This paper considers aspects of D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers that seem to strain the novel’s narrative economy, aspects, in other words, that seem unnecessary to the Bildung plot of the protagonist, Paul Morel.  These moments of “excess”—many of which concern a relationality that consistently outstrips Paul's narrative centrality—work to undermine the very notion of autonomous selfhood upon which the novel’s narrative mechanics are erected.  Through analyses of the multifocal part one and the precarious “space” of Walter Morel, I suggest that Lawrence’s modernist Bildungsroman gestures toward an ontology of relatedness—of “being-with”—that consistently resists the tidy generic apparatus of the Victorian Bildungsroman. Lawrence’s early novel thus clears an aesthetic space for later modernist development narratives that are left with the task of refashioning a vital novelistic genre to accommodate a radically different model of selfhood.


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pp. 301-317
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