David Herbert Lawrence Biography

David Herbert Lawrence Biography


Life and Literature of David Herbert Lawrence


David Herbert Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist, was born In Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, on September 11, 1885. Though better known as a novelist, Lawrence’s first-published works (in 1909) were poems, and his poetry, especially his evocations of the natural world, have since had a significant influence on many poets on both sides of the Atlantic. His early poems reflect the influence of Ezra Pound and Imagist movement, which reached its peak in the early teens of the twentieth century.

When Pound attempted to draw Lawrence into his circle of writerfollowers, however, Lawrence decided to pursue a more independent path. He believed in writing poetry that was stark, immediate and true to the mysterious inner force which motivated it. Many of his best-loved poems treat the physical and inner life of plants and animals; others are bitterly satiric and express his outrage at the puritanism and hypocrisy of conventional Anglo-Saxon society.

Lawrence was a rebellious and profoundly polemical writer with radical views, who regarded sex, the primitive subconscious, and nature as cures to what he considered the evils of modern industrialized society. Tremendously prolific, his work was often uneven in quality, and he was a continual source of controversy, often involved in widely-publicized censorship cases, most famously for his novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). His collections of poetry include Look!

We Have Come Through (1917), a collection of poems about his wife; Birds, Beasts, and Flowers (1923); and Pansies (1929), which was banned from publication in England. Besides his troubles with the censors, Lawrence was persecuted as well during World War I, for the supposed pro-German sympathies of his wife, Frieda.

As a consequence, the Lawrences left England and traveled restlessly to Italy, Germany, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, the French Riviera, Mexico and the United States, unsuccessfully searching for a new homeland. In Taos, New Mexico, he became the center of a group of female admirers who considered themselves his disciples, and whose quarrels for his attention became a literary legend. A lifelong sufferer from tuberculosis, Lawrence died in 1930 in France, at the age of forty-four.

Some Notable Works of Lawrence

English writer D.H. Lawrence’s prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, and literary criticism. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, human sexuality and instinct.

After a brief foray into formal poetics in his early years, his later poems embrace organic attempts to capture emotion through free verse. Lawrence’s opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his “savage pilgrimage.”

At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E.M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, “The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Later, the influential Cambridge critic F.R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence’s fiction within the canonical “great tradition” of the English novel.

After studying hard in the hopes of becoming a teacher, Lawrence was accepted to Nottingham University College in 1906. By that time, he had begun writing poetry and what would turn into The White Peacock, his first novel. He did not enjoy the collegiate atmosphere and spent most of his time at Nottingham writing and learning about socialism. Still, he excelled in his work and, upon graduation in 1908, received a job at the Davidson Road Boys’ School near London.

Lawrence continued writing poetry and prose, and he was soon catapulted into London’s literary circles, though he never felt comfortable within them. His mother developed cancer in 1910, and as she wasted away, Lawrence began writing “Paul Morel” (which would later become Sons and Lovers) as an investigation into his relationship with her.

The White Peacock was published in 1911, and in November of that year, Lawrence came down with another case of pneumonia and stopped teaching. Soon after, he met and had an extramarital affair with Frieda von Richtofen Weekley, the wife of a professor at Nottingham University College. They married in 1914, but World War I put some stress on their English-German marriage.

Lawrence was declared unfit for military service, and the couple traveled throughout Europe in dire financial straits. Nevertheless, Lawrence was prolific in this period, writing more poems, publishing The Rainbow in 1915, and working on Women in Love. The Rainbow’s erotic subject matter and language were met with harsh criticism, and its distribution was blocked.

Lawrence unhappily waited out the end of the war and published Women in Love in 1920. The 1920s were spent traveling around Europe, New Mexico, and Mexico in a period Lawrence called his “savage pilgrimage.” He continued writing novels, poems, and even books on psychoanalysis, though only Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), another novel heavily censored for its erotic subject matter, approached the fame and reputation of his acclaimed earlier novels.


Ode on Intimations of Immortality Questions and Answers

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