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Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

Women in Love (1920)

by D. H. Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brangwen Family (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,891371,191 (3.57)256
Two of D. H. Lawrence's most renowned novels-now with new packages and new introductions Widely regarded as D. H. Lawrence's greatest novel, "Women in Love" continues where "The Rainbow" left off, with the third generation of the Brangwens. Focusing on Ursula Brangwen and her sister Gudrun's relationships-the former with a school inspector and the latter with an industrialist and then a sculptor-"Women in Love" is a powerful, sexually explicit depiction of the destructiveness of human relations.… (more)

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» See also 256 mentions

English (34)  Dutch (1)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
"Instead of chopping yourself down to fit the world, chop the world to fit yourself."

Women in Love is the sequel to The Rainbow and follows sisters Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen struggle to balance independence, love, and marriage at the beginning of the twentieth century but I don't believe that it is absolutely necessary to read it's predecessor before tackling this book. I didn't.

Ursula and Gudren are in their late twenties and have established independent and comfortable lives with their fairly liberal parents in an anonymous mining town in the Midlands. Ursula is a schoolteacher whilst Gudrun is a sculptor who has recently returned from London. Gudren does a little teaching at the school but finds her home-town dull and claustrophobic until Gerald Crich, a handsome mining heir, catches her eye. Meanwhile Ursula finds herself captivated by Gerald's best friend Rupert Birkin.

Rupert loves Gerald but neither men can envisage an enduring relationship between two men. The two of them have a naked wrestling match but whilst each man admires the other physical attributes it goes nowhere.

In many respects the title of this book is a bit of a misnomer as it is soon becomes apparent that neither woman are in love rather this is a novel that explores psychological drama between the sexes looking at feelings and thought processes through sensual language. Lawrence is however, also making a social commentary with this novel; the meaning of love in particular how the two differing sexes view it, intellectualism and nature, the need for social reform in regards to societal expectations versus individual sentiments and the desire/ aversion for marriage.

This is certainly not an easy read. Firstly I don't agree with the author's views on marriage (I have been married to the same woman for over thirty years which may colour my views) whilst some of the long philosophical sections of the text were tedious at best. Yet every time I decided to read one more chapter before throwing in the towel I would find myself being drawn into the plot again and the conclusion was both unexpected and dramatic. I am glad that I have finally gotten around to reading it but it is not a book that I am likely to revisit. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Mar 31, 2020 |
This was a great novel by Lawrence. He managed to convey so much with his words and some passages are elegant, graceful, and wonderful in their bearing. The characters are complex, multifaceted, and intriguing and the plot is never stale or boring. This is one to read if you enjoy classics, by all means. It's totally worth it.

4 stars! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Mar 19, 2020 |
Back when I lived in another world, I listened to The Rainbow, the first of this two volume story of the Brangwens of Nottinghamshire. Rainbow scored 59%. This one has scored 58%. Neither of them were enjoyable and, when I’ve spoken to people who can’t stand Lawrence, I wonder whether they tried one or both of these and then gave up. That’s a shame.

As I said 237 books ago, the writing is “tedious” and I don’t think anyone is going to put Ursula and Gudrun on their list of great fictional heroines. I mean, for a start, why on earth would you choose those names for them?

Throughout, these two display the same tormented states of mind as in Rainbow. One minute their all passionate about something, the next minute they detest it, or themselves, or both, or everything. They go on and on and on about the state of the world in conversations I can’t imagine anyone who deserves to be taken seriously actually having. In parts it reminded me of the worst of the Golden Notebook or the absurd lecturings of any character from Rand’s excrescent ravings.

Meanwhile they explore relationships which are as intense as their political leanings and as doomed to fall short of their utopian ideals. Thus, the reader is condemned to endure the dissatisfaction and emotional chaos right to the very end. I came away relieved to have done with it.

Lawrence can write. Of that there is no doubt. I just think he took himself a little too seriously with this. ( )
  arukiyomi | Mar 9, 2018 |
This is a book by D. H. Lawrence that he considered his best work, in it examines relationships and societal expectations between men and women, and even men and men. There is not much plot and it is heavy on character development. The author spends way too much time talking about love on some meta level that leaves the reader exhausted as does the back and forth of these relationships between two women (sisters) and two males (best friends) in this industrial town of coal mining on the edge of Sherwood Forest. What I liked best about the book is that Birkin really is Lawrence. Gudrun is Katherine Mansfield (author of The Garden Party (1922) and Urusula is Lawrence's German wife (Frieda) and Gerald is Middleton Murry, Lawrence's closest friend. So that is how I experienced the book (the going on by Lawrence about love/not love was exhausting but I enjoyed the character study). There wasn't much of a plot but what there was involved some major events (the diving, the wandering about the mountain) and a whole lot of symbolism. Coal (industrial) soiling everything. And a lot of use of the words "inchoate, paradisial, sang froid". I was okay with the ending. I think the loss of friendship can be devastating. I have read other books by the author. I think this one, while it is Lawrence's favorite, is not mine but I did enjoy the window into Lawrence's life and the life of Katherine Mansfield in the pre 1920s. I am not sure whether this book contributes to literature today other than as a classic would contribute and it certainly is not controversial today as it was when written.

Rating 3.66 ( )
  Kristelh | Jan 14, 2018 |
I didn't find this book exactly bad, per se, it's just another character-driven novel (I prefer plot-driven, personally). But I won't say it's well written either. It's kind of a hot mess, honestly. Darkness! Loins! Love! Hate! Indecision! Sneaking! Unhappiness! Indecisiveness! And did I mention Darkness? Various plot lines lead nowhere--what is the point, exactly, since there isn't even an overarching plot that needs a bit of info to work.

This book is so obviously intended to have symbolic meaning. Of what, exactly, I can't say, but there is lots of darkness and then green, when Birkin and Ursula sneak and spend the night in the woods, as an example. What does Hermione represent? And the sisters both being teachers? And Winifred? (And how old is Winifred? 10? 13? 17?). Honestly this reads more like a YA book to me, and i am so glad I didn't read it in an academic lit class, because I am terrible with hidden meanings etc. Though if I had read this in high school English, I can guarantee my friends and I would have jokes about it even now, 30 years later (like Piggy being crushed by the styrofoam rock in the movie version of Lord of the Flies).

So anyway, it's done. I am a little curious about the precursor, as I found Ursula and Gudrun's stories to be interesting. Single sisters in their mid/late 20s still living at home while both being teachers, and their dad was too? Shouldn't he be trying to marry them off or something? So much of this book struck me as unusual--maybe it wasn't, but I guess I have not read or studied a lot about early 0th century England. So maybe it's me. ( )
  Dreesie | Jan 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence, D. H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinkead-Weekes, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loftis, NormanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peccinotti, HarriPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Storoni Mazzolani, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, LyndaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen sat one morning in the window-bay of their father’s house in Beldover, working and talking. Ursula was stitching a piece of brightly-coloured embroidery, and Gudrun was drawing upon a board which she held on her knee. They were mostly silent, talking as their thoughts strayed through their minds.
"No man," said Birkin, "cuts another man's throat unless he wants to cut it, and unless the other man wants it cutting. This is a complete truth. It takes two people to make a murder: a murderer and a murderee. And a murderee is a man who is murderable. And a man who is murderable is a man who in a profound in hidden lust desires to be murdered." p.30
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"Women in Love" was written in the years before and during World War I. Criticized for its exploration of human sexuality, the novel is filled with symbolism and poetry -- and is compulsively entertaining.

The story opens with sisters Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, characters who also appeared in "The Rainbow," discussing marriage, then walking through a haunting landscape ruined by coal mines, smoking factories, and sooty dwellings. Soon Gudrun will choose Gerald, the icily handsome mining industrialist, as her lover; Ursula will become involved with Birkin, a school inspector -- and an erotic interweaving of souls and bodies begins. One couple will find love, the other death, in Lawrence's lush, powerfully crafted fifth novel, one of his masterpieces and the work that may best convey his beliefs about sex, love, and humankind's ongoing struggle between the forces of destruction and life.
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Average: (3.57)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441542, 0451530799

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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