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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


D.H. Lawrence: A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers (Cooper Square Press) Meyers, a prolific scholar, brings his superb gifts for research and narrative to D.H. Lawrence, a writer of comparable importance, whose life was driven toward extremes of passion and violence. This full-scale, penetrating profile traces a writer who alienated friends, fervidly explored sexuality, restlessly traveled and refused to acknowledge the tuberculosis that claimed his life in 1930.

In D.H. Lawrence Meyers does justice to the English novelist's celebrations of human sexuality and his sometimes scandalous relationships. The author has been enterprising in interviewing those aged survivors with first-hand contact with Lawrence . Perceptively written, Meyers presents a succinct and revealing account of Lawrence ’s relationships with friends and lovers, bringing to life the disorderly personalities that shaped Lawrence ’s work. Meyers introduces a considerable amount of new material and probes the connections between Lawrence ’s writing and his interest in psychology – especially the theories of Freud and Jung, which Lawrence fluently expounded upon in his letters to Katherine Mansfield.

Meyers splits Lawrence ’s achievements in two contrasting halves, with his formative years spent in a small mining village, and the second half of his life characteristically spent moving from place to place. His childhood memories contributed greatly to Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which confronted the rigid class structures of England and was banned for its explicit portrayal of sex between a gentlewoman and a laborer. Meyers follows Lawrence ’s journeys of his later years with his wife Frieda, as their marriage faltered, his health worsened, and his writing became increasingly brilliant. Plagued by illness for fifteen years until his death, Lawrence nevertheless produced a considerable body of work, the history of which is revealed in D.H. Lawrence.

Readers will relish the 16 pages of photographs, which are included.

This masterly work offers an exciting recreation of the life and times of the British novelist and is an indispensable companion to any Lawrence collection. We can only hope that this readable, mass-market biography will generate new readers for Lawrence .


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