L is for Lawrence


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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?

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36 thoughts on “L is for Lawrence

  1. I loved Lady Chatterly’s Lover. I can see why it was obscene at the time. I also love the location of Nottinghamshire. Not sure if that matters to anyone, I just like the name.

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  2. We have a Lawrence in Canada too – Margaret
    A whole group of friends read Lady Chatterleys Lover, at the same time. Wait no, we didn’t read the book – “just” certain sections. I prob should re-read it. 😀

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  3. I write when I’m feeling spiteful too. It’s some of my best and keeps me from saying it outloud and getting into trouble. Sometimes it’s hard to write in certain moods, but I find even if I don’t feel like it, when I’m in a bad mood, writing helps. I get the negative phrases out, then they distract me on the page by wanting to be edited, then next thing I know, I’ve forgotten what I was in a bad mood over.

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  4. Another author from the Midlands. I guess coming from Nottinghamshire Lawrence might have called Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Fifty Shades of Green. Get it? Sorry! I’m feeling better and being rather silly. Lovely post as usual Vikki. x

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  5. As I’m from Nottinghamshire I already love this post! 🙂 I really do like his attitude to writing though and it might be worth giving writing a go when you’re emotional Vikki, see what happens?

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  6. I can write when I’m emotional, angry, stressed but not if I’m feeling low or a bit depressed. Trial and error! Another great author post – I love Lawrence. I went to see his birthplace in Nottingham when I was younger and lapped up everything of his I could lay my hands on during my teens and early twenties, but I’m sorry to say they are now gathering dust on the shelf. Must re-read – particularly Sons and Lovers.

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  7. I was given a boxed set of all Lawrence’s novels when i was 16, and read them all one after the other. I decided I didn’t like him, but as I’d now read everything he wrote it didn’t really help! He was a terrible misogynist, and didn’t really ‘get’ women at all. It is a pity to think that many men may have believed his ‘take’ on women, and acted accordingly… on a lighter note – wasn’t I the lucky girl to have a mother who would give me such books so young?

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  8. I’ve never read Lady Chatterleys Lover, but I guess I should some day (I’m pretty sure I have it in my bookshelf) 😉

    I love this line – “I like to write when I feel spiteful. Its like having a good sneeze.”

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  9. I get what I feel might be my best words when I’m really mad. Unfortunately, since they are usually directed at someone or something, I’m very reluctant to share them! I’ve done a lot of soul searching about this–because I wonder why I only share things that are ‘safe.’ Do I want to take a chance on disenchanting some of my readers to gain the devotion of others?
    Of course, this is all assuming that I am even able to make my point at all …
    Great post! I read Lady Chatterly’s Lover in college and adored it, mostly because it really made me think. 🙂

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  10. It kind of makes sense to write through or out of emotion. What better way to convey anger through your characters than when writing it while you are actually feeling angry. it’s an interesting idea which I’ve never thought about before.

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  11. I used to love Lawrence when I was younger and we studied him a lot at school. My favourite is his essay Flowery Tuscany – and I think he makes interesting observations on the human psyche, both male and female.
    btw “revenge” writing can be very therapeutic! (a girl who bullied me at school found her come-uppance in one of my short stories!) and I can write when angry and upset but not when I am depressed.

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