Until quite recently, whenever I read D. H. Lawrence I felt as if I had been immersed in a tepid bath of bodily fluids taken in the booth of a fairground soothsayer. I found his paganism ridiculous, his prose frequently overwrought and hysterical, and some of his ideas distinctly fascist, if not outright Nazi. As for his eroticism, I found it about as compelling as a gourmet would find appetizing a detailed description of the workings of the digestive system, right up to the inevitable denouement thereof. I thought some of Lawrence’s poetry was good, even very good, but (curious idea) I thought it good despite its provenance.

One is not obliged, of course, to maintain one’s attitude to any subject to the bitter end, in the teeth of any evidence that it might be mistaken, merely because it has been one’s own. And, rather late in the day no doubt, I began to revise my opinion becau ...