Hemingway was the first author I encountered that made me want to read everything he’d ever written. I kept his work in my rotation for a few years while I chipped away at it every now and again before realizing that I didn’t need to get to it all at once.
My decision to allow myself to visit Hemingway’s novels every now and again, rather than living with them for an extended period of time, was borne out my realization that he was very much a mood writer; or a palate cleanser. After you read someone like Dickens, or maybe Faulkner, you can pick up something by Hemingway and have your palate cleansed of the myriad forms of punctuation and botanical-garden description. Things are what they are. That’s that. Have a drink.
I’ve had this experience with a number of writers since Hemingway. And, actually,—correction—C. S. Lewis was the first one who made me want to know everything that he’d ever had to say in print. I read his classics collection a few years ago, and am now feeling that it’s probably time to do it again because there has been enough distance, between the person I was then and the person I am now, for me to be able to see new things in the old work; to experience it fresh.
D. H. Lawrence is another one of those special authors I’ve come across that gave me that same feeling of curiosity and wonder that makes one want to search out the whole island of ideas that he ever laid down in writing.
Why do so many of D. H. Lawrence’s novels have the word ‘love’ in their titles?
Sons and Lovers (1913)
Women in Love (1920)
Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)
The funny thing about giving your attention to any single thing in the world is that that attention begins to look for all the tangentially related things it can—at every opportunity—to light up and possibly help you sort out their relations.
We were staying with family for a few days in the green hills of Atlanta and a sister-in-law was reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis. I’m still on this Lawrence kick, currently whirling through The Rainbow. But I’ve been looking through Lawrence’s bibliography and all of the titles with love are fresh in the back of my mind. So I see a book by Lewis, one of his classics, and I immediately think of his other title, The Four Loves.
Love is in the air.