The use of mythology in the novels of D. H. Lawrence

Youssef, Tawfik I. M (1975) The use of mythology in the novels of D. H. Lawrence. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Myth is so prevalent in D.H. Lawrence's novels that it constitutes a major subject-matter and an essential structural factor in his novels. Lawrence draws upon mythology for the plots, themes, symbols and imagery of his novels and uses myth as models for the form and shape of his novels. Lawrence was immersed in mythology and anthropology. He compared and interpreted many of the world's myths and adapted them to suit his own purposes. Myths from various cultures are woven into the fabric of his novels. In this thesis I have attempted a study of the mythological background of Lawrence's novels. Various mythologies such as primitive, Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian, Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Norse, Druidic, Celtic, Aztec and Persian mythologies have been drawn upon to explain the meaning of the novels. A special use has been made of the anthropological, sociological and psychological study of myth to explain the action and the structure of the novels. Broadly speaking I have explained Lawrence's use of the myth of the Magna Mater in The White Peacock, The Trespasser, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love and Aaron's Rod. I have studied Lawrence's use of the Pan myth in The White Peacock, The Plumed Serpent, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. I have interpreted Sons and Lovers as an Oedipal myth. I have pointed out Lawrence's use of the myth of Persephone and Pluto in his novels and interpreted The Lost Girl as a work deriving its theme and structure from this myth. The use of the myths of the Golden Age and the paradisal past in The Rainbow and Women in Love has been explained. Lawrence's utopian vision in Women in Love, The Boy in the Bush, and The Plumed Serpent has been explored. Lawrence's apocalyptic vision especially in Women in Love, The Plumed Serpent and Lady Chatterley's Lover has been examined. The use of the mythic hero in Aaron's Rod, Kangaroo and The Plumed Serpent has also been analysed. Lawrence's use of the myth of the tyrant god in Kangaroo, the wandering hero in The Boy in the Bush, the dying-resurrected god in The Plumed Serpent and various others, and Eros in Lady Chatterley's Lover have also been pointed out. Myth, as used in Lawrence's novels is primarily functional. Lawrence uses myth and. ritual for the structure of his novels. The formula of the mythic hero's adventure constitutes a structural factor in Kangaroo and The Plumed Serpent. The pattern of initiation rituals is manipulated in Aaron's Rod and The Boy in the Bush and The Plumed Serpent. The ritual and myth of some fertility cults is used in Lady Chatterley's Lover. Dionysic as well as death and rebirth rituals form an important part of the novels' patterns. Myth is also used to: evoke our deepest responses and to suggest meaning by employing some mythological symbols; to give intensity, seriousness and objectivity to the novels; to create an atmosphere of mystery and wonder; to revive the mythic vision in order to re-connect man with nature and to the roots of life; and to regulate human life by suggesting some ideals and models of behaviour. Various mythological symbols and archetypes used in the novels have been pointed out. Stylistic devices connected with myth have also been discussed. I have tried to trace the myths used in the novels to their sources and origins. I have also explained the influence which these sources exercised on Lawrence's thought and on the writing of the novels.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Lisabeth Atkinson
Keywords: British & Irish literature
Date of Award: 1975
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1975-72847
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72847

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