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D. H. Lawrence and Hannah Höch: Representing Einstein and the Post-World War I World

Kumiko Hoshi

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  • 1 On June 4, 1921, Lawrence asked S. S. Koteliansky to send “a simple book on Einstein’s Relativity” (...)
  • 2 According to Newton’s First Law of Motion, or the law of inertia, an object that is rotating on an (...)
  • 3 Lawrence arrived in Sydney, Australia on May 27 and left August 11, 1922.
  • 4 In “The Ambivalent Approach: D. H. Lawrence and the New Physics” (1982), Nancy Katherine Hayles rem (...)
  • 5 See Hoshi, “D. H. Lawrence in Victorian Relativism: A ‘Theory of Human Relativity’ in Aaron’s Rod.”

1On June 15, 1921, while in Baden-Baden, D. H. Lawrence read Albert Einstein’s Relativity: The Special and General Theory, which had appeared in English for the first time the previous year.1 He had received the book from his friend S. S. Koteliansky that very day. The next day, he wrote Koteliansky to say: “Einstein isn’t so metaphysically marvellous, but I like him for taking out the pin which fixed down our fluttering little physical universe” (4L 37). He also commented in Fantasia of the Unconscious (1922), which he wrote around the same time: “We are all very pleased with Mr Einstein for knocking that external axis out of the universe. The universe isn’t a spinning wheel. It is a cloud of bees flying and veering round. [...] So that now the universe has escaped from the pin which was pushed through it” (FU 72). The image of “a spinning wheel” was (and still is) closely associated with Isaac Newton’s notion of absolute space and time.2 Refuting Newton’s mechanistic vision of the universe, Lawrence thus voiced his approval of Einstein’s new vision. Almost one year later, Lawrence visited Australia where Einstein’s theory had become a cause célèbre and in Kangaroo (1923), he expressed his thoughts about it.3 Although this novel expounds on relativity and its implications through Richard Lovatt Somers, the main character, any clear delineation of Lawrence’s views on the subject is by no means a simple task. John B. Humma comments: “Relativity is one of Lawrence’s devils in the novel [...] except when it becomes ‘relative to the absolute’” (88). As has often been argued,4 Lawrence had already believed in relativity prior to his encounter with Einstein’s writings. Especially during the period between 1906 and 1908, he had read works by Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, William James, Herbert Spencer and Ernst Haeckel, absorbing the thinking of these Victorian relativists; the natural world, for Darwin and Huxley, the truth for James, and the universe for Spencer and Haeckel, were all considered to be an entity consisting of various relations and subject to unpredictable change.5 That Lawrence felt Einstein wasn’t “so metaphysically marvellous” (4L 37) was merely one indication of Lawrence’s familiarity with the Austrian scientist’s revelation that the point of view of the observer produces a relativistic vision of the world. With this in mind, it might be argued that Einstein’s work provided added support for Lawrence’s own metaphysical explorations into relativity, an idea that turned out to be pivotal in his creative ventures. This essay makes this case through a comparison between Lawrence’s Kangaroo and Hannah Höch’s Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany (1919-20). Created between 1919 and 20 and displayed at the First International Dada Fair in Berlin in 1920, this photomontage greatly resembled Kangaroo in three respects: its response to Einstein and his theory of relativity, its presentation of Einstein as a symbol of the chaotic post-World War I world, and its use of the modern artistic technique known as collage.

  • 6 Jennifer E. Michaels states: “Gross’s view changed Hausmann’s thinking and he became a missionary f (...)
  • 7 Regarding Gross’s influence on Lawrence and Frieda, see Turner.
  • 8 In “Lawrence and Dada” (2006), Sandra Jobson argues that Lawrence was greatly influenced by Dada th (...)

2Hannah Höch was Lawrence’s contemporary and a German Dada artist. She was born in Gotha, Germany in 1889, four years later than Lawrence, and she died in 1978, surviving Lawrence by nearly five decades. In 1912, the year when Lawrence eloped with Frieda Weekley (née von Richthofen) and first visited Germany, Höch enrolled at the College of Arts and Crafts in Berlin to study glass design and graphic arts, later moving to the National Institute of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. In 1915, she met Raoul Hausmann, a leading member of the Berlin Dadaist movement. At the time, Hausmann was a “missionary” and “propagandist” for Otto Gross’s ideology, on which the local Dada scene was constructed.6 Although he was then married, Hausmann and Höch, like Lawrence and Frieda, based their relationship on Gross’s belief in sexual liberation and free love.7 However, unlike the latter couple, they ended their complicated affair in 1922. While Gross was probably a key person connecting Lawrence and Höch, there is not however any direct evidence proving a link between them,8 and Lawrence mentions neither Höch nor Dada in his writings and letters. What the two artists had in common was their response to Einstein.

  • 9 “The general theory of relativity” consists of two articles, that is, “On Accelerated Motion and Gr (...)
  • 10 On the British receptions to Einstein’s theory of relativity, see Warwick and Whitworth 26-57.
  • 11 As to the treatment of this issue in newspapers, see Friedman and Donley 7-25; Whitworth 26-57; and (...)

3Like Lawrence, Höch is known for her early engagement with Einstein’s views. Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife, her representative photomontage, includes an enlarged picture of Einstein’s face in the upper left quadrant, borrowed from the front page of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung of December 14, 1919, about one month after the importance of Einstein’s theory of relativity became widely recognized as an epochal discovery. Einstein had published his special theory of relativity in 1905, and his general theory in 1915 and 16.9 In 1919, A. S. Eddington, the first British scientist to take a sympathetic interest in Einstein’s work, led an expedition to Principe Island off the west coast of Africa to test Einstein’s prediction from the general theory of relativity that the path of a ray of light is bent by a powerful gravitational field. Eddington verified Einstein’s prediction through his observation of the deflection of starlight during a total solar eclipse. On November 6, 1919, Eddington attended a meeting of the Royal Society and reported his findings.10 The next day, The Times published “The Fabric of the Universe,” an article which explained the purpose and results of Eddington’s expedition. On November 9, a New York Times headline proclaimed: “Eclipse Showed Gravity Variation: Hailed as Epoch-making.”11 Thereafter, Einstein and his theory of relativity were frequently discussed in newspapers and magazines worldwide.

4Although Einstein became a public figure, it did not necessarily mean that people of the time comprehended his theories, which were (and still are) notoriously unintelligible. As one anonymous limerick at the time put it:

In a notable family called Stein,
There were Gertrude, and Ep, and then Ein.
Gert’s writing was hazy,
Ep’s statues were crazy,
And nobody understood Ein. (Quoted in Friedman and Donley 3)

5The public was nonetheless aware that Einstein had prompted a paradigm shift in physics that overturned and replaced the previous Newtonian vision of absolute space and time. The December 14, 1919 issue of Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung summed up the general mood of the day by portraying Einstein as “a new great in world history […] whose researches, signifying a complete revolution in our concepts of nature, are on a par with the insights of a Copernicus, a Kepler, and a Newton” (Quoted in Henderson 106; emphasis added). As for Einstein’s visage in Höch’s photomontage, Linda Darlymple Henderson observes that it served her purpose of adumbrating political and social change in Germany while also supporting the artistic revolution of Dada (107).

6In Kangaroo, Lawrence, like Höch, seems to present Einstein as an icon of “a complete revolution.” Kangaroo, the eponymous character whose real name is Benjamin Cooley, starts “a discussion of the much-mooted and at the moment fashionable Theory of Relativity” (K 109). According to Bruce Steele, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) had featured an article on Einstein and his theory of relativity on June 17, 1922 that Lawrence likely had read during a sojourn in Sydney (K, “Explanatory Notes” 376). The shock wave caused by Einstein had finally reached the Southern Hemisphere.

7What should be noted here is that Lawrence treats Einstein and his theory of relativity in a stereotypical way. In the scene we have alluded to, Richard Lovatt Somers notices that Kangaroo really enjoys this conversation, but he feels “bored” with it (K 110). Somers thinks to himself: “[Kangaroo’s] kindly love for real, vulnerable human beings [...] had given his soul an absolute direction whatever he said about relativity” (K 111). Later, Kangaroo is indeed portrayed as a man who firmly believes in love, showing his “absoluteness” through “his strange blind heroic obsession” with his own thinking about love (K 209). It is true that Somers himself thinks seriously about the issue of relativity, but he does so by using banal clichés such as “Everything is relative” (K 280) and “All things are relative” (K 328). Although Einstein never said “everything is relative,” people of the time used this phrase whenever referring to his new physics. In Time and the Western Man, Wyndham Lewis faults such platitudes and superficial thinking, claiming: “Relativity seldom involves much more than that to people” (86). Lawrence’s use of the same clichés suggests that he did not fully understand Einstein’s theory. In “Relativity,” a poem included in Pansies (1929), Lawrence frankly says: “I like relativity and quantum theories / because I don’t understand them” (Poems 524). Interestingly, these first two lines of the poem echo the limerick quoted earlier. Einstein for Lawrence, as for his contemporaries including Höch, is not a scientist so much as an icon of revolution heralding a new world order.

  • 12 As for the historical facts of the German Revolution, see Weitz. I am indebted to Kensuke Shiba, Pr (...)

8What is signified by Einstein in both works is not only “a complete revolution” but also chaos in the post-World War I world. Höch’s photomontage is an attempt to visualize the uncontrollable political currents that were at play during the German Revolution. On October 29, 1918, a sailors’ revolt occurred in Kiel, triggering the German Revolution.12 On November 9, Philipp Scheidemann, one of the leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), proclaimed the German Republic. On the same day, Karl Liebknecht, leader of the Spartacists, proclaimed another republic, in this case a socialist one. In the midst of this confusion, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated. Three days later, Friedrich Ebert, head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), formed a new government with the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), which included the Spartacists as a subsidiary organization. This new government signed the Armistice with the Allies, ending World War I. On August 11, 1919, the Constitution was adopted and the Weimar Republic formally established. The early days of the new Republic were subsequently a time of great political ferment, as a vast array of political parties on all sides of the spectrum vied for dominance in the new order.

  • 13 See “Smarthistory” website.

9Significantly, most of the political leaders mentioned here appear in Höch’s Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife. Her photomontage can be divided into four sections: “Dadaists,” “Dada Propaganda,” “Dada Persuasion,” and “Anti-Dadaists.”13 The lower right corner shows Dadaists such as Höch herself (a tiny portrait is pasted to the upper left of a map of European countries) and Raoul Hausmann. In the lower left corner Karl Liebknecht, leader of the Spartacists, appears with his words, “Join Dada.” The upper left corner called “Dada Propaganda” features Friedrich Ebert, head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and President of the Weimar Republic. Another significant figure in this section is Einstein. His portrait borders that of Ebert, but its larger size highlights Einstein’s higher position in the revolution. Juxtaposed with Einstein is an image of Kaiser Wilhelm II, above which are the words “Die anti-Dada.” Finally, the civil war between the revolutionaries (Dadaists) and the old regime (Anti-Dadaists) is symbolized by a pastiche of machines and canons scattered throughout the work.

  • 14 Regarding the definition of Dada, see Richter. Richter highlights the difficulty in identifying the (...)
  • 15 Richard Huelsenbeck’s “Dadaist manifesto” begins as follows: “Art in its execution and direction is (...)

10Interestingly, the strong commitment to politics that is evident in Höch’s Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife is one of the distinguishing features of Berlin Dada. An “anti-art” movement encompassing literature (poetry), the visual arts, music, theater, and graphic arts, Dada emerged in Zurich in 1916, quickly spreading to major cities such as New York, Berlin, and Paris. Unlike other modern art movements such as Cubism and Futurism, there were “no unified formal characteristics” among the various branches of Dada.14 Each branch developed in a way that reflects the reality of its environment. Club Dada in Berlin, which Höch belonged to, was launched in the midst of the German Revolution and intended to synchronize its artistic revolution with society’s political transformation.15

11The German Revolution had a major impact on Lawrence. In April 1921, Lawrence was intrigued enough by events in Germany to visit Baden-Baden for three months. By the time of his arrival, the Weimar Republic had been officially founded, but the nation remained embroiled in political turmoil. Arriving in Australia in May 1922, he witnessed political upheaval that paralleled what he had seen the previous year in Germany.

  • 16 Martin Green remarks: “[...] the Munich revolution lies behind Kangaroo” (346), while Carl Krockel (...)

12As some critics have suggested (Green 346; Krockel 15, 260),16 the influence of the German Revolution on Lawrence is clearly manifested in Kangaroo, where the political conflict between the Diggers Club, led by Kangaroo, Benjamin Cooley, and the Socialist Labour Party, led by Willie Struthers, drives the plot forward. Somers encounters both parties, eventually deciding not to get involved in either of them and leaving Australia. While he is impressed by Kangaroo’s charismatic leadership, he does however, as is seen in their casual talk about Einstein, sense that there is something wrong with him. Although Somers cannot initially articulate why he feels this, the novel reveals the insurmountable differences in the two men’s views, the question of chaos representing one source of contention between them. When Somers says, “I’m tired of one central principle in the world,” Kangaroo responds, “Anything else means chaos.” Somers then expresses his positive view of chaos: “There has to be chaos occasionally” (K 207; emphasis added). Near the end of the novel, in which Somers reflects back on his time in Australia, he repeats the same idea: “I suppose it [the collapse of the love-ideal] means chaos and anarchy. Then there will have to be chaos and anarchy” (K 328; emphasis added). It is noteworthy that in Kangaroo chaos in politics is deeply associated with chaos in metaphysics.

13In addition to associating politics and metaphysics with chaos, Somers ascribes similar characteristics to the Australian landscape, which fascinates him from the beginning of the novel. Right after his arrival in Sydney, he marvels: “In the openness and the freedom this new chaos, this litter of bungalows and tin cans scattered for miles and miles, this Englishness all crumbled out into formlessness and chaos!” (K 27; emphasis added). After witnessing a row that broke out in the midst of a Labour Party meeting (K 313-15), he is “vaguely aware of the rage and chaos in the dark city round him, the terror of the clashing chaos” (K 316; emphasis added). What he sees before leaving Australia is again disorder: “a whole mass of new rocks, a chaos of heaped boulders, a gurgle of rushing clayey water, and heaps of collapsed earth” (K 352; emphasis added). As in the case of Höch’s photomontage, Kangaroo epitomizes political, metaphysical and scenic tumult in post-war Australia, all embodied in Einstein as a cultural icon.

14In order to represent the new post-war reality, both Höch and Lawrence adopt an innovative artistic technique, that is, collage. Höch’s Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife is a collage constructed from newspaper and magazine clippings of photographic images. This artistic form of the photomontage was pioneered by Höch and Hausmann and, according to Hausmann, it aimed to reveal “a visually and conceptually new image of the chaos of an age of war and revolution” (Richter 116; emphasis added).

15The Dadaist way of producing a photomontage is demonstrated in “To Make a Dadaist Poem” by Tristan Tzara, the Romanian-born French poet and founder of Zurich Dada:

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are—an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

16This poem outlines the way Höch produced Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife. Uniquely, however, Höch used a “kitchen knife” instead of ordinary scissors, reflecting her special interest in female gender roles and sexuality. Another good example of this interest is the female figure located at the center of the photomontage; with its severed head, the image perhaps symbolizes womanhood alienated from patriarchal society, immobilized, and unfulfilled.

  • 17 Joseph Davis also remarks, “The many seemingly extraneous pieces of material we encounter in Kangar (...)

17With regard to Lawrence’s Kangaroo, Sandra Jobson calls it “a perfect example of a collage created from objets trouvés.”17 Jobson pays special attention to Tzara’s manifesto poem, arguing that Lawrence composed the two chapters of Kangaroo, “Volcanic Evidence” and “Bits,” in a similar way. Near the end of “Volcanic Evidence,” Somers reflects: “I am not just merely a sort of human bomb, all black inside, waiting to explode I don’t know when or how or where. […] When I feel at peace with myself, […] surely that is also me” (K 165). This self-analysis is immediately followed by an article on earthquakes and volcanoes copied from the May 11, 1922 issue of the Daily Telegraph with few modifications (K, “Explanatory Notes” 388). Seemingly irrelevant, these juxtaposed texts in fact both refer to explosions; one psychological, the other geological. The beginning of “Bits” consists of numerous anecdotes contributed by readers of the Bulletin and published for its June 22, 1922 issue (K, “Explanatory Notes” 401). Somers thinks that these anecdotes have “no consecutive thread” but actually mirror “the momentaneous life of the continent” (K 272). Thus, as in Tzara’s poem, Lawrence “took a newspaper,” and “cut out the article,” “took out each cutting one after the other,” and finally “copied conscientiously.” It seems that Lawrence adopted this technique not only for these two chapters but also for the entire work. Even Somers’s prolonged reflections on his nightmarish experiences during World War I, like the motif of Einstein, figure prominently within this imposing, intricate collage. Not surprisingly perhaps, Kangaroo has been criticized for its disjointed, unharmonious form. John Middleton Murry in fact called Kangaroo “a chaotic book” (238), while Julian Moynahan viewed it as “a heap of bits and fragments blown about on air currents of emotion” (102). Such criticisms, however, must be seen in a different light in that Kangaroo is a novel about chaos based on collage-like techniques, not a literary work in the standard sense.

  • 18 In “Morality and the Novel,” written in 1925, Lawrence writes about science in general: “Philosophy (...)
  • 19 In “The Novel,” an essay written in 1925, Lawrence writes: “Everything is relative” (STH 185). Else (...)

18A comparison between Lawrence’s Kangaroo and Höch’s Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife demonstrates that both works employ Einstein as an icon within the collage in order to represent chaos in a post-World War I world. Probably, when Lawrence read Einstein’s theory of relativity in June 1921, he thought that his metaphysical idea of the world as relational and changeable had finally been confirmed, but later Einstein’s theory would become the “science” he considered “busy in nailing things down [...] with its laws” (STH 172).18 As was seen at the beginning of this essay, Lawrence at first admired Einstein, because he took out “the pin which fixed down our fluttering little physical universe” (4L 37; emphasis added). Ironically, Einstein’s theory turned out to be the “pin” to fix Lawrence’s free, active exploration of relativity with its cliché “Everything is relative,” a phrase Lawrence came to use frequently in essays such as “The Novel.”19 In this fashion, Lawrence completed the first phase of his metaphysical explorations into relativity, heading toward the next phase, one in which he would explore relativity and its implications in a different, mystical context.

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Bibliographie

Davis, Joseph. D. H. Lawrence at Thirroul. Sydney: Imprint, 1989.

Friedman, Alan J., and Carol C. Donley. Einstein as Myth and Muse. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1985.

Green, Martin. The von Richthofen Sisters: The Triumphant and the Tragic Modes of Love, Else and Frieda von Richthofen, Otto Gross, Max Weber, and D. H. Lawrence, in the Years 1870-1970. New York: Basic Books, 1974.

“Hannah Höch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919-20.” Flickr. 2 August 2012 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/32535532@N07/3179940950/>

Hayles, Nancy Katherine. “The Ambivalent Approach: D. H. Lawrence and the New Physics.” Mosaic 15.3 (1982): 89-108.

Henderson, Linda Dalrymple. “Einstein and the 20th-Century Art: A Romance of Many Dimensions.” Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture. Eds. Galison, Peter L. Gerald Holton and Silvan S. Schweber. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton UP, 2008. 101-29.

Henry, Holly. Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.

“Höch’s Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany.” Smarthistory. 2 August 2012 <http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/hoch-kitchen-knife.html?q=hoch-kitchen-knife.html>

Hoshi, Kumiko. “Modernism’s Fourth Dimension in Aaron’s Rod: Einstein, Picasso, and Lawrence.” Virginia Hyde and Earl G. Ingersoll, eds. “A Window to the Sun”: D. H. Lawrence’s “Thought-Adventures.” Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2009. 99-117.

—. “D. H. Lawrence in Victorian Relativism: A ‘Theory of Human Relativity’ in Aaron’s Rod.” The Hiyoshi Review of English Studies 59 (Oct. 2011): 37-58.

Humma, John B. “Of Bits, Beasts, and Bush: The Interior Wilderness in D. H. Lawrence’s Kangaroo.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association 51.1 (Jan. 1986): 83-100.

Jobson, Sandra. “D. H. Lawrence and Dada.” D. H. Lawrence of Australia. 12 June 2011. <http://www.cybersydney.com.au/dhl/lawrence%20&%20dada.html>

Kinkead-Weekes, Mark. D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile 1912-1922. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996.

Krockel, Carl. D. H. Lawrence and Germany: The Politics of Influence. Rodopi: New York, 2007.

Lawrence, D. H. Kangaroo. 1923. Ed. Bruce Steele. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994.

—. The Letters of D. H. Lawrence. Eds. Warren Roberts, James T. Boulton and Elizabeth Mansfield. Vol. 4. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987.

—. “Relativity.” The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence. Ed. Vivian De Sola Pinto and Warren Roberts. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993.

—. Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays. 1985. Ed. Bruce Steele. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988.

Lewis, Wyndham. Time and Western Man. 1927. Ed. Paul Edwards. London: Chatto and Windus, 1993.

Michaels, Jennifer E. “Otto Gross’s Influence on German-Language Writers.” Gottfried Heuer ed. Sexual Revolutions: Psychoanalysis, History and the Father. Routledge: New York, 2011. 155-67.

Moynahan, Julian. The Deed of Life: The Novels and Tales of D. H. Lawrence. Princeton UP: Princeton, New Jersey, 1963.

Murry, John Middleton. D. H. Lawrence: Son of Woman. London: Jonathan ape, 1954.

Richter, Hans. Dada: Art and Anti-Art. Thames & Hudson: London, 2007.

Turner, John. “‘Making History’: D. H. Lawrence, Frieda Weekley and Otto Gross.” Gottfried Heuer ed. Sexual Revolutions: Psychoanalysis, History and the Father. Routledge: New York, 2011. 168-80.

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Warwick, Andrew. “Through the Convex Looking Glass: A. S. Eddington and the Cambridge Reception of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.” Masters of Theory: Cambridge and the Rise of Mathematical Physics. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. 443-500.

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Whitworth, Michael H. Einstein’s Wake: Relativity, Metaphor, and Modernist Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.

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Notes

1 On June 4, 1921, Lawrence asked S. S. Koteliansky to send “a simple book on Einstein’s Relativity” (4L 23). Five days later, on June 9, he sent another letter to remind Koteliansky of the book: “As soon as Einstein comes I will send you a cheque for it” (4L 30). When he finally received the book on June 15, he wrote a letter of “very many thanks” (4L 36).

2 According to Newton’s First Law of Motion, or the law of inertia, an object that is rotating on an axis wants to keep spinning.

3 Lawrence arrived in Sydney, Australia on May 27 and left August 11, 1922.

4 In “The Ambivalent Approach: D. H. Lawrence and the New Physics” (1982), Nancy Katherine Hayles remarks that Lawrence “hoped that it [the Einsteinian revolution in science] would lead to a scientific model more compatible with his beliefs” (106; emphasis added). In D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile (1998), Mark Kinkead-Weekes offers a similar view: “He [Lawrence] is pleased to find, in Einstein’s ‘popular exposition’ of his theory of relativity [...] that the new theory subverts the idea of a universe governed by a unitary system of scientific laws, and substitutes instead the idea that cosmic forces can only be known in relation to one another. This seemed to reinforce his own denial (since 1914) of any one absolute principle, and hence his belief that life was always a matter of relationships—between opposite impulses within the self, and between selves, none paramount, all ‘purely relative to one another,’ in an essentially creative pluralism” (659; emphasis added). See also Hoshi, “Modernism’s Fourth Dimension in Aaron’s Rod: Einstein, Picasso, and Lawrence.”

5 See Hoshi, “D. H. Lawrence in Victorian Relativism: A ‘Theory of Human Relativity’ in Aaron’s Rod.”

6 Jennifer E. Michaels states: “Gross’s view changed Hausmann’s thinking and he became a missionary for new forms of community and new models of social and sexual relationships, and a propagandist for the destruction of patriarchal family and social structures” (158). With regard to Gross’s influence on Berlin Dada, Michaels introduces Hausmann’s view as follows: “In Hausmann’s view, Gross’s ideas formed the theoretical basis on which the Dada movement in Berlin was built” (157).

7 Regarding Gross’s influence on Lawrence and Frieda, see Turner.

8 In “Lawrence and Dada” (2006), Sandra Jobson argues that Lawrence was greatly influenced by Dada through Frieda’s relationship with Gross. Importantly, she refers to Höch once in the article as one of “the key figures in the Berlin Club Dada.”

9 “The general theory of relativity” consists of two articles, that is, “On Accelerated Motion and Gravitation” (1915) and “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity” (1916).

10 On the British receptions to Einstein’s theory of relativity, see Warwick and Whitworth 26-57.

11 As to the treatment of this issue in newspapers, see Friedman and Donley 7-25; Whitworth 26-57; and Henry 26-30.

12 As for the historical facts of the German Revolution, see Weitz. I am indebted to Kensuke Shiba, Professor of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, for detailed information on the German Revolution.

13 See “Smarthistory” website.

14 Regarding the definition of Dada, see Richter. Richter highlights the difficulty in identifying the origins of Dada by saying: “Where and how Dada began is already almost as hard to determine as Homer’s birthplace” (11). He defines Dada as an “anti-art” movement: “Dada was not an artistic movement in the accepted sense; it was a storm that broke over the world of art as the war did over the nations.” (9). With regard to the formal characteristics of Dada, Richter writes: “Dada had no unified formal characteristics as have other styles. But it did have a new artistic ethic from which, in unforeseen ways, new means of expression emerged. These took different forms in different countries and with different artists, according to the temperament, antecedents and artistic ability of the individual Dadaist. The new ethic took sometimes a positive, sometimes a negative form, often appearing as art and then again as the negation of art, at times deeply moral and at other times totally amoral” (9).

15 Richard Huelsenbeck’s “Dadaist manifesto” begins as follows: “Art in its execution and direction is dependent on the time in which it lives, and artists are creatures of their epoch. The highest art will be that which in its conscious content presents the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which has been visibly shattered by the explosions of last week, which is forever trying to collect its limbs after yesterday’s crash. The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their time” (Richter 104).

16 Martin Green remarks: “[...] the Munich revolution lies behind Kangaroo” (346), while Carl Krockel suggests: “The political positions of these novels [Aaron’s Rod and Kangaroo] are speculative answers to the failure of liberalism and socialism in post-war Germany” (15).

17 Joseph Davis also remarks, “The many seemingly extraneous pieces of material we encounter in Kangaroo have been as carefully selected, structured and positioned as the art of any Dadaist collage” (97).

18 In “Morality and the Novel,” written in 1925, Lawrence writes about science in general: “Philosophy, religion, science, they are all of them busy nailing things down, to get a stable equilibrium. Religion, with its nailed down One God, who says Thou shalt, Thou shan’t, and hammers home every time; philosophy, with its fixed ideas; science, with its “laws”: they all of them, all the time, want to nail us on to some tree or other” (STH 172; emphasis added).

19 In “The Novel,” an essay written in 1925, Lawrence writes: “Everything is relative” (STH 185). Elsewhere in the same essay, he also says: “In a novel, everything is relative to everything else, if that novel is art at all” (STH 179).

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Kumiko Hoshi, « D. H. Lawrence and Hannah Höch: Representing Einstein and the Post-World War I World », Études Lawrenciennes [En ligne], 46 | 2015, mis en ligne le 22 octobre 2015, consulté le 16 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lawrence/244 ; DOI : 10.4000/lawrence.244

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Auteur

Kumiko Hoshi

St. Paul’s University, Tokyo, Japan

Kumiko Hoshi is Associate Professor at Shinshu University, Japan. Her fields of research are Modernism and D.H.Lawrence. She has notably published "Representation of the Ether in Women in Love: In Relation to Ernst Haeckel and Umberto Boccioni"(D. H. Lawrence Studies, 16(1) 121-39, Jun 2008) and “Modernism's Fourth Dimension in Aaron’s Rod: Einstein, Picasso, and Lawrence.” Eds. Earl Ingersoll and Virginia Hyde, Windows to the Sun: D. H. Lawrence's “Thought-Adventures.”(Fairleigh Dickinson UP,  Feb 2009).

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