Reading 'Sons and Lovers'

E.P. Shrubb


It is a truism that our sense of the "life" in a work of art seems often to have to do with our sense not only that what the work of art achieves is not the record of a triumph, say, but the exploration of a conflict, but also, and further, that the opposing forces or powers in it are being held not just in balance but in changing balance. It is no less true, but perhaps less a truism, that a special vividness can quicken this sense of "life" as we come to believe that in the work of art we have an account or record of conflict given not only by the artist but also, so to speak, through him; if nowadays we can no longer think comfortably in terms of daemons and Muses, we may nevertheless feel the need of metaphor to express our sense that a work of art, just as a child is the product of its parents but something new too, may be the creature of its artist but have not only a separate but an independent - uncreated, almost - nature and being.

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