A portrait of D.H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence (1885-1930), born in the Midland mining village of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, is known for creating literary works that affected readers and writers on both sides of the Atlantic. A poet, novelist, translator and essayist, Lawrence redefined the modernist idea of literature. His father was a miner, and his mother was a schoolmistress. His family’s struggle in middle class England provided ample substance and themes for his work. He wrote short stories and poetry before graduating to novels.
Lawrence attended the Beauvale Board School, and later worked as a clerk until developing pneumonia. He gained his teaching certificate in 1908 from University College Nottingham and began writing more heavily. (The Literature Network)
Lawrence’s mother passed away in 1910, shortly after proofs of The White Peacock were published. This traumatic event in his life is reflected in Sons and Lovers, an autobiographical novel, with the life changing death of Mrs. Morel. In 1911, after a recurrence of pneumonia, Lawrence abandoned teaching to focus all of his time on writing.
Various themes were evident throughout Lawrence’s works: puritanism, hypocrisy, love, sex, and nature. He is marked as being fascinated with homosexuality and sexuality in general in many of his works. He also explored many of these themes as well as the realm of human instinct–especially in his later writings. It is even rumored that Lawrence developed a romantic relationship with a [male?] farmer while writing Women in Love in 1917. (Classic Literature Network)
The year 1917 marks another turning point in Lawrence’s life . After an accusation of being a British spy by the German military, he was rescued by the father of his new wife Frieda Weekely, who was 6 years older than Lawrence. He joined Frieda in Munich shortly after and memorialized their time together in Look! We Have Come Through (1917).
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, one of Lawrence’s best known works, was published in 1928 and banned from certain bookstores in the United Kingdom and the United States for being ‘pornographic’. Lawrence’s reputation was affected by these claims, and he faced issues with censorship and misrepresentation throughout the latter half of his life. Though his health was failing, Lawrence continued to write until his dying day, March 2, 1930.
Examples of Poetry
The Wild Common
How Beastly the Bourgeois Is (1929)
The Ship of Death (1933)
The Literature Network. “D.H. Lawrence. 2008. < http://www.online-literature.com/dh_lawrence/ >
Classic Literature Network. “D. H. Lawrence.” < http://www.classicliterature.net/d.-h.-lawrence > Contributors: