Starting with the essayistic narcissism of meditating on his own writing hand, Lawrence then segues into why he writes novels: the novelist’s wisdom being the only one, he believes, truly unifying mind and body.
The second half contains, amid Nietzschean aphorisms and Lawrentianjargon, some good sharp humour – comparing philosophers to rabbits defecating their pellets, for example. The prose has explosive force, fighting against Lawrence’s feeling of living in a cultural ‘cul-de-sac’, full of cant and inertia. Anything can be done in a live or dead way, he concludes, and in a novel we can most easily tell the difference.
Related recommendation: Nietzsche’s ‘On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life’ (1874); Lawrence’s ‘Insouciance’ (1928)
Themes: Artistic Method, Vocation and Celebrity, The role of Art or Artists, Modernity and Self-consciousness, Anti-Academia
Genres: Sermon or Jeremiad