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Lawrence, David Herbert. (1885 - 1930).

W o r k

< working-class background: vivid evocations of the countryside and of the mechanical rhythms, monotonies, and economic and spiritual deprivations of industrial England

< inspired by Freud's theories of the unconscious: urges for the liberation of sexuality from inherited social repression

C r i t i c i s m :

- unable to explain his literary attitudes in a simple expository prose: becomes often irritatingly and vaguely rhetorical when trying to talk about his ideas x explains himself only by performing and a direct projection in art

“Surgery for the Novel — or a Bomb?” (1923):

- the novel should avoid abstractions and should present ‘new feelings’

“Why the Novel Matters” (1925):

- the novel should be concerned with ‘Life with capital L’

F i c t i o n :

- believes the dark forces of the inner self should not be destroyed by the rational faculties x but: brought in a harmonious relation with them

- presents his worldview with great originality, uncompromising honesty, a poetic sense of life, and a keen ear and piercing eye for nature and people

Sons and Lovers (1913):

- semi-autobiographical: contrasts paternal coarseness and vitality x maternal refinement and gentility

- the mother gives up the emotional life with her husband and turns to her sons with a possessive love

The Rainbow (1915) and Women in Love (1920):

- originally conceived as a single novel called The Sisters

- concerned with the relationships between humans x their environment,  man x woman, and instinct x intellect

- the characters repressing their unconscious, natural, and sexual energies bring about personal or symbolic disasters

- The Rainbow focuses on the evolving perceptions of three generations of a family mystically linked by a ‘blood-intimacy’ to the fertility of the soil they till and to that of the animals they tend

-Women in Love follows the characters’ smooth movement through the stratified English society: explores a fragmenting world x but: looks neither nostalgically back x nor confidently forward

Kangaroo (1923) and The Plumed Serpent (1926):

- introduces a newly enlightened élite in a revitalised social ethnic

- Kangaroo follows the rise and fall of an Australian proto-fascism, The Plumed Serpent the redemptive potentiality of Aztec blood-cult of dark gods

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928):

- set in an England crushed and emasculated by war

- criticises materialism, intellectualism, and priggism

> published in a unexpurgated form only in 1960

P o e t r y :

- subject: most frequently derived from an observation of nature

- form: concentrated, stark, and unrhymed

Tortoises (1921), Birds, Beasts, and Flowers (1923), Pansies (1929)


(Photo: Poetry Connections net).

  • Author

    David Herbert Richards Lawrence. (1885 - 1930). British.
  • Work

    Novelist. Short story writer. Poet. Playwright. Travel writer. Critic. Author of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928).
  • Genres

    Modern fiction and poetry.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.

His Short Stories

The Prussian Officer and Other Stories (1914)
England, My England and Other Stories (1922)
The Fox The Captain’s Doll, The Ladybird (1923)
The Virgin and the Gipsy and Other Stories (1930)


"All things that are alive are amazing. All things that are dead are subsidiary to the living. Better a live dog than a dead lion. But better a live lion than a live dog. C'est la vie."

From "Why the Novel Matters"  (1925).


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