English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter David Herbert Lawrence was born 11 September 1885. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, and instinct.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 which he called his “savage pilgrimage.”
Lawrence spent his formative years in the coal mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire and his working-class background and the tensions between his parents provided the raw material for a number of his early works. Lawrence returned to this locality often, calling it; “the country of my heart,” and it became a setting for much of his fiction. The young Lawrence attended Beauvale Board School from 1891 until 1898, and won a County Council scholarship to Nottingham High School in nearby Nottingham which he left in 1901. He developed a love of books, which lasted throughout Lawrence’s life. In the years 1902 to 1906 Lawrence served as a pupil teacher at the British School, Eastwood and went on to become a full-time student and received a teaching certificate from University College, Nottingham, in 1908. He was also working on his first poems, some short stories, and a draft of a novel, Laetitia, that was eventually to become The White Peacock. He also won a short story competition in the Nottingham Guardian in 1907, the first time that he had gained any wider recognition for his literary talents.
In 1908 Lawrence left his childhood home for London and taught at Davidson Road School, Croydon, he also continued writing and Some of the early poetry came to the attention of Ford Madox Ford,the editor of the influential The English Review, who commissioned the story Odour of Chrysanthemums which, when published in that magazine. This encouraged a London publisher, to ask Lawrence for more work. His first published novel The White Peacock appeared in 1910. In addition, a teaching colleague, Helen Corke, gave him access to her intimate diaries about an unhappy love affair, which formed the basis of his second novel The Trespasser and Later during a stay in Italy, Lawrence completed the final version of Sons and Lovers which, when published in 1913, was acknowledged to represent a vivid portrait of the realities of working class provincial life. Lawrence and and his wife Frieda returned to Britain in 1913 for a short visit, but went back to Italy, staying at Fiascherino on the Gulf of Spezia. Here he started writing the first draft of The Rainbow and Women in Love. He and Frieda returned to Britain again shortly before the outbreak of World War I and were married on 13 July 1914. D
During this time, Lawrence worked with London intellectuals and writers such as Dora Marsden and the people involved with The Egoist (T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and others). The Egoist, an important Modernist literary magazine, also published some of his work and he was also reading and adapting Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto. In 1915 His novel The Rainbow was published, but was suppressed after an investigation into its alleged obscenity. The novel Women in Love was also written during this time, which explores the destructive features of contemporary civilization through the evolving relationships of four major characters as they reflect upon the value of the arts, politics, economics, sexual experience, friendship and marriage. This book is a bleak, bitter vision of humanity and proved impossible to publish in wartime conditions. Not published until 1920, it is now widely recognised as an English novel of great dramatic force and intellectual subtlety
In late 1917, after constant harassment by the armed forces authorities, Lawrence left Cornwall. This persecution was later described in the Australian novel Kangaroo. He spent some months in the small, rural village of Hermitage near Newbury, Berkshire. He then lived for just under a year at Mountain Cottage, Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, where he wrote one of his most poetic short stories, The Wintry Peacock. Lawrence escaped from Britain at the earliest practical opportunity, and along with his wife spent the remainder of his life travelling, visiting Australia, Italy, Sri Lanka, the United States, Mexico and the South of France. Many of these places appeared in his writings. New novels included The Lost Girl (for which he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction), Aaron’s Rod and Mr Noon. He also wrote shorter novels, such as The Captain’s Doll, The Fox and The Ladybird, and some of these were issued in the collection “England, My England and Other Stories”. During these years he also produced a number of poems about the natural world in Birds, Beasts and Flowers he also wrote Sea and Sardinia and Memoirs of the Foreign Legion.
In 1922 the Lawrences left Europe and acquired a property in Lamy, New Mexico, now called the D. H. Lawrence Ranch, in 1924 in exchange for the manuscript of Sons and Lovers. They stayed in New Mexico for two years and while in the U.S. Lawrence rewrote and published Studies in Classic American Literature and completed a number of new fictional works, including The Boy in the Bush, The Plumed Serpent, St Mawr, The Woman who Rode Away, The Princess and assorted short stories. A brief voyage to England at the end of 1923 was a failure and he soon returned, convinced that his life as an author now lay in America. However, in March 1925 he suffered a near fatal attack of malaria and tuberculosis and although he eventually recovered, the diagnosis of his condition obliged him to return once again to Europe. The Lawrences made their home in a villa near Florence, Italy and he wrote The Virgin and the Gipsy and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was his last major novel and reinforced his notoriety,
By mid 1929 his health was failing and although he continued to produce short stories such as The Escaped Cock, and wrote numerous poems, reviews and essays as well as a reflection on the Book of Revelation entitled “Apocalypse” and a robust defence of his last novel against those who sought to suppress it, Lawrence sadly passed away in Venawrencece, France, from complications of tuberculosis on 2nd March 1930 and At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. However E. M. Forster, challenged this widely held view in an obituary notice, and described 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 and he is now valued by many as a visionary thinker is also widely recognised as one of the finest travel writers in the English language and significant representative of modernism in English literature.