Friday, October 31, 2008

DH Lawrence on "the great ordering"

I've been at Lucy Beckett's In The Light of Christ again--this time the chapter on the British writers from DH Lawrence to Saul Bellow. While writers like Joseph Conrad, Henry James, and Lawrence have never held much attraction for my little heart, she manages to frame them within a compelling narrative--the drama of Western culture's slow slide into the post-Christian.

But there is a real beauty in and of itself to Lawrence's prose. Here is his description of Tom Brangwen's "almost pre-Christian" and certainly pre-theological faith in God. From The Rainbow:

"During the long February nights with the ewes in labour, looking out from the shelter into the flashing stars, he knew he did not belong to himself. He must admit that he was only fragmentary, something incomplete and subject. There were the stars, in the dark heaven travelling, the whole host passing by on some eternal voyage. So he sat, small and submissive in the great ordering."

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