Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
The Bad Side of BooksSelected Essays of D.H. Lawrence
Edited and with an introduction by Geoff Dyer
You could describe D.H. Lawrence as the great multi-instrumentalist among the great writers of the twentieth century. He was a brilliant, endlessly controversial novelist who transformed, for better and for worse, the way we write about sex and emotions; he was a wonderful poet; he was an essayist of burning curiosity, expansive lyricism, odd humor, and radical intelligence, equaled, perhaps, only by Virginia Woolf. Here Geoff Dyer, one of the finest essayists of our day, draws on the whole range of Lawrence’s published essays to reintroduce him to a new generation of readers for whom the essay has become an important genre. We get Lawrence the book reviewer, writing about Death in Venice and welcoming Ernest Hemingway; Lawrence the travel writer, in Mexico and New Mexico and Italy; Lawrence the memoirist, depicting his strange sometime-friend Maurice Magnus; Lawrence the restless inquirer into the possibilities of the novel, writing about the novel and morality and addressing the question of why the novel matters; and, finally, the Lawrence who meditates on birdsong or the death of a porcupine in the Rocky Mountains. Dyer’s selection of Lawrence’s essays is a wonderful introduction to a fundamental, dazzling writer.
[Lawrence] seems to bypass [art] and interpose nothing between the reader and the vision.... To read him is to feel oneself in contact with a personality that has broken through form and rhetoric and confronts one in a kind of nakedness.
—Anthony Burgess, Flame into Being: The Life and Work of D.H. Lawrence
[Lawrence] had an extraordinary sensitiveness to what Wordsworth called ‘unknown modes of being.’ He was always intensely aware of the mystery of the world, and the mystery was always for him a numen, divine.