D. H. Lawrence’s Green Politics in The Rainbow: a Precursor to Modern Socialist Environmental Ethics
D. H. Lawrence is one of the leading modernist British novelists whose critical treatment of industrialization situates him among the earliest writers with a modern sense of ecological consciousness. Lawrence particularly observed the drastic transformations that industrialization caused through technological developments and the spreading of the mining pits around his hometown Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. Voicing both his aesthetic and political concerns for such ecological damage in his region, Lawrence presents an anti-industrialist approach towards the so-called triumphs of mechanization throughout his fiction. This article will particularly analyze his 1915 novel, The Rainbow, set in his childhood town for its depiction of Lawrence’s green politics focused on the coal mining practice. The novel reflects how the pits gradually transform both the face of the land and the lives of the workers, by treating the first one as raw material and the latter as a mechanized labor force. With certain textual references from the novel, it argues that Lawrence prefigures an approach that can be closely associated with social ecology of Murray Bookchin and his ethics of complementarity by suggesting that the real cause for the modern environmental catastrophes is rooted in the exploitation of both nature and human beings by the capitalist system.
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