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Title:D. H. Lawrence and the 'Femme Fatale'
Author(s):Burchard, Gina Michel
Department / Program:English
Discipline:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:D. H. Lawrence used the literary and cultural stereotype of the femme fatale to justify and to express his fear of women. His fatal women, all terrifying, are of two distinct types: actively hostile, and indifferent. The first group appears in various forms: as seducers and betrayers, similar in their effects to the fairy enchantress of Keats' "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"; vampires; beasts or the consorts of beasts; women who breathe death or draw men into deathly embraces; and women who destroy men by possessing their souls. But even more frightening are the representatives of the second group, the indifferent, for they embody the most ancient and powerful of female archetypes: fertility goddesses; earth mothers; divinities of nature with mysterious powers associated with blood, the moon, and the cycles of procreation. These many femmes fatales appear repeatedly in the three major novels: Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, and Women in Love. In The Plumed Serpent, Lawrence attempts to shift the balance in favor of maleness. But he lends strength to his enemy, and ultimately defeats his own purpose. To make the male half of creation triumph over the female half, he must make his male characters superheroes, and the quasi-religious fanaticism of Ramon and Cipriano rings hollow. The attempt to appropriate for these heroes many of the traditional female strengths also leads to impossible contradictions, as does the declaration of the "phallic mystery" to be the source of all creativity, since the attitude of manly prayer, a symbolic sexual intercourse which pointedly excludes women from communion with the higher energies of the universe, only forces man into a more direct confrontation of an ultimately female cosmos.
Issue Date:1982
Type:Text
Description:151 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/69424
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8209550
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1982


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