D. H. Lawrence

Self and Sexuality

James C. Cowan

“This is a compelling and original study that shows exactly what sexuality means to D. H. Lawrence.” —Barbara Shapiro, Rhode Island College

“There is much to admire in Cowan’s compelling and convincing insights in this study of Lawrence. Quite simply, Lawrence studies need this work more than we need Lacanian studies because this relates to people’s lives, just as Lawrence spoke vitally. Cowan’s application of Kohutian psychoanalytic theory goes a long way in explaining Lawrence’s writing and life, and Lawrence knew that his story was one of thousands.” —Elizabeth M. Fox, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

D. H. Lawrence: Self and Sexuality is a psychoanalytic study of D. H. Lawrence’s life and writings. James Cowan relies most notably the methods of Heinz Kohut, psychoanalytic “self psychology,” and employs as well the object relation theories of D. W. Winnicott and others. This work also examines sexual issues in Lawrence’s work from a literary and critical perspective, employing authoritative medical and psychoanalytic sources in human sexuality. Lawrence’s work, which was early read in traditional Freudian terms, has only recently been considered from other psychoanalytic perspectives. In this self psychological study, Cowan provides a new and path-breaking analysis of Lawrence.

Turning to several problematic issues of sexuality in Lawrence, the author first discusses a number of Lawrence’s sexual fallacies, and personal and cultural issues. Cowan also considers contrasting idealized and negative presentations of Mellors and Sir Clifford Chatterley in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and the theme of the “loss of desire” sequence of poems in Pansies.

James C. Cowan, now retired, has been adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Founder and editor of The D. H. Lawrence Review, he is the recipient of The D. H. Lawrence Society of North America Award for Distinguished Scholarship.

Nov 2002
Literary Studies
275 pp. 6 x 9

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