In this study of D.H.Lawrence and critical theory, Robert Burden pays particular attention to the critical formations that underpin the reception history of the main novels, including the much maligned “leadership” novels, because strong readings have always contested the meaning and significance of Lawrence, and because there has been a persistent reluctance to approach his writing through post-structuralist theory. This study demonstrates in some detail that once Lawrence's texts are the objects of the newer critical paradigms, their principles of coherence are understood differently; and that older notions of textual unity are displaced by aesthetic structures of degrees of generic and linguistic destabilization. This enables a radicalizing of Lawrence's fiction by drawing out its deconstructive effects on his myth-making and essentialist notions of the self. The sexual identities represented in the fiction are read as experiments, or “thought adventures”, as Lawrence himself characterized his work. The different approaches to Lawrence's writing in this study lead to a radical reassessment of his relationship to Modernism, especially in the light of the more elastic concept of Modernism in recent discussion, and one which traditional Lawrence scholars have ignored. What emerges is a more self-deconstructive Lawrence, with some surprising results.