That the style of D. H. Lawrence tends to either bore or enthuse his readers is certainly no secret. That it is its hypnotic rhythmic quality that elicits such contradictory reactions is equally well-known (Balbert 1974). In his unpublished Foreword to Women in Love, Lawrence himself describes his style and offers a justification of sorts for it, one which implicitly ties his ‘form’ to what might be seen as his artistic aim, in terms of ‘content’, or better, of representation: In point of style, fault is often found with the continual, slightly modified repetition. The only answer is that it is natural to the author; and that every natural crisis in emotion or passion or understanding come from this pulsing, frictional to-and-fro, which works up to culmination (1930: 276) As Lawrence repeatedly makes clear in his copious production, for him the very act of writing is a means of enacting what he sees as a primeval and creative, if antagonistic, ‘flux’ between two extremes – call them mind-body, knowledge-feeling, light-dark, Lamb-Lion, Son-Father…his dyads are myriad – of the intrinsically dual nature of both the individual and creation itself. A basic assumption of this paper is that the chief linguistic resource through which Lawrence construes this fluid but strained relationship between the two ‘ways’ is grammatical parallelism (Jakobson 1960, 1966), still frequently seen as a survivor of a primitive, tongue-tied way of meaning (cf. Ong 1967, 1982). The paper posits that a detailed linguistic analysis engages with, and leads us to, an understanding of this characteristic of Lawrence’s art in a more fruitful way than other, albeit valid and insightful, critical approaches alone have, or can (Miller 1989, 2000). This does not imply that the Lawrencian socio-cultural context, and intertext(s), are neglected, for also assumed is that Literature [i]s Social Practice (Fowler 1981). The study is carried out on a very small, though diachronically ‘representative’, corpus of Lawrence’s poems. Though the corpus is machine-readable and interrogate-able, analysis is primarily manual, and qualitative. Grammatical Parallelism is, firstly, explored as a means of consistent, significant and motivated meaning-patterning, or foregrounding, or ‘symbolic articulation’, of the poems’ deepest meanings, or Theme (Hasan 1985/1989), which, no matter what the subject matter of Lawrence’s text, can be said to center upon that flux. Secondly, but not unrelatedly, its likely function as resource for aligning speaker/hearer positioning is also investigated. Thus parallelism is looked at from the perspective of recent developments in Appraisal theory, and in particular, Engagement (White 2003a & b), in an attempt, as is unavoidable with Lawrence, to get at what is treated as being at stake. But the phenomenon is also, and ultimately, queried as a means of enacting Shklovosky’s (1977: 35) claim that “Art is a way of experiencing the making of a thing.” In short, in Lawrence, parallelism would seem to be construing experience as process, as a process of ‘flux’, as this ‘primitive’, ‘tongue-tied’ way of meaning might usefully be compared to the medium of ‘spoken-ness’. And as Halliday has convincingly argued, the ‘choreographic’ complexity of the spoken mode lends it …the power to intuit, to make indefinitely many connections in different directions at once, to explore (by tolerating them) contradictions, to represent experience as fluid and indeterminate (1987: 148-149).

Construing the ‘primitive’ primitively: grammatical parallelism as patterning and positioning strategy in D.H. Lawrence

MILLER, DONNA ROSE
2007

Abstract

That the style of D. H. Lawrence tends to either bore or enthuse his readers is certainly no secret. That it is its hypnotic rhythmic quality that elicits such contradictory reactions is equally well-known (Balbert 1974). In his unpublished Foreword to Women in Love, Lawrence himself describes his style and offers a justification of sorts for it, one which implicitly ties his ‘form’ to what might be seen as his artistic aim, in terms of ‘content’, or better, of representation: In point of style, fault is often found with the continual, slightly modified repetition. The only answer is that it is natural to the author; and that every natural crisis in emotion or passion or understanding come from this pulsing, frictional to-and-fro, which works up to culmination (1930: 276) As Lawrence repeatedly makes clear in his copious production, for him the very act of writing is a means of enacting what he sees as a primeval and creative, if antagonistic, ‘flux’ between two extremes – call them mind-body, knowledge-feeling, light-dark, Lamb-Lion, Son-Father…his dyads are myriad – of the intrinsically dual nature of both the individual and creation itself. A basic assumption of this paper is that the chief linguistic resource through which Lawrence construes this fluid but strained relationship between the two ‘ways’ is grammatical parallelism (Jakobson 1960, 1966), still frequently seen as a survivor of a primitive, tongue-tied way of meaning (cf. Ong 1967, 1982). The paper posits that a detailed linguistic analysis engages with, and leads us to, an understanding of this characteristic of Lawrence’s art in a more fruitful way than other, albeit valid and insightful, critical approaches alone have, or can (Miller 1989, 2000). This does not imply that the Lawrencian socio-cultural context, and intertext(s), are neglected, for also assumed is that Literature [i]s Social Practice (Fowler 1981). The study is carried out on a very small, though diachronically ‘representative’, corpus of Lawrence’s poems. Though the corpus is machine-readable and interrogate-able, analysis is primarily manual, and qualitative. Grammatical Parallelism is, firstly, explored as a means of consistent, significant and motivated meaning-patterning, or foregrounding, or ‘symbolic articulation’, of the poems’ deepest meanings, or Theme (Hasan 1985/1989), which, no matter what the subject matter of Lawrence’s text, can be said to center upon that flux. Secondly, but not unrelatedly, its likely function as resource for aligning speaker/hearer positioning is also investigated. Thus parallelism is looked at from the perspective of recent developments in Appraisal theory, and in particular, Engagement (White 2003a & b), in an attempt, as is unavoidable with Lawrence, to get at what is treated as being at stake. But the phenomenon is also, and ultimately, queried as a means of enacting Shklovosky’s (1977: 35) claim that “Art is a way of experiencing the making of a thing.” In short, in Lawrence, parallelism would seem to be construing experience as process, as a process of ‘flux’, as this ‘primitive’, ‘tongue-tied’ way of meaning might usefully be compared to the medium of ‘spoken-ness’. And as Halliday has convincingly argued, the ‘choreographic’ complexity of the spoken mode lends it …the power to intuit, to make indefinitely many connections in different directions at once, to explore (by tolerating them) contradictions, to represent experience as fluid and indeterminate (1987: 148-149).
Language and Verbal Art Revisited: Linguistic Approaches to the Study of Literature
41
67
D. R. Miller
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/24115
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