This book is the first to examine the influence of Shakespeare-particularly Hamlet-on D. H. Lawrence. Using the Bloomian theory of the "anxiety of influence" to probe the startling depths of Lawrence's agon with his towering precursor Shakespeare, it closely examines Lawrence's crypto-Jewish identity, as well as that of many of his highly individual characters, who embody the characteristics of Old Testament figures, and in so doing infuse a patriarchal strength and divine "religious" sublimity into civilized life. Lawrence's claims about the self-sacrificing influence of Christianity on Shakespeare's Hamlet, on the other hand, demonstrate how this influence carries over into the submission of the subject and the decline of Western Civilization. The book extrapolates this decline into a critique of the modern-day left-wing ideology that appropriates the self-abnegating individual to its collectivist ends.In responding agonistically to Shakespeare's Hamlet, Lawrence claims a far more complete, vital, and salubrious "consciousness" and a Weltanschauung that makes for greater, more fulfilling "life" thanks to the inner strength, psychic and sexual power of the Lawrentian "Self Supreme."The book will appeal to Lawrence and Shakespeare scholars and enthusiasts who wish to appreciate Lawrence and Shakespeare as supremely profound writers and thinkers. Its unique demonstration of Bloomian literary theory makes it come poignantly alive for both graduate students and college professors.
Barry J. Scherr was educated at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and Brown University, and received his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught at many major American colleges and universities, including SUNY-Buffalo, Rutgers University, and Montclair State University. Having published over a dozen articles on D. H. Lawrence, he is also the author of D. H. Lawrence's Response to Plato and D. H. Lawrence Today, the latter having recently been praised as "exhilarating ... hard-hitting ... intricate ... incisive ... heartening ... forceful ... and detailed" (Forum For Modern Language Studies) as well as "striking and unorthodox ... entertaining [and] compelling" (Year's Work in English Studies). His most recent book, Love and Death in Lawrence and Foucault, is praised as "exhilarating and entertaining ... Like Leavis, Scherr is at his best in close reading...." (Style, April 1, 2011).