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Sunday, June 23, 2019


A short and random excerpt of D.H. Lawrence’s 1923 work “The Kangaroo,” written in 1922 in Australia. For the complete work: click here.

Editor’s Note. Criticized by some Australian media as not one of D.H. Lawrence’s best works, The Kangaroo (nickname for a lead character) was written in six weeks while the author visited Australia in 1922.  The novel, Lawrence’s eighth, is a crafting of post world war one society.  It follows a married couple who arrive in Australia to leave behind the worn-out spiritually restricting culture of Europe.  It is not a study of ants and ant heaps.  Brought to the public domain by Project Gutenberg Australia and Goodreads.

Ants, and More Ants.
"I have been like a man buried up to his neck in an ant-heap: so buried
in the daily world, and stung and stung and stung again, because I
wouldn't change and grow cold, till now their poison is innocuous, and
the formic-acid of social man has no effect on me. And I've kept my
And I will keep it, till I give it up to the unknown, out of my
poor fat body. And it is my banner, and my wife and my children and my
God--just a flicker that is in my heart like a fire, and that I live by.
I CAN'T speculate about God. I can't do it. It seems to me a cold,
antish trick. But the fire that is in my heart is God, and I will not
forswear it, no, not if you offer me all the world. And fire is full of
seeds--full of seeds--and let them scatter. I won't cherish it on a
domestic hearth. I say I won't. So don't bring that up against me. I
won't cherish it on the domestic hearth. I will use it against the ants,
while they swarm over everything. And I'll call fire to my fire, and set
the ant-heap at last in a blaze. 

Like kerosene poured in. It shall be so. 
It shall be so. Don't oppose me. Believe the flame in your heart,
once and for all, and don't oppose me. Believe the flame of your own
heart, and be with me. Remember I am with you against the ants. 
Remember that. And if I am Abraham's bosom--isn't it better than no bosom, in a
world that simmers with busy ants? And would you leave every young,
warm, naked thing on the ground for the ants to find. Would you?"

David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930) is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He published many novels and poetry volumes during his lifetime, including Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, but is best known for his infamous Lady Chatterley's Lover. D.H., an English writer and poet, is known for being an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. Some of the issues Lawrence explores are sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct.

For an interesting analysis of The Kangaroo by 3:AM magazine click here.

He looked at her searchingly. She was pale, and moved, but hostile. He
swung round in his chair, swinging his heavy hips over and lying

"Shall I tell you a thing a man told me. He had it from the lady's own
lips. It was when the Prince of Wales was in India just now. There had
been a show--and then a dinner given by the governor of the town--some
capital or other. The Prince sat next to the governor's lady, and he was
glum, silent, tortured by them all a bit beyond bearance. And the
governor's lady felt she ought to make conversation, ought to say
something to the poor devil, just for the show's sake and the occasion.
So she COULDN'T think what to tell him that would interest him. Then she
had a brilliant idea. 'Do you know what happened to me last week?' she
said. 'You've seen my adorable little Pekinese, Chu? She had
puppies--four darling queer little things--tiny little creepy-crawlies.
Of course we loved them. But in the night I thought I heard them
crying--I wasn't sure. But at last I went down. And what do you think!
There was a swarm of white ants, and they were just eating up the last
bits of them. Wasn't it awful.' The Prince went white as death. And just
then an ant happened to come on the tablecloth. He took his glass and
banged it over it, and never spoke another word all evening. Now that
story was told by the woman herself. And this was what she did to a poor
nerve-racked lad she was supposed to honour. Now I ask you, where was
the living heart in her? She was an ant, a white ant, too."

He rolled over in his chair, bitterly, with massive bitterness, turning
his back on Harriet. She sat with a pale, blenched face, and tears in
her eyes.
"How cruel!" she said. "But she must have been a fool."

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