Henry Seidel Canby

The great novels of sex of the nineteenth century were those of Thomas Hardy. By comparison, Lawrence’s books are more subtle and more revealing. Hardy was interested in the results of the sex impulses as they display themselves in normal life. Sex wrecks Jude; sex ennobles and ruins Tess. Lawrence is not much interested in results. When sex is triumphant in Alvina, the lost girl, the story ends. Her story is just beginning, but the only aspect that interested Lawrence has concluded. Sex in itself and for itself is his fascination, and if this makes him narrow it also makes him shrewd.