Suzanne Hobson
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‘I am not the British Isles on two legs’
Travel fiction and travelling fiction from D.H. Lawrence to Tim Parks
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This chapter explores how readings of D. H. Lawrence's foreignness have, since the 1950s, tracked and often focalised more general anxieties about the relationship between the English novel and empire. The novelists from Lawrence to Tim Parks have often turned to travel writing, rightly perceiving it to be a more profitable undertaking than writing fiction. Within Lawrence's Europe, or what Earl Ingersoll calls his 'psychic geography', Harold Ceaver's destination, the South Tyrol, has particular personal and cultural significance. Lawrence's antagonistic relationship to the British empire is crucial in this respect for Parks grounds his argument in Lawrence's hostility to imperialism rather than in his class difference or his narrative style. In Parks, Lawrence's 'foreignness' is updated to signal a refusal both of uncritical parochialism and of newer forms of transnationalism which too easily believe they have escaped the 'conventional patterns of mind' preserved in language itself.

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