Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Cossethay. Tiny Midlands village in which the Brangwens are living when the novel opens. The village is the center of a circle about two miles in diameter that provides all the important settings for the entire novel. The Marsh farmhouse, in which the Brangwens lived prior to the novel’s opening, is next to what was probably the path of the old Nottingham Canal on the embankment at Cossall Marsh, a real place that has been significantly altered by the development of coal mines, roads, and water passages.

West of Cossethay is Ilkeston, a town that Ursula sees as a place with a small, mean, wet street and grimy and horrible buildings. The journey that she takes to get to the school in which she works as an apprentice teacher is based on Lawrence’s tram rides to the Gladstone School where he taught.


Beldover. Town north of Cossethay to which the Brangwens move; closely based on Lawrence’s birthplace, Eastwood. Ursula sees Beldover as a stupid, artificial, and “exaggerated town.” However, the omniscient narrator describes it more objectively as a sprawling colliery village, a “pleasant walk-round for the colliers.” Ursula’s grandfather Will Brangwen measures his financial success by his ability to buy a large house in a new redbrick Beldover neighborhood. Ursula, however, would prefer to live in nearby Willey Green, which she thinks is “lovely and romantic.”


(The entire section is 518 words.)

Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

This term, associated with an important artistic movement that emerged at the beginning of the twentieth...

(The entire section is 561 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

Recurrent Motifs
Lawrence employs recurrent motifs in the novel that help link the Brangwen generations and reinforce...

(The entire section is 320 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Citing E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel, Gary D. Cox reminds us of Lawrence's prophetic role and says there is a "sense of...

(The entire section is 1158 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

This outstanding novel, with its vividly drawn characters, realistic setting, and its extended time frame over several generations, invites...

(The entire section is 824 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Many critics consider The Rainbow to be D. H. Lawrence's best novel, often citing its panoramic yet precisely sketched view of the...

(The entire section is 2071 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

  • Early 1900s: The New Woman becomes a label for those women who challenge gender-specific notions that limit female...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Read Lawrence’s Women in Love and compare its treatment of sexual relationships to those in The Rainbow. Does Lawrence raise...

(The entire section is 189 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

While Lawrence owes an undeniable debt to the great English novelists of the nineteenth century, his best work, this novel especially, stands...

(The entire section is 1515 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

No other works of Lawrence are really like The Rainbow. It can be compared to its very different predecessor, Sons and Lovers,...

(The entire section is 263 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Ken Russell, who adapted Women in Love into a critically acclaimed and commercially successful film, directed a 1989 feature film of...

(The entire section is 68 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

Ken Russell directed a film version of The Rainbow in 1989, starring British actors Sammi Davis as Ursula, Glenda Jackson as Anna, and...

(The entire section is 71 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920), considered as the sequel to The Rainbow, chronicles Ursula’s and Gudren’s often troubled...

(The entire section is 149 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Bloom, Harold, ed. D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rainbow.” New York: Chelsea House, 1988. A collection of sophisticated critical essays, ranging from 1966 to 1984, covering Lawrence’s Romanticism and the theological and psychological dimensions of The Rainbow. Also includes an introduction, chronology, bibliography, and index.

Clarke, Colin, comp. D. H. Lawrence: “The Rainbow” and “Women in Love,” a Casebook. London: Macmillan, 1969. Extracts from a number of critical essays, among them those by Roger Sale, S. L. Goldberg, and Julia Moynahan. A short bibliography and index.


(The entire section is 212 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Crump, G. B., “Lawrence’s Rainbow and Russell’s Rainbow,” in The D. H. Lawrence Review, Vol....

(The entire section is 275 words.)