D. H. Lawrence

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Lawrence, D. H.

(David Herbert Lawrence), 1885–1930, English author, one of the primary shapers of 20th-century fiction.


The son of a Nottingham coal miner, Lawrence was a sickly child, devoted to his refined but domineering mother, who insisted upon his education. He graduated from the teacher-training course at University College, Nottingham, in 1905 and became a schoolmaster in a London suburb. In 1909 some of his poems were published in the English Review, edited by Ford Madox FordFord, Ford Madox,
1873–1939, English author; grandson of Ford Madox Brown. He changed his name legally from Ford Madox Hueffer in 1919. The author of over 60 works including novels, poems, criticism, travel essays, and reminiscences, Ford also edited the
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, who was also instrumental in the publication of Lawrence's first novel, The White Peacock (1911).

Lawrence eloped to the Continent in 1912 with Frieda von Richthofen Weekley, a German noblewoman who was the wife of a Nottingham professor; they were married in 1914. During World War I the couple was forced to remain in England; Lawrence's outspoken opposition to the war and Frieda's German birth aroused suspicion that they were spies. In 1919 they left England, returning only for brief visits. Their nomadic existence was spent variously in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Australia, the United States (New Mexico), and Mexico. Lawrence died at the age of 45 of tuberculosis, a disease with which he had struggled for years.


Lawrence believed that industrialized Western culture was dehumanizing because it emphasized intellectual attributes to the exclusion of natural or physical instincts. He thought, however, that this culture was in decline and that humanity would soon evolve into a new awareness of itself as being a part of nature. One aspect of this "blood consciousness" would be an acceptance of the need for sexual fulfillment. His three great novels, Sons and Lovers (1913), The Rainbow (1915), and Women in Love (1921), concern the consequences of trying to deny humanity's union with nature.

After World War I, Lawrence began to believe that society needed to be reorganized under one superhuman leader. The novels containing this theme—Aaron's Rod (1922), Kangaroo (1923), and The Plumed Serpent (1926)—are all considered failures. Lawrence's most controversial novel is Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), the story of an English noblewoman who finds love and sexual fulfillment with her husband's gamekeeper. Because their lovemaking is described in intimate detail (for the 1920s), the novel caused a sensation and was banned in England and the United States until 1959.

All of Lawrence's novels are written in a lyrical, sensuous, often rhapsodic prose style. He had an extraordinary ability to convey a sense of specific time and place, and his writings often reflected his complex personality. Lawrence's works include volumes of stories, poems, and essays. He also wrote a number of plays, travel books such as Etruscan Places (1932), and volumes of literary criticism, notably Studies in Classic American Literature (1916).


See D. Trilling, ed., Portable D. H. Lawrence (1947), complete poems ed. by V. De Sola Pinto and F. W. Roberts (1977), and selected essays ed. by G. Dyer (2019); collected letters ed. by H. T. Moore (1962); biographies by J. M. Murray (1931), G. Trease (1973), H. T. Moore (rev. ed. 1974), J. Meyers (1990), P. Callow (1998 and 2003), and J. Worthen (2005), and Cambridge biography by J. Worthen (Vol. I, 1991), M. Kinkead-Weekes (Vol. II, 1996), and D. Ellis (Vol III., 1998); B. Maddox, D. H. Lawrence: The Story of a Marriage (1994); studies by D. Cavitch (1970), R. E. Pritchard (1972), S. Spender, ed. (1973), S. Sanders (1974), and J. Meyers (1982 and 1985).

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References in periodicals archive ?
If, as Lawrence affirmed to Collings, "what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true" (my emphasis), then how do we account for the utter failure of Maurice, the embodiment of Lawrentian "blood-prescience," to correctly interpret his (immediate) tactile encounter with Bertie in the barn?
Although by the 1930s Orwell wrote, "The kind of life that [Lawrence] always points to, a life centring round the simple mysteries--sex, earth, fire, water, blood--is merely a lost cause," his fiction suggests he was still attracted to those Lawrentian mysteries (Bowker 152).
What makes it valuable is Worthen's judicious and detached tone; while he is, obviously, an avid Lawrentian, he is not at all blind to his subject's manifold faults and shortcomings, or to his fondness for striking foolish poses.
It is their war, and you are to help not to win it for them." There is another bit of Lawrentian wisdom, however, that few have chosen to enshrine: "With 2,000 years of examples behind us we have no excuse, when fighting, for not fighting well."
Going beyond the usual Lawrentian cliched terms--"darkness," "blood," "spell," and "leadership"--Granofsky reveals the reiteration of words and motifs with Darwinian connotations: "fitness," "confinement," "breeding," "eating," "illness," "garden," and "survival." In particular, he details the pervasiveness of the food motif--used particularly in The Fox to suggest quickness or survivability and in The Captain's Doll to imply that in love the individual risks being devoured.
In "The Womb of Avant-Garde Reason," the poet recounts: "If you notice my toga I'll take it off / so that you will notice nothing but my body / and its chosen prosthesis, / its hands, its ear, its mouth, its solar anus, / its Lawrentian phallic godhead, its Kahlo-esque song of its other, / its computer, its macro, its chosen form, / in a word, / its poetics" (95).
Apart from the presence of a Lawrentian American West (22) and the metonymic image of Bhopal (138), where is the USA of Dow Chemical and Missile Defense?
Why deliberately do without over the next 40 days when the English countryside is telling u s to leap out and commune with nature, sensuously improvising a Lawrentian dance through the dawn dew, wafting chiffon scarves like Glenda Jackson in Women in Love?
In "Where Water is Deepest" one doesn't know until the final words whether another, here Australian, nanny is stable, or whether inadvertent or premeditated harm will come to her charge (it doesn't, in a Lawrentian, but salvific ending) "The Ginger Rogers Sermon" give rise to a similar squeamish fear that child molestation is perilously close at hand, but here virtue prevails in the ghastly suicide of the affected man.
Even after Burns' eleven-page Foreword and four-page Introduction, some readers may find Panzaic Contextualism unacceptable: it may seem too Lawrentian, or too Freudian, or too stark, or too much of a departure from accepted critical norms and practices.
In Lawrentian circles this is a famous, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say notorious, review in Leavis's most ferocious polemical style.
Yet liberation from a sexually repressive culture was surely an attraction of these early poems; there is a Lawrentian release in their capacity to feel a companionate pulse with the things of nature.