Mornings in Mexico Critical Context - Essay

D. H. Lawrence

Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Mornings in Mexico has been considered one of Lawrence’s more vibrant works, one in which unity of feeling and idea produces some interesting evocations of far-flung peoples and landscapes. It also reveals some elements of the author’s thought that do not appear or are not stated in the same way elsewhere. Although it has not been regarded as one of Lawrence’s major works in its own right, its relationship to more celebrated efforts is worthy of consideration. While Lawrence’s novel The Plumed Serpent presents a vivid and memorable fictional depiction of Mexican lore, in that work Lawrence appears much more firmly persuaded that a void has grown in Western ideological and religious systems. Mornings in Mexico, on the other hand, seems to indicate that the writer was aware of limitations on the power of Aztec mythical representation. Works about Lawrence’s career, such as the literary memoirs of Witter Bynner and Dorothy Brett, do not claim to resolve the problem of Lawrence’s ambivalence about Mexico.

Lawrence’s other writings with similar settings, such as St. Mawr (1925) and “The Woman Who Rode Away” (1925), while rich in thematic allusions, do not address ancient values in the same way as Mornings in Mexico does. In still other travel writings, Lawrence ponders the significance of timeless myths among peoples of the ancient Mediterranean world, but even there, stark contrasts between early and modern forms of thought and devotion are not so sharply drawn.