Friday, January 18, 2008

This New Life

D. H. Lawrence to Katherine Mansfield

1, Byron Villas,
Vale of Health,
Monday, 20 Dec., 1915.

My Dear Katherine,

Your letter came this morning. I am so sorry you are so ill. Yesterday Murray was here when the letter came--Kot brought it--and he was much upset.

Do not be sad. It is one life which is passing away from us, one "I" is dying; but there is another coming into being, which is the happy, creative you. I knew you would have to die with your brother; you also, go down into death and be extinguished. But for us there is a rising from the grave, there is a resurrection, and a clean life to begin from the start, new, and happy. Don't be afraid, don't doubt it, it is so.

You have gone further into your death than Murray has. He runs away. But one day he too will submit, he will dare to go down, and be killed, to die in this self which he is. Then he will become a man; not till. He is not a man yet.

When you get better, you must come back and we will begin afresh, it will be the first struggling days of spring, after winter. Our lives have been all autumnal and wintry. Now it is mid-winter. But we are strong enough to give way, to pass away, and to be born again.

I want so much that we should create a life in common, a new spirit, a spirit of unanimity between a few of us who are desirous in spirit, that we should add our lives together, to make one tree, each of us free and producing in his separate fashion, but all of us together forming one spring, a unanimous blossoming. It needs that we be one in spirit, that is all. What we are personally is of second importance.

And it is in its inception, this new life. From the old life, all is gone. There remain only you and Murray in our lives. We look at the others as across the grave. A death, and a grave lies between us and them. They are the other side of the grave, the old, far side, these---------s and ----------s. We must not look back. There must be no looking back. There must be no more retrospection, which is introspection, no more remembering and interpreting. We must look forward into the unknown that is to be, like flowers that come in the spring. Because we really are born again.

We have met one or two young people, just one or two, who have the germ of the new life in them. It doesn't matter what they are personally. Murray dismisses them with a sneer, for all that which is the past in them, but I hold on by that which is the future, which is gladdening.

We give up this flat to-morrow. For Christmas we go to my sister's in Derbyshire: c/o Mrs. Clarke, Grosvenor Rd., Ripley, Derbyshire. We stay there till the 29th December. Then we go to the Beresfords' cottage in Cornwall, to live there till March. One or two others will come too. I want it now that we live together. When you come back, I want you and Murray to live with us, or near us, in unanimity; not these separations. Let us all live together and create a new world. If it is too difficult in England, because here all is destruction and dying and corruption, let us go away to Florida: soon. But let us go together, and keep together, several of us, as being of one spirit. Let it be a union in the unconsciousness, not in the consciousness. Get better soon, and come back, and let us all try to be happy together, in unanimity, not in hostility, creating not destroying.

Love from me.
D. H. Lawrence

-from The Letters of D. H. Lawrence edited by Aldous Huxley (London: William Heinemann, 1956.) p. 296-97.

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