"The Fox" by D. H. Lawrence
Filed Under: Media & Tech | Posted: 03/19/2012 at 9:47PM
Comments | Region: New York | United States
Some hustler could make 2 or $3 million transforming this book into a moody English film. But I’m glad he doesn’t! I’d much rather read it, slowly, over two weeks — though it’s only 195 pages. The front cover calls The Fox "a taut masterpiece of savage sensuality," which is true, though the book isn’t terribly sexual.
The Fox proves once and for all that Lawrence is a feminist. Are the two protagonists lesbians? My answer: they are, and they also aren’t. (Though their names, Banford and March, imply maleness.)
In a highly indirect way, this novella is about war. A soldier wanders onto the farmstead of March and Banford. The time is World War I. Though the war is never directly mentioned, it gathers over the book like a gray Midlands sky. We accept the brutality of war as long as the victims are foreigners in distant countries — people we can imagine being guilty of vague crimes, Lawrence explains. We don’t want soldiers coming into our house and killing our aunt.
How does hunting differ from war? Hunting is necessary; war is not. But both involve guns, and cold calculation. Always, the innocent suffer. Do the innocent secretly wish to suffer? The Fox poses these tragical questions.
Here’s what this masterful work sounds like:
"Yes, if you mean Jill," she said. "I hope you won’t go talking all over the village, that’s all." And she swallowed her dry bread with difficulty.
[Going on Google, I discovered that the moody English film was made, starring Keir Dullea, in 1967.]