsome format. DONALD GUTIERREZ Western Neiv Mexico University Nezvs of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness. Edited by Robert Bly. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1980. 306 pages, $15.95 cloth, $7.95 paper.) Rather than being simply another poetry anthology (which is apparently what the editors of Sierra Club Books had in mind when they approached Robert Bly to compile a book of “nature poems” for them), News of the Reviews 67 Universe is both a celebration and an argument: a celebration in the sense of Bly’s obvious joy at the possibility of a poetry of “expanded consciousness,” an argument in the sense of establishing an other-than-modernist line as the major movement in 20th century poetry. In his journal The Fifties (later The Sixties and The Seventies), Bly has established a fruitful editorial strategy; in the Leaping Poetry issue, for example, he writes a series of short essays all centering on the notion of association, then follows each essay with a number of poems which serve as object lessons. His method in News of the Universe is the same, though here greatly expanded from the earlier volumes, as he gives us eight essays and over 150 poems and parts of poems, most of which do not appear in the standard anthologies. Bly sees Descarte’s formulation, “I think, therefore I am,” as the bulwark of the “Old Position,” solidifying an earlier Augustinian view of nature as evil. Because man thinks, he therefore possesses a certain nobility which sets him apart from his environment. For poets like Lessing, Pope, and Arnold, nature became the Other, something either to be feared or to be disdained, with civilization held out as the path to salvation. Romanticism was, of course, a rebellion against this trend, but Bly finds little use in the English Romantics who (save Blake) remained “primarily in the realm of feeling” ; even Keats, Bly suggests, found it necessary in a poem like “Ode to a Nightingale” to return to the comfort of human...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 66-68
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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