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D. H. Lawrence


Oh dear! What are we to do with D. H. Lawrence? He is one of those writers that go and in out of favour, according to the tastes of the times and, frankly, in the early part of the twentieth-first century, when earthy sex is not all that high on the agenda, he looks more and more irrelevant. His reputation may well have been at its highest in the Sixties when the idea of getting back in touch with nature, primarily through sex, was more in tune with the Zeitgeist than it is now. Nowadays, his often tedious moralising cannot be ignored. His poems and paintings, frankly, have also started to looked tired and irrelevant. This is not to say that Lawrence is of no value. Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow and Women in Love are still fine novels but they are not the greatest novels in the English language that some of their supporters would have us believe.

David Herbert Lawrence was born in 1885 in Eastwood, near Nottingham. His father was a miner and his mother had been a schoolteacher. He had a difficult childhood as the family was poor, his parents quarreled all the time and he was frequently ill. He was very close to his mother, who wished to keep him out of the mines. He became a student teacher and started a relationship with Jessie Chambers, who became the model for Miriam in Sons and Lovers. While continuing to teach, he started writing poetry and then his first novels, but, after the death of his mother, he became very ill and gave up teaching.

In 1912 he met Frieda Weekley (née von Richthofen), the wife of his former professor, six years his senior and mother of three children. They fell in love and eloped to Germany. Much of the rest of their time together was spent travelling around. During the First World War, they were in England, where they were both persecuted by the police and Lawrence’s novel, The Rainbow, was seized by the police and declared obscene. In 1919, they left for Italy but continued their travels – to Ceylon, Australia, the United States and Mexico. Their relationship became increasingly stormy and their financial situation was equally strained. Lawrence’s health was getting worse and he found out that he had an advanced state of tuberculosis and only two years left to live. At this time, he became interested in painting, though he had the same trouble with his paintings as with his novels, when thirteen pictures were seized for obscenity by the police at an exhibition in London. In 1928 he finished his last and most controversial novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was not published in England and the United States in an unexpurgated version for over thirty years. Frieda took him to Germany and then the South of France to find a cure but he died in 1930 in Vence.

Books about D. H. Lawrence

David Ellis: D. H. Lawrence: Dying Game, 1922-1930
Mark Kinkead-Weekes: D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile, 1912-1922
Robert E. Montgomery: The Visionary D. H. Lawrence: Beyond Philosophy and Art
John Worthen: D. H. Lawrence: The Early Years, 1885-1912
There are hundreds of books about Lawrence. The above are the most interesting. For more see here and here.

Other sites

General and biographical sites
D H Lawrence
D H Lawrence
Lawrence’s last days
Lawrence’s grave
His grave

About places associated with Lawrence

Eastwood and D H Lawrence (Eastwood is Lawrence’s birthplace)
D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum
Lawrence in Europe


Some Women and Lawrence
“A Would-Be-Dirty Mind”: D. H. Lawrence as an Enemy of Joyce
“Giving Your Self Away”: Lawrence’s Letters in Context
The Ending of Sons and Lovers
Poetry, Regeneration and D.H. Lawrence

His paintings

A life in pictures
D.H. Lawrence’s Paintings


The Captain’s Doll
Collected Short Stories
Etruscan Places
Fantasia of the Unconscious
The Fox
The Ladybird
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
The Lost Girl
The Man Who Died
Mornings in Mexico
The Plumed Serpent
The Prussian Officer and Other Stories
The Rainbow
The Rocking Horse Winner
Sea and Sardinia
St. Mawr
Sons and Lovers
Studies in Classic American Literature
The Virgin and the Gipsy
The White Peacock
The Woman Who Rode Away and other stories
Women in Love
With the guns (Lawrence on the beginning of World War I)


Birds, Beasts and Flowers
Embankment at Night
Look! We Have Come Through!
New Poems
The Poetry of D H Lawrence
149 Poems


1911 The White Peacock (novel)
1912 The Trespasser (novel)
1913 Love Poems and Others (poetry)
1913 Sons and Lovers (novel)
1914 The Prussian Officer and Other Stories (short stories)
1914 The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (drama)
1915 The Rainbow (novel)
1916 Amores (poetry)
1916 Twilight in Italy (travel)
1917 Look! We Have Come Through! (poetry)
1918 New Poems (poetry)
1919 Bay: a Book of Poems (poetry)
1920 The Lost Girl (novel)
1920 Touch and Go (drama)
1920 Women in Love (novel)
1921 Movements in European History (essays)
1921 Psychoanalysis and the unconscious (essays)
1921 Sea and Sardinia (travel)
1921 Tortoises (poetry)
1922 Aaron’s Rod (novel)
1922 England, My England and Other Stories (short stories)
1922 Fantasia of the unconscious (essays)
1923 Birds, Beasts and Flowers (poetry)
1923 Kangaroo (novel)
1923 Studies in Classic American Literature (essays)
1923 The Ladybird, the Fox, the Captain’s Doll (short stories)
1924 The Boy in the Bush (novel)
1925 Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine and Other Essays (essays)
1925 St Mawr (novel)
1926 David (drama)
1926 Glad Ghosts (short stories)
1926 Sun (short stories)
1926 The Plumed Serpent (Quetzalcoatl) (novel)
1927 Mornings in Mexico (travel)
1928 Lady Chatterley’s Lover (novel)
1928 The Collected Poems of D H Lawrence (poetry)
1928 The Escaped Cock (The Man Who Died) (novel)
1928 The Woman Who Rode Away and Other Stories (short stories)
1929 Pansies (poetry)
1929 Pornography and Obscenity (essays)
1929 Rawdon’s Roof (short stories)
1930 Assorted Articles (essays)
1930 Love Among the Haystacks and Other Pieces (short stories)
1930 Nettles (poetry)
1930 The Virgin and the Gipsy (novel)
1931 Apocalypse (essays)
1932 Etruscan Places (travel)
1932 Last Poems (poetry)
1933 The Fight for Barbara (drama)
1934 A Collier’s Friday Night (drama)
1936 Phoenix: the Posthumous Papers of D H Lawrence (essays)
1940 Fire and Other Poems (poetry)
1940 The Married Man (drama)
1941 The Merry-Go-Round (drama)
1964 The Complete Poems of D H Lawrence (poetry)
1965 The Complete Plays of D H Lawrence (drama)
1968 Phoenix II: Uncollected, Unpublished and Other Prose Works by D H Lawrence (essays)
1984 Mr Noon part I and part II (novel)
1994 Collected Stories
1999 The Plays
2004 Introductions and Reviews
2004 Late Essays and Articles
2008 Selected Letters
A more detailed bibliography