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Women in love by D. H Lawrence

Women in love (original 1920; edition 1960)

by D. H Lawrence

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Title:Women in love
Authors:D. H Lawrence
Info:Penguin Books (1960), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

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


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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
This is a sequel of sorts to The Rainbow, inasmuch as it continues the story of Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen from that novel. Wikipedia claims the two books were planned as one big novel but split by the publisher, but the introduction to my edition of Women in Love contradicts this – in Lawrence’s own words. He was driven out of London in late 1915 by The Rainbow obscenity trial, a libel suit and his vocal opposition to the Great War (which made him a lot of enemies in London society), and settled in poverty in Cornwall. After recovering from illness, he started work on Women in Love – “a sequel to The Rainbow, though quite unlike it”. Certainly, the two books are not big on rigour, and Women in Love might be better considered an entirely new novel whose leads share their names, and some background details, with the Brangwens of The Rainbow. Lawrence apparently wrote it very quickly, but it took four years before it saw print. Gudrun is an artist, returned to the family’s Nottinghamshire home village after a few bohemian years in London. Ursula is a teacher in a local school. She is attracted to school inspector Birkin (a stand-in for Lawrence himself), while Gudrun takes up with Gerald Crich, son of the local coal-mining magnate. The novel charts the two couples’ relationships through a series of (mostly) tragic incidents. You don’t read Lawrence for the plots, which is just as well as he tends to meander. And his characters usually read like they’re dialled up to eleven (so many! exclamation marks! It seems somewhat excessive to a modern reader). But there’s also lots of philosophising and discussions of Lawrence’s often bonkers ideas on art and life. Birkin especially is fond of lecturing the other characters, often at great length. And, of course, there’s Lawrence’s lovely descriptive prose. Women in Love is a… meatier novel than Sons and Lovers or The White Peacock; but it’s also a novel that disappointingly seems to treat the working-class like noble savages (and especially disappointingly so after Sons and Lovers). With its cast of minor gentry, teachers and artists, Women in Love is very middle-class, almost as if Lawrence’s years in London turned him into a social climber (and Birkin suggests as much in Women in Love). I have that absolutely enormous three-volume biography of DH Lawrence on my bookshelves. One of these days I’ll have to read it.
1 vote iansales | Jun 1, 2016 |
I keep this book out in my workshop now. Whenever I need to get wood glue off my fingers I just rip out a page. ( )
  Garrison0550 | May 10, 2016 |
Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen are two sisters living in the Midlands of England in the 1910s. Ursula is a teacher, Gudrun an artist. They meet two men who live nearby, school inspector Rupert Birkin and coal-mine heir Gerald Crich. The four become friends. Ursula and Birkin become involved, and Gudrun eventually begins a love affair with Gerald.

All four are deeply concerned with questions of society, politics, and the relationship between men and women. At a party at Gerald's estate, Gerald's sister, Diana, drowns with her new husband. Gudrun becomes the teacher and mentor of his youngest sister. Soon Gerald's coal-mine-owning father dies as well, after a long illness. After the funeral, Gerald goes to Gudrun's house and spends the night with her, while her parents sleep in another room.

Birkin asks Ursula to marry him, and she agrees. Gerald and Gudrun's relationship, however, becomes stormy. The four vacation in the Alps. Gudrun begins an intense friendship with Loerke, a physically puny but emotionally commanding artist from Dresden. Gerald, enraged by Loerke, by Gudrun's verbal abuse, and by his own destructive nature, tries to murder Gudrun. After failing, he retreats back over the mountains and falls to his death in the snow.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Very disappointing!
For an alleged breakthrough masterpiece of the era it seems to lack most of the literary elements that would justify the claims made for Women In Love.
If Lawrence seriously believed the conversational chat-up monologues he produces in this book won the affection of females then not only were they women of an altogether different era (granted), but surely of a near alien species who were attracted to dry, insipid meandering thoughts of conceited, self-absorbed near dead in mind and body males.
The 2 relationships were very unconvincing: the hints of sensuality that so engaged and enraged many when WINL was first published whilst understandable for the period make for dull reading today. Others of the author's period covered much more effectively such topics as human desire and the excited body.
I suppose I also resented that this was written by an author who flunked any participation in the grief-strewn, human calamity of WW1: And it shows in his writing - the violence between leading characters, both mental and physical, is of a high-brow taste that no one having experienced the frontline or even a staff post in gay Paris could possibly describe in so tediously drawn out scenes that had 'false premise' at their core. Much of its description of the main characters is not insightful but incredulous for its lack of perception of the human personality.
Lawrence was a gifted novelist and wrote some very fine works: I have to disagree with so many others and declare this was definitely not one of them! ( )
  tommi180744 | Nov 13, 2015 |
I read this without having read The Rainbow. Some mild SPOILERS are included in this review. A few observations:

1. The little bits of personal violence scattered through the book were strange, including the final attempted violent moment. These violent moments increased in intensity and seemed a natural progression from the sudden and barely explainable anger that developed in almost every conversation.

2. The conflict among the characters seemed to be based on who controlled whom within their relationships. This included the relationship between Birkin and Gerald. It is truly odd that this book is called Women in Love, when it is painful to see how much Birkin loved Gerald and how little he could do about it.

3. The female characters were largely unsympathetic and even cruel.

4. This book was written in the context of WWI, in the middle of social change in England. Perhaps this shattering of the world was what Lawrence was trying to capture, but at some point the number of attempted earth-shattering conversations was just too much. This was demonstrated oddly when Lawrence has the common folk reading Birkin's letter outloud and laughing at its melodrama. For me this has become the memorable moment of the book, but it seems to be part of Lawrence's evidence that no matter how much he explains the really serious thing he is trying to get across to the world, people don't get it and don't get him.

5. One appealing aspect of this book was the characters' ability to walk untroubled for long distances as a matter of course, and in this walking, to enjoy the natural world.

Overall, I just couldn't enjoy this. So far in the three of Lawrence's works I've read, no positive relationships have been shown. Instead, there has been a great deal of conflict based on power and many oddly constructed female characters. I get the sense that Lawrence earnestly wants the reader to understand something about love, but the message seems to keep getting lost. ( )
  karmiel | Aug 16, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
D. H. Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldington, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinkead-Weekes, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peccinotti, HarriPhotographersecondary 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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:42 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Women in Love, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. One of the most versatile and influential figures in twentieth-century literature, D. H. Lawrence was a master craftsman and profound thinker whose celebration of sexuality in an over-intellectualized world opened the door to that topic for countless writers after him. Perhaps his finest novel, Women in Love (1920) continues the story of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, who first appeared in Lawrence's novel The Rainbow (1915). The story contrasts the passionate love affairs of Ursula and Rupert Birkin, a character often seen as a self-portrait of Lawrence, with that of Gudrun and Gerald Crich, an icily handsome mining industrialist. Birkin, an introspective misanthrope, struggles to reconcile his metaphysical drive for self-fulfillment with Ursula's practical view of sentimental passion. As they fight their way through to a mutually satisfying relationship—and eventual marriage—Gudrun and Crich's sadomasochistic love affair careens toward a disastrous conclusion. A dark, disturbing, yet beautiful exploration of love in an increasingly violent and destructive world, Women in Love nevertheless holds out the hope of individual and collective rebirth through human intensity and passion. Norman Loftis is a poet, novelist, essayist, philosopher, and filmmaker. His works include Exiles and Voyages (poetry, 1969), Black Anima (poetry, 1973), Life Force (novel, 1982), From Barbarism to Decadence (1984), and Condition Zero (1993). His feature films include Schaman (1984), the award-winning Small Time (1989), and Messenger (1995). He is currently Chair of the Department of Literature at the Brooklyn Campus of the College of New Rochelle and is on the faculty at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, where he has taught since 1970.… (more)

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

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441542, 0451530799

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