D.H .Lawrence

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Presenation made by Valerio Michelangeli, Daniel Strippoli, Federico Tombesi


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David Herbert Lawrence : 

David Herbert Lawrence

Slide 2: 

David Herbert Lawrence was born at Eastwood,a mining village in Notthingamshire,in 1885. His father was a miner and worked in a pit througout his life;he was at all handsome man and an excellent dancer.His enourmous vitality had attracced a woman of a higher-class,Lydia Beardsall,who had been a school-teacher. The happiness of their marriage,however,was short-lived.Dissatisfied with her husband,who had turned into a heavy drinker,Lydia spent all her life fighting to have her children receive a proper education. She was also determined to prevent David from following his father into the mines.Lawrence in fact,excaped such a destiny through education and poor physical healt.

Slide 3: 

He studied hard and succeeded in winning a scholarship to Notthingam High School,which he attended for three years.At the age of sixteen he became a clerk in a factory,but a bad attack of pneumonia forced him to leave this job;he then studied at Notthingam University College and qualified as a teacher in 1908. In this period he produced his first free verse poems echoing Whitman,and started his novel:"THE WHITE PEACOCK",the sign of his intention to abandone teaching for letterature,and of his growning interest in exploring failed relationships between men and women,parents and children.When his brother,Ernest,died Lawrence became the centre of his mother's emotional life. The story of their love is told in the autobiographical novel:"Sons and Lovers".This mother-son relationship is the key to the fiction he wrote and the conception of life he developed in his manhood.

Slide 4: 

In 1908 he started teaching in a suburb of London and experienced life in the metropolis.1910 was a crucial year because his mother died.He continued teaching until 1912 when a second bad attack of pneumonia served as a warning that he should give up his job. In the same year he met and fell in love with Frieda von Richthofen.During the war years Frieda's nationality was openly criticised by public opinion and Lawrence was even suspected of being a spy. The experience of the war which he did not fight,was equally shocking to him and he came to see the forces of modern civiliation as purely destructive point. He left England as soon as possible after the war and started travelling throughout the world:Italy,Australia,were he set KANGAROO(1923),switzerland,Mexico,where he wrote THE PLUMED SERPENT(1926),Italy again and then the south of france where he died of TB in 1930.

Slide 5: 

Several novels by D.H.Lawrence were banned by the censors,like THE RAINBOW(1915),WOMEN IN LOVE,in some ways a sequel to THE RAINBOW,and LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER,written in 1928 but acquitted of a charge of obscenity and published unabridged both in Great Britain and in USA only in the 1960s.

The Rainbow : 

The Rainbow Is a 1915 novel.It follows three generations of the Brangwen family, particularly focusing on the sexual dynamics of, and relations between, the characters. Lawrence's frank treatment of sexual desire and the power plays within relationships as a natural and even spiritual force of life, though perhaps tame by modern standards, caused The Rainbow to be prosecuted in an obscenity trial in late 1915,as a result of which all copies were seized and burnt. After this ban it was unavailable in Britain for 11 years, although editions were available in theUSA. The Rainbow was followed by a sequel in 1920, Women in Love. Although Lawrence conceived of the two novels as one, considering the titles The Sisters and The Wedding Ring for the work, they were published as two separate novels at the urging of his publisher. However, after the negative public reception of The Rainbow, Lawrence's publisher opted out of publishing the sequel. This is the cause of the delay in the publishing of the sequel.

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Is a novel pubblished in 1920.It is a sequel to his earlier novel The Rianbow and follows the continuing loves and lives of the Brangwen sisters, Gudrun and Ursula. Gudrun Brangwen, an artist, pursues a destructive relationship with Gerald Crich, an industrialist. Lawrence contrasts this pair with the love that develops between Ursula and Rupert Birkin, an alienated intellectual who articulates many opinions associated with the author. The emotional relationships thus established are given further depth and tension by an unadmitted homoerotic attraction between Gerald and Rupert. The novel ranges over the whole of British society at the time of the First World War and eventually ends high up in the snows of the Swiss Alps.

Slide 8: 

Is a novel written in 1928. Printed privately in Florence in 1928, it was not printed in the UK until 1960 (other than in an underground edition issued by Inky Stephensen ‘s Mandrake Press in 1929).Lawrence considered calling this book Tenderness at one time and made significant alterations to the original manuscript in order to make it palatable to readers. It has been published in three different versions.The publication of the book caused a scandal due to its explicit sex scenes, including previously banned four letter words, and perhaps because the lovers were a working-class male and an aristocratic female.The story is said to have originated from events in Lawrence's own unhappy domestic life, and he took inspiration for the settings of the book from Ilkeston in Derbyshire where he lived for a while. According to some critics the fling of Lady Ottoline Morrell with "Tiger", a young stonemason who came to carve plinths for her garden statues also influenced the story.

Plot : 

Plot This story is set in Tevershall,an industrial town in the Midlands,where the Chatterleys live in the their family seat,Wragby Hall.Constance Chatterley is not happy with her husband,Sir Clifford,who was mimed during the war.Since he is crippled,he goes about in an electric wheel chair and cannot have children.Constance begins a relationship with Oliver Mellors,a gamekeeper,who lives in a hut in the wood near Wragby Hall,and becomes pregnant by him.The story hends with Mellors and Constance waiting for their divorces,so that they might start a new life together.

Themes : 

Themes Mind and body Richard Hoggart argues that the main subject of Lady Chatterley's Lover is not the sexual passages that were the subject of such debate, but the search for integrity and wholeness. Key to this integrity is cohesion between the mind and the body for "body without mind is brutish; mind without body…is a running away from our double being." Lady Chatterley's Lover focuses on the incoherence of living a life that is "all mind", which Lawrence saw as particularly true among the young members of the aristocratic classes, as in his description of Constance and her sister Hilda's "tentative love-affairs" in their youth:So they had given the gift of themselves, each to the youth with whom she had the most subtle and intimate arguments. The arguments, the discussions were the great thing: the love-making and connexion were only sort of primitive reversion and a bit of an anti-climax.The contrast between mind and body can be seen in the dissatisfaction each has with their previous relationships: Constance's lack of intimacy with her husband who is "all mind", and Mellors' choice to live apart from his wife due to her "brutish" sexual nature. These dissatisfactions lead them into a relationship that builds very slowly and is based upon tenderness, physical passion, and mutual respect. As the relationship between Lady Chatterley and Mellors develops, they learn more about the interrelation of the mind and the body; she learns that sex is more than a shameful and disappointing act and he learns about the spiritual challenges that come from physical love.

Controversy : 

Controversy British obscenity trial When it was published in Britain in 1960, the trial of the publishers, Penguin Books, under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 was a major public event and a test of the new obscenity law. The 1959 act (introduced by Roy Jenkins) had made it possible for publishers to escape conviction if they could show that a work was of literary merit. One of the objections was to the frequent use of the word "fuck" and its derivatives.Various academic critics, including E. M. Forster, Helen Gardner, Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, Norman St John-Stevas were called as witnesses, and the verdict, delivered on November 2, 1960, was not guilty. This resulted in a far greater degree of freedom for publishing explicit material in the UK. The prosecution was ridiculed for being out of touch with changing social norms when the chief prosecutor, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, asked if it were the kind of book "you would wish your wife or servants to read".The Penguin second edition, published in 1961, contains a publisher's dedication, which reads: "For having published this book, Penguin Books were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, 1959, at the Old Bailey in London from 20 October to 2 November 1960. This edition is therefore dedicated to the twelve jurors, three women and nine men, who returned a verdict of 'Not Guilty', and thus made D. H. Lawrence's last novel available for the first time to the public in the United Kingdom."In 2006, the trial was dramatised by BBC Wales as The Chatterley Affair.

Style : 

Style The style of the novel is characterised by a liture of realism and symbolism and by a remarkable variety of linguistic registers.For instance,Mellors sometimes uses dialect as a weapon against Constance to stress the social gap between them.

Sons and Lovers : 

Sons and Lovers The third published novel of D. H. Lawrence, taken by many to be his earliest masterpiece, tells the story of Paul Morel, a young man and a budding artist. Richard Aldington explains the semi-autobiographical nature of his masterpiece: 'When you have experienced Sons and Lovers you have lived through the agonies of the young Lawrence striving to win free from his old life'. Generally, it is not only considered as an evocative portrayal of working-class life in a mining community, but also an intense study of family, class and early sexual relationships. The original 1913 edition was heavily edited by Edward Garnett who removed eighty passages, roughly a tenth of the text. Despite this, the novel is dedicated to Garnett. Garnett, as the literary advisor to the publishing firm Duckworth, was an important figure in leading Lawrence further into the London literary world during the years 1911 and 1912. It was not until the 1992 Cambridge University Press edition was released that the missing text was restored.

Slide 14: 

Lawrence began working on the novel in the period of his mother's illness, and often expresses this sense of his mother's wasted life through his female protagonist Gertrude Morel. Letters written around the time of its development clearly demonstrate the admiration he felt for his mother - viewing her as a 'clever, ironical, delicately moulded woman' - and her apparently unfortunate marriage to his coal mining father, a man of 'sanguine temperament' and instability. He believed that his mother had married below her class status. Rather interestingly, Lydia Lawrence wasn't born into the middle-class. This personal family conflict experienced by Lawrence provided him with the impetus for the first half of his novel - in which both William, the older brother, and Paul Morel become increasingly contemptuous of their father - and the subsequent exploration of Paul Morel's antagonizing relationships with both his lovers, which are both invariably affected by his allegiance to his mother.

Slide 15: 

The first draft of Lawrence's novel is now lost and was never completed, which seems to be directly due to his mother's illness. He did not return to the novel for three months, at which point it was titled 'Paul Morel'. The penultimate draft of the novel coincided with a remarkable change in Lawrence's life, as his health was thrown into tumult and he resigned his teaching job in order to spend time in Germany. This plan was never followed, however, as he met and married the German minor aristocrat, Frieda Weekley. According to Frieda's account of their first meeting, she and Lawrence talked about Oedipus and the effects of early childhood on later life within twenty minutes of meeting. The third draft of 'Paul Morel' was sent to the publishing house Heinemann, which was repulsively responded to by William Heinemann himself. His reaction captures the shock and newness of Lawrence's novel, 'the degradation of the mother [as explored in this novel], supposed to be of gentler birth, is almost inconceivable', and encouraged Lawrence to redraft the novel one more time. In addition to altering the title to a more thematic 'Sons and Lovers', Heninemann's response had reinvigorated Lawrence into vehemently defending his novel and its themes as a coherent work of art. In order to justify its form Lawrence explains, in letters to Garnett, that it is a 'great tragedy' and a 'great book', one that mirrors the 'tragedy of thousands of young men in England'.

Plot : 

Plot Sons and Lovers is both a social and an Oedipal novel.It deals with Lawrence’spersonal experiences in the working-class environment in Nottinghamshire and its protagonist are the Morel family.Mr. and Mrs. Morel do not get on with each other and quarrels disputes are the order of the day.The children are estranged from their father and strongly attached to their mother. Paul is her favourite,but the abnormally close relationship he has with his mother proves unsettling.In fact he is unable to sustain a fulfilling relationship with any woman;he rejects Miriam,his first girl-friend,and has an affair with Clara,a married woman and a supporter of women’s rights,who helps Paul in his struggle towards maturity.After Mrs Morel’s death,Paul decides to leave Clara and he is torn between the wish to rejoin his mother in death or go on living. In the end he succeeds in shaking of his past.

Themes : 

Themes Family and social context Paul’s psycological development does not take place in a social void.His father is a miner and his mother belongs to a slightly higher social class.Mr Morel’s estrangement from the emotional life of the family is due in part to this social difference,which alienates him from his own children and brings them closer to their mother.Moreover,his lack of education,makes it difficult for him to express his feelings,and the hard,disciplined nature of his work leads him to domestic violence which drives the children deeper into their mother’s arms.Mrs Morel,educated,determined,symbolises what the young Paul hopes to achieve:his emotional turning from his father to her is a revolt against the poor exploited world of the colliery towards the life of emancipated consciousness.However the boy’s relationship with his father is ambigous,for the father is loved and,at the same time,unconsciously hated as a rival.Moreover,though Paul rejects the narrow,violent world of the miners in his progression towards a middle-class consciousness,such an attitude is by no means wholly to be admired,since it lacks the vitality of the colliery world.It is interesting to note that both in Sons and Lovers and in Lady Chatterley’s Lover,the working-class dialect is generally associated with passion.Thus Lawrence’s message to his contemporaries seemed to be that the passion and the vitality of men like Mr Morel could help save men from destruction.

Style : 

Style The story is told in the third person,but almost all the events are seen trough Paul’s eyes.The language used is generally informal,simple and highly poetic in the natural descriptions.

The importance of sex : 

The importance of sex Thus,according to Lawrence,”mind knowledge”,that is the separation of uman intellectual powers from “flash and blood”,from natural impulses,can lead one to act wrongly and to fall prey to degeneration.Of all the natural impulses,the sexual one is the strongest,so only a new relationship between men and women based on sensual passions and sexuality can save umanity from self-destruction.Sex and history are in Lawrence two different aspects of the same reality.

The concept of woman : 

The concept of woman His concept of woman goes against the new social role they had acquired trough the movement for women’s rights and their invaluable role during the war.His view was consistent with his political opinions which were against industrial capitalism:he considered woman only an instrument for mankind’s happiness.His female characters are neither eroines nor militant suffragettes but often sensitive girls who are aware of the essential “otherness” of their partners, whose intellectual and sexual supremacy they accept.

Style : 

Style Lawrence employed the omniscent narrator,limiting however authorial interventions to the minimum;the point of view is,in fact,generally that of the characters.They are portrayed trough the techniques of “showing” and “telling” and their feelings are revealed by means of a remarkable variety of rhythm and of words and images particularly linked to senses.

Presentation made by:Valerio MichelangeliDaniel StrippoliFederico Tombesi : 

Presentation made by:Valerio MichelangeliDaniel StrippoliFederico Tombesi

Thanks for your attention : 

Thanks for your attention

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