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Sons and Loversby D.H. Lawrence
Synopses & Reviews
THE EARLY MARRIED LIFE OF THE MORELS
The bottoms succeeded to Hell Row. Hell Row was a block of thatched, bulging cottages that stood by the brookside on Greenhill Lane. There lived the colliers who worked in the little gin-pits two fields away. The brook ran under the alder trees, scarcely soiled by these small mines, whose coal was drawn to the surface by donkeys that plodded wearily in a circle round a gin. And all over the countryside were these same pits, some of which had been worked in the time of Charles II, the few colliers and the donkeys burrowing down like ants into the earth, making queer mounds and little black places among the corn-fields and the meadows. And the cottages of these coal-miners, in blocks and pairs here and there, together with odd farms and homes of the stockingers, straying over the parish, formed the village of Bestwood.
Then, some sixty years ago, a sudden change took place. The gin-pits were elbowed aside by the large mines of the financiers. The coal and iron field of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire was discovered. Carston, Waite and Co. appeared. Amid tremendous excitement, Lord Palmerston formally opened the company's first mine at Spinney Park, on the edge of Sherwood Forest.
About this time the notorious Hell Row, which through growing old had acquired an evil reputation, was burned down, and much dirt was cleansed away.
Carston, Waite & Co. found they had struck on a good thing, so, down the valleys of the brooks from Selby and Nuttall, new mines were sunk, until soon there were six pits working. From Nuttall, high up on the sandstone among the woods, the railway ran, past the ruined priory of theCarthusians and past Robin Hood's Well, down to Spinney Park, then on to Minton, a large mine among corn-fields; from Minton across the farmlands of the valleyside to Bunker's Hill, branching off there, and running north to Beggarlee and Selby, that looks over at Crich and the hills of Derbyshire: six mines like black studs on the countryside, linked by a loop of fine chain, the railway.
To accommodate the regiments of miners, Carston, Waite and Co. built the Squares, great quadrangles of dwellings on the hillside of Bestwood, and then, in the brook valley, on the site of Hell Row, they erected the Bottoms.
The Bottoms consisted of six blocks of miners' dwellings, two rows of three, like the dots on a blank-six domino, and twelve houses in a block. This double row of dwellings sat at the foot of the rather sharp slope from Bestwood, and looked out, from the attic windows at least, on the slow climb of the valley towards Selby.
The houses themselves were substantial and very decent. One could walk all round, seeing little front gardens with auriculas and saxifrage in the shadow of the bottom block, sweet-williams and pinks in the sunny top block; seeing neat front windows, little porches, little privet hedges, and dormer windows for the attics. But that was outside; that was the view on to the uninhabited parlours of all the colliers' wives. The dwelling-room, the kitchen, was at the back of the house, facing inward between the blocks, looking at a scrubby back garden, and then at the ash-pits. And between the rows, between the long lines of ash-pits, went the alley, where the children played and the women gossiped and the men smoked. So, the actual conditions of living inthe B
Since its publication in 1913, D. H. Lawrence's powerful and passionate third novel stands as one of the greatest autobiographical novels of the twentieth century. Here is the story of artist Paul Morel as a young man, his powerful relationship with his possessive mother, his passionate love affair with Miriam Leivers, his intense liaison with married Clara Dawes. Here, too, England's Derbyshire springs to life with both is sooty mining villages and deep green pastures, a setting as full of contrasts as the deep emotions that rule this remarkable book.
Sons and Lovers is rich with universal truths about relationships; moreover, it brims with what Alfred Kazin has called Lawrence's "magic sympathy, between himself and life." Continues Mr. Kazin: "No other writer of his imaginative standing has in our time written books that are so open to life...Since for Lawrence the great subject of literature was not the writer's own consciousness but consciousness between people, the living felt relationship between them, it was his very concern to represent the 'shimmer' of life, the 'wholeness'...that made possible his brilliance as a novelist."
With an Introduction by John Gross
Introduction by David Ellis
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
D. H. Lawrence was born on September 11, 1885, in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England. His father was a coal miner, his mother a former lace worker and unsuccessful haberdasher. He began school just
before the age of four, but respiratory illness and a weak constitution forced him to remain home intermittently. Two months before his sixteenth birthday, he went to work as a clerk in a badly ventilated factory
that made medical supplies, and eventually contracted pneumonia. After a long convalescence, he got a job as a student teacher, but privately he resolved to become a poet. He began writing seriously in 1906
and entered University College, Nottingham, to earn his teacher's certificate. Two years later he started teaching elementary school full-time. He published his first poems in the English Review in 1909. When
he contracted pneumonia a second time, he gave up teaching.
His first two novels, The White Peacock and The Trespasser, were published in 1911 and 1912. About three weeks after the publication of The Trespasser, he left England with Frieda Weekley, née von
Richthofen, the German wife of Ernest Weekley, a British linguist who had been his French and German instructor at University College. He wrote the final version of his autobiographical novel Sons and
Lovers (1913) - begun when his mother was dying of cancer in 1910 - during his year-long courtship of Frieda in Germany and Italy. Sons and Lovers was immediately recognized as the first great modern
restatement of the Oedipal drama, but, like most of Lawrence's novels during his lifetime, sold poorly. Lawrence and Frieda married in London in July 1914, immediately after Frieda's divorce became final;
they lived peripatetically and in relative poverty.
They spent World War I in England, a country they both essentially disliked, and endured a series of clumsy surveillance and harassment campaigns by local police because of her nationality (several of her
relatives were diplomats, statesmen, and politicians, and she was a cousin of Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron") and his apparent lack of patriotism (among other charges, The Prussian Officer, a
collection of stories, published in November 1914, several months after Great Britain entered the war, was considered politically and morally offensive by conservative booksellers). Exempt from active service
because of his health, Lawrence wrote The Rainbow and Women in Love. The former was seized and burned by the police for indecency in November 1915, two months after publication; Lawrence was
unable to find a publisher for the latter until six years later. Composition of these two novels coincided with bouts of erratic behavior in Lawrence that bordered on mental instability, sexual confusion and
experimentation that threatened to undermine his marriage, and endless health reversals, including a diagnosis of tuberculosis. Twilight in Italy, a collection of acerbic travel essays believed by some to show a
sympathy for fascism that became more explicit in, for example, his novel The Plumed Serpent (1926), was published in 1916. He recorded the vicissitudes of his marriage in an autobiographical poem cycle,
Look! We Have Come Through (1917).
The Lawrences departed for Europe in late 1919 and spent most of the next two years in Italy and Germany. The Lost Girl, a novel, was published in 1920 and received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize
the following year, which also saw the publication of Movements in European History, a text for schoolchildren; Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious, an anti-Freudian tract; Tortoises, a collection of
poems; Sea and Sardinia, a travel book; and, belatedly, Women in Love. Early in 1922 he and Frieda went around the world by boat. They visited Ceylon, lived in Australia for a month and a half, and in the
summer sailed to America, where they settled in New Mexico. Aaron's Rod, a novel; Fantasia of the Unconscious, a sequel to Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious; and England, My England, a collection
of stories, were published that year. In the spring of 1923, after moving to Mexico, he and Frieda separated temporarily. He toured the western United States and briefly returned to Mexico; she moved to
London. Kangaroo, his novel of Australia, and Birds, Beasts, and Flowers, a collection of poems, were published in the fall. He reunited with Frieda in the winter. They went to New Mexico again in the
spring of 1924; he suffered bouts of influenza, malaria, and typhoid fever the next year. The Lawrences eventually resettled in Italy in 1926.
He began writing his last novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover, in 1926. It was published two years later and banned in England and the United States as pornographic. Lawrence was an avid amateur painter, and a
selection of his paintings - grossly rendered, full-figured representational nudes - was exhibited in London in 1929. The show was raided on July 5 by the police, who removed thirteen of the canvases.
Lawrence coincidentally suffered a violent tubercular hemorrhage in Italy the same day. He went to Bavaria to undergo a cure - it was unsuccessful - and in 1930 entered a sanatorium in Vence, France, where
treatment similarly failed. He died in a villa in Vence on the night of March 2, a half year short of his forty-fifth birthday, and was buried in a local cemetery. His body was eventually disinterred and cremated,
and his ashes transported to Frieda Lawrence's ranch outside Taos, New Mexico. In addition to numerous plays, collections of poetry, and other, lesser-known works published during his lifetime, his novels
The Virgin and the Gypsy and Mr. Noon were published posthumously.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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