Pairing D. H. Lawrence with Aldous Huxley, this essay explores representations of aristocracy—hereditary and intellectual—in British modernism. Lawrence and Huxley often associate aristocracy with stupidity, satirizing the expertise of the expert as well as the intellectual vacancy of the rich and titled. And they satirize each other. But they do not follow Romantic poetry in idealizing the idiot, the simpleton, or figures of social deprivation, Huxley directly targeting Wordsworthian notions of virtuous simplicity in Those Barren Leaves (1925). Dissolving distinctions between rich and poor, high and low, stupid and intelligent, Lawrence and Huxley undo the hierarchicalism with which they are typically identified in modernist studies.

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