D.H. Lawrence's last poems : "A Dark Cloud of Sadness"
This thesis is an examination of depression in D.H. Lawrence’s Last Poems in the light of Julia Kristeva’s theory of depressive discourse. Kristeva theorizes in Black Sun that depressed persons have difficulty communicating through ordinary symbolic means or language. In order to communicate, they must find new linguistic means to overcome sadness. Kristeva calls “depressive discourse” this attempt to overcome sadness through poetic language. Writing and art, and specifically poetry, can be depressive discourse, thereby allowing a certain level of recovery to occur. Once an individual can write about his or her sadness, the sufferer may experience a reprieve from depression, if only temporarily. D.H. Lawrence’s Last Poems, written in the last six months of his life and published posthumously, shows the crisis of depression in a dying man. The citation in the title is from Aldous Huxley’s 1932 introduction to a volume of Lawrence’s letters, describing Lawrence’s change in mood in the last few months of his life (Huxley 30). Lawrence’s particular use of rhythm, tone and imagery can be identified as an attempt to overcome this crisis through writing. The poems exhibit specific formal features such as irregular metre, sonorous sound and hypnotically repeated words and phrases, as well as images of darkness, falling, dying, oblivion, and heaven and hell, that, coupled with the knowledge of his personal state, can be interpreted as features of depressive discourse. Using particular examples of depressive discourse within D.H. Lawrence’s Last Poems, this thesis will show that Lawrence was attempting to overcome his depression through poetry.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeTeucher, Ulrich; Cooley, Ronald W.; Bidwell, Paul; Vargo, Lisa