- Aaron's Rod (novel)
"Aaron's Rod" is a novel by
D. H. Lawrence, started in 1917 and published in 1922.
The protagonist of this
picaresquenovel, Aaron Sisson, is a union official in the coal mines of the English Midlands, trapped in a stale marriage. He is also an amateur, but talented, flautist. At the start of the story he walks out on his wife and two children and decides on impulse to visit Italy. His dream is to become recognised as a professional musician. During his travels he encounters and befriends Rawdon Lilly, a Lawrence like writer who nurses Aaron back to health when he is taken ill in post-war London. Having recovered his health, Aaron arrives in Florence. Here he moves in intellectual and artistic circles, argues about politics, leadership and submission, and has an affair with an aristocratic lady. The novel ends with an anarchistor fascistexplosion that destroys Aaron’s instrument. Many incidents in the novel have direct parallels with events in Lawrence's own life, but as with so much of this author's work we should not confuse art with disguised autobiography.
The biblical title refers to the rod of Aaron in the Old Testament, one of
Moses's brothers who built the Golden Calfin the desert for the worship of the Israelites. The rod, his divine symbol of authority and independence, finds its echo in the flute of Aaron Sissons.
"Aaron’s Rod" is in places a hastily written text some critics have argued with a bitter view of humanity, especially the relationships between men and women. But in recent years it's brilliance has been accepted by many critics. Many critics group it with other political or leadership novels by Lawrence, such as "
Kangaroo (novel)" and " The Plumed Serpent" that show a tendency toward some form of authoritarianism or fascism.
* Aaron's Rod (1922) edited by Mara Kalnins, Cambridge University Press, 1988,ISBN 0-521-25250-4
* [http://publicliterature.org/books/aarons_rod/xaa.php "Aaron's Rod"] - complete text with audio embedded.
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