D. H. Lawrence Biography

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D. H. Lawrence Biography

D. H. Lawrence is an undeniably, extraordinarily important figure in English-language literature, though you'll either love him or hate him for what and how he writes. A prolific author of essays, plays, poems, short stories, and novels, Lawrence focused throughout much of his work on the physical and emotional relationships between men and women, subjects which drew Lawrence into considerable controversy. His novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Sons and Lovers were censored or outright banned because of their sexual content, and some of his manuscripts were even seized by British authorities for perceived indecency. Despite his initially shaky reception, Lawrence is now recognized by many critics as a masterful writer who would not shy away from depicting complex human interactions.

Facts and Trivia

  • Lawrence’s childhood was marked by poverty and family discord. He later said that one of the more depressing things he did as an adult was go back and visit where he grew up.
  • In 1912, Lawrence met Frieda Weekley, the wife of his former college professor. Frieda and Lawrence eloped one month later, creating quite a social scandal.
  • While living in Germany with Frieda, Lawrence was arrested and accused of being a British spy. Later, when the couple returned to England, Lawrence was accused of being a German spy.
  • Lawrence once took a walking tour from Germany to Italy so that he could write a travel book.
  • Lawrence also wrote a book about British history. However, he had to use a pen name because of his stained reputation.

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(History of the World: The 20th Century)

Article abstract: Combining brilliant descriptive powers with compelling evocations of natural settings and basic human drives, Lawrence expanded the limits by which romantic-erotic situations could be portrayed in fictional settings.

Early Life

Circumstances and situations from David Herbert Lawrence’s early life are important as background to his literary works. In many instances, biographers and critics have been able to trace the development, seemingly on parallel tracks, of Lawrence’s childhood and youth and the progress of his later fictional creations. The fourth child of Lydia Beardsall and Arthur Lawrence, he was born on September 11, 1885, in Eastwood, a mining village situated in a coal-producing region of Nottinghamshire. Early in life, Lawrence preferred diminutive versions of his middle name, and later he was known from his writing simply by his initials and surname. His father was a common collier, evidently a handsome and well-formed man, who had great difficulty in expressing his thoughts and often seemed completely inarticulate. He was also prone to prolonged periods of drunkenness which sometimes culminated in physical onslaughts against his wife and family members. The mother was a schoolteacher from a modest social background who sought to instill her Congregationalist faith in her offspring. In turn, her children felt a greater attachment to their mother and tended to side with her during household disputes. During his early years, Lawrence was considered shy and physically weak. He often took it upon himself to advance his learning by borrowing numerous books from libraries in the area. He was uncannily aware of the stark contrasts that industrial growth had spawned amid the once-verdant landscapes of the Midlands, and as the years went by, divergent forms of class consciousness, notably between miners and owners, became apparent to him. In his youth he learned to distinguish regional dialects (which he later used in his fiction) in contrast to the genteel usage preferred by the upper classes. Lawrence’s academic aptitude and promise were recognized with the award of a county scholarship which allowed him to attend Nottingham High School from 1898 to 1901.

When he was fifteen years old, Lawrence became friends with Jessie Chambers, and in the course of a protracted courtship they were engaged for a time. Lawrence’s first letters of importance for literary scholars date from...

(The entire section is 5,357 words.)