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D. H. Lawrence: New Love

"Needing her so much, he loved her fervently" (36).
"Love Among the Haystacks" (1911, 1913; 1930)


Points of Reflection

Salvador Dali's "Tristan and Isolde" (1944)

1. familiarize yourself with the basic plot arc of Tristan's and Isolde's tragic love story.

2. Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde (1856-59; 1865) inspired Dalí's ballet of 1944 entitled Mad Tristan, as well as the painting depicted here. Peruse the following words written by Wagner about his opera, and then consider whether Dalí captured in his painting the artistic intentions of Wagner.

3. the program notes for a London production of Dalí's ballet (which ran for five performances) claimed that "Dali sees the whole romantic philosophy of Wagner as an uninterrupted complex of impotence. An exasperating procession of wheelbarrows, heavy with the earth of reality, struggling up toward the inaccessible heaven of the ecstasy of love, at the summit of which there is only a precipice—love in death and death in love . . ." (Time). Does Dalí's painting capture this pessimism about romance?

4. is it clear which is the male figure, and which the female?

5. do the various symbols present any archetypal ideas? Note the ascending stairs, trees, dandelion, wheelbarrow, and crutches.

6. why depict only the upper bodies of these two characters?


"D. H. Lawrence's "Love Among the Haystacks" (1911, 1913; 1930), 3-42

1. to what non-traditional uses does Lawrence put the phrases "flushed with hate" and "heart swelled" on page five?

2. does Lawrence's narrator suggest that it is possible for a young man to be a virgin without being wracked with sexual desire (6 top)?

3. Geoffrey ponders hurting his brother (5 mid), makes Maurice's work more difficult (8-10), and then violently injures him (9-10). Do these thoughts and actions call into question whether Geofrey loves his brother?

4. for what array of reasons does Geoffrey, in the moment following his brother's nearly fatal injury, wish that Maurice were indeed dead (11 top)? Does he hate his brother?

5. what psychological "disease" does the narrator assign Geoffrey (4 top, 12 bot)?

6. in what way does the "new power" (14 mid) granted Maurice by his accident immediately manifest itself (15 bot)?

7. why does Geoffrey dislike the tramp and feel kinship with the tramp's wife (20-21)?

8. while working silently together, post-accident, what emotion dominates the two brothers' thoughts about one another (21 bot)?

9. how does the prospect of romance alter Maurice's perceptions of his surroundings (22 mid - 23 bot)?

10. what qualities of Paula so attract Geoffrey, the brother she has little interest in knowing (28 bot)?

11. what does Mrs. Lydia Bredon give as her reason for not leaving her good-for-nothing husband (34)?

12. how does Lawrence's narrator rationalize Geoffrey's and Lydia's shared kiss, attempting to turn it from an adulterous moment into a rebirth (35-36)?

13. why does Geoffrey love Lydia so passionately (36 bot)?

14. why is Geoffrey now in a position to "lead" his brother, instead of being led by his younger but more charismatic brother (41 mid)?

15. do you consider this story's end a happy one (42)?


D. H. Lawrence's "The Horse-Dealer's Daughter" (1922), 181-98

1. why might I have chosen the painting that serves as this webpage's watermark to accompany today's readings?

2. to what purpose does Lawrence turn the plethora of adjectives and adverbs in this tale? How do these many modifiers shape the story's tone?

3. consider the different natures of the various silences in this story.

4. why might Lawrence's description of the draught horses at Oldmeadow, the Pervin's place, so closely match that of the Pervin brothers?

5. what dominant attitude characterizes the Pervin brothers' treatment of their sister?

6. what various factors explain Mabel's attraction to the churchyard?

7. D. H. Lawrence describes Jack Fergusson's awareness of Mabel Pervin as somewhat "mystical" (189 top), as something that requires his "mind's eye" (190 bot) more than his normal vision. Jack is on the brink of discovering what, exactly?

8. why does Fergusson continue to work among the working class, at a job which he says he dislikes?

9. why is Jack Fergusson's entrance into the pond to rescue Mabel so risky?

10. is it inappropriate to read the two characters' separate descents into the cold water and soft clay as a kind of symbolic baptism? If not, what might this immersion connote?

11. why exactly does the doctor, who already has a cold and is now sopping wet, stop shuddering?

12. the doctor's assistant (Fergusson) feels that Mabel's "power is stronger than his" (193 top). What does the narrator mean by this?

13. why does Mabel instinctively think that Fergusson loves her? What does she want from him? Does he want the same thing? How well does he even know what he wants?

14. Ferguson tells himself that he had never thought of loving Mabel, had never wanted to love her (2769). What forces are warring within himself? What evidence do we find earlier in the story that he has actually been enthralled by her, even if he never admitted it to himself?

15. consider the power of Mabel's gaze.

16. why does Fergusson imagine that Mabel's brothers would "jeer" at him if they knew he now felt "love" for Mabel, their sister?

17. why might Lawrence have not ended this story around the middle of p.194? What else needs to be told?

18. compare and contrast Joe Pervin's attitude towards relational intimacy, or marriage (182 bot), with Mabel's attitude towards the same subject (195-98).

19. what meaning should we wrest from the story's final line?



"Tristan and Isolde" (1944)
Salvador Dali



Dr. Paul Marchbanks
pmarchba@calpoly.edu