Literary Precedents for The Rainbow

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While Lawrence owes an undeniable debt to the great English novelists of the nineteenth century, his best work, this novel especially, stands out for his refinements upon, and notable departures from their work. His immediate predecessor, Thomas Hardy, is often cited by critics as a dominant influence; he is the one English writer on whom Lawrence wrote a full-length study. Hardy shared with Lawrence an intense interest in malefemale relationships, and it is easy to see some similarity between Ursula's struggles with the inadequate Skrebensky and Tess's with the sanctimonious Clare and the cynical, worldly D'Urberville (Tess of the D'Urbervilles, 1891; see separate entry).

But Lawrence's sensibility is different and his exploration of the human character more profound. For one thing, at least in the earlier novels, he lacks the pessimism and fatalism found in Hardy's famous, later novels, like Tess and Jude the Obscure (1895; see separate entry). Villains...

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This section contains 1,525 words
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