29-31 March 2017 UNIVERSITE PARIS OUEST NANTERRE LA DEFENSE Centre de recherches anglophones 31ST INTERNATIONAL D.H.LAWRENCE CONFERENCE The Relative and the Absolute in D.H.Lawrence’s Work


Centre de recherches anglophones


29-31 March 2017

The Relative and the Absolute in D.H.Lawrence’s Work


The focus of the topic of the 2017 D.H Lawrence conference is not restricted to the poetico-philosophical ideas which Lawrence expresses in his essays, notably in « The Crown » and « Fantasia of the Unconscious ». The aim is above all to address the way that such ideas connect with his artistic production. Many of his statements about the relative and the absolute appear baffling and seem contradictory, when looked at outside their immediate contexts: in other words, when abstracted from their specific and relational or relative context in an artwork. In « The Crown », Lawrence asserts both that « All absolutes are prison-walls » and that « without something absolute, we are nothing »─ doing so with a touch of relativism and equivocation often to be found in his writings. The inquiry into Lawrence’s considerations on the absolute will obviously lead the participants in the conference to reflect on his idiosyncratic form of spirituality and his attempts to convey it through his novels and poems, almost from the start of his career. What he read about Einstein’s Theory of relativity in 1921 reinforced his belief in the importance of universal relatedness and personal relationships, along with his desire to reconcile the relative and the absolute. In Kangaroo, Richard Somers, who torments his mind quite as much as his author does, reflects that « even relativity is only relative. Relative to the absolute ».  How is the meditation of this fictional character to be deciphered? And how are we to assess the distinctions between Lawrence’s voice and the voice of his characters? For these voices are, by way of the subtle mediations and transformations of poetic voice and narrative form, receivable as two related modes of utterance. And how is this interminable conflict between the antithetical claims of the  absolute and of the relative resolved or balanced, temporarily or conditionally, by way of the specific mode of  expression and form that is proper to art, as  fashioned by the artist and as received by the reader or the viewer?

We invite reflection on the following, non-exclusive list of themes:

  • Relativity, relatedness, relativism in Lawrence. Influence of his philosophical readings.
  • Lawrence’s mouthpieces. Fiction and philosophy. Distancing devices.  Dialogism.
  • The opposing infinites. Microcosm and macrocosm.
  • The yearning for an ideal. Desire. Transcendence.
  • Beyond metaphysics and materialism
  • The absolute within the relative. The absolute or the relativity of love. The place of the body and the material world.
  • The absolute dimension of self and being.
  • Poetry, art and insubordination; the absolute of dogmatic truth . The absolute or relativity of art
  • Images and symbols of the absolute (The Crown, the Morning Star etc). The fourth dimension.
  • Religions. False absolutes. The absolute of death and timelessness.

The deadline for proposals is 15 November 2016.  Priority will be given to proposals received before the deadline, but we will continue to accept proposals until 1 December 2015.

Please send a 200 word abstract to Ginette Roy  ginette.katz.roy@gmail.com or roy@u-paris10.fr

.      Organizing Committee :

Ginette Roy, Cornelius Crowley, Stephen Rowley.


Link to our journal Etudes Lawrenciennes : http://anglais.u-paris10.fr/spip.php?rubrique56

A few numbers of the journal are now on line:  http://lawrence.revues.org/




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