1- Introduction
2- Idealism and Consciousness
3- Sex
4- Language
5- Duality
6- Love
7- Love as Terror Management
8- Lady Chatterley’s Lover
9- Conclusion


“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” writes F. R. Leavis “is a courageous, profoundly sincere and very deliberate piece of work; if it errs, it is not through lack of calculation. The trouble rather lies in being in certain ways too deliberate” (58). And it goes without saying that nearly all the controversy on Lawrence has been a result of his meticulousness, a deliberate piling up of details. That owes to Lawrence’s constant working and reworking of ideas and incessant definitions and redefinitions of the words in question which assume newer and newer aspects of meaning. As far as the question of human relationships, and along with that “sex and love”, is concerned Lawrence has got an extremely subtle and a very specific idea-definition which he has expanded in a very disjointed form, piece by piece in his works. It is in fact Lawrence’s style to develop his ideas in the course of writing, for he becomes certain of what he means while he is writing and he assumes the right of correcting himself later without having really erased the traces of his previous conclusions; at least the three versions of Lady Chatterley’s Lover bear witness to this. It might be either that he has failed, to some extent, in communicating his opinions because his constant explanations have not ended the disagreements on his works and the attacks on him; or that he has actually succeeded in transferring what he had in mind, but that the meticulousness of his works have left a huge bulk of detailed ideas which have confused the readers rendering them unable of making a clear idea out of them. I believe that the latter is the case. 

The other cause of the disagreements on his ideas and attacks on him is that his conceptions of human relationships are not presented in a coherent ‘theory of human relationships’ where he becomes a philosopher talking of relationships in abstract terms. All his viewpoints are distributed piece-meal across different novels, essays, and letters. Lawrence was an ambitious artist who became temporarily a philosopher to illuminate specific truths of human life and having illuminated the truth changed his role back into the artist. His becoming a philosopher and dealing with abstract terms was strongly against his own temper as an artist. “It seems to me” says he “that it was the greatest pity in the world, when philosophy and fiction got split. They used to be one, right from the days of myth. They went parted, like a nagging married couple…so the novel went sloppy and philosophy went abstract dry. The two should come together again in the novel” (quoted in Moore, 178). And he does actually try to bring fiction and philosophy together again. 

T. S. Eliot dismisses him as a writer saying “had Lawrence been sent to a public school and taken honours at a University he would not have been a jot less ignorant, had he become a don at Cambridge his ignorance might have had frightful consequences for himself and for the world, rotten and rotting others” (quoted in Leavis, 8). Some, like Bertrand Russell, believe his works and his ideas are not much worthy of consideration: “I do not think in retrospect that they [Lawrence’s works] had any merit whatever. They were the ideas of a sensitive would-be despot who got angry with the world because it would not instantly obey. When he realized that other people existed, he hated them. But most of his time he lived in a solitary world of his own imaginings, peopled by phantoms as fierce as he wished them to be”(quoted in Moore, 171-2). He is also sometimes “shrugged off as one who clutters his pornography with tiresome metaphysics, as an opinionated scribbler and poetaster, as one whose work culminates in the words of a recent editor of Punch in the ‘phallic idiocy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover’” (ibid). 

These attacks on Lawrence are countered by strong defences of him by critics in terms of defence of both his character as a writer and his artistic insights. Leavis writes that “Lawrence’s insights were a matter of being able to see what was there, as only genius can, and they went with as extraordinary power of relating insights, and not only of understanding situations comprising elements difficult to get at or recognize but of understanding whole comprehensive and complete fields of experience. His thinking, in fact, is so much superior to what is ordinarily called thinking that it tends not to be recognized for thinking at all” (Leavis, 309). In either case, I believe, it is indispensable first to outline his thoughts on human relationships to arrive at a definite idea of his theory, at the core of which lies ‘sex’, before judging him as ‘ignorant’, ‘rotten’, ‘despot’, or a ‘super-thinker’. 

Lawrence states in Apropos to Lady Chatterley’s Lover that he “want[s] men and women to be able to think sex, fully, completely, honestly, and cleanly” and has stated in a letter that he “always labour[s] at the same thing- to make the sex relation valid and precious, instead of shameful…beautiful and tender and frail as the naked self is….” (quoted in Hough, 149). It is very true that Lawrence’s approach to sex and love in Lady Chatterley’s Lover has been radically unconventional, the reason for its having allured censorship in England for years. He “surpassed even Flaubert and Tolstoy, Stendhal and Hardy in the degree of his concentration upon the state of love. For him sex was the frontier of the naked self” (Sanders, 15). Part of this concentration on sex and love owes to his apocalyptic view of human life and his consequent attempt at saving it. “Since community was dissolving, since the social personality was disintegrating, Lawrence suggested that nature might replace culture as the matrix within which man discovers his identity” (ibid, 213). Therefore he is “determined in Lady Chatterley’s Lover to face the problem of creating a resurrection story” (Sargar, 175) which is actually his saving-the-world project at which he is working. 

The sex-oriented-ness of his writings also partly owe to his firm belief that “the only reality and the only marvel is to be alive in the flesh” (Moynaham, 152) and that “the ground of all value is physical experience.” (ibid, 152) And to him the most powerful mode of ‘connected-ness’ through ‘physical experience’ is touch and “sex is, in sensory and emotional terms, a stronger experience of connection than any other” (ibid). The effort to reconnect human beings, which finally ends in his concentration on sex, is trying to solve the only problem that is re-establishing a full relationship with the network of relations that he sketches out as “threefold. First there is the relation to the living universe. Then comes the relation of man to woman. Then comes the relation of man to man” (Apropos, 39). He explains in a letter to Rolf Gardiner what he is looking for in his digging into the concept of human relationships: “one needs to establish a fuller relationship between oneself and the universe, and between oneself and one’s fellow man and fellow woman. It does not mean cutting out the “brothers-in-Christ” business simply: it means expanding it into a full relationship, where there can be also physical and passional meeting, as there used to be in the old dances and rituals. We have to know how to get out and meet one another, upon the third ground, the holy ground” (quoted in Sargar, 173).

So, his reason in focusing on sex and relationships can be understood, but what does he think about them? Does he define them in any way? The present article is trying first to outline Lawrence’s theory of human relationships with an emphasis and focus on his conceptions of sex and love. To do so, some of the basic concepts and terms in Lawrentian thinking are investigated, among them idealism and consciousness, both bearing fundamental roles in Lawrence’s thoughts. Through them I have arrived first at Lawrence’s very basic structure of thought which is the exploitation of binary oppositions and next at his focus on language in relation with idealism, consciousness, sex, and love.  Then I attempt to disclose the points of contradiction, ambiguity and inarticulacy in his discussions and arguments on the issues in question which are, in my opinion, hindrances in helping others to think sex “fully, completely, honestly, and cleanly” though he might have succeeded in making the sex relation “valid and precious”. To these purposes the study is based on the relations of characters presented by Lawrence in the final version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a “nice and tender phallic novel- not a sex novel in the ordinary sense of the word” (Hough, 149) that has tried in “restoring the other, the phallic consciousness” (ibid). Lady Chatterley’s Lover as the repository of his implicit and advanced theory  was written with a “belief in a tenderness and passion between individuals transcending the conscious and personal” (ibid). It is the fictional realization of the Lawrentian spectrum of human relationships, and in within that his conceptions of sex and love. The reading of Lady Chatterley’s Lover will be accompanied by explicit expression of his ideas in different essays to provide the possibility of testing his enactment of explicitly expressed ideas in fiction and vice versa. 

The guiding questions in the present study of Lady Chatterley’s Lover are whether one can go to Lawrence for any truth about sex and love, and whether what he presents does really make one think sex “fully, completely, honestly and cleanly.” The fundamental contradictions of Lawrence’s work reply negatively to both questions; that Lawrence, despite being a great Artist, is not the Philosopher to turn to for the whole truth of human relationships, and also that his basic contradictions prevent the full achievement of his purpose. Yet but before one can begin to substantiate this, it is necessary to know his basic structure of thought.