lawrence must have known what he was doing, for this defence of the novel is embedded in Lady Chatterley’s Lover itself. This is the novel which Lawrence pushed into the “passional secret places”. But “cleansing and freshening”? Surely, with all those dirty words “cleansing” is pushing it a bit far?
There were always, in his mind, two kinds of sex, two ways of loving, two attitudes to the world. The “thing gone dead” in society were part of its “mental consciousness”, the fixed conventions and habits of life and feeling, which he identified in people (Gerald, astride the horse, forcing it with bit and spur in Women in Love) and in history (Gerald, the industrial capitalist). The mental consciousness, “the substitution of the mechanical principle for the organic”, he saw as the dead hand of industrial capitalism, cramping human nature, thwarting and reversing “the flow of sympathy” (love) that ought to “determine our lives”. It was this alien, mechanical consciousness which inspired Gerald in his relationships with his miners:
Women in Love, p. 233–4
It was the same thing which governed Gerald when he makes love to Gudrun (in the Chapter, “Death and Love”)
Women in Love, p. 368