David Herbert Lawrence
He was born in 1885 and died in 1930. His name was David Herbert Lawrence. He was born in the 11th September 1885 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. His father was a coal miner, he was a heavy drinker. His mother was a former schoolteacher; she was better educated than her husband. They had 5 children; David was number 4. She felt trapped in working class, continuously angry and depressed . She consciously alienated her children from their father. As her husband spent part of his salary buying alcohol, she had to sell clothes from home. David’s childhood was marked by poverty and constant friction between his parents. George, the eldest son, didn’t accept his mother’s treatment of his father. In 1895, George tried to run away to join the army.
In 1897, George had to marry his pregnant girlfriend. His mother thought him too much like his father. Ernest, the second son, was his mother’s favourite. He did well at school, wanted to study and his mother hoped Ernest would take her back to lower middle-class. When he finished his studies, he left Eastwood to get a job in London. Meanwhile, David Herbert, known by his family as “Bert”, was often ill. His bad health made him miss too much school to do well. Suddenly they receive news that Ernest is seriously ill. He soon dies. This is a very strong blow for Lydia (the mother).
She gets very depressed as she considers all her dreams are broken. Soon after Ernest’s death Bert gets ill with a double pneumonia. When everybody thinks he’s gonna die he recovers and and becomes his mother’s new favourite. D. H. Lawrence had very close relationship with a family from his village, the Chambers. They lived in a farm just outside Eastwood and their home became a refuge for D. H. One of the girls, Jessie Chambers, became his best friend. In 1904 D. H. Lawrence gained a scholarship to study at Nottingham University to get a teacher’s certificate but because of the financial difficulties, D.
H. had to spend first one year teaching as pupil-teacher to earn money. In 1905 he began writing poetry. In 1906 he wrote his first novel, The White Peacock. All his free time was spent with Jessie Chambers. His possessive mother didn’t like this. Finally his mother and two sisters gave him an ultimatum: to leave her or to marry her. D. H. didn’t want to get engaged to Jessie so he decided not to see her so often. This was a very strong blow for Jessie. At university D. H. begins to get involved with socialist students. He meets there Louisa Burrows, they become friends.
In 1907 he begins writing short stories. Influenced by his socialist friends he moves away from Christianity and declares himself as agnostic. In 1908 D. H. Lawrence finishes university and moves to London to teach. These are hard times for him because he doesn’t like teaching. He sends all his writing to Jessie Chambers for her to comment on. In 1909 Jessie sends some of his poems to the literary magazine The English Review. They are printed. D. H. becomes interested in psychoanalysis. He gets two new female friends: Helen Corke and Agnes Hont. He begins an affair with Jessie. In 1910 , D. H. inishes his affair with Jessie and begins another affair with Louisa Burrows. He gets new that his mother is dying of cancer so every weekend he travels from London to Eastwood to visit her. Probably influenced by this, he gets engaged to Louisa. His mother dies. In 1911 he begins flirting with his friend Helen Corke. He begins an affair with a married woman, Alice Dax. He suffers a depression and a pneumonia. His sister Ada comes from Eastwood to take care of him. He’s often visited by Jessie Chambers and Helen Corke. He finaly decides to give up teaching. His novel The White Peacock is published.
In 1912 he breaks his engagement with Louisa Burrows and returns to Eastwood to live with his parents and two sisters. With some help from Jessie Chambers, he writes the novel Sons and Lovers. In March 1912, one month after breaking his engagement with Louisa, he falls in love with Frieda Weekley (von Richthofen), a married woman with three children. She was German, cousin of Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. She had a reputation of having some affairs. D. H. decides to finish his affair with Alice Dax to begin a new one with Frieda. They go to Germany to visit her family. There, she has an affair with another man.
They begin a two-year exile. They moved to Italy, where D. H. finishes to write Sons and Lovers and begins The rainbow and Women in love. In 1913 Sons and Lovers is published, they move back to Britain and D. H. publishes several short stories. They begin a friendship with Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry who were also unmarried. This is a very hard period for Frieda as her husband doesn’t let her see her children. In 1914 Frieda gets divorced and the 14th July she and D. H. get married. The 1st World War begins and the atmosphere in Britain is not very friendly for German immigrants.
In 1915 D. H. Lawrence publishes The Rainbow, getting very bad reviews. The book is banned. In 1916 D. H. , Frieda, Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry move to Cornwall. They live next door to each other. D. H. and his wife ask for passports to travel to the USA but the passports are refused. D. H. begins writing studies in classic Northamerican literature having declared himself a pacifist and a socialists and having a German wife, the British authorities suspects him of espionage and give them an order of military exclusion, forbidding them to live in Cornwall.
In 1917 they have to move to London. They don’t have many money and Frieda has an affair with a friend. They move to Eastwood in1918 to live off his sister Ada. It’s a time of desperation for D. H. as he is not publishing anything, he as problems with Frieda, he’s not earning money… In 1919 he publishes a book of poems and some short stories. The 1st World War finishes and they move to Italy. He begins writing the book ‘Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious’ He also writes poems and the novel ‘The Lost Girl’. In 1920 D. H. has an affair with a friend of his wife.
During this period he writes a lot. In 1921 he writes the novel ‘Aaron’s rod’ and the short story ‘Fanny and Annie’. Being considered an obscene writer by European publishers he has serious problems to get his work published in Europe. He depends on the USA for income. They begin thinking of moving there. In 1922 they travel to Ceylan and Australia. He write the novel Kangaroo. An American admirer, Mabel Sterne, invites them to go to Taos, New Mexico. In 1923 they move to Taos to live with Mable Sterne. They made a trip to Mexico. This was the inspiration for the novel The Plumed Serpent.
Kangaroo is published and they moved back to London so that Frieda can see her children. Because of the economical problems, in 1924 they go back to Taos taking with them the painter Dorothy Brett. Dorothy Sterne give them a ranch. In 1925 they live in England and Italy. While they are living in Italy, Frieda begins an affair on and off for the following four years with Angelo Ravagli. This is a very stressful period for the Lawrences. Apart of the economical problems and the affair, he doesn’t approve Frieda’s daughters and Frieda doesn’t like his sister Ada.
There are evidences that he was having an affair on 1925 with Dorothy Brett. In 1926 his book The Plumed Serpent is published, they move back to Britain and D. H. begins writing Lady Chatterley’s Lover. He also begins painting. His health is deteriorating very quickly because of the tuberculosis. In 1928 no publishing company in Britain wants to publish Lady Chatterley’s Lover. D. H. has the book privately published in Florence. The book begins to be sold in Britain. It creates a scandal as it is considered sexually explicit. The scandal gives the book a lot of free publicity and D.
H. earns a lot of money. His tuberculosis is so bad he is thinking of moving back to Taos, but he is so ill he cannot make the trip. He organizes an exhibition of his paintings in an art gallery (Warren Gallery) in London. The paintings are removed by the police as they are considered pornographic because they show pubic hair. In 1930 they move to France hoping D. H. Lawrence tuberculosis would get better. He died in 2nd March 1930. The following year, 1931, Frieda move to the ranch in Taos with her Italian lover, Angelo Ravagli. She marries him in 1950.
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