Melville’s Typee, Lawrence’s Utopia: Edens to be Escaped From
Miyo Oyama

Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, the first exotic novel by Herman Melville, was held in high esteem by D. H. Lawrence, and critics have already discussed that the two authors both deplored the fallen ways by which the soul and civilisation of the white races were bound, and were seeking a place in which bodily experiences could replace the mental orientation of their societies. However, this paper will reveal the deeper ideas they have in common which lie in Lawrence‟s positive and negative critical assessments of Melville in Studies in Classic American Literature. It will also highlight the parallels between the utopian life in Typee and Lawrence‟s unfinished story „A Dream of Life‟, which depicts a resuscitation of society in a futuristic, though primitive paradise. Lawrence himself often emphasised the risk of the exclusivity of the utopianised islands in his works, and it is for this reason that he values Melville‟s evocation of the limitations which the island has for his narrator. This paper will discuss the extent to which the primitive island was a significant horizon for the two authors by analysing Typee in relation to Lawrence‟s ideas.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v8n1a5