Sons and Lovers

By D. H. Lawrence; David Trotter | Go to book overview
Save to active project

INTRODUCTION

IN January 1914, eight months after the publication of Sons and Lovers, already 340 pages into his next major work, 'The Sisters', the original version of The Rainbow ( 1915) and Women in Love ( 1920), Lawrence looked back with horror on a period of his life when it seemed his only achievement had been to wound and disfigure himself and those around him: two years, from the summer of 1910 to the spring of 1912, during which he had broken off intense relationships with Jessie Chambers and Louie Burrows, and watched his mother die of cancer. But he had survived. He now felt secure in his relationship with Frieda Weekley, whom he had met in April 1912, and that security was beginning to have an effect on his writing. 'The Laocoön writhing and shrieking have gone from my new work,' he reported, 'and I think there is a bit of stillness.'1 His fierce desire to put the Laocoön phase of his life behind him, without disavowing it altogether, gave him an extraordinarily sharp (almost acrid) sense of the book it had produced. He knew that the distinctiveness of Sons and Lovers lay, for better or worse, in the writhing and shrieking.

A month earlier, in December 1913, Lawrence told his friend and mentor Edward Garnett, who had edited Sons and Lovers on the publisher's behalf, that he would never again write 'in that hard, violent style full of sensation and presentation'.2 The book he had written about disfigurement--about the pain caused by waste, separation, and death--was itself in some respects disfigured: hard, violent. The meaning of the terms he found for its stylistic writhing and shrieking--'sensation', 'presentation'--is not absolutely self-evident; but, defined in the context of the literary

____________________
1
Letters, ed. James T. Boulton and others, 7 vols. ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979-93), ii. 137-8. Laocoön was a priest of Apollo who on account of his misdemeanours was made to go a few rounds with a brace of sea-serpents.

-vii-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Sons and Lovers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 490

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?