Women in Love as a polyphonic novel
Raw, Laurence A.
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Lawrence’s critics have tended to analyse his novel Women in Love by explaining what the novel "means", and treating the author as an omniscient presence, who organises the plot and the characterisation. This type of approach cjm appear dogmatic; and fails to demonstrate the unique qualities of this novel. The purpose of this thesis is to show how Women in Love dispenses with the convention of the omniscient narrator; for this purpose, I shall use the theories of lamguage and novel advanced by the Russian formalist Mikhail Bakhtin. In Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics and The Dialogic Imagination Bakhtin outlines the characteristics of what he calls a "polyphonic" novel in which the protagonists reveal information pertaining to their history, personality, environment, etc. through dialogue, without the intervention of the author. This foregrounding of dialogue is what renders the novel polyphonic; as in everyday language the words of a character are directed to the words of another character. Although Bakhtin does not deal directly with Women in Love, his theories form an ideal basis for demonstrating its polyphonic qualities. This thesis will Concentrate on the plot, setting and characterisation in relation to Lawrence’s narrative technique, eind will show how the absence of authorial intervention forces the reader to take an active part in the process of interpreting the novel. Consequently, this thesis will also focus on the dialogic aspects of Women in Love, with specific reference to the language and speechpatterns of the characters.
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