Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lawrence, D. H.

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

Life

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 Ford, 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.

Works

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).

Bibliography

See the Portable D. H. Lawrence, ed. by D. Trilling (1947); his collected letters (ed. with introduction by H. T. Moore, 1962); his complete poems, ed. by V. De Sola Pinto and F. W. Roberts (1977); 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 series biography by J. Worthen (Vol. I, 1991), M. Kinkead-Weekes (Vol. II, 1996), and D. Ellis (Vol III., 1998); D. H. Lawrence: The Story of a Marriage (1994) by B. Maddox; and The Cambridge Biography; studies by D. Cavitch (1970), R. E. Pritchard (1972), S. Spender, ed. (1973), S. Sanders (1974), and J. Meyers (1982 and 1985).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Lady Chatterley's Lover
D. H. Lawrence.
Grove Press, 1959 (3rd edition)
Suppressed Books: A History of the Conception of Literary Obscenity
Alec Craig.
World Publishing, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIV "Lady Chatterley's Lover"
Modernism and the Theater of Censorship
Adam Parkes.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Postwar Hysteria: The Case of Lady Chatterley's Lover"
The Novels of D. H. Lawrence: A Search for Integration
John E. Stoll.
University of Missouri Press, 1971
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "The Search for Limits: Lady Chatterley's Lover"
Defiant Desire: Some Dialectical Legacies of D.H. Lawrence
Kingsley Widmer.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Problems of Desire in Lady Chatterley's Lover"
The Chatterley/Bolton Affair: The Freudian Path of Regression in Lady Chatterley's Lover
Doherty, Gerald.
Papers on Language & Literature, Fall 1998
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
D. H. Lawrence: The Failure and the Triumph of Art
Eliseo Vivas.
Northwestern University Press, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "Lady Chatterley's Lover"
Theorizing Lawrence: Nine Meditations on Tropological Themes
Gerald Doherty.
Peter Lang, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Lady Chatterley's Lover: Metaphor and Mental Disturbance"
Modern British Fiction
Mark Schorer.
Oxford University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "On Lady Chatterley's Lover"
D. H. Lawrence: The Man Who Lived
Robert B. Partlow Jr.; Harry T. Moore.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1980
Librarian’s tip: "Editing Lady Chatterley's Lover" begins on p. 62, and "The Loving of Lady Chatterley: D. H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination" begins on p. 143
Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature
Thomas Reed Whissen.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Lady Chatterley's Lover begins on p. 124
The Callisto Myth from Ovid to Atwood: Initiation and Rape in Literature
Kathleen Wall.
McGill-Queens University Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nine "Lady Chatterley's Lover: Liberating the Myth"
The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature
Donald Gutierrez.
Whitston, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "'The Impossible Notation': The Sodomy Scene in Lady Chatterley's Lover"
A Descriptive Bibliography of Lady Chatterley's Lover: With Essays toward a Publishing History of the Novel
Jay A. Gertzman.
Greenwood Press, 1989
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