Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Sea and Sardinia is chronologically the second of D.H. Lawrence’s Italian travel books, after Twilight in Italy (1916) and before Etruscan Places (1932), which was written two years before Lawrence’s death and published posthumously. In most respects, Sea and Sardinia is not like a travel book at all, at least not as one normally understands that genre, for there is little in the way of specific guidebook commentary or romantic reflections. Though written almost as a journal of the brief trip to and through Sardinia which he and his wife, Frieda von Richthofen Lawrence, took from their home on Sicily, Sea and Sardinia is actually a highly subjective collection of Lawrence’s impressions. The Lawrences made their excursion in order to investigate the possibility of living on Sardinia, but the normal considerations of those seeking a new home appear only obliquely behind the motifs of inertia and mobility, freedom and bondage, masculinity and femininity which are important elements in other Lawrence works.

Lawrence, predisposed to melancholy in most of his first-person writings, is predictably irascible throughout much of the trip. His mood contrasts markedly with Frieda’s determined amiability. Lawrence grumbles about everything, from the cold weather they face upon setting out to the general filth of the port of Palermo, the arrogance of peasants they meet, and the low rate of currency exchange. At...

(The entire section is 468 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Ellis, David. “Reading Lawrence: The Case of Sea and Sardinia,” in D.H. Lawrence Review. X (1977), pp. 52-63.

Gersh, Gabriel. “In Search of D.H. Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia,” in Queens Quarterly. LXXX (1973), pp. 581-588.

Janik, Del Ivan. The Curve of Return: D.H. Lawrence’s Travel Books, 1981.

Meyers, Jeffrey. D.H. Lawrence and the Experience of Italy, 1982.

Tracy, Billy T., Jr. D.H. Lawrence and the Literature of Travel, 1983.

Weiner, S. Ronald. “The Rhetoric of Travel: The Example of Sea and Sardinia,” in D.H. Lawrence Review. II (1969), pp. 230-243.