This paper argues the case for a new reading of D.H. Lawrence’s The White Peacock (1911) against the popular interest in the New Physics theories developed at the turn of the twentieth century. Such a reading focuses on energy as an elemental cosmogenic force in the environment and illustrates a new understanding of material relationships. These relationships speak of Lawrence’s affinity with modernist and post-humanist concerns, mainly in terms of the permeability and indeterminacy of states. Using his first novel as a case study, this paper exposes the various sources and forms of energy that are inscribed in the narrative, and which literally energise the relationship between the organic and nonorganic. This post-humanist perspective illuminates Lawrence’s ability to layer meaning and to transgress the cause and effect narrative of conventional evolution to one of eternal becomings of the post-humanist world. Instead of merely focusing on the elegiac idealisation of landscape, Lawrence unveils the turbulence of life at molecular and microbial level. This microscopic perspective decentres the human as the sole harbinger of meaning.
- kinetic energy