Race and Identity in D. H. Lawrence: Indians, Gypsies, and Jews

Judith Ruderman

Ruderman analyzes D.H. Lawrence's blunt language on issues of race and ethnicity. In the book – with its focus on Lawrence's attitudes toward Indians, Gypsies, and Jews – she examines how concepts about race are created and transmitted; how they are appropriated and sometimes transformed; and how individual and national identities relate to racial otherness.

Setting Lawrence in his context(s) reveals how his personal circumstances combined with societal influences to shape his adoption and adaptation of stereotypes about minorities. His own ambivalent relationships with the racial other, and the ties between that ambivalence, his affiliation with "Englishness," and his search for a better society, are at once revealing of his culture and particular to him as an individual. Lawrence's art tells "the truth of the day," as he said good art does, but it also tells the truth of the artist, and of other days. His honesty on the subject, even if/when it offends, can inform and enliven our contemporary discussions of race and ethnicity.