Robert E. Clark
One of the best-traveled writers of his day, D.H. Lawrence was even more fully connected to the European landscape than to the spare American desert: important works are set in English mining villages, sleepy resorts in the Mediterranean, and Prussian military camps. Whatever continent he found himself on, he combined a romantic but unsentimental view of nature, sexuality, and human passion with the European Modernist challenge. Like other Modernists, he sought to overturn the literary forms, prudery, and intellectual slightness of ordinary nineteenth-century fiction, although as his career progressed, he increasingly separated himself from all formal literary movements. His works draw on biblical literature as well as legend and myths of Greece, Rome, Scandinavia, and Germany, superimposing ancient symbols and allegories onto modern life and enjoining debates encompassing Freud, Nietzsche, Darwin, Wagner, and avant-garde art, morality, theology, and politics.
Born in 1885 in the mining town of Eastwood, he knew the soot and squalor of coal country well. At the same time he was enchanted by the beauty of nearby Sherwood Forest, the setting of the Robin Hood legends, and became a masterful nature writer who later described Sicily, New Mexico, Tuscany, and the Australian bush unforgettably.
Around the period 1910-24 Lawrence met the larger world of British letters as well as world literary culture; he embraced Modernist openness to the fiction of Russia and America and shared Yeats's and Pound's interest in Asia. He was championed by London editor and man of letters Edward Garnett, who also worked closely with Conrad and Galsworthy. Ford Madox Hueffer (later famous as the novelist Ford Madox Ford) accepted Lawrence's stories and essays for the English Review, a seedbed for writers seeking a new literary realism. Lawrence's apprentice years brought brushes with German psychoanalytic cir-