Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Apocalypse is an interpretation of the symbolism of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. D. H. Lawrence developed an interest in apocalyptic symbolism during the last eight years of his life, as can be seen from his correspondence with the painter and mystic Frederick Carter. Apocalypse was originally intended as an introduction to Carter’s book, The Dragon of the Alchemists (1926), which Lawrence had read in manuscript in 1923. Lawrence wrote to Carter in 1929, “I want very much to put into the world again the big old pagan vision, before the idea and the concept of personality made everything so small and tight as it is now.” Lawrence’s essay turned out to be too long for the purpose, however, and he abandoned it. He then wrote a shorter essay, also on Revelation, which was published in the London Mercury in July, 1930. Lawrence never returned to the abandoned manuscript, which was published as Apocalypse in 1931.

This short book—it is only 125 pages in length—consists of twenty-three chapters of uneven length; some are less than a page. It is unbalanced in emphasis, the first twenty-one chapters being devoted to the first half of Revelation (the first twelve chapters), the last two chapters covering the remaining ten chapters of Revelation. Lawrence deliberately intended this lack of balance, since in his view the first part of Revelation held rich echoes of the pagan universe, which he admired, and was more...

(The entire section is 606 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Aldington, Richard. Introduction to Apocalypse, 1932.

Easson, Angus. “‘My Very Knees Are Glad’: D. H. Lawrence and Apocalypse Again,” in Aligarh Journal of English Studies. X, no. 2 (1985), pp. 205-218.

Goodheart, Eugene. The Utopian Vision of D. H. Lawrence, 1963.

Gutierrez, Donald. Lapsing Out: Embodiments of Death and Rebirth in the Last Works of D. H. Lawrence, 1979.

Kuczkowski, Richard. “Lawrence Enters the Pantheon,” in Review. IV (1982), pp. 159-170.

Moore, Harry T. The Priest of Love: A Life of D. H. Lawrence, 1974 (revised edition).

Stammler, Heinrich A. “Apocalypse: V. V. Rozanov and D. H. Lawrence,” in Canadian Slavonic Papers. XVI (1974), pp. 221-244.