Look! We Have Come Through! Living with Lawrence by Lara Feigel - review by Freya Johnston

Freya Johnston

Mother & Author

Look! We Have Come Through! Living with Lawrence


Bloomsbury 272pp £20

The current fad for what is sometimes called bibliomemoir – a term of insufficient maturity to have been included (as yet) in the Oxford English Dictionary, but waspishly defined by Joyce Carol Oates in 2014 as ‘a subspecies of literature combining criticism and biography with the intimate, confessional tone of autobiography’ – runs directly counter to what
D H Lawrence thought it the task of literary criticism to do: ‘save the tale from the artist who created it’. But for a writer as violently self-divided and combative as Lawrence, perhaps the best compliment to pay him is to contradict him, as Lara Feigel proceeds to do in her new book. ‘Repeatedly,’ she says, ‘I find myself gravitating towards his fiction to explain what was going on in his life and then being thrown back from his fiction into his life.’

In Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D H Lawrence (1997), Geoff Dyer both protested against and wallowed in the enduring and maddening temptation to pin down one of our most provocative and obdurate writers. Any attempt to examine rather than gloss over Lawrence’s opinions and convictions about,

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