‘At last I can ‘effing swear without being sued. Now that’s what I call progress’ - D. H. Lawrence
Special power: Potty mouth
Comic Release Date: Sept 2014
David Herbert Lawrence (1885 – 1930) was born in the coal-mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, the son of a collier father and an educated mother who had worked as a student-teacher, but was working in a lace factory at the time of her marriage. The marital and class tensions he observed in his family home and his sense of not-belonging in provincial life, despite his love for the Nottinghamshire countryside, became the subject of early novels like Sons and Lovers (1913).
He eloped in 1912 with the German aristocrat Frieda Weekley, the wife of one of his tutors at Nottingham University, and after experiencing harassment from the authorities during the First World War, left England and embarked on a journey that he called his ‘Savage Pilgrimage’, living at various times in Italy, New Mexico and Australia. He kept up a ceaseless output of poems, novels, essays, travel writings, short stories and novellas, though many were not published in his lifetime, partly because he made use of sexual material and the ‘disreputable’ language of ordinary speech.
In 1960, thirty years after the author’s death, the publication of an uncensored edition of his 1928 novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover led to an obscenity trial. It’s suggested that the failure of this prosecution marked a turning point in attitudes to the censorship of literary works.
D.H. Lawrence Facts
1: The small terraced house where Lawrence was born is now preserved as the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum and is open to the public at 8a Victoria Street, Eastwood.
2: Lawrence’s poems and stories often make use of Nottinghamshire dialects, and early plays like The Collier’s Friday Night (1906), The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (1910) and The Daughter In Law (1913) are written entirely for Nottinghamshire voices.
3: As well as writing, Lawrence made paintings, but like his books these often led to censorship. An exhibition at the Warren Gallery in London in 1929 led to a police raid and the seizure of 13 of the 25 pictures on display.
4: At the time of his death in 1930, Lawrence was regarded with hostility by both the British public and the literary establishment. Catherine Carswell, defending him at that time, reveals his similarity to Brian Clough in her comment: “He went all over the world, he owned a ranch, he lived in the most beautiful corners of Europe, and he met whomever he wanted to meet and told them that they were wrong and he was right.”
5: There have been dozens of classic films adapted from D.H. Lawrence’s works, among them Jack Cardiff’s Sons and Lovers (1960), Ken Russell’s Women In Love (1969) and Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley (2006).