In his later years Lawrence developed the potentialities of the short novel form in St Mawr, The Virgin and the Gypsy and The Man Who Died (known also as The Escaped Cock). Published less than a year before his passing away at the age of forty-five, The Man Who Died takes up the theme of Christ’s resurrection and his final days on Earth. Lawrence recounts Christ’s agonizing journey from death back to life.
Lawrence’s opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his “savage pilgrimage.” At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. Lawrence is now valued by many as a visionary thinker and significant representative of modernism in English literature.
Lawrence is perhaps best known for his novels Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Within these Lawrence explores the possibilities for life and living within an industrial setting. In particular Lawrence is concerned with the nature of relationships that can be had within such settings. Though often classed as a realist, Lawrence’s use of his characters can be better understood with reference to his philosophy. His depiction of sexual activity, though shocking at the time, has its roots in this highly personal way of thinking and being.
Lawrence was very interested in human touch behaviour and that his interest in physical intimacy has its roots in a desire to restore our emphasis on the body, and re-balance it with what he perceived to be western civilisation’s slow process of over-emphasis on the mind.