Paul Giles reviews 'D.H. Lawrence's Australia: Anxiety at the edge of empire' by David Game

Paul Giles reviews 'D.H. Lawrence's Australia: Anxiety at the edge of empire' by David Game

D.H. Lawrence's Australia: Anxiety at the edge of empire

by David Game

Routledge, £75 hb, 348 pp. 9781472415059

When D.H. Lawrence arrived in Australia on 4 May 1922, he was so ignorant of the country's actual conditions that he was, as David Game observes in his fine new book, expecting to arrive 'in late spring and find apple blossom'. Game's extensively researched and informative monograph recounts ways in which Australia operated for Lawrence mainly as a utopian idea, a potential site for 'regenerative potential' and thus 'an alternative to his earlier hopes for America'. There has been much academic consideration of Lawrence's intellectual investments in the United States, interests that manifest themselves most clearly in his landmark Studies in Classic American Literature (1923), but not nearly so much on the author's engagements with Australia. In this sense, the work of Game, a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, represents a welcome intervention. His book makes the cogent case that the significance of Australia to Lawrence's aesthetic vision has generally been under-estimated.

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Paul Giles

Paul Giles is Challis Professor of English at the University of Sydney. His most recent book is Backgazing: Reverse time in modernist culture (OUP, 2019).

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