I keep thinking back to Lawrence’s evisceration of Benjie Franklin, and how I haven’t witnessed someone with such a playful nature for so long- “Binjum”? Maybe only I find that funny, I don’t know. So I’m looking at that book again.

the rhythm of American art-activity is dual:

  1. A disintegrating and sloughing of the old consciousness.
  2. The forming of a new consciousness underneath.

He thinks Cooper (the writer of Last of the Mohicans) has 1 and 2, whereas Poe has only 1.

This is counter-intuitive to me, because it seems to the two would necessarily have to go together.

When progs today disavow the stereotypical attitudes from the 1950s, say, they are simultaneously affirming equalism. Or, I guess not, in some cases, according to Lawrence. Are some progs just beings of pure disintegration?

Remember, Lawrence is the novelist with the word “love” in many of his titles, so he’s almost the polar opposite of someone like Poe

This gives me pause- does Lovecraft have that effect on us? (Lovecraft is a Poeian.) I can’t let him take Lovecraft from me!

Connecting this post with the previous one, it’s intriguing to note that Poe wrote the tales you’re probably most familiar with around the same years Van Buren was president. Was Poe a symptom of what was on the horizon? Disintegration? While Van Buren was the old white psyche, representing integration, integrity?

Lawrence, similar to Joyce, was well-read on the emerging field of psychoanalysis of his day. Lawrence actually has a couple books on it. This is his “diagnosis” of Poe-

This heightened love he had (infamously) for his cousin caused his disintegration.

This is eerie. Lawrence says this can cause tuberculosis because it weakens the body. That’s what he died from 8 years after writing this. He also says love explains all neuroticism.

You often catch me studying the nonfiction of fiction writers because I find they tend to have eccentric theories.

It’s still a speculation today how Poe died (at the early age of 40). Some say brain tumor, others epilepsy, phrenitis, etc. I’ve never seen Lawrence’s theory

(He’s implying this is what happened to Poe too.)

Virginia Poe died a couple years before Edgar Allan.

Lawrence clearly had a bone to pick with America, because he’s brutal to Poe, just as he is to Franklin and Whitman.

It is easy to see why each man kills the thing he loves. To know a living thing is to kill it… to try to know any living being is to try to suck the life ont of that being.

He’s accusing Poe of killing her.

Well, if you’ve ever read Poe you know he was extraordinarily perceptive.

There are actually some studies out there on Lawrence as a psychologist first, novelist second.

This is more disturbing than the Franklin essay

He’s ostensibly talking about Poe’s story titled Ligeia, but we can infer it’s about Virginia.

Given that she was his cousin it seems he would have been able to KNOW her better than most. So that probably exacerbated the situation.

If you remember from the other day, an abiding theme in Lawrence is the championing of instinct over the intellect

In case you were wondering, YES, I am deliberately mocking women–in a sadistic way!

I just wanted to read Lawrence though, and I happened to find this.

Better not crave the knowing that I know, or your blood-vessels might break.

Lawrence says it’s the other way around too though- men die from women knowing them. And I’m sure some know ME.

Here he gets the redcoat stab in

The Holy Ghost for him is that “blood-consciousness” I discussed the other day. People who accuse him of “irrationalism” are thus misguided.

I think fiction writers have eccentric theories like this because they’re not afraid to lose themselves in imagination. They don’t care if they sound like a “character”. Reminds me of Lewis’s autobiography where he brags about being a murderer. Who does that?

Anyway, Lawrence thinks it’s a sin against the Holy Ghost to not laugh and forget, and if you can’t do that you deserve the fate of the Poes.

“Haunted with knowledge” does seem to be a problem many have these days

He’s 100% right about this-

Disintegrated selves disintegrated by the hammer of history.

Vibrating the way a loud enough noise will make glass shatter

It is he whose nerves are so strung that they vibrate to the unknown quiverings of the ether. He, too, has lost his self, his living soul, and become a sensitised instrument of the external influences

You’re a slave-owner, you’re a nazi! And now you’re a pile of broken glass. This is the disintegrated white consciousness, with a dissipated Holy Ghost.

Maybe we really did love liberty to too nervous of a vibration, to too high of a pitch. And love turns to death, the blood-vessels break.

Here’s how he ends this essay- Lawrence is a great writer, and shrewd observer

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