Untitled Book Review

John Middleton Murry’s second book about D. H. Lawrence, Reminiscences of D. H. Laurence (Holt, $2.00), purports to concern the soul. Whether one likes Lawrence or not, there can be no doubt that he was, and is, a portentous figure in our emotional background; that is why the present flow of books about him is explicable, though it may not be justified. Mr. Murry’s new book consists of the reprinting of his recollections of Lawrence which appeared some years ago in the Adelphi, of all of his reviews of Lawrence’s books, and of a passionate self-defense against the attacks made on him by Mrs. Carswell in The Savage Pilgrimage of D. H. Lawrence. From all this one gets, perhaps, some new light on Lawrence, though not very much; the chief feeling I have after reading the book is one of discomfort. Mr. Murry is probably right, and Mrs. Carswell wrong, but was it essential to put it all out in the open? Are the quarrels of Lawrence’s friends so important that we should know all about their details? What does matter is the novels and poems and essays that Lawrence himself wrote; these, together with his admirable letters, are the basis for a proper critical judgment of his place in the artistic and emotional life of his generation. It is very doubtful if we need anything more.