|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Series:||Cambridge Edition of the Works of D. H. Lawrence Series|
|Edition description:||Revised ed.|
|Product dimensions:||5.43(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.69(d)|
About the Author
David Herbert (D. H.) Lawrence, whose fiction has had a profound influence on twentieth-century literature, was born on September 11, 1885, in a mining village in Nottinghamshire, England. His father was an illiterate coal miner, his mother a genteel schoolteacher determined to lift her children out of the working class. His parents' unhappy marriage and his mother's strong emotional claims on her son later became the basis for Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (1913), one of the most important autobiographical novels of this century.
In 1915, his masterpiece, The Rainbow, which like it's companion novel Women In Love (1920) dealt frankly with sex, was suppressed as indecent a month after its publication. Aaron's Road (1922); Kangaroo (1923), set in Australia; and The Plumed Serpent (1926), set in Mexico, were all written during Lawrence's travels in search of political and emotional refuge and healthful climate. In 1928, already desperately ill, Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterly's Lover. Banned as pornographic, the unexpurgated edition was not allowed legal circulation in Britain until 1960. D. H. Lawrence called his life, marked by struggle, frustration, and despair "a savage enough pilgrimage." He died on March 2, 1930, at the age of forty-four, in Vence, France.
Date of Birth:September 11, 1885
Date of Death:March 2, 1930
Place of Birth:Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England
Place of Death:Vence, France
Education:Nottingham University College, teacher training certificate, 1908
Read an Excerpt
Women in Love
By D. H. Lawrence
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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.
'Ursula,' said Gudrun, 'don't you really want to get married?' Ursula laid her embroidery in her lap and looked up. Her face was calm and considerate.
'I don't know,' she replied. 'It depends how you mean.'
Gudrun was slightly taken aback. She watched her sister for some moments.
'Well,' she said, ironically, 'it usually means one thing! But don't you think anyhow, you'd be—' she darkened slightly—'in a better position than you are in now.'
A shadow came over Ursula's face.
'I might,' she said. 'But I'm not sure.'
Again Gudrun paused, slightly irritated. She wanted to be quite definite.
'You don't think one needs the experience of having been married?' she asked.
'Do you think it need be an experience?' replied Ursula.
'Bound to be, in some way or other,' said Gudrun, coolly. 'Possibly undesirable, but bound to be an experience of some sort.'
'Not really,' said Ursula. 'More likely to be the end of experience.'
Gudrun sat very still, to attend to this.
'Of course,' she said, 'there's that to consider.' This brought the conversation to a close. Gudrun, almost angrily, took up her rubber and began to rub out part of her drawing. Ursula stitched absorbedly.
'You wouldn't consider a good offer?' asked Gudrun.
'I think I've rejected several,' said Ursula.
'Really!' Gudrun flushed dark—'But anything really worth while? Have you really?'
'A thousand a year, and an awfully nice man. I liked him awfully,' said Ursula.
'Really! But weren't you fearfully tempted?'
'In the abstract but not in the concrete,' said Ursula. 'When it comes to the point, one isn't even tempted—oh, if I were tempted, I'd marry like a shot. I'm only tempted not to.' The faces of both sisters suddenly lit up with amusement.
'Isn't it an amazing thing,' cried Gudrun, 'how strong the temptation is, not to!' They both laughed, looking at each other. In their hearts they were frightened.
There was a long pause, whilst Ursula stitched and Gudrun went on with her sketch. The sisters were women, Ursula twenty-six, and Gudrun twenty-five. But both had the remote, virgin look of modern girls, sisters of Artemis rather than of Hebe. Gudrun was very beautiful, passive, soft-skinned, soft-limbed. She wore a dress of dark-blue silky stuff, with ruches of blue and green linen lace in the neck and sleeves; and she had emerald-green stockings. Her look of confidence and diffidence contrasted with Ursula's sensitive expectancy. The provincial people, intimidated by Gudrun's perfect sang-froid and exclusive bareness of manner, said of her: 'She is a smart woman.' She had just come back from London, where she had spent several years, working at an art-school, as a student, and living a studio life.
'I was hoping now for a man to come along,' Gudrun said, suddenly catching her underlip between her teeth, and making a strange grimace, half sly smiling, half anguish. Ursula was afraid.
'So you have come home, expecting him here?' she laughed.
'Oh my dear,' cried Gudrun, strident, 'I wouldn't go out of my way to look for him. But if there did happen to come along a highly attractive individual of sufficient means—ell—' she tailed off ironically. Then she looked searchingly at Ursula, as if to probe her. 'Don't you find yourself getting bored?' she asked of her sister. 'Don't you find, that things fail to materialise? Nothing materialises! Everything withers in the bud.'
'What withers in the bud?' asked Ursula.
'Oh, everything—oneself—things in general.' There was a pause, whilst each sister vaguely considered her fate.
'It does frighten one,' said Ursula, and again there was a pause. 'But do you hope to get anywhere by just marrying?'
'It seems to be the inevitable next step,' said Gudrun. Ursula pondered this, with a little bitterness. She was a class mistress herself, in Willey Green Grammar School, as she had been for some years.
'I know,' she said, 'it seems like that when one thinks in the abstract. But really imagine it: imagine any man one knows, imagine him coming home to one every evening, and saying "Hello," and giving one a kiss—'
There was a blank pause.
'Yes,' said Gudrun, in a narrowed voice. 'It's just impossible. The man makes it impossible.'
'Of course there's children—' said Ursula doubtfully.
Gudrun's face hardened.
'Do you really want children, Ursula?' she asked coldly. A dazzled, baffled look came on Ursula's face.
'One feels it is still beyond one,' she said.
'Do you feel like that?' asked Gudrun. 'I get no feeling whatever from the thought of bearing children.'
Gudrun looked at Ursula with a masklike, expressionless face. Ursula knitted her brows.
'Perhaps it isn't genuine,' she faltered. 'Perhaps one doesn't really want them, in one's soul—only superficially.' A hardness came over Gudrun's face. She did not want to be too definite.
'When one thinks of other people's children—' said Ursula.
Again Gudrun looked at her sister, almost hostile.
'Exactly,' she said, to close the conversation.
The two sisters worked on in silence, Ursula having always that strange brightness of an essential flame that is caught, meshed, contravened. She lived a good deal by herself, to herself, working, passing on from day to day, and always thinking, trying to lay hold on life, to grasp it in her own understanding. Her active living was suspended, but underneath, in the darkness, something was coming to pass. If only she could break through the last integuments! She seemed to try and put her hands out, like an infant in the womb, and she could not, not yet. Still she had a strange prescience, an intimation of something yet to come.
She laid down her work and looked at her sister. She thought Gudrun so charming, so infinitely charming, in her softness and her fine, exquisite richness of texture and delicacy of line. There was a certain playfulness about her too, such a piquancy or ironic suggestion, such an untouched reserve. Ursula admired her with all her soul.
'Why did you come home, Prune?' she asked.
Gudrun knew she was being admired. She sat back from her drawing and looked at Ursula, from under her finely-curved lashes.
'Why did I come back, Ursula?' she repeated. 'I have asked myself a thousand times.'
'And don't you know?'
'Yes, I think I do. I think my coming back home was just reculer pour mieux sauter.'
And she looked with a long, slow look of knowledge at Ursula.
'I know!' cried Ursula, looking slightly dazzled and falsified, and as if she did not know. 'But where can one jump to?'
'Oh, it doesn't matter,' said Gudrun, somewhat superbly. 'If one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere.'
'But isn't it very risky?' asked Ursula.
A slow mocking smile dawned on Gudrun's face.
'Ah!' she said laughing. 'What is it all but words!' And so again she closed the conversation. But Ursula was still brooding.
'And how do you find home, now you have come back to it?' she asked.
Gudrun paused for some moments, coldly, before answering. Then, in a cold truthful voice, she said:
'I find myself completely out of it.'
Gudrun looked at Ursula, almost with resentment, as if brought to bay.
'I haven't thought about him: I've refrained,' she said coldly.
'Yes,' wavered Ursula; and the conversation was really at an end. The sisters found themselves confronted by a void, a terrifying chasm, as if they had looked over the edge.
They worked on in silence for some time, Gudrun's cheek was flushed with repressed emotion. She resented its having been called into being.
'Shall we go out and look at that wedding?' she asked at length, in a voice that was too casual.
'Yes!' cried Ursula, too eagerly, throwing aside her sewing and leaping up, as if to escape something, thus betraying the tension of the situation and causing a friction of dislike to go over Gudrun's nerves.
As she went upstairs, Ursula was aware of the house, of her home round about her. And she loathed it, the sordid, too- familiar place! She was afraid at the depth of her feeling against the home, the milieu, the whole atmosphere and condition of this obsolete life. Her feeling frightened her.
The two girls were soon walking swiftly down the main road of Beldover, a wide street, part shops, part dwelling- houses, utterly formless and sordid, without poverty. Gudrun, new from her life in Chelsea and Sussex, shrank cruelly from this amorphous ugliness of a small colliery town in the Midlands. Yet forward she went, through the whole sordid gamut of pettiness, the long amorphous, gritty street. She was exposed to every stare, she passed on through a stretch of torment. It was strange that she should have chosen to come back and test the full effect of this shapeless, barren ugliness upon herself. Why had she wanted to submit herself to it, did she still want to submit herself to it, the insufferable torture of these ugly, meaningless people, this defaced countryside? She felt like a beetle toiling in the dust. She was filled with repulsion.
They turned off the main road, past a black patch of common-garden, where sooty cabbage stumps stood shameless. No one thought to be ashamed. No one was ashamed of it all.
'It is like a country in an underworld,' said Gudrun. 'The colliers bring it above-ground with them, shovel it up. Ursula, it's marvellous, it's really marvellous—it's really wonderful, another world. The people are all ghouls, and everything is ghostly. Everything is a ghoulish replica of the real world, a replica, a ghoul, all soiled, everything sordid. It's like being mad, Ursula.'
The sisters were crossing a black path through a dark, soiled field. On the left was a large landscape, a valley with collieries, and opposite hills with cornfields and woods, all blackened with distance, as if seen through a veil of crape. White and black smoke rose up in steady columns, magic within the dark air. Near at hand came the long rows of dwellings, approaching curved up the hill-slope, in straight lines along the brow of the hill. They were of darkened red brick, brittle, with dark slate roofs. The path on which the sisters walked was black, trodden-in by the feet of the recurrent colliers, and bounded from the field by iron fences; the stile that led again into the road was rubbed shiny by the moleskins of the passing miners. Now the two girls were going between some rows of dwellings, of the poorer sort. Women, their arms folded over their coarse aprons, standing gossiping at the end of their block, stared after the Brangwen sisters with that long, unwearying stare of aborigines; children called out names.
Gudrun went on her way half dazed. If this were human life, if these were human beings, living in a complete world, then what was her own world, outside? She was aware of her grass-green stockings, her large grass-green velour hat, her full soft coat, of a strong blue colour. And she felt as if she were treading in the air, quite unstable, her heart was contracted, as if at any minute she might be precipitated to the ground. She was afraid.
She clung to Ursula, who, through long usage was inured to this violation of a dark, uncreated, hostile world. But all the time her heart was crying, as if in the midst of some ordeal: 'I want to go back, I want to go away, I want not to know it, not to know that this exists.' Yet she must go forward.
Ursula could feel her suffering.
'You hate this, don't you?' she asked.
'It bewilders me,' stammered Gudrun.
'You won't stay long,' replied Ursula.
And Gudrun went along, grasping at release.
They drew away from the colliery region, over the curve of the hill, into the purer country of the other side, towards Willey Green. Still the faint glamour of blackness persisted over the fields and the wooded hills, and seemed darkly to gleam in the air. It was a spring day, chill, with snatches of sunshine. Yellow celandines showed out from the hedge- bottoms, and in the cottage gardens of Willey Green, currant-bushes were breaking into leaf, and little flowers were coming white on the grey alyssum that hung over the stone walls.
Turning, they passed down the high-road, that went between high banks towards the church. There, in the lowest bend of the road, low under the trees, stood a little group of expectant people, waiting to see the wedding. The daughter of the chief mine-owner of the district, Thomas Crich, was getting married to a naval officer.
'Let us go back,' said Gudrun, swerving away. 'There are all those people.'
And she hung wavering in the road.
'Never mind them,' said Ursula, 'they're all right. They all know me, they don't matter.'
'But must we go through them?' asked Gudrun.
'They're quite all right, really,' said Ursula, going forward. And together the two sisters approached the group of uneasy, watchful common people. They were chiefly women, colliers' wives of the more shiftless sort. They had watchful, underworld faces.
The two sisters held themselves tense, and went straight towards the gate. The women made way for them, but barely sufficient, as if grudging to yield ground. The sisters passed in silence through the stone gateway and up the steps, on the red carpet, a policeman estimating their progress.
'What price the stockings!' said a voice at the back of Gudrun. A sudden fierce anger swept over the girl, violent and murderous. She would have liked them all annihilated, cleared away, so that the world was left clear for her. How she hated walking up the churchyard path, along the red carpet, continuing in motion, in their sight.
'I won't go into the church,' she said suddenly, with such final decision that Ursula immediately halted, turned round, and branched off up a small side path which led to the little private gate of the Grammar School, whose grounds adjoined those of the church.
Just inside the gate of the school shrubbery, outside the churchyard, Ursula sat down for a moment on the low stone wall under the laurel bushes, to rest. Behind her, the large red building of the school rose up peacefully, the windows all open for the holiday. Over the shrubs, before her, were the pale roofs and tower of the old church. The sisters were hidden by the foliage.
Gudrun sat down in silence. Her mouth was shut close, her face averted. She was regretting bitterly that she had ever come back. Ursula looked at her, and thought how amazingly beautiful she was, flushed with discomfiture. But she caused a constraint over Ursula's nature, a certain weariness. Ursula wished to be alone, freed from the tightness, the enclosure of Gudrun's presence.
'Are we going to stay here?' asked Gudrun.
'I was only resting a minute,' said Ursula, getting up as if rebuked. 'We will stand in the corner by the fives-court, we shall see everything from there.'
For the moment, the sunshine fell brightly into the churchyard, there was a vague scent of sap and of spring, perhaps of violets from off the graves. Some white daisies were out, bright as angels. In the air, the unfolding leaves of a copper-beech were blood-red.
Punctually at eleven o'clock, the carriages began to arrive. There was a stir in the crowd at the gate, a concentration as a carriage drove up, wedding guests were mounting up the steps and passing along the red carpet to the church. They were all gay and excited because the sun was shining.
Gudrun watched them closely, with objective curiosity. She saw each one as a complete figure, like a character in a book, or a subject in a picture, or a marionette in a theatre, a finished creation. She loved to recognise their various characteristics, to place them in their true light, give them their own surroundings, settle them for ever as they passed before her along the path to the church. She knew them, they were finished, sealed and stamped and finished with, for her. There was none that had anything unknown, unresolved, until the Criches themselves began to appear. Then her interest was piqued. Here was something not quite so preconcluded.
Excerpted from Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence. Copyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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Table of ContentsGeneral editor's preface; Acknowledgements; Chronology; Cue-titles; Introduction; Women in Love; Appendix I; Appendix II; Appendix III; Explanatory notes; Textual apparatus; A note on pounds, shillings and pence.
What People are Saying About This
"His masterpiece.... An astonishing work that moves on several levels.... Lawrence compels us to admit that we live less finely than we should, whatever we are." -The New York Review of Books
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is hard to give a definite thumbs-up or thumbs-down to this this story. On the one hand, it is very disjointed. It is filled with many long inner monologues that have no relationship with each other. The ending is bizarre and unsatisfying. On the other hand, the writing is brilliant and beautiful. When there is diaglogue and interaction between the characters, the story comes back to life. The study of human nature, and the differences in what all people (not just men vs. women) want in love is very insightful. It is certainly not a book for everyone.
Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence is a sequel, but knowledge of The Rainbow is not necessary to appreciate the second novel. The title is somewhat misleading, as it is really about women and men, men and women, and men and men¿and it's not always clear with what they are in love. It is the tale of two teachers, sisters Gudrun and Ursula Brangwen, the son of the local mine owner, Gerald Crich, and school inspector Rupert Birkin. Their complex relationships start to take shape the day of Gerald's sister's wedding, as Gudrun and Gerald and Ursula and Rupert are drawn together, often despite themselves. The Gudrun/Gerald relationship becomes a series of conflicts that are won only temporarily and that lead to more conflicts and then temporary reprieves of tenderness and sex. His emotional conflicts with Gudrun are mirrored in Gerald's dealings with animals; he brutally forces his mare to stay at a railroad crossing despite her terror until blood is drawn and until the cars have passed. Later, when his sister's rabbit resists being picked up so he can be sketched, Gerald punches him in the head so he will submit instantly. His blind will must triumph in all. The only time that he and Gudrun seem to find an equilibrium is when they balance each other by accepting but not gravitating toward each other. It becomes a tenuous relatonship at best and a dangerous one at worst. Gerald is incapable of love, as is his brooding mother. Meanwhile, Ursula finds herself in a different kind of battle, with Rupert and his self-contemptous philosophies about relationships, death, and the will. His vision of love, if he even believes it exists, is of two planets circling one another in perfect equilibrium. He did not find that with his former lover Hermione, who does not satisfy his physical desires and who does not calibrate with his spiritual needs. At the end of the novel, he reinforces what he has said all along¿his love will always have a missing component and be incomplete without it. As a side note, Rupert seems to be Lawrence's own mouthpiece, reflecting many of his own views. As with Lady Chatterley's lover, the setting for Women in Love becomes a character¿the grimy village, the sordid town, the sullen miners and their wives provide a backdrop of inevitable modernization and dehumanization that counterbalances the individual stories. As mining is mechanized to death, so is the human soul. The will either accepts the inevitable crush of the modern world or fights it to the death. The weakest part of Women in Love may be when the setting changes, that is, when the couples decide to leave all that England has become and to take their relationships and their futures to the Alps, where they find art truly does imitate life with its mechanism. The novel seems to lose a little of its footing at this point, giving in to its tendency to become an intellectual exercise in the arts rather than a human story in a regimented world. Women in Love starts out slowly, as a lengthy series of vignettes and conversations that seem unlikely or unrealistic, but develops a crescendo as the battles begin. In the end, despite dramatic events and drastic changes, the conundrums remain, and even Ursula's persistence and will cannot eliminate them now, let alone forever. Women in Love is about destruction and regeneration in an endless cycle and the human under the surface that we are not entirely aware of and cannot express.
By far what I found most interesting about this novel was the relationship between Gerald and Birkin. These two men are involved in an emotional dependency...that sometimes verges on erotic...but they are unsure of what do do with their feelings, in light of social propriety and the current age in which they live. The last two pages of the novel, to me, make the book worth reading. It totally sums up the entire book in a seemingly simple conversation between Birkin and his wife Ursula. Why shouldn't he be allowed a different kind of love? Why isn't this the way? Why is it considered unnatural? Makes you think.
one of lawrence's best. i read it before lady chatterley's lover and kind of liked it better.
The first Lawrence novel I read--the characters aren't that fantastic, but his writing style is really gripping and impressive, so I enjoyed it! I felt sophisticated when I recognized his allusions to the pyschological or theoretical realms.
Women in Love is the story of the Brangwen sisters who are very different in their approaches to life and relationships. The novel centers on Ursula's relationship with Birkin and Gudrun's relationship with Gerald Crich, son of the owner of the town's coal mine.This is my first foray into Lawrence's work, and it will not be my last! In spite of the angst and over-analytical tendencies, it is the most lush, sumptuous writing I've ever had the pleasure to read. I loved it!
While this book had no plot, It basically described and question many types of love. I found the language beautiful but hard to understand at times. Basically its about tow sister Ursula and Gudrun. Ursula falls for Birkin and he asks her to marry him. Meanwhile Gerald and Birkin have an intimate affair with each other. This book was probably banned because of the homosexuality in the novel. Lawrence can be bold and sometimes offensively sexual for his era.I really did not like this book because it jumped around a lot. I was told that I would have probably would have like it if I had The Rainbow first. The best part of this novel would have to be the end because it was shocking I had to reread the last chapter to get over my shock.
The best book I probably will ever read. I think I fell in love with Lawrence and his ideas. Am I sick?
Just about anything by Lawrence is worth reading, and that's true of "Women in Love," too. But if you're just starting up with Lawrence, then start with "Sons and Lovers."
I don't remember what this book is about except somebody wanders off into the mountains to die. Maybe I read it at an inexperienced age. But it was very disappointing because Lawrence's SONS AND LOVERS had been such an intimate and poignant experience. There some books I go back to and re-read to get a new take on because years have passed since I read them, but this isn't one of them.
In this D.H. Lawrence tale, he bravely focuses on the love men feel for both women and men. Two sisters, Gudrun and Ursula are school teachers who are dating Gerald and Birkin, respectively. The relationships take tumultuous turns because the men have not fully admitted their feelings for each other. It ends with one marriage, one death and a newly wedded wife feeling shock when she sees her husband’s grief for the other man. Women in Love is believed to be based on some the Lawrence’s personal experiences with a miner, according to his wife. It was risqué to approach such topics and certainly in 1920; but he does it in a tasteful manner.
I am not a fan of his at the best of times and the three is for classic literature that was once coniidered daring and rated x and banned in boston m.a.@sparta