Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Women in love by D. H Lawrence

Women in love (original 1920; edition 1960)

by D. H Lawrence

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,72324996 (3.59)219
Title:Women in love
Authors:D. H Lawrence
Info:Penguin Books (1960), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

Work details

Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence (1920)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 219 mentions

English (21)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
A disappointing read. It is disjointed and does not flow well. A possibly repressed homosexuality (or is it normal masculine sensuality?) pervades the book. Too contrived to work. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
I loved being in the realm of this book, though I'm not sure what I think of the ending. ( )
  AminaMemory | Mar 31, 2013 |
Infuriating at every turn, but I'm still glad I read it. Was pretty sure this was all the Lawrence I'd ever have to read, but I was wrong. ( )
  idlerking | Mar 31, 2013 |
Lawrence wrote Women in Love as a sequel to The Rainbow, continuing on with the story of the Brangwen sisters Ursula and Gudrun. It picks up where he left off, with the sisters in their mid-twenties, and Gudrun asking Ursula if she truly does not want to get married and have children. Soon both are involved with men, Ursula with intellectual school inspector Rupert Birkin and Gudrun with an heir to a coal-mine, Gerald Crich.

Lawrence was a bitter man when he wrote the book, following censorship of The Rainbow and the deepening of the atrocities in WWI. Women in Love is darker and less optimistic as a result, and the alienated Birkin is widely held to represent Lawrence. The relationships of both couples are stormy to say the least, and as with Lawrence’s other books, sexual desire, subconscious forces, and the dark side of the relationship between men and women is on full display. He is also open about homosexual desire, this time between men, which apparently reflected his own apparent real-life romance with a farmer while writing the book.

At his best, Lawrence creates scenes which last in the reader’s memory. For me the best of these in Women in Love was when Ursula and Birkin are out for a drive and pull over to have a giant fight, pause briefly as a bicyclist pedals by, and then resume to have her throwing his gift of three rings into his face and walking off down the road. At his worst, Lawrence is too heavy in his prose and in his cynicism; a lighter touch here would have been more effective.

On brotherhood:
“Your democracy is an absolute lie – your brotherhood of man is a pure falsity, if you apply it further than the mathematical abstraction. We all drank milk first, we all eat bread and meat, we all want to ride in motor-cars – therein lies the beginning and the end of the brotherhood of man. But no equality.”

On childhood:
“Oh God, could one bear it, this past which was gone down the abyss? Could she bear, that it ever had been! She looked round this silent, upper world of snow and stars and powerful cold. There was another world, like views on a magic lantern: the Marsh, Cossethay, Ilkeston, lit up with a common, unreal light. There was a shadowy, unreal Ursula, a whole shadow-play of an unreal life. It was as unreal, and circumscribed, as a magic-lantern show. She wished the slides could all be broken. She wished it could be gone for ever, like a lantern-slide which is broken. She wanted to have no past. She wanted to have come down from the slopes of heaven to this place, with Birkin, not to have toiled out of the murk of her childhood and her upbringing, slowly, all soiled.”

On death:
“But the great, dark illimitable kingdom of death, there humanity was put to scorn. So much they could do upon earth, the multifarious little gods that they were. But the kingdom of death put them all to scorn, they dwindled into their true vulgar silliness in face of it.”

On knowledge:
“If I know about the flower, don’t I lose the flower and have only the knowledge? Aren’t we exchanging the substance for the shadow, aren’t we forfeiting life for this dead quantity of knowledge? And what does it mean to me, after all? What does all this knowledge mean to me? It means nothing.”

On love, and solitude:
“At the very last, one is alone, beyond the influence of love. There is a real impersonal me, that is beyond love, beyond any emotional relationship. So it is with you. But we want to delude ourselves that love is the root. It isn’t. It is only the branches. The root is beyond love, a naked kind of isolation, an isolated me, that does not meet and mingle, and never can.”

On life:
“…how known it all was, like a game with the figures set out, the same figures, the Queen of chess, the knights, the pawns, the same now as they were hundreds of years ago, the same figures moving round in one of the innumerable permutations that make up the game. But the game is known, its going on is like a madness, it is so exhausted.”

And this one, which I love:
“She thought of the Marsh, the old, intimate farm-life at Cossethay. My God, how far was she projected from her childhood, how far was she still to go! In one life-time one travelled through aeons. The great chasm of memory, from her childhood in the intimate country surroundings of Cossethay and the Marsh Farm – she remembered the servant Tillly, who used to give her bread and butter sprinkled with brown sugar, in the old living-room where the grandfather clock had two pink roses in a basked painted above the figures on the face – and now, when she was travelling into the unknown with Birkin, an utter stranger – was so great, that it seemed she had no identity, that the child she had been, playing in Cossethay churchyard, was a little creature of history, not really herself.”

On rambling:
“At moments it seemed to him he did not care a straw whether Ursula or Hermione or anybody else existed or did not exist. Why bother! Why strive for a coherent, satisfied life? Why not drift on in a series of accidents – like a picaresque novel? Why not? Why bother about human relationships? Why take them seriously – male or female? Why form any serious questions at all? Why not be casual, drifting along, taking all for what it was worth?” ( )
1 vote gbill | Nov 15, 2012 |
After reading several of Lawrence’s books, I have come to the conclusion that what keeps D. H. Lawrence in the Modern Library Top 100 list is his inexhaustible capacity to describe the human psyche. Perhaps not your psyche or mine, but the psyche of his eclectic characters. However, unfortunately I found it very difficult to relate to most of them.

The two young Brangwen women, Ursula and Gudrun, share many characteristics. They both crave independence, loathe social decorum, have a burning desire to find true love, and have an adventurous spirit. Yes, they wanted it all! Today that might be possible, but around the year 1915, it would have taken rare circumstances to acquire the prized combination of eternal love and independence.

They pick two very different men. Ursula (after several failed attempts at love in The Rainbow) falls for an anti-social cynical nihilist who professes to hate sex, love, passion, marriage, children, and all forms of domestic life (page 186). I never did figure out exactly what the attraction of Birkin was to Ursula, but Lawrence must have known because he claimed this character, Rupert Birkin, was in essence himself, and Ursula resembled Lawrence’s wife Frieda.

Gudrun, an artist, an idealist, and as skittish as an untamed animal, pairs up with a wealthy, successful, handsome, and aristocratic business manager, Gerald Crich. On the surface he is totally in control - the ideal man. But under the surface he suffers a deep dark feeling of emptiness and sense of impending doom. Again, an unlikely match, but Lawrence makes an effort to force his characters to behave as the plot demands.

While Lawrence is leading his characters on a twisted labyrinth of human emotions, drama and the illusive search for happiness, he is with very little subtlety sermonizing his personal philosophy- extreme right wing autocratic politics and ultra liberal sexual ideals. His cynical attitude about love and traditional marriage oozes from every page. And a common thread from three of his highly praised novels is his disdain for women; most of his female characters seem to be selfish, vain, and manipulative. I almost get the feeling that the title "Women in Love" was flagrantly intended to be a mocking slap in the face, essentially stated in sarcastic contempt.

Perhaps Lawrence may have deserved the Modern Library recognition for "Women in Love" at one time, but to say today that it is one of the best novels ever written in the English language is just a damned shame... in spite of his sweeping sardonic language.
Overrated and extremely disappointing. ( )
2 vote LadyLo | May 30, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
D. H. Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
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
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
"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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141441542, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:08 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Ursula and Gudrun are very different sisters who become entangled with two friends, Rupert and Gerald, who live in their hometown. The bonds between the couples quickly become intense and passionate but whether this passion is creative or destructive is unclear.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.59)
0.5 1
1 20
1.5 2
2 57
2.5 13
3 145
3.5 32
4 167
4.5 17
5 119


7 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441542, 0451530799

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,175,579 books! | Top bar: Always visible