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Sons and Lovers (1913)

by D. H. Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,23188717 (3.57)1 / 294
Lawrence's first major novel was also the first in the English language to explore ordinary working-class life from the inside. No writer before or since has written so well about the intimacies enforced by a tightly-knit mining community and by a family where feelings are never hidden forlong.When the marriage between Walter Morel and his sensitive, high-minded wife begins to break down, the bitterness of their frustration seeps into their children's lives. Their second son, Paul, craves the warmth of family and community, but knows that he must sacrifice everything in the struggle forindependence if he is not to repeat his parents' failure.Lawrence's powerful description of Paul's single-minded efforts to define himself sexually and emotionally through relationships with two women - the innocent, old-fashioned Miriam Leivers and the experienced, provocatively modern Clara Dawes - makes this a novel as much for the beginning of thetwenty-first century as it was for the beginning of the twentieth.… (more)

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English (84)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (88)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
This book took me a while to get through. I wasn't into fiction during winter, the first third of the book is unnecessary to the main of it, and Lawrence spends an awfully long time describing flowers, trees, and other such natural scenes.

But boy was it worth it. The descriptions of nature serve to draw out the main moments and let them breathe and take up significance. And they really do: Sons and Lovers, first published in 1913 manages to achieve something I can't really say I have found elsewhere now - an honest portrayal and description of the emotional map of life, the instinctual animal feelings that drive so much of our social behaviour and experience, and to do so in English as a first language. This is so much more than a refreshingly wide embrace of Freudian frameworks of looking at human relations, which we would do well to recover in contemporary writing. It is remarkable and blows my mind to see that English can be used this way. It is not that English is such a necessarily cold and mercantile/scientific language, but rather that we have developed a culture that has produced it as such. Lawrence shows us another way.

Our emotional lives, the emotional decisions of parents and families, set up real consequences for the lives of all of us. It was lovely to read a story that centres this understanding so significantly. More please! ( )
  GeorgeHunter | Sep 13, 2020 |
This was not my favorite book by Lawrence, although it was more readable than Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover- there was less philosophizing. Although it contain elements of Lawrence's major themes such as the conflict between the life of the mind, body and spirit, this conflict plays out through the actions of the characters instead of through soliloquies as in his later novels. It also touches on the issue of euthanasia, and most importantly, parenting.
The story begins with a marriage between Gertrude and Walter Morel which quickly deteriorates into a battle of wills. Mrs. Morel puts all her energy and love into her son Paul.
"At last, Mrs. Morel despised her husband. She turned to the child, she turned from the father... There began a battle between the husband and wife- a fearful, bloody battle that ended only with the death of one."
Her death leaves Paul lost and alone, unable to truly give himself completely to any woman.

" 'Mother!" he whispered-'mother!'
She was the only thing that held him up, himself amid all this. And she was gone, intermingled herself. He wanted her to touch him, have him alongside with her."

Of course, the character Gertrude Morel is an extreme example of over parenting- or as we now call it- helicopter parenting, but Lawrence examines her inner life, as well as her son's, in a compassionate way.
( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
He felt that she wanted the soul out of his body and not him. ( )
  SolangePark | Jul 12, 2020 |
I picked up Sons and Lovers as the next book to read from my 100 Books list, simply because I'm trying to cull my book collection at the moment, and years of hearing how much people dislike D.H. Lawrence – and this book in particular – led me to assume that I'd have a similar reaction. Really, I should've known better. After all, I like Conrad!

I find it fascinating that so many people have been bored senseless by Sons and Lovers, because I was interested and entertained from start to finish. It's true that there is not a great deal of plot here. Rather, it's a book that focuses on character and on family relationships. It's slow-moving and slightly dreamy tale, and Lawrence holds his characters at something of a distance from the reader, but I was nonetheless ensnared very quickly in the piece.

Most of the characters here are awful. There are no genuinely likeable people amongst them. Annie is quite inoffensive and I found myself rather sympathetic to Walter Morel, despite his faults, possibly because of how keenly he was judged by his family for his lack of pseudo-middle-class airs. Or perhaps it's just that Gertrude and Paul are just so utterly detestable that I feel a kind of solidarity with anyone they disdain. I feel a bit cruel saying so, given that Sons and Lovers is highly autobiographical, but Lawrence certainly didn't represent himself in his best light when he took on the guise of Paul Morel. And I feel utterly sorry for Jessie Chambers, upon whom Miriam was based, because Miriam is portrayed with such disgust. Clara, too, is sneered at and the reader is left to wonder whether it is merely Paul Morel who has such a Madonna/Whore complex (to go with his Oedipus Complex), or whether that stemmed from Lawrence himself.

Despite the ghastly characters, however, I found Sons and Lovers itself thoroughly likeable. The writing is lovely – elegant but not overwrought – and I'm a big fan of these kinds of slow, intimate stories of family and human nature. I shall be very interested to see whether my enjoyment of Sons and Lovers extends to all of Lawrence's work. In the meantime, this will not be joining the pile of books to give away!
( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Disappointing. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence, D. H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baron, CarlEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baron, HelenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beal, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, VictoriaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brotherus, AuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cancogni, FrancaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daly, MacdonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de la Plaza, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DeMott, BenjaminIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Durov, ValerieEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dyer, GeoffIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eyre, Sir RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fournier-Pargoire, JeanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Francioli, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gelli, PieroIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilpin, SamAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gopegui, BelénForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halson, GeoffreyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilská, KateřinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ilona, RónaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jackson, DennisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kazin, AlfredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kristensen, TomTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martínez-Lage, MiguelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrison, BlakeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moynahan, JulianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordon, PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oeser, Hans-ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, SheilaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sagar, KeithIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slack, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, BobIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trotter, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Venning, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lawrence's first major novel was also the first in the English language to explore ordinary working-class life from the inside. No writer before or since has written so well about the intimacies enforced by a tightly-knit mining community and by a family where feelings are never hidden forlong.When the marriage between Walter Morel and his sensitive, high-minded wife begins to break down, the bitterness of their frustration seeps into their children's lives. Their second son, Paul, craves the warmth of family and community, but knows that he must sacrifice everything in the struggle forindependence if he is not to repeat his parents' failure.Lawrence's powerful description of Paul's single-minded efforts to define himself sexually and emotionally through relationships with two women - the innocent, old-fashioned Miriam Leivers and the experienced, provocatively modern Clara Dawes - makes this a novel as much for the beginning of thetwenty-first century as it was for the beginning of the twentieth.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441445, 0141199857

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