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The Trespasser (1912)

by D. H. Lawrence

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241381,856 (3.33)64
D. H. Lawrence's second novel The Trespasser is based on the tragic love affair of his friend Helen Corke and her violin teacher. After reading Miss Corke's diary, Lawrence first urged her to write her story and then received her permission to do it himself. Between his rapid composition of the first draft in the spring and summer of 1910 and his final revisions in early 1912, Lawrence's view of Helen Corke, and consequently of her story, changed. The manuscript survives, and this edition presents the text for the first time as Lawrence wrote it, restoring his sentence-structure and punctuation and correcting numerous typesetters' errors. In her substantial introduction Elizabeth Mansfield explores the background of the novel, presents the complications of the publishing history and the novel's reception. A full textual apparatus records the history of the text and the editor annotates topical and other references.… (more)

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This was Lawrence’s second novel, published the year after The White Peacock. It was apparently based on the diaries of a friend of Lawrence, whose lover, a married man, committed suicide. It seems a bit, well, off, especially since the female lead in the novel is called Helena, which is not much different from Helen, the name of Lawrence’s friend. Helena is a young woman studying how to play the violin under Siegmund, a married man. The two enter into an affair, but the book pretty much focuses on a trip the two take together – partly by accident – to the Isle of Wight. They know that once the holiday is over they must return to their respective lives, and any affair between the two must end. On his return home, Siegmund realises his relationship with his wife and children has been forever tainted by his affair, even if they did not know of it (although his wife certainly suspected). Like the earlier novel – and some of his later ones – Lawrence’s prose is at its best when it’s describing the landscape. The dialogue, and the characters’ emotions, seem over-emphatic to modern readers, and though Lawrence had a good ear for dialogue it often jars with the over-emotional prose. I can understand why he’s no longer as popular, or as read, as he once was, but I still think he’s an important author in British literature, and it’s a shame he’s best-known these days for TV miniseries adaptations of his work. ( )
  iansales | Sep 5, 2018 |
D.H. Lawrence is an author I have not come round to read too much, although the works I have read were fully satisfactory. Surprisingly, this short work has very few readers on LT, at least as a separate edition.

So, I enjoyed reading The trespasser. However, it must be said that it was a laborious read. I could not read it very fast, and each time, I would only read a number of pages. The story is simple enough, but the descriptions of nature, and the landscape, and the way they are symbolically intertwined with the mood of the characters calls for slow reading. While some readers might be put off by the symbolism, the tragedy has a very deep sense of realism, as the story draws on the experience of one of Lawrence's friends. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 3, 2011 |
sad, sad story. ( )
  mahallett |
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D. H. Lawrence's second novel The Trespasser is based on the tragic love affair of his friend Helen Corke and her violin teacher. After reading Miss Corke's diary, Lawrence first urged her to write her story and then received her permission to do it himself. Between his rapid composition of the first draft in the spring and summer of 1910 and his final revisions in early 1912, Lawrence's view of Helen Corke, and consequently of her story, changed. The manuscript survives, and this edition presents the text for the first time as Lawrence wrote it, restoring his sentence-structure and punctuation and correcting numerous typesetters' errors. In her substantial introduction Elizabeth Mansfield explores the background of the novel, presents the complications of the publishing history and the novel's reception. A full textual apparatus records the history of the text and the editor annotates topical and other references.

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