D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers

D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers

D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers

D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers

Excerpt

Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (1913), his third novel, was begun in 1910 as Paul Morel, and in some sense was finished by Edward Garnett, who made severe cuts in the final manuscript. The change of title from Paul Morel to Sons and Lovers may have been Lawrence's gesture towards Freud, as mediated by Frieda Weekley, with whom Lawrence eloped in the spring of 1912 and under whose early influence the novel was completed. Lawrence attempted to fight off Freud later on, in two very odd books on the unconscious, but Sons and Lovers is so available to Freudian reduction as to make a Freudian reading of the novel quite uninteresting.

Though Sons and Lovers is clearly the work of the author of The Rainbow and Women in Love, it retains many of the characteristics of the fiction of Thomas Hardy and has little of the visionary intensity that the mature Lawrence shares with Moby-Dick, Wuthering Heights, and only a few other novels. Rereading Sons and Lovers is a somber and impressive experience, if a rather mixed one aesthetically. It is difficult to know if we are reading an autobiographical novel rather than a novelistic autobiography. The aesthetic puzzle is in deciding how to receive Lawrence's self-portrait as Paul Morel. If the reader simply decides that the identification of the writer and his hero is complete, then the experience of reading necessarily is vexed by the identification of Gertrude Morel with Lydia Lawrence, the novelist's mother, and so also by the parody of Arthur Lawrence in the novel's Walter Morel. Even more troublesome is the identification of Jessie Chambers, the novelist's first love, with Miriam. By the time one has read D. H. Lawrence: A Personal Record by Jessie Chambers and studied such standard biographies of Lawrence as those by Nehls, Moore, and Sagar, it becomes very difficult to know whether the novel is the appropriate genre for Lawrence's story. Miriam and Wal-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.