By A.E. Dyson
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Additional info for Between Two Worlds: Aspects of Literary Form
Lawrence had the handling of the material, it would no doubt have come out in some such way. But one wonders what the author of Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible would have had to comment on such a reading, and whether he would not have regarded the One on the 'intellectual throne' as superior to the scholar gipsy in insight and integrity, even though less well placed than the gipsy for the enjoyment of an 'eternal weekend' (Dr Leavis's phrase). My own contention is that Arnold never commits himself to the gipsy (as both Dr Leavis and Mr Wilson Knight assume), but remains aware of him throughout as an illusion.
The whole nature of reality is at stake. VI But of course some problems remain. The obvious one is the Christian framework, which necessarily dooms Comus from the start. It is clear that though Comus is said to be 'Much like his father, but his mother more' (1. 57) and indeed to excel 'his mother at her mighty art' (1. 63), he makes less headway than they do, at least in this masque. No doubt he is less fortunate in his victim; but we must wonder how far his failure is a condition of the allegory, with its removal of the Lady from a world of real flesh and blood.
But when lust, By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, Lets in defilement to the inward parts, The soul grows clotted by contagion, Imbodies and imbrutes, till she quite lose The divine property of her first being. Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres Lingering, and sitting by a new-made grave, As loth to leave the body that it loved, And linked itself by carnal sensuality To a degenerate and degraded state.