Tennessee Williams' Invigorating Influence on D. H. Lawrence's Women
AuthorThomas, Emily Louise
Keywords20th century literature
transatlantic literary criticism
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn Tennessee Williams’ Invigorating Influence on D. H. Lawrence’s Women I examine the works of Tennessee Williams and D. H. Lawrence side by side, starting with works from earlier in their careers and ending with works from later in their careers. These four chapters consider the ways in which literary influence functions, not simply as a linear relation, but as a dynamic, living set of relations that are not necessarily linear. In the works of Williams and Lawrence, this dynamic set of relations mirrors both writers’ investment in embracing, celebrating, and mining the depths of human sexuality. For both Williams and Lawrence, erotic life was meant to be experienced, not simply as a static, or even procreative experience, but as a pluralistic, fluid practice that restores balance to the connection between the body and the mind. In the context of modernity, this disconnection between the mind and the body was a particularly urgent concern. In the modern world, human life had become increasingly mechanized to the point of debilitating the human capacity for experiencing and being grounded in the body. Both Williams and Lawrence fought relentlessly against this increased mechanization to share a vision of human life in which people are once again sanctioned to celebrate and explore the experience of being embodied in all its messy, unpredictable glory. In this dissertation, I use the psychoanalytic perspectives of Sigmund Freud, Julia Kristeva, Harold Bloom, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick to support my argument that examining the non-linear set of relations that constitute literary influence, much like the interpretation of dreams, requires embracing an unpredictable process of “shifting and rearrangement” (Interpretation 218) that unfolds in a spiral fashion rather than in a straight line. Finally, these chapters posit that the set of relations that develop between Lawrence and Williams are inherently queer and non-binary. The spiral fashion in which these queer relations develop reveals, as José Esteban Muñoz so aptly suggested, “the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality” (Cruising Utopia 1).
Degree ProgramGraduate College