David Herbert (DH) Lawrence was born in 1885 in Nottinghamshire, England and used his working class background and tension between his parents as inspiration for his work.
During his childhood he developed a love of books and wrote poetry, but it wasn’t until he won a short story competition (at the age of 22) for a local newspaper that he gained any recognition for his work.
Qualified as a teacher, it was a move to London in 1908 where he met Ford Maddox Ford that was to be the start of his writing career. He spent time in Europe and America, and listed Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, TS Eliot and Ezra Pound amongst his friends.
At their time of publication most of Lawrence’s novels were considered controversial, especially Lady Chatterleys Lover, which was classed as obscene by many. Until 1960 it was only published in highly edited versions. Penguin Books decided to publish the full edition and found themselves embroiled in a court case, which they won, proving that the novel was an important work of literary merit.
His work centered around relationships, which fascinated Lawrence. He was particularly interested in “Haptics” (the way we communicate by touch) and although he is best known for his novels, he also wrote almost 800 poems.
He died at the age of 44 in France from complications of Tuberculosis but was working right up until his death.
My favourite Lawrence quotes:
“I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regret.”
“Oh literature, oh the glorious art, how it preys upon the marrow in our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us, and chucks us aside.”
“I cant bare art that you can walk around and admire. A book should either be a bandit or a rebel or a man in the crowd.”
“I like to write when I feel spiteful. Its like having a good sneeze.”
“One sheds ones sicknesses in books – repeats and presents again ones emotions, to be master of them.”
“The novel is the highest form of human expression so far attained.”
“Never trust the teller, trust the tale.”
Good documentary, if you want to know more about Lawrence. Ive only skimmed the surface in this blog post lol
I found Lawrences comment on liking to write when he felt spiteful very interesting. Personally, I have to be in the mood to write, but im not too sure exactly what that mood is. I know I don’t feel like writing when im highly emotional, but then saying that, ive never tried it. Would my writing change direction if I, say, wrote whilst I was upset, or angry?Have you ever tried experimenting by writing through different moods?
- DH Lawrence manuscript shows ‘enlightened’ attitude to women (guardian.co.uk)
- New DH Lawrence manuscript discovered (telegraph.co.uk)
- D.H. Lawrence Righteously Rages Against Misogyny in Newly Discovered Essay (jezebel.com)