Literary Precedents for Sons and Lovers

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Lawrence is often linked to Thomas Hardy, who set his passionate characters in a vast and sentient natural world. Julian Moynahan compares Miriam to Eustacia Vye in The Return of the Native (1878), for instance, and Michael Squires sees both Hardy and Lawrence as expanding "the scenic potential they found in a MidVictorian novelist like George Eliot," but with different outcomes. Hardy's scenic elements are more varied than Eliot's, and follow a pattern of six successive elements: initial rhetorical signal, usually temporal; questions that generate conflict; revelation; accusation; gesture; closure.

Hardy's scenes are usually carried by dialogue, while Lawrence's often show characters interrogating their own psyches. Furthermore, Lawrence "places more stress on the dynamics of marital or pre-marital relationships than does Hardy," and "alternates two kinds of scenes—singular and recurrent—whereas Hardy uses almost exclusively the singular, non-recurring scene." (A notable exception to Squires's judgment of...

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This section contains 828 words
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Sons and Lovers from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.