The Plumed Serpentby D. H. Lawrence
The story of a European woman's self-annihilating plunge into the intrigues, passions, and pagan rituals of Mexico. Lawrence's mesmerizing and unsettling 1926 novel is his great work of the political imagination. See more details below
The story of a European woman's self-annihilating plunge into the intrigues, passions, and pagan rituals of Mexico. Lawrence's mesmerizing and unsettling 1926 novel is his great work of the political imagination.
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The Plumed Serpent is a novel about an expatriate Irish woman named Kate, who travels to Mexico in order to escape the pain of losing her husband and the confusion of western culture, which spiritually lost because of industry, politics, corrupt religion,and lack of identity. Kate becomes the observer of a culture that has retained its pagan mystery and savegery despite centuries of colonial conquest. On the shores of a lake sacred to Quetzocoatel she meets a the revolutionary named Ramon and his general Don Cipriano. These individuals revitilize the old gods of Mexico and government in a social and spiritual revolution that awakens the dying soul of an oppressed people. Lawrence almost creates a religon in itself by explaining a relationship between men and women that makes them godlike heirs to the philosophical dualisms of the cosmos in the presence of dark, mysterious creator. Amid songs that rouse the new order, man and woman discover that individual deity comes from a union of spiritual and sexual equality. The book may be criticised as a perceived threat to feminism, modern racial concepts and religon, but it is more a peeling away of culture to its innocence- a retroversion to the ethos of reconciled origins and Edenic harmony before the fall. The novel itself is broad and sweeping as the language purges and pulses with a wildness that gives form to the exotic landscape. This is a novel that is physically felt, a masterpiece that threatens and overwhelms the reader with identity, mysticism and the elusive dream for a mortal and immortal destiny. From descriptions of 'the dark races', the Indian natives who possess both an energy that is drawn from the earth and a destrutiveness that comes from lost purpose, to dances around fires and drums, bright sunlight,and a sacred lake, The Plumed Serpent is a celebration of primal truths in a world lacking a unifying mythos.
It might be a great novel, but the format in which it's offered makes it almost impossible to read. It looks like it was typed on somebody's old manual typewriter with a worn-out ribbon.