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The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
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The Rainbow (1915)

by D. H. Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brangwen Family (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,495382,532 (3.65)1 / 144
Pronounced obscene when it was first published in 1915, " The Rainbow" is the epic story of three generations of the Brangwens, a Midlands family. A visionary novel, considered to be one of Lawrence's finest, it explores the complex sexual and psychological relationships between men and women in an increasingly industrialized world. "Lives are separate, but life is continuous--it continues in the fresh start by the separate life in each generation," wrote F. R. Leavis. "No work, I think, has presented this perception as an imaginatively realized truth more compellingly than "The Rainbow.""… (more)
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English (35)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Well, what I think of this book is hard to put into words. Let me begin with the comment that I was astonished to find this was a banned book. Obsceneties? Where? Or maybe the description of those depend on the time one is living in, but I didn't detect anything obscene.
Then the book. Well, I found it chaotic, going back and forth between the thoughts & actions of different people without a clear distiction.
It was also a tidbit boring, merely a description of circumstances, thoughts & feelings. It was okay, but not spectacular. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 4, 2020 |

Reread 3/11/17

I listened to The Rainbow read by Maureen O’Brien on audible and have come to like the story more on the second read. The publication of the book is quite an accomplishment in 1915 and met with controversy mostly about the discussion of sex, premarital sex, and lesbianism. It is nothing surprising today and could probably be played on network television with very little editing of the content. Today, the roles of women bring controversy to the reader but it must be remembered that the setting takes place over one hundred and thirty years ago. Much has changed since then, although teaching middle school remains much the same, and the reader needs to remember the period it was written in and the period written about.

I am going to immediately pick up on Ursala's story in the sequel, Women in Love.
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The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence is perhaps one of his finest works. Lawrence was born in 1885 the fourth son of a coal miner. He was a sickly child and graduated teacher's training in Nottingham. His writing created controversy and lead to some of his books and stories being banned. Lawrence's most popular themes were the sexual and physiological life and the implications of class difference.

The Rainbow, published in 1915, covers the life of the Brangwen family from the 1840s through 1905. The opening chapters set the theme. The Brangwen farm was in a very rural setting and the building facing back into the land. The main house looks out on the road. It is a separation of the world inward looking and outward looking. Industrialization of England brings change to the rather isolated family. First, a canal is built across the farmland and although the family is compensated for the intrusion it divides the farm. Next comes the railway not only crossing the farm but also bringing the noise smoke and whistles of a modern world to their simple life. Tom the youngest son also discovers sex, with a pub prostitute, which defines a different role in his mind for women outside of mothers and sisters and later women he would meet. He will eventually marry a widowed Polish refugee, Lydia.

The second section of the book deals with Lydia's daughter from her first marriage and Will, the son of one of Tom's brothers. The happy marriage turns to one based on sex and fertility. The oldest daughter, Ursula, is the main character in the third and final part of the book. Ursula provides the most famous part of the novel not only her life and lovers but also those who she meets. Society still strict rules create a culture that manufactures appearances to hide desires. Social restrictions, morality, industrialization, and colonialism all play a role in the book although it is primarily known for its sexual themes. The book was prosecuted for obscenity in 1915 and was unavailable in England for eleven years.

This Dover edition contains only a brief note of the author and of the story. For a classic book, however, little is needed in an introduction. Lawrence, although a modernist, writes in a clear way. The setting descriptions may be filled with small details and the characters filled with complex thoughts but the reading is easy to understand and the themes are nearly impossible to mix. The Dover editions, as always, bring quality works and quality printing at a very fair cost. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
A character study of Ursula Brangwine, and her personal growth process, at least according to Lawrence's standards. It shows a good deal about the Middle Class life of provincial Edwardian England. Later feminists do not rate this book highly. Originally published in 1915, it was a groundbreakingng effort. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 12, 2019 |
It took me longer than I expected to finish this book, in part because it took a long while for the story to get interesting. Three generations of a family are depicted in this novel, and the last portion - concerning Ursula - is the most famous and interesting. A lot of the book is repetitive, with family members struggling continually with the same trials and life neither improving or devolving for anyone. I will say, however, that mid-way through the book, I checked the original publication date and was surprised - this book, with its discussion of sex, a lesbian affair, and a woman's desire for a life beyond marriage and family, was definitely ahead of its time and pieces of the story feel as through they could apply to life today. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Aug 31, 2019 |
Very palatable and romantic. I would say this is among D.H Lawrence's best. I read Lady Chatterley's Lover and did not enjoy it-- but this turned me around in my suppositions and impressions of the author. It was well worth the read and the language wrought was poetic and lucid. I was not disappointed in the least. Nicely done. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
D. H. Lawrenceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fernihough, AnneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hardy, BarbaraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinkead-Weekes, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Worthen, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Brangwens had lived for generations on the Marsh Farm, in the meadows where the Erewash twisted sluggishly through alder trees, separating Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
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Average: (3.65)
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1 10
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2.5 12
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3.5 28
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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