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Sons and Lovers (1913)

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Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. The Modern Library placed it ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. While the novel initially incited a lukewarm critical reception, along with allegations of obscenity, it is today regarded as a masterpiece by many critics and is often regarded as Lawrence's finest achievement. Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. The Modern Library placed it ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. While the novel initially incited a lukewarm critical reception, along with allegations of obscenity, it is today regarded as a masterpiece by many critics and is often regarded as Lawrence's finest achievement. The third published novel of D. H. Lawrence, taken by many to be his earliest masterpiece, tells the story of Paul Morel, a young man and budding artist.The refined daughter of a "good old burgher family," Gertrude Coppard meets a rough-hewn miner, Walter Morel, at a Christmas dance and falls into a whirlwind romance characterised by physical passion. But soon after her marriage to Walter, she realises the difficulties of living off his meagre salary in a rented house. The couple fight and drift apart and Walter retreats to the pub after work each day. Gradually, Mrs. Morel's affections shift to her sons beginning with the oldest, William. As a boy, William is so attached to his mother that he doesn't enjoy the fair without her. As he grows older, he defends her against his father's occasional violence. Eventually, he leaves their Nottinghamshire home for a job in London, where he begins to rise up into the middle class. He is engaged, but he detests the girl's superficiality. He dies and Mrs. Morel is heartbroken, but when Paul catches pneumonia she rediscovers her love for her second son. The original 1913 edition was heavily edited by Edward Garnett who removed 80 passages, roughly a tenth of the text.[citation needed] The novel is dedicated to Garnett. Garnett, as the literary advisor to the publishing firm Duckworth, was an important figure in leading Lawrence further into the London literary world during the years 1911 and 1912.[citation needed] It was not until the 1992 Cambridge University Press edition was released that the missing text was restored. Lawrence began working on the novel in the period of his mother's illness, and often expresses this sense of his mother's wasted life through his female protagonist Gertrude Morel. Letters written around the time of its development clearly demonstrate the admiration he felt for his mother - viewing her as a 'clever, ironical, delicately moulded woman' - and her apparently unfortunate marriage to his coal-miner father, a man of 'sanguine temperament' and instability. He believed that his mother had married below her class status. Lydia Lawrence wasn't born into the middle-class.[clarification needed] This personal family conflict experienced by Lawrence provided him with the impetus for the first half of his novel - in which both William, the older brother, and Paul Morel become increasingly contemptuous of their father - and the subsequent exploration of Paul Morel's antagonising relationships with both his lovers, which are both incessantly affected by his allegiance to his mother. The first draft of Lawrence's novel is now lost and was never completed, which seems to be directly due to his mother's illness.


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Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. The Modern Library placed it ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. While the novel initially incited a lukewarm critical reception, along with allegations of obscenity, it is today regarded as a masterpiece by many critics and is often regarded as Lawrence's finest achievement. Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. The Modern Library placed it ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. While the novel initially incited a lukewarm critical reception, along with allegations of obscenity, it is today regarded as a masterpiece by many critics and is often regarded as Lawrence's finest achievement. The third published novel of D. H. Lawrence, taken by many to be his earliest masterpiece, tells the story of Paul Morel, a young man and budding artist.The refined daughter of a "good old burgher family," Gertrude Coppard meets a rough-hewn miner, Walter Morel, at a Christmas dance and falls into a whirlwind romance characterised by physical passion. But soon after her marriage to Walter, she realises the difficulties of living off his meagre salary in a rented house. The couple fight and drift apart and Walter retreats to the pub after work each day. Gradually, Mrs. Morel's affections shift to her sons beginning with the oldest, William. As a boy, William is so attached to his mother that he doesn't enjoy the fair without her. As he grows older, he defends her against his father's occasional violence. Eventually, he leaves their Nottinghamshire home for a job in London, where he begins to rise up into the middle class. He is engaged, but he detests the girl's superficiality. He dies and Mrs. Morel is heartbroken, but when Paul catches pneumonia she rediscovers her love for her second son. The original 1913 edition was heavily edited by Edward Garnett who removed 80 passages, roughly a tenth of the text.[citation needed] The novel is dedicated to Garnett. Garnett, as the literary advisor to the publishing firm Duckworth, was an important figure in leading Lawrence further into the London literary world during the years 1911 and 1912.[citation needed] It was not until the 1992 Cambridge University Press edition was released that the missing text was restored. Lawrence began working on the novel in the period of his mother's illness, and often expresses this sense of his mother's wasted life through his female protagonist Gertrude Morel. Letters written around the time of its development clearly demonstrate the admiration he felt for his mother - viewing her as a 'clever, ironical, delicately moulded woman' - and her apparently unfortunate marriage to his coal-miner father, a man of 'sanguine temperament' and instability. He believed that his mother had married below her class status. Lydia Lawrence wasn't born into the middle-class.[clarification needed] This personal family conflict experienced by Lawrence provided him with the impetus for the first half of his novel - in which both William, the older brother, and Paul Morel become increasingly contemptuous of their father - and the subsequent exploration of Paul Morel's antagonising relationships with both his lovers, which are both incessantly affected by his allegiance to his mother. The first draft of Lawrence's novel is now lost and was never completed, which seems to be directly due to his mother's illness.

30 review for Sons and Lovers (1913)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 0.125* of five BkC51) SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence: The worst, most horrendously offensively overrated piece of crap I've read in my life. Yeup. Since I'm in a real bitch-slappin' mood, here goes. The Book Report: Sensitive, aesthetic nebbish gets born to rough miner and his neurasthenic dishcloth of a wife. She falls in love with her progeny and tries to Save Him From Being Like His Father, which clearly is a fate worse than death. So, lady, if you didn't like the guy, why didn't you j Rating: 0.125* of five BkC51) SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence: The worst, most horrendously offensively overrated piece of crap I've read in my life. Yeup. Since I'm in a real bitch-slappin' mood, here goes. The Book Report: Sensitive, aesthetic nebbish gets born to rough miner and his neurasthenic dishcloth of a wife. She falls in love with her progeny and tries to Save Him From Being Like His Father, which clearly is a fate worse than death. So, lady, if you didn't like the guy, why didn't you just become a prostitute like all the other women too dumb to teach did in the 19th century? Things drone tediously on, some vaguely coherent sentences pass before one's eyes, the end and not a moment too soon. My Review: Listen. DH Lawrence couldn't write his way out of a wet paper bag. The reason his stuff is known at all today is the scene in Lady Chatterly's Lover where the gamekeeper bangs her from behind. Oh, and those two dudes wrestling naked in front of the fireplace in Women in Love. Believe me when I tell you, those are *the* highlights of the man's ouevre. The hero of this book, Paul MOREL, is named after a bloody MUSHROOM! He's as soft and ishy and vaguely dirty-smelling as a mushroom, too. Lawrence was one of those lads I'd've beaten the snot out of in grade school, just because he was gross. Weedy and moist are the two words that leap forcefully to mind when I contemplate his sorry visage, which exercise in masochistic knowledge-seeking I do not urge upon you. If you, for some reason, liked this tedious, crapulous drivel, then goody good good, but if we're friends, I urge you not to communicate your admiration to me. It will not do good things for our relationship. I more easily forgive Hemingwayism than affection for this. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    I started the year transfixed by the visceral floral and fiery passion of Lawrence's The Rainbow (my review HERE). Its rich earth ripened buds of promise into irresistible blooms of vibrant delicacy. But reading this at the end of the year, I felt more like I'd been dragged through barren mud. Perhaps that’s fitting for the story of a miner’s family. There is lyrical imagery and “caressive” talk (see quotes, below), but far too much plodding Janet-and-John prose, and characters who infuriated me I started the year transfixed by the visceral floral and fiery passion of Lawrence's The Rainbow (my review HERE). Its rich earth ripened buds of promise into irresistible blooms of vibrant delicacy. But reading this at the end of the year, I felt more like I'd been dragged through barren mud. Perhaps that’s fitting for the story of a miner’s family. There is lyrical imagery and “caressive” talk (see quotes, below), but far too much plodding Janet-and-John prose, and characters who infuriated me. My 3* rating is generous. On the Psychiatrist’s Couch The plot is straightforward (and heavily autobiographical): Gertrude marries beneath herself, to Walter Morel, a miner. It quickly becomes an unhappy marriage (he drinks and loses money), but several children are born, and she strives to raise them up, rather than merely raise them. Once they are grown, and the eldest son, William, is out of the picture, the story is mainly about Paul and specifically how he is torn between love for his mother and for two women (mind versus body?): religious, poetry-loving Miriam Leivers, and suffragist Clara Dawes, who is estranged from her husband, Baxter. (Mrs Morel likes one and dislikes the other.) I have no expertise in psychiatry, but almost everyone in this story needs help, Paul most of all. It became increasingly frustrating to read. Confusion of love and hate; love for a parent or child versus love for a partner; love versus duty; and the difference between platonic friendship, chaste intimacy, and sensual, sexual love. All are exacerbated by endless indecision and, in many cases, by obliviousness to the feelings of others. Conversely, but perhaps more plausibly, “confirmed enemies”, Paul and Baxter, had a “peculiar feeling of intimacy” and were oddly drawn to each other. My friend Apatt pointed out in his review that there is more to Walter Morel than just being drunk and abusing his wife and kids, yet I initially forgot to mention that in mine. Walter's portrayal is nicely nuanced, though not in initial drafts (DHL changed it to be fairer to his father). The finished version is more credible, and makes the story more balanced. But he's as easily left out of a reader's mind as his children's. An agonising death, drawn out in painful detail, over many months, is all the more acute and momentous because of the conflicted and unbalanced relationships of those affected. The Oedipal overtones become uncomfortably strong and frequent. Paul is a shy and delicate child, and mother and son are very close, sharing almost everything about their lives. As he hones his art, “all his work was hers”. That’s fine. But. When she takes him to his first job interview in the city, they were “feeling the excitement of lovers having an adventure together.” He forswears all women to be with his mother (sort of), and on another jaunt, he buys and pins flowers on her clothes because “I want people to think we’re awful swells” and justifies his extravagance because “I’m a fellow taking his girl for an outing.” There many occasions where the way he touches his mother’s hair and face, and kisses her goodnight are unsettling, too. More generally, I came to wonder if "hate" meant something different and weaker to Lawrence. Every couple relationship here - without exception - has love or mere attraction permanently tainted with hate. Not hate after the love has gone, but allegedly co-existing with it. Even when the hate is temporarily subdued, attraction is strongest when rebuffed. I know that people get angry, and love can be messy and conflicted, but constant hate is not a feature of love I have known, or want to know. “For one day he had loved her utterly. But it never came again.” That’s not love either - though there are flowers that live, bloom and die in a single day (but not native to Nottinghamshire).. Flowers and Fruit “Trying to sooth herself with the scent of flowers and the fading, beautiful evening… The sky overhead throbbed and pulsed with light… The earth and the hedges smoked dusk.” Flowers are a regular feature, but not so laden with sexual allegory as in The Rainbow. Troubled people turn to flowers, gardens, and woods for solace in the vast, mysterious beauty of nature: tender touch, “fervid kisses”, and subtle smells. This was first published in 1913, but I did wonder if Lawrence was referencing the symbolism of Victorian Flower Language, especially in a passage with repeated and specific mention of chrysanthemums: seen out of a window, in a bowl on the table, then walking among them, choosing favourites. They were associated with platonic friendship and lost love. They also bloom in autumn or early winter (thanks, Alfred): late bloomers, like Paul and, to a lesser extent, Miriam. No such glossary is needed when a person with forget-me-not blue eyes, who is nearing death, watches “the tangled sunflowers dying” each day. And yet when Paul teaches Miriam algebra and she gives him an apple, there’s little of Eve, until later, when questioning her feelings for him, she fears “there was a serpent in her Eden” because of the disgrace and shame of wanting him. However, on another occasion, there is a great crop of cherries at a potentially pertinent time. Clara thinks differently about many things. She questions the ethics of picking wild flowers, even when plentiful: “I don’t want corpses of flowers about me… watching them die.” Miriam counters, “I think if you treat them with reverence you don’t do them any harm. It is the spirit you pluck them in that matters.” Therein lies the difference between the friends - except that on other occasions, when Miriam is not present, Clara lets Paul pin scarlet carnations and unspecified berries to her clothes. Nature and Landscape Quotes Hidden for brevity; no plot spoilers. (view spoiler)[ • She and her child “melted... in the mixing-pot of moonlight... The night was very large, and very strange, stretching its hoary distances infinitely.” • Chrysanthemums in a cemetery “frilled themselves in the warmth”. • Trees “in whose branches a twilight was tangled, below the bright sky of afternoon”. • Paul paints trees and leaves: "Not the stiffness of the shape. That seems dead to me. Only this shimmeriness is the real living. The shape is a dead crust. The shimmer is inside really." • The surface of a reservoir, “tossing its sunshine like petals lightly in its lap.” • “The river slid by in a body, utterly silent and swift, intertwining among itself like some subtle, complex creature.” • “The stars shuddered and broke upon the water.” • “The hillside was all rife with sunshine. It was wild and tussocky, given over to rabbits.” • “The hills… were blazed over with red sunset. Mrs Morel watched the sun sink from the glistening sky, leaving a soft flower-blue overhead, while the western space went red, as if all the fire had swum down there… It was one of those still moments when the small frets vanish, and the beauty of things stands out.” • At sunset “watching the gold clouds fall to pieces, and go in immense, rose-coloured ruin towards the darkness. Gold flamed to scarlet, like pain in its intense brightness. Then the scarlet sank to rose, and rose to crimson, and quickly the passion went out of the sky.” • “Watching the gold clouds fall to pieces, and go in immense, rose-coloured ruin towards the darkness. Gold flamed to scarlet, like pain in its intense brightness… and quickly the passion went out of the sky.” • “The long waste of foreshore lay moaning under the dawn and the sea… Over the gloomy sea the sky grew red. Quickly the fire spread among the clouds and scattered them… In a golden glitter the sun came up, dribbling fierily over the waves in little splashes, as if someone had gone along and the light had spilled from her pail as she walked.” • The dichotomous tension between natural wonders and industrial power: • “From the train… he used to watch the lights of the town, sprinkled thick on the hills, fusing together in a blaze in the valleys… There was a patch of lights at Bulwell like myriad petals shaken to the ground from the shed stars; and beyond was the red glare of the furnaces, playing like hot breath on the clouds.” (hide spoiler)] Relationship Quotes Hidden for brevity; no plot spoilers. (view spoiler)[ • “She was more tolerant because she loved him less… Not feeling him so much part of herself, but merely part of her circumstances.” • “She always wanted to embrace him, so long as he did not want her.” • "She knew it [wild rose] was wonderful. And yet, till he had seen it, she felt it had not come into her soul. Only he could make it her own, immortal." • “His nature was purely sensuous, and she strove to make him moral and religious.” • “In seeking to make him nobler than he could be, she destroyed him.” • “She folded herself to him… Now she radiated with joy and pride again. It was her restoration and recognition.” • “Having known the immensity of passion… They felt small, half afraid, childish, and wondering, like Adam and Even when they lost their innocence and realized the magnificence of the power which drove them out of Paradise… It was for each of them an initiation and a satisfaction. To know their own nothingness, to know the tremendous living flood which carried them.” • “He had known the baptism of fire in passion, and it left him at rest… It was something that happened because of her, but it was not her. They were scarcely any nearer each other.” (hide spoiler)] Other Quotes Hidden for brevity; no plot spoilers. (view spoiler)[ • “The dusky, golden softness of this man’s sensuous flame of life, that flowed off his flesh like the flame from a candle… seemed to her something wonderful, beyond her.” • “Sleep is still most perfect… when it is shared with a beloved. The warmth, the security and peace of soul, the utter comfort from the touch of the other, knits the sleep, so that it takes the body and soul completely in its healing.” • “Her bright eyes alight like water that shakes with a stream of gold in the dark.” • “Even your joy is like a flame coming off of sadness.” (Yes, “off of”.) (hide spoiler)] Alternative Title? Just as Women in Love could well be titled Men in Love (my review HERE), this could be Sons and Mothers. Or perhaps I should copyright Sins and Livers for a light fan-fic akin to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Image Sources Man on psychiatrist's couch: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2067786/ima... Chrysanthemum: http://freeflowerpictures.net/image/f...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The storyline is in the name, Sons and Lovers, but what you don't expect are the subtleties of the Oedipus complex or Freudian allegory. It was a surprisingly sensational read for me, especially since earlier this year, I gave myself a classics challenge: to read and re-read a few classics just for the sake of it; erase the disdain of forced-readings in high school, college and grad school; read just for how it makes me feel, not because everyone else is doing it. Sons and Lovers ends my pers The storyline is in the name, Sons and Lovers, but what you don't expect are the subtleties of the Oedipus complex or Freudian allegory. It was a surprisingly sensational read for me, especially since earlier this year, I gave myself a classics challenge: to read and re-read a few classics just for the sake of it; erase the disdain of forced-readings in high school, college and grad school; read just for how it makes me feel, not because everyone else is doing it. Sons and Lovers ends my personal challenge, the twentieth read and most likely the last classic I read in 2013. The best one I've read all year. Here we have the Morel family. There is the miner who falls in love with the sophisticated woman and lies to her about his financial situation. They move to the Nottingham coalfields, get married and have children: three boys, one girl. The marriage is dreadful, dad is a drunk and abuser. Now fast forward to William, the oldest son who moves to London to live the cultured life. There he falls in love with a shallow girl who treats his working-class family like servants. So starts the stories of the sons and their lovers: William, Paul, and Arthur--sons who all lead complicated love lives. Victoria Blake wrote this in her introduction: Though often these passages are annoyingly indistinct and, for all their spiritual beauty, difficult to get through, the reader remembers the sense of them years later. They stick to you, like pollen on a cheek, a sense of mystery, a sense of the wonderful and the unknown. It is this sense, frustratingly unnameble, that was Lawrence's genius and his legacy to letters. The book has less to do with lovers, more to do with love--or the lack thereof. Or the expression of love. Most of the book centers around Paul Morel, the lover, the fool, the man with a strange love for his mother, the artist. His antagonizing relationship with his best friend Miriam, the woman who loves him wholeheartedly, but whom he can't seem to love. His tumultuous relationship with the married Claire. His ambivalent relationship with his father. His struggle with self-love. And then there is the mother. "And I shall never meet the right woman while you live," Paul tells his mother. When Lawrence blurbed his book in 1912, this is how he described the sons and their relationship with their mother: But as her sons grow up, she selects them as lovers--first the eldest, then the second. These sons are urged into life by their reciprocal love of their mother...but when they come to manhood, they can't love, because their mother is the strongest power in their lives... Now, now, don't get all squeamish, for it is not that kind of read. There are subtleties though: a bedtime stroke of the eyebrows there, too long a hair rub here, mouth on throat...you know, those kinds of seemingly inappropriate gestures. Lawrence is elegant in his descriptions: part-show, part-tell. Though as Blake mentions, there are times certain parts of the narrative are so subtle they seem elusive. Yet there are no complexities here. Just simple, elegant proffering, even at this moment in the book, where things stood still for me as he foreshadowed death: two people who knew that one of them was dying: But he was white to the lips, and their eyes as they looked at each other understood. Her eyes were blue--such a wonderful forget-me-not blue! He felt as if only they had been of a different color he could have borne it better. His heart seemed to be ripping slowly in his breast. He kneeled there, holding her hand, and neither said anything. Paul's relationship with Miriam was the page-turner for me. She wanted a partner, he felt stifled: "You love me so much, you want to put me in your pocket. And I should die there smothered." Oh the unrequited love, always making for a good story. Not surprisingly, the fictional relationship was said to be based off a true one with Lawrence and his long-time friend, Jessie Chambers, who even acted as an agent for him at one point, sending off his work to be published when he had given up. She too loved him and was stunned when he sent her the manuscript to this book. She read the book and they never spoke again. He went on to have a long-term tumultuous relationship. How's that for fiction? Now I really can't wait to read her biography: D. H. Lawrence: A Personal Record. The storytelling is swift yet very intimate, partly because of the omniscient narrator that Lawrence pulls off so seamlessly, at just the right moments, you know what everyone is thinking. Perhaps one of my favorite parts about the book is the riffing on language, the dialect in dialogue to produce sensational conversations where each character really stands out, because as Virginia Woolf said about him, D.H. Lawrence was "original." There were the words and phrases of a certain time and place that really intrigued me: "a mardy baby" instead of a spoiled baby; "you pair of gabeys" instead of you pair of fools; "what a bobby-dazzler!" Now I can truly understand the fuss about the Lawrencian language, that language of elusion, symbolism and mysticism. The inconspicuous rearranging of words and sentence structuring here and there. Me like.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    Generally considered Lawrence's masterpiece, it is ranked 9th on the Modern Library 100 best books of the 20th century. The story of Paul Morel and his brothers and the influence of the women in their lives, especially of their mother. I think the age old theme of men trying to find a wife or lover in the metaphorical image of their mother is present in all of Lawrence's novels, but more so in Son and Lover's than any other. It is beautifully written and the characters are well developed and ver Generally considered Lawrence's masterpiece, it is ranked 9th on the Modern Library 100 best books of the 20th century. The story of Paul Morel and his brothers and the influence of the women in their lives, especially of their mother. I think the age old theme of men trying to find a wife or lover in the metaphorical image of their mother is present in all of Lawrence's novels, but more so in Son and Lover's than any other. It is beautifully written and the characters are well developed and very memorable. Overall, it's my favorite Lawrence novel. 4.5 stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Sons and Lovers or Lovers and Sons in some editions, is the fictionalized autobiography of the origins and youth of D.H.Lawrence. The main character, like the great writer, was born in the world of the mining country of Nottinghamshire, a sensual father, drinker, choleric, vulgar nature and a mother from a higher background, to the puritanical and bourgeois values constantly wounded by the unseemly attitude, the reckless acts and low appetites of her husband. This volume is an interesting documen Sons and Lovers or Lovers and Sons in some editions, is the fictionalized autobiography of the origins and youth of D.H.Lawrence. The main character, like the great writer, was born in the world of the mining country of Nottinghamshire, a sensual father, drinker, choleric, vulgar nature and a mother from a higher background, to the puritanical and bourgeois values constantly wounded by the unseemly attitude, the reckless acts and low appetites of her husband. This volume is an interesting document on the daily lives of miners and their families: hard work, modest joys, pubs spent on the meager pay on Friday. It bears witness to the development, precursor to the creation of the Labor Party, of workers 'organizations, such as workers' cooperatives, solidarity funds, women's guilds or temperance societies, while feminist consciousness and aspirations are born in the developed layers of the population. It is also a pretext for the suggestive description of Nottingham, its monuments, its nature, the localities surrounding it. But the main interest of this story is that of being, without any doubt, the most personal work of Lawrence, where the emotion of the thing lived is everywhere exposed. The oedipus of the latter is very well made, as well as the atmosphere of growing hatred of children for this father to the unworthy conduct, nonetheless exempt from a few rare moments of peace and relative happiness. David Herbert Lawrence aka Paul Morel appears as a gentle child, thoughtful, temperament artist, conscientious painter with delicate health, subject to bronchitis, these disorders that will prematurely take the writer of tuberculosis. We follow his launch in life as a clerk in an orthopedic appliance factory in Nottingham, the untimely death of the eldest son of the family, the first long-platonic love affair with the mystical, religious and reserved Myriam, then with the Clara, a meeting marked by the seal of ephemeral passion and the Dionysian impulse so dear to the artist. It is especially in the narration of the fusional attachment with her mother that the work culminates. This love makes a balance of power, confrontation, possessiveness of the mother, jealousy too; finally, the heart-rending agony of the latter and the deep distress that seizes the son at the loss of the irreplaceable, provoke in the reader an unusual emotional tension. A troubling novel, moving and poignant.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    How do you leave a mother who associates her life’s meaning and fulfillment to you and your achievements, without breaking her heart? How do you surrender all your passion to a lover while leaving some for the woman who gave birth to you, reared you, and loved you? Should a man give greater love to his mother or his lover? How do you achieve balance between the women in your life? D.H. Lawrence’s semi-autobiographical novel Sons and Lovers displays the pendulum of a young man’s love swinging to- How do you leave a mother who associates her life’s meaning and fulfillment to you and your achievements, without breaking her heart? How do you surrender all your passion to a lover while leaving some for the woman who gave birth to you, reared you, and loved you? Should a man give greater love to his mother or his lover? How do you achieve balance between the women in your life? D.H. Lawrence’s semi-autobiographical novel Sons and Lovers displays the pendulum of a young man’s love swinging to-and-fro from his deep bond with his mother to his passionate relationships with his lovers. It is a fragile pendulum that slowly cracks and inevitably breaks. “And in the same way she waited for him. In him was established her life now. After all, the life beyond offered very little to Mrs. Morel. She saw that our chance for doing is here, and doing counted with her. Paul was going to prove that she had been right; he was going to make a man whom nothing should shift off his feet; he was going to alter the face of the earth in some way which mattered. Wherever he went she felt her soul went with him. Whatever he did she felt her soul stood by him, ready, as it were, to hand him his tools. She could not bear it when he was with Miriam. She would fight to keep Paul.” It is often said that young men unconsciously look for the qualities of their mother in a spouse. I do not know whether or not this is true, but if it is, this primal instinct is the definitive sign of the maternal clutch that holds us so, that a man never truly leaves his mother, that a wife is, in a way, only her substitute. Much in the same light that a woman would look for qualities of her father in a partner, this shows the strong influence of the family unit in our romantic compass. At the same time, it can also be seen as a deeply embedded desire for harmony between the abandoned family and the newly established one. But these are all just conjectures. It is often the case that a man would leave his mother for his wife, and forget about her altogether. Mothers are often relegated into a secondary role, often only visited during holidays, usually abandoned at elder’s homes. But then isn’t that the way it is? But should that be how they are treated when their love for you is much more than a lover can ever give you? How do you satisfy both women’s need for your love? And if you do satisfy them, what then is left for you? The novel starts with a wife and a husband. Gertrude Morel, the wife, the mother, I believe, is one of the greatest female figures in literature. Her fortitude despite a slovenly, drunken husband and her defiance towards him is an impressive feat in itself. Her unfailing love and devotion to her children makes her a champion greater than any female-lover character. Granted, there may be flaws in her character, yet her wisdom, her strength and her abiding maternal love makes these flaws insignificant. The story starts off with the difficulties and relationships of the family, then morphs into focus the second son, Paul, and his relationship with his mother and, later on, his lovers. It scrutinizes how he traverses the tightrope between his love for the woman who brought her into this world, and the women who make his world go round. A significant highlight of the novel, aside from the mother-son relationship, is the conflict in Paul’s heart between Miriam and Clara. These two women give face to the different sides of loving. Miriam, a friend since childhood, embodies the deep love that pierces the soul and being. They understand each other perfectly, soulmates, as they call it. She loves Paul to the very core, yet no passion arises in her. She considers love-making as something she must endure because she loves him, herself a sacrifice. Clara, on the other hand, is the very flame of passion. A beautiful older woman, her affair with Paul is one of desire and physicality. Her love is that of a wild carnal storm that reduces both into total abandonment. Yet they are two very different beings only united by an animal need, and nothing deep takes hold. They give Paul two different things, but none of them ever truly takes his heart. “But no, mother. I even love Clara, and I did Miriam; but to give myself to them in marriage I couldn’t. I couldn’t belong to them. They seem to want me, and I can’t ever give it them. ‘You haven’t met the right woman’ And I never shall meet the right woman while you live, he said.” Ever since he was born Paul has always had this deep awareness of his mortality, a melancholy attitude that was drawn to the surreptitious darkness around. He was always keenly aware of their poor standing in life. His empathy for his mother’s suffering when he was young might have been the driving force of his intense love for her. And as a young man he developed an existential crisis that made him unable to really love another woman. It was as if his deep love for his mother exhausted all his reserve, and made him empty. His life was grounded on his mother, as she had grounded her life on him. So when the inevitable happened, he was shattered. “Now she was gone, and forever behind him was the gap in life, the tear in the veil, through which his life seemed to drift slowly, as if he were drawn to death.” Therein lies the danger of such an intense proportion of love. He gave away all, pouring between his mother and his lovers that none was left for him. His melancholy character enabled him to empty himself, to abandon his preservation. He forgot that before one can be a son or a lover, one should be a man. Before one can be a daughter or a partner, one should be a woman. As such one should always remember that you must also hold enough love for yourself, to rationally love another. Otherwise the love consumes and is foolish. “he was in such a mess, because his own hold on life was so unsure, because nobody held him, feeling unsubstantial, shadowy, as if he didn’t count for much in this concrete world” “Not much more than a big white pebble on the beach, not much more than a clot of foam being blown and rolled over in the sand…” In Sons and Lovers, a young heartbroken D.H. Lawrence throws a pebble into the sea, not to see it hit the water, but only to feel the freedom of its release. He doesn’t aim to shed light in the darkness, but rather only to defy it. “His fists were shut, his mouth set fast. He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her.” This novel is the nostalgic lamentation of an empty young man abandoned by love, and numb to it, a young man who feels loss in every sense of the word, blindly going forward. Go forward.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    Being Smothered by Controlling Mother Domineering Mommy Coal Mining Son "You made me cry, you told me lies But I can't stand to say goodbye. Mama I'm comin' home. Ozzy Osbourne, Mama, I'm Coming Home, 1991. D.H. Lawrence, one of my personal favorites, seems to have told a tale no truer than his largely autobiographical Sons and Lovers. While all the primary characters have some major defect of character, I felt the most pity for the protagonist Paul Morel (a real mama's boy) and Miriam (his childho Being Smothered by Controlling Mother Domineering Mommy Coal Mining Son "You made me cry, you told me lies But I can't stand to say goodbye. Mama I'm comin' home. Ozzy Osbourne, Mama, I'm Coming Home, 1991. D.H. Lawrence, one of my personal favorites, seems to have told a tale no truer than his largely autobiographical Sons and Lovers. While all the primary characters have some major defect of character, I felt the most pity for the protagonist Paul Morel (a real mama's boy) and Miriam (his childhood semi-sweetheart). Mama Morel didn't as much dislike Miriam as she did the idea that she would lose control over Paul. “...you love me so much, you want to put me in your pocket. And there I will die smothered.” ― D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers To me, Sons and Lovers is the best literary illustration of the devastating impact a parent (here, a mother) can have on a child and his/her descendants, even from the grave. I deem it a tragedy when I see a self-centered parent, apparently because he/she is so frustrated with his/her own life, controlling and repeatedly interfering with, and thereby ravaging, the child's life (by, among other things, stealing loves, constraining career, and corrupting the conditions conducive to joy in life). 4.5 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen P

    There has been a robbery. A theft on a grand scale. Cleansed of the detritus of a self, a presence, an ability to act on desire, he waits to be alit upon…The fretwork strums a baroque dirge as an accompaniment to realizations of the smallness of any life upon the vastness of the universe and its grand seduction of infinite stars; the largeness of the interiority of ones passions and the labyrinth they must circumvent. Their interactions and the labyrinthine yearnings of others result in collisio There has been a robbery. A theft on a grand scale. Cleansed of the detritus of a self, a presence, an ability to act on desire, he waits to be alit upon…The fretwork strums a baroque dirge as an accompaniment to realizations of the smallness of any life upon the vastness of the universe and its grand seduction of infinite stars; the largeness of the interiority of ones passions and the labyrinth they must circumvent. Their interactions and the labyrinthine yearnings of others result in collisions sparking a cannibalism of blood spotted gore within their circumvented lives. Lawrence writes this in the style of his time; a third person narrator who does not hesitate to drift from points of views occasionally to the detriment of the narrative’s pace. He dilutes the meaning of characters gestures and movements by explanation and confirmation. There is a doubt within him the reader will get what is expressed. This leaves less room for the reader to enter into the story but more room for the reader to be filled up by the characters? The author? The duty of the author to fill the reader up? The year is 1913. Readership was less sophisticated then? Yet, I can but imagine how scandalous the contents of this story burned within its package of seeded tropes. Generations tumble through decades. Psychologically steeped in acute vision he understands the psychoanalytic Oedipal situation bordering on the incestuous. Sex whispers through the sentences. His autobiography finding its form of fiction. Paul finds himself strewn upon the rough edged rocks of a family living within a small English coal mining town. Gertrude, his sensitive mother married to a crude miner, has attached herself to her son’s, Paul, especially after her eldest has died. Quietly she mines an attachment to Paul that may also make up the lack of nourishment gained from her marriage. He a budding artist with little recognition from an often sodden father who is neither a role model or a mirrored reflection back for Paul to see who he is, who he might be as a man. He needs much from others as he grows but is frightened to ask or seek. Attracted to a woman he hesitates, falters, swings back and forth between betrayal of his mother and a withdrawal removed in layered shades from life around him, from any circumference of a globe he may safely enter. Left in a removed isolation alone but only occasionally lonely. This is a space leased to him fitted to his contours. I hear somewhere deep within my inner ear an echo of Lawrence’s voice asking in an English accent to stop here. He warns that if I go on to describe the others, their relationships, the sucking ooze of life, I will be betraying him by stereotyping his finely wrought complex characters so completely themselves. He is right. Words will dampen their vitality confining them to less than they are. In the end, this bold book crashing through time, illuminating its elastic taunts and tumbles, questions the minute and the vast, while spinning its compelling tale.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cyril

    I attempted to read this book twice years ago. I failed to finish each time, finding the novel laborious. Now, married and with children, I have read through this book eagerly. It is perhaps a half-lifetime of experience that has allowed me to see this story in a different light. The examination of Paul Morel's emotionally incestuous relationship with his mother and the way it cripples his love for other women is insightful. My Barnes and Nobles version of this book (I put this review under this I attempted to read this book twice years ago. I failed to finish each time, finding the novel laborious. Now, married and with children, I have read through this book eagerly. It is perhaps a half-lifetime of experience that has allowed me to see this story in a different light. The examination of Paul Morel's emotionally incestuous relationship with his mother and the way it cripples his love for other women is insightful. My Barnes and Nobles version of this book (I put this review under this version since it is the most popular) has a contemporaneous review (Lascelles Abercrombie, Manchester Guardian, July 2, 1913) that assesses this book much better than I can: "Indeed, you do not realize how astonishingly interesting the whole book is until you find yourself protesting that this thing or that bores you, and eagerly reading on in spite of your protestations...You think you are reading through an unimportant scene; and then find that it has burnt itself on your mind." This book has truly burnt itself on my mind, and I am glad that I came back to it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I read books for pleasure. I enjoy learning something new and thinking about human relationships. Real human relationships, not those of the fantastical sort. I want to have something to ponder. In addition I want writing that describes places, people and situations well. I learned nothing new from this book. The human relationships as described herein are not true to life. Maybe members of the Bloomsbury Group, of which D. H. Lawrence was one, did in fact communicated with each other with extre I read books for pleasure. I enjoy learning something new and thinking about human relationships. Real human relationships, not those of the fantastical sort. I want to have something to ponder. In addition I want writing that describes places, people and situations well. I learned nothing new from this book. The human relationships as described herein are not true to life. Maybe members of the Bloomsbury Group, of which D. H. Lawrence was one, did in fact communicated with each other with extremely nasty remarks, but the manner in which the characters in this book respond to each other is beyond acceptable. The dialogs are unimaginable, totally bizarre. If members of the group did speak this negatively, well it just means the book is terribly dated. Page after page of mean criticisms is not something I can enjoy. This book is extremely hard to read. There isn't a line of humor. Nothing at all to smile about. You move from dysfunctional family relationships to discordant couples to death and sorrow and indecision. You creep forward at the pace of a snail. Watching the death of a loved one is movingly described. I have not told you who will die. The descriptions of body, landscapes and some situations are well done. Emotions less so. Someone should count how many times the word hate is used in this book. Sure, a person's emotions can quickly flip between love and hate, but the excessive expression of extreme emotions is used so flippantly that the power of such emotions comes to mean nothing. They lose their value. If you are wondering – there is no graphic sex in this book. The central theme? Love relationships. Between couples and between parents and children. Is there a message? Yes, let your children go. Mothers, don't keep them too tightly tied to your apron strings. A secondary theme: the restraints of the Victorian age on women. These are the topics the book will leave you thinking about….if you can manage to keep reading. That was meant to be a joke. OK, I used to love Simon Vance as an audiobook narrator. I thought he could do anything, but that’s wrong. He cannot. In a dialog he switches between a female and a male voice. There are different men and there are different women. The characters of one gender do not all have the same personality. That is unfortunately what this performance relays. ******************************* After about half: This book is making me crabby. There is such tension between the characters! They are all so high-strung, mean, nasty. "Relax, be happy, have fun, enjoy life for a minute," I feel like lecturing. This is a book of warning showing how moms can baby their kids to death.... Yeah, I will continue but the book doesn't put me in a good mood. Yes, D.H. Lawrence describes scenery, the jut of a chin or how a shoulder is held well, but I need more than that. I am trying to ask myself if this mining family is typical, if what is happening to them psychologically is due to their deplorable living conditions. I don't think so. When they get a better house and jobs for the sons, does anything improve? Scarcely! For me it seems the problem is a question of attitude. Grrr. It is just a book. Don't get so upset, Chrissie.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    I had no idea what to expect of Sons and Lovers as I went in. I had no idea what the book is about, presumably multiple sons and more than one lovers are involved. With the public domain books just knowing that it is a classic is usually enough. I also had no expectation of D.H. Lawrence, I knew he is the author of Lady Chatterley's Lover, which I have a vague impression of being some kind of Edwardian porn (though it probably isn't). Diving in with no expectation is often fun and rewarding. The I had no idea what to expect of Sons and Lovers as I went in. I had no idea what the book is about, presumably multiple sons and more than one lovers are involved. With the public domain books just knowing that it is a classic is usually enough. I also had no expectation of D.H. Lawrence, I knew he is the author of Lady Chatterley's Lover, which I have a vague impression of being some kind of Edwardian porn (though it probably isn't). Diving in with no expectation is often fun and rewarding. The first impression I had while reading the first chapter is that Sons and Lovers is some kind of misery-fest of Thomas Hardy proportions. The novel is centered on a seemingly dysfunctional family, the Morels. The father, Walter Morel, is a good for nothing drunkard. The mother, Gertrude, is no pushover, she is always able to defend herself and her kids against her husband’s abuses. That is nice for her, but their frequent arguments and fights do not make for a very peaceful household. I read the early part of the book with morbid fascination, guessing it is going to be just a family drama. However, as I read on beyond the first couple of chapters I began to get the impression that these characters seem very real and believable. There is more to Walter Morel than just being drunk and abusing his wife and kids. Sometime he regrets his behavior, sometime he is nice to his children. Like most human beings he has more than just one facet to his personality; he is still a lousy husband and father though. Sons and Lovers spans about two decades, as the Morel children grow up, the second child, Paul Morel, becomes the central character. After the eldest son, William, leaves home in Nottingham to work in London Paul becomes the centre of his mother’s attention. This is where the novel reverberates hard with me. I have a similarly close relationship with my dear old mother and, like Paul, I fret when she is ill. There is a scene of Paul and his mom spending an afternoon together when nothing significant happens, this scene is a thing of beauty as the book suddenly sparkles with happiness. Warmed my cockles it did*. What surprises me most about this book is how fascinating the seemingly ordinary lives of these characters are; as my friend Cecily remarked, “It’s the quotidian that sucks you in”. Once you get to the point where the characters seem like real people and you feel invested in their lives and wellbeing you don't even need a plot to hold your interest. This is just as well because Paul Morel vacillates such a lot between two girls Miriam and Clara, with both of whom he has an awfully discordant relationship. At the end of the day though it’s his mother, Mrs. Gertrude Morel, that is the glue that holds the Morel family, and indeed the entire novel, together. (view spoiler)[ After her demise everything falls apart (hide spoiler)] . I finished Sons and Lovers almost with regret as I have to take leave of these characters I have been observing for the past couple of weeks. Forget FedEx, DHL really delivered! _____________________ Notes * Unfortunately the term “Oedipus complex” rears its ugly head in some analyses of the book that I read after finishing the book which spoil it for me a little. I read the audiobook of Sons and Lovers from Librivox.org. Wonderfully read by Tony Foster. Thank you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Khush

    'Sons and Lovers' is an excellent book on several fronts. It is a story of a young man who is a budding writer. One sees the poet in him. He is sensitive, forlorn and deeply contemplative. One could see in him all the mythic features we often assign to artists. We see him discussing books with his girlfriend, his delight at getting published and earning a little money. This aspect of his life, without his other difficulties, might be of supreme interest for those who harbor the same sort of ambi 'Sons and Lovers' is an excellent book on several fronts. It is a story of a young man who is a budding writer. One sees the poet in him. He is sensitive, forlorn and deeply contemplative. One could see in him all the mythic features we often assign to artists. We see him discussing books with his girlfriend, his delight at getting published and earning a little money. This aspect of his life, without his other difficulties, might be of supreme interest for those who harbor the same sort of ambition. This young man is Paul. He is extremely attached to his mother. She marries Walter Morel, who is socially her inferior, and later comes to regret her decision. Her oldest son dies young, and now she has nothing to hold onto in her life except Paul, her youngest son. She focuses all her attention on him. As Paul grows up, he begins to see girls. First, he meets Miriam who like Paul has a refined sensibility. They meet often and establish a good rapport. Although they share a great friendship, there is no passion in their relationship. To aggravate this relationship further comes in Paul's mother. She resents Miriam and thinks of her as 'deep', someone who can take her son away from her. She fears that Miriam seeks to possess her son's soul. Having lost so much in life, she makes sure that nobody comes between her and Paul. Paul meets another girl Clara. With her, there is no spiritual connection, his relationship with her pivots only on passion, and therefore it begins to crack as soon as it started. Paul mother feels less threatened by her, though. One can imagine how a sensitive boy like Paul might have suffered in the web of these powerful and intimate forces, each pulling him in a certain direction, each one suffering as a consequence. What is so impressive about the book is that it captures the tensions and inner turmoil that this young boy grapples with. Lawrence goes very deep in portraying Paul and making him so credible. All his inner thoughts in relation to his mother, his violent father, his two girlfriends, his budding writing career are drawn with extreme care, love, and formidable talent. In addition, the tension that exists between his mother and him is dealt with so powerfully that as a reader I was absolutely lost in the queer vortex of their world. Who can repeat what Lawrence has achieved in bringing to a page what is so often lived by millions, but so rarely understood and discussed. As I think more about Paul, I feel that there is something about him that we do not know. Lawrence probably leaves that for us to figure it out. One does not really understand his failure with two girls; one does not understand his immense, almost overwhelming, relationship with his mother. Most of the times, ordinary people get over whatever close attachments they have with their parents, sibling or friends, once they have a close, intimate, passionate encounter with the 'right other.' Even when one has obsessive or insecure people in one's life, one finds a way out. However, Paul fails to take that leap. Towards the end, his mother dies. He walks toward the lights, toward the city; Miriam and Clara, now, belong to another time and place. One can only guess what his walk toward the city meant. What is it that he could not find in spiritually inclined Miriam and sexually daring Clara? One keeps wondering....even though a perceptive reader knows him very early in the book, he can feel Paul's deep desires and understand his profound melancholy. Since he looks for satisfaction in wrong places (or rather forced to do so considering the times he lived in), consequently this brings pain, suffering and long spells of sadness in his life and in the lives of those who are attached to him.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    “I have been reading ‘Sons and Lovers’ and feel ready to die. If Lawrence had been killed after writing that book he’d still be England’s greatest novelist.” - Philip Larkin in a letter to a friend, aged nineteen. It’s late, and I haven’t written any reviews for this site up until now, but here goes nothing. Considering the relatively abysmal ratings that Lawrence’s novels seem to have here, I figured I should at least add my two cents and say a couple things about what I feel is one of the better “I have been reading ‘Sons and Lovers’ and feel ready to die. If Lawrence had been killed after writing that book he’d still be England’s greatest novelist.” - Philip Larkin in a letter to a friend, aged nineteen. It’s late, and I haven’t written any reviews for this site up until now, but here goes nothing. Considering the relatively abysmal ratings that Lawrence’s novels seem to have here, I figured I should at least add my two cents and say a couple things about what I feel is one of the better novels I’ve read. Published in 1913, Sons and Lovers was D.H. Lawrence’s third novel, and is today generally considered to be his first ‘major’ work. An autobiographical Bildungsroman, S&L documents a time in the author’s life that was filled, in the words of Lawrence himself, with much “writhing and shrieking.” This work is often regarded as the first great modern Oedipal drama, and indeed it is the story of a mother who, stuck with a brute for a husband, turns her sons into something like surrogate lovers. No, that doesn’t mean that there is any incest in this book (if you’re looking for smut, look elsewhere; Lawrence’s reputation as a pornographer is undeserved), but it does mean that these sons, in particular Paul (the Lawrence character), end up finding it immensely difficult to get out from under the shadow of their mother and connect with the women they establish relationships with outside of the family. It seems that most of the complaints about this work are along the lines of “it was too boring” or “I didn’t like any of the characters.” It is true that most of the conflict in the book is internal rather than external, but I’m unable to see how one could be anything but in awe of Lawrence’s command of the English language, as well as his understanding of the mechanics of human emotions. But if you need action, this book has its share: sickness, death, a killer fight scene, sex, temper tantrums…you name it. If the feelings or the relationships of the characters are not cut-and-dried, it is not a fault of the work. Lawrence succeeds in capturing the humanity of these characters, and for that reason I always felt sympathetic towards them. Granted, this is a painful book to read; no book has yet succeeded in making me cry, but this one may have come closest :_( . It is an excellent coming-of-age tale, and now sits alongside Joyce’s Portrait…as likely the most rewarding Bildungsroman I’ve yet read. Pity they couldn’t stand each other ha ha! P.S. I have the Oxford World’s Classics edition (which features a lovely painting by C.R.W. Nevinson on its cover), and in David Trotter’s introduction I discovered that the version I read was the Cambridge University Press version. This version, though far and away the most widely recognized, features extended cuts made by Lawrence’s friend and mentor Edward Garnett. The endnotes of my copy make reference to some of these cuts, including a lengthy one wherein Paul and Miriam meet at a library. Lawrence approved Garnett’s edits, but Trotter seemed to suggest that the original manuscript version is also in print. I've been unsuccessful in my search to find out more about this, but does anyone know if it is possible to obtain an unedited 'manuscript' copy? I know the Penguin edition is also the Cambridge version.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Love & Pain: self love & self-inflicted pain; familial love & the pain of resentment; romantic love & the pain of rejection; physical love & the pain of loss. I did not love this book during most of the reading, I actually found it to be quite a pain for much of the time. This is not to say that there is not some beautiful writing and superb character development, because there absolutely is. I think I was just frustrated with all the pain - the pain inflicted on themselves an Love & Pain: self love & self-inflicted pain; familial love & the pain of resentment; romantic love & the pain of rejection; physical love & the pain of loss. I did not love this book during most of the reading, I actually found it to be quite a pain for much of the time. This is not to say that there is not some beautiful writing and superb character development, because there absolutely is. I think I was just frustrated with all the pain - the pain inflicted on themselves and each other. The relationships are largely toxic, but there is love between the pages too, if there weren't it would not be nearly so painful, nor so believable. Let me go ahead and finish with the gripes straight off, shall I?: The Nottinghamshire dialect was difficult for me for some reason. The use of dialect often takes some reading before the reader can become accustomed to it, but once they settle into the rhythm and patterns it contributes immeasurably to the immersion. For some reason, I found this particularly stilted and unnatural, and never could quite settle into the Nottinghamshire dialect. It shouldn't have been so - blame the reader for this one. This dialect was in particular used by the father, Walter Morel, and many pages would go by at a time without him speaking at all and when he did it was generally short, so perhaps my not being able to get a handle on it stems from this, but this also means it is not overly detracting. Praise of sorts: The story as a whole is psychologically fascinating. The title provides one with the frame for the entire work, we follow the Morel nuclear family relationships from their essential beginnings to their conclusion. Our primary protagonist, Paul Morel, is not focused on until the second part of the book, but everything prior to that provides the basis for the relationships to follow, especially the critical building material/blocks for the paramount relationship, the one between Paul and his mother, Gertrude. The individual characters are sympathetic, but often cruel and manipulative to one another. A quick and vastly lacking synopsis: Gertrude marries, but her husband, Walter Morel, turns out to be neither the man she would have preferred nor perhaps the man she thought he was. Walter is coarse and common, and one could debate on how much of his less favorable qualities are innate in him, and how much is brought out by his family's disdain for and exclusion of him. There is plenty of material showing how actions are all really reactions, the results of set relational dynamics and insecurities or misunderstandings. Gertrude, in her dissatisfaction, turns to her sons for companionship and purpose, but I think we see that this reliance on them is in some ways just as dysfunctional as the relationship she has with her husband. Paul was a sensitive child and jealous of his older brother which in time makes him more heavily influenced by and dependent upon his mother. As we follow Paul into manhood, we find that his relationship with his mother influences his romantic relationships. Paul's struggles with the female characters and within himself form the bulk of the second part of the novel. Let's just go ahead and say there is an Oedipus thing going on here. Wrapping it up - with some praise of sorts: I found this incredibly intimate novel beautiful and ugly in equal measures. At one stage I grew so frustrated with the characters that I began hoping for a violent turn for them, I think if anything that just demonstrates how effectively Lawrence is able to emotionally draw the reader in. This is a nuanced book wholly concerning it's characters and their relationships, the story is small and intimate, but complicatedly layered.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kacie

    Warning: the book deals with sex. If you're sensitive to that, don't read the book or my review. I loved this book. It reminded me again of my love for classic English literature. I love the realism in it. "Sons and Lovers" is essentially about relationships. I thought it was going to focus on the relationships of the mother in the book because the first part deals with her marriage and the stages it goes through. It describes the disintegration of love and what it's like to be a woman and have Warning: the book deals with sex. If you're sensitive to that, don't read the book or my review. I loved this book. It reminded me again of my love for classic English literature. I love the realism in it. "Sons and Lovers" is essentially about relationships. I thought it was going to focus on the relationships of the mother in the book because the first part deals with her marriage and the stages it goes through. It describes the disintegration of love and what it's like to be a woman and have to rely on a man. Then it focuses on her relationship with her sons, and how she transfers that longing for love and hope for the future to her sons, to whom she is an amazing mother. In fact, TOO good of a mother, because the second half of the book is about one of the sons and how her overbearing love has affected him. Lawrence wrote the book to reflect his own relationships with his mother and then lovers, and you can see him trying to process that question we all ask, "Why do I do what I do?" Lawrence was affected by Freud, who he knew through his lover (in real life), and he recognizes that his mother loved him in a co-dependant way that is perhaps too much like a romantic relationship without ever being sexual. He awknowledges that this leaves him quite dysfunctional in the two relationships that Lawrence has, which are reflected by the two relationships that the son, Paul, goes through in the book. My predominant reaction going through the book was frustration the character's actions even when I loved them, which is a good thing, it's a sign of being sucked in to the story. The mother is held up as a bit of a long-suffering heroine matched to a loser drunk, but I was even frustrated with her. She's married to a simple man, but a man of joy and loyalty and fun... he's quite quaint. She scorns his simpleness, and I kept thinking... gosh, if she would love him for who he is instead of scorn him because of what he's not, perhaps he'd stay at home instead of heading to the pub for drinks. Then it was frustrating to feel how trapped the mother is in her life as a woman in that time. She is an incredibly strong woman, and independent. She runs her home and raises her children and holds them together when the father is virtually MIA and totally useless, and begins beating her at times. What option does she have, though? She CAN'T leave, because she can't work. As a woman, she has no place to go where she could actually support a family if she left her husband, even in the worst of the abuse and neglect. Paul, the son, is an incredibly introspective man who longs for beauty and love and connection, but struggles to love while he is so loyal to his mother, and she jealously holds him to her even as he's tentatively looking for a wife. It's so annoying, because you know the mother has placed so much hope in her son and therefore wants to hold him above a woman who might ruin him. In doing so, though, she IS ruining him, because he longs for a woman and yet can't give himself fully while his mother holds him back. When he turns to a woman who will love him physically, the mother accepts this because it doesn't involve his heart, only his body. This also is devastating, though, because the body only satisfies for so long and the soul cries out for a deeper connection, a deeper love. I won't go into any more detail, but Lawrence is very, very insightful about the nature of sex and romance within relationships, and how it affects lovers. It is an intense, descriptive, and insightful work. It could be used in a counseling class about relationships.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    Son - I want to review this book Mater. Mother – Do you really now? Son – Yes mother. Mother – I would not advise you to do so. Son – Why mother? Mother – Because it will ask too much from you (READ - What about me then? There won’t be anything left for me of you.) Son – You are being ridiculous mother. I wish to do it because I feel this is right. Mother – Then do as you deem appropriate. I shall say no more. Son - I will mother. You can’t hold me now. So I finally decided to review this book. A midst v Son - I want to review this book Mater. Mother – Do you really now? Son – Yes mother. Mother – I would not advise you to do so. Son – Why mother? Mother – Because it will ask too much from you (READ - What about me then? There won’t be anything left for me of you.) Son – You are being ridiculous mother. I wish to do it because I feel this is right. Mother – Then do as you deem appropriate. I shall say no more. Son - I will mother. You can’t hold me now. So I finally decided to review this book. A midst various voices in my head screaming against my attempt, I sit down to write with a confusion still hovering on my mind. What is it that author really tried to convey through this work? Is this really about the numerous emotions we go through while in different relationships? Is this really about Mother-son, son-lover or man-wife relationships? Or is this just an attempt to make a story more convincing? Either this or that I am too dumb to understand the intricacies involving the aforesaid. Ah but you see, I couldn’t make out the relevance of efforts taken on part of main characters to display such emotions. This book basically deals with the relationship shared by a mother and his son. The mother being too lonely clutches on to his second son (Paul) for everything. Her loneliness is attributed to the unhappy union which she shares with her man and also to the sudden demise of her elder son. She, owing to the hardships that she has faced, desires her son to succeed in life, like any mother would. But then each time a part involving the tussle between mother and his son (on the issue of his one lover or another) appears, I am instantly reminded of some scenes from the movie Monster-in-law (starring J Lo)! Of course it is improper on my part to compare the two where the latter is but a comedy, I am too tempted to compare the agony of a mother whose only beloved son (elder being dead and the third one rarely mentioned) is in a relationship! Ah, she is so scared to accept other woman in her son’s life! What is more interesting to note is that most of the characters do not show a determined attitude when it comes to following a decision regarding relationships. The son is too confused to decide whether he wants to marry or not. He isn’t a misogynist (he loves his mother!) but then he turns away from every other woman who comes in his life for the inability to maintain an accord on a more intimate basis. He is too scared to give himself to the woman whose presence stifles him, although he doesn’t mind going to them for love. His struggle continues even after his mother dies (due to the overdose of medicine given by the son and daughter who couldn’t take her illness any longer). I am not sure what to make out of this. Since I am no expert on the subject of euthanasia, I highly suspect whether it was acceptable during the mentioned period or not. I also wonder whether author should have used the characters of Paul and his sister to actually bring about mother’s death or in other words to free them of the burden of her care. While my suspicion only standing due to the subject undertaken by the author. Three stars for the book because it does hold attention. P.S. The starting part(dialogue between mother and son)of the review is inspired by writings of Paul Bryant:)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mahima

    Lawrence wrote in one of his letters: “Nobody can have the soul of me. My mother has had it, and nobody can have it again. Nobody can come into my very self again, and breathe me like an atmosphere.” ‘Sons and Lovers’ has many strands it is made up of, and this quote describes the most important one of them. Lawrence’s own unparalleled love for his mother translates in the novel as Paul Morel’s love for his mother, the portrayal of which gives rise to a Freudian subtext. While Lawrence thought tha Lawrence wrote in one of his letters: “Nobody can have the soul of me. My mother has had it, and nobody can have it again. Nobody can come into my very self again, and breathe me like an atmosphere.” ‘Sons and Lovers’ has many strands it is made up of, and this quote describes the most important one of them. Lawrence’s own unparalleled love for his mother translates in the novel as Paul Morel’s love for his mother, the portrayal of which gives rise to a Freudian subtext. While Lawrence thought that the critics had carved a half lie from an honest portrayal of his childhood, he did admit in many of his letters that he had loved his mother like a lover. In a letter he said, “This has been a kind of bond between me and my mother. We have loved each other, almost with a husband and wife love, as well as filial and maternal.” This love is clearly visible in the novel. It seems to me, however, that the Freudian element, while part of an overarching theme, is not all that important when seen together with the other themes of the novel. At least it doesn’t seem like an intended element. There might be a Freudian element to it, but the love seems like… just love. The love for his mother gives rise to the most subtle, and sublime tensions in Paul’s life, and also in the novel as a whole. On the one hand is the will to live vitally, a will, which, according to Lawrence, was mixed up with a philosophy of sex. This will is represented by Paul’s relationship with first Miriam, then Clara. On the other hand is the desire to obey, almost a natural impulse in Paul’s case, which is represented by his relationship with his mother. ‘Sons and Lovers’ is an account of a man unable to choose which impulse to follow. The situation is picked up from Lawrence’s life itself, and as Jessie Chambers, the girl on whom Miriam was based, describes, it was simply that while loving his mother with an almost romantic passion, he had nothing left to give to a lover. For Lawrence, sex was not something crude. “Sex and beauty are one thing, like flame and fire. If you hate sex, you hate beauty.” However, under the yoke of Victorian morels and their mothers’ hold over them, both the writer and the character cannot realize this definition of sex. Sex signified a physical as well as a spiritual union to Lawrence. However, how could he, or Paul, give himself, body and soul, to a lover when it wasn't he who held his own soul? Be that as it may, it seems to me that both Miriam and Clara just became objects that were intended to be defeated from the very beginning. It seems as if a distorted picture was being portrayed of them, one that would merely serve to make Paul and the mother look like the only victims. I believe Lawrence could perhaps have provided a better picture of the two. I say that because even of Mr. Morel, whom the reader decides to loathe from the very beginning, Lawrence, with remarkable objectivity, presents the other side. There’s no sentimentality, but it does give rise to sympathy, which I feel Lawrence could have evoked with Miriam and Clara’s characters as well. There’s even an honest albeit tender portrayal of the friction between the mother and the son despite their love for each other. Nonetheless, Lawrence’s writing is remarkable - his insight into character, his understanding of circumstance, and the scope and variety of life that he describes. His writing is also so very beautiful, and some passages, I think, are going to stay with me forever. What would also stay with me is the heart wrenching account of the mother’s death. At one point, it literally made me cry a bit. This was a sad, sad, sad book, and I cannot stress enough on the word sad, but I seem to have a thing for melancholic books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    3/4th part of this book, I read word by word and could understand each person in the story and why they are as they are. At each point, they created sympathy in my mind for them, specially Mrs. Morel. It took me 1 month to finally finish this one. And I should admit that this one month didn't go all amazing. I thought each and every time about finishing it. And yet, it was, I feel, daring of me to did so. It's kinda frustrating book, It sends you off into abyss of depression sometimes, and the do 3/4th part of this book, I read word by word and could understand each person in the story and why they are as they are. At each point, they created sympathy in my mind for them, specially Mrs. Morel. It took me 1 month to finally finish this one. And I should admit that this one month didn't go all amazing. I thought each and every time about finishing it. And yet, it was, I feel, daring of me to did so. It's kinda frustrating book, It sends you off into abyss of depression sometimes, and the doesn't give you any idea how to get back to your present-self again. so people like me can only read this, when they are totally willing to go with it's flow and not complaint. Maybe some time later in my life, if I'll read the book I'll be able to appreciate it more as for now, I don't want to be haunted anymore. :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    There has never been a book that made me want to inflict physical pain upon a character -- until Sons & Lovers that is... The really devious thing about this dreadful book is that the Sons half, the first half, isn't all that bad. Lawrence spends an immense amount of time on what one supposes to be the backstory for the Lovers section. One learns of Paul's youth and temperment, Paul's mother, Paul's parents relationship and his brothers' exploits. It is time consuming and not always entertain There has never been a book that made me want to inflict physical pain upon a character -- until Sons & Lovers that is... The really devious thing about this dreadful book is that the Sons half, the first half, isn't all that bad. Lawrence spends an immense amount of time on what one supposes to be the backstory for the Lovers section. One learns of Paul's youth and temperment, Paul's mother, Paul's parents relationship and his brothers' exploits. It is time consuming and not always entertaining, but it appears to be the makings of a fascinating dynamic in which one assumes the novel's actual drama will unfold. Not so. The second half's focus switches entirely to Paul and two horrible girls for whom he seems to be a perfect match since he is even more odious, repellant and sniveling than they are. Equal parts boring, redundant, sappy and overly emotional, we are unluckily let in on Paul's idiotic thoughts on romance and his two 'lovers.' His repetitive thoughts cycle for 250 pages (if I had a nickel for every time Lawrence wrote "at that moment he/she hated/despised him/her" I would have enough money to buy this book out of all my local bookstores so others won't be subjected to it) until Lawrence switches gears to inane, simplistic philosophy that most people mulled through after PHIL 101 (think along the lines of "oh, we're all so insignificant, we are grains of sand, whatever shall we do? Why does it matter?). Bleh. This book is dated, poorly written (syrupy, overwrought descriptions of landscapes...no thanks) and mind-numbingly repetitive. I normally wouldn't write a review this vitriolic but this book really warranted it. What a waste of time. Similar in style but actually decent is Forster, esp. Howard's End, which I would recommend to anyone in lieu of Sons & Lovers.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Sons and Lovers is a wonderful novel on the complex nature of love in its many forms. We follow the lives of the Morel family who live in a coal mining community in Nottinghamshire at the turn of the twentieth century. Walter and Gertrude's marriage has problems and Gertrude concentrates her love and hopes on her sons. She becomes a dominating force to them and the life choices they make. The sons suffer with obsession, frustration and indecision about the women in their lives. Through childhood, Sons and Lovers is a wonderful novel on the complex nature of love in its many forms. We follow the lives of the Morel family who live in a coal mining community in Nottinghamshire at the turn of the twentieth century. Walter and Gertrude's marriage has problems and Gertrude concentrates her love and hopes on her sons. She becomes a dominating force to them and the life choices they make. The sons suffer with obsession, frustration and indecision about the women in their lives. Through childhood, adolescence and adulthood the Morel family develop and deepen relationships with each other and close friends. There are times of joy and times of sadness. Beautifully written with complex characters, descriptive detail on working class life and the wonderful English countryside. Flowers are often used in Lawrence's writing. The gift of flowers, the appreciation of their natural beauty and the way the women differ in their reaction to them. A perceptive, tender and engrossing novel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Of all the major writers in the canon, DH Lawrence is the horniest. Lots of people write about sex, but Lawrence writes exclusively about it, entirely about it. He's consumed by sex. Sex motivates everything that happens in his world. It can draw people together like in Lady Chatterley's Lover, or drive people apart. (Its energy in Sons and Lovers is not super positive.) He thinks there's real communication to be had about what sex is like and why. He wants to talk about how sometimes it's not a Of all the major writers in the canon, DH Lawrence is the horniest. Lots of people write about sex, but Lawrence writes exclusively about it, entirely about it. He's consumed by sex. Sex motivates everything that happens in his world. It can draw people together like in Lady Chatterley's Lover, or drive people apart. (Its energy in Sons and Lovers is not super positive.) He thinks there's real communication to be had about what sex is like and why. He wants to talk about how sometimes it's not as fun for the woman, and how one might help change that. He wants to discuss how sometimes it gets boring and then you have it in public just to spice it up. And he wants to talk about how sometimes you want to fuck your mom, which brings us to Sons and Lovers. Paul Morel wants to fuck his mom so bad it ruins every relationship in his life. Everyone can see it. His dad, catching them at a "long, fervent kiss" late in the kitchen, nearly fights him for it. The two women in his life - passive Miriam who says "Yes," and Clara of the body - both know that they're competing with his mother and that they can't win. They're both willing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of his overwhelming horniness - "Let me be the sheath to you," says Miriam hopefully - but it's not enough. And this is, by the way, Lawrence's autobiographical novel. He told Jessie Chambers, the real-life Miriam, "I've loved [my mom], like a lover. That's why I could never love you." Nice, DH. For context, here we are near the beginning of the century. Here are prudish Virginia Woolf and shitting, twitching James Joyce, careening into modernism, changing the face of literature - and Lawrence, this son of a coalminer, off on the side doing something totally different: writing about sex, over and over, with a persistent urgency that's just as radical. It's not that it's dirtier; Ulysses is dirtier. It's that it's more serious. Joyce is doing it to shock you. Henry Miller, whose Tropic of Cancer (1934) was only a little after Lady Chatterley (1928), is much more shocking - but Miller isn't writing about sex, he's just jerking off while mumbling to himself. Lawrence isn't dirty, or at least not consistently (Lady Chatterley has its moments), but he's erotic. He's horny. That scene where he comes downstairs late at night to find a certain someone "kneeling naked on a pile of white underclothing on the hearthrug, her back towards him, warming herself" - that's, I mean, it's hot stuff. Also it comes right after a scene where Paul (view spoiler)[stealthily tries on a lady's stockings, (hide spoiler)] btw, which comes so unexplained that you're like yeah, that part is definitely autobiographical. (That scene was cut from the original edition, so that's a good way to tell if you're reading the unexpurgated version or not. The original cuts - around 10% - also trimmed out much of the stuff about William at the beginning, which probably improved the flow of the book.) Lawrence's debt is to Hardy, who also wrote about sex but who was not as horny. They share a knack for vivid scenes; Hardy gives us, for example, swordplay in the ferny glen from Far From the Madding Crowd, and Lawrence delivers Clara and Paul slipping down a rain-soaked cliff of slippery red clay, slick with and stuck in the vermilion mud.Her shoes were clogged with red earth. It was hard for her. He frowned. At last he caught her hand, and she stood beside him. The cliff rose above them and fell away below. Her colour was up, her eyes flashed. He looked at the big drop below them. "It's risky," he said, "or messy, at any rate."That it is, and here's a great book about it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    I think between the stress of the death of my father, the poor narration on my audiobook, and the style of writing, I just did not enjoy this book at all. Something didn't click with me. I'm sorry I can't write more right now. 2017 Reading Challenge: word of a family member in the title

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cristin

    This marks my first experience of D.H. Lawrence, apart from practically memorizing a famous, passionate excerpt from “The Rainbow,” read during a great episode of Northern Exposure (one of the greatest television shows of all time, in my humble opinion)…that excerpt may have generated some preconceived notions regarding the content of Sons and Lovers…in some ways, my predictions were correct…in others, wholly unmet and practically unfounded. Sons and Lovers is the story of one family, the Morels, This marks my first experience of D.H. Lawrence, apart from practically memorizing a famous, passionate excerpt from “The Rainbow,” read during a great episode of Northern Exposure (one of the greatest television shows of all time, in my humble opinion)…that excerpt may have generated some preconceived notions regarding the content of Sons and Lovers…in some ways, my predictions were correct…in others, wholly unmet and practically unfounded. Sons and Lovers is the story of one family, the Morels, which filters into the story of one son in this family, named Paul. As though he absorbed the incredibly “bad vibes” in the Morel household during his fetal development, Paul comes into the world as an innocent baby with a palpable darkness and gloom about him— one inherited, perhaps, by the relentless struggle that binds him to his mother in a preternatural way from the very beginning. And so, Paul grows in loneliness, frustration and despair, in a household that is patched together by a mother whose propriety is unmatched by many of the surrounding lower middle class mining families. This social backdrop is excellent fuel for social commentary, and Lawrence handles such timeless topics without being overbearing—and without diminishing the integrity of the story, which focuses on Paul’s internal and external conflicts. In terms of what makes this a classic—Lawrence’s mastery of setting is undeniable…He utilizes the natural landscape as a sort of unyielding metaphor—you, as his reader, know Lawrence means business when he is writing about the “sleek, cool-fleshed fruit” of a cherry. It’s as though Lawrence uses the Earth as the most natural grounds for foreplay; his characters are at the mercy of the weather and the surrounding flora and fauna— they grow dumb and thick blooded at the site of a wet boulevard and seem to consider a row of poplars an open invitation for a raunchy romp in the thicket. On the whole, the story of Paul Morel’s life and family made me feel more than unsettled... It was rather unpleasant to read about such a desolate and joyless existence as his, and filled me with a sense of fear—that people can actually suffer a fate as isolating and grim as his, his mother’s or his father’s. There is something very realistic about this novel—but the reality is peculiar and unique, as though it belongs to Lawrence alone. That this novel is, in fact, based on Lawrence’s own deeply personal experiences (as the son of a miner, whose relationship with his mother was unnaturally close by his own admission) is a testament to his sensitivity, introspectiveness and insight. Read this one for the setting and insightfulness alone, and you’ll be able to gain something from it. It’s clear to me now—why Lawrence’s work is considered classic—and why Lawrence seems to be such an acquired taste. I’ll end with one of my favorite segments from the earlier chapters in Sons and Lovers…Providing some context: Mrs. Morel and her husband just had a vicious fight. Mrs. Morel is several months along with her second child (Paul). She has been locked out of her house by her husband, who came home, senselessly drunk and raving. She is outdoors at night, still staggering from the severity of their argument: “She became aware of something about her. With an effort she roused herself to see what it was that penetrated her consciousness. The tall white lilies were reeling in the moonlight, and the air was charged as with a presence. Mrs. Morel gasped slightly in fear. She touched the big, pallid flowers on their petals, then shivered. They seemed to be stretching in the moonlight. She put her hand into one white bin: the gold scarcely showed on her fingers in the moonlight. She bent down to look at the binful of yellow pollen; but it only appeared dusky. The she drank a deep draught of the scent. It almost made her dizzy...” Some time passes and Mrs. Morel is finally allowed back into the house, shivering from the cold night. She has an empty, angry exchange with her husband and is getting ready for bed. “…As she unfastened her brooch at the mirror, she smiled faintly to see her face all smeared with the yellow dust of the lilies. She brushed it off, and at last lay down. For some time her mind continued snapping and jetting sparks, but she was asleep before her husband awoke from the first sleep of his drunkenness.” Something about her smiling in the mirror when she noticed the pollen caught me the way a poignant note in a song will. That Lawrence was able to convey such an intimate detail impressed me. It’s that sort of sensitivity that kept me engaged in this otherwise rather unpleasant account of a desolate, disconsolate life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I liked it in the beginning, but as the story went by, it got really slowpaced. I started reading it in romanian, the translation was very bad so this contributed to the general impression about this book. At 60% i got a free copy on my kindle and read it in english. The problem with this books which contain pages and pages of endless dialogue. It is too much. This whole relationship mayhem (Paul - mother, Paul - Miriam, Paul - Clara) should have been shorter and maybe then would have been inten I liked it in the beginning, but as the story went by, it got really slowpaced. I started reading it in romanian, the translation was very bad so this contributed to the general impression about this book. At 60% i got a free copy on my kindle and read it in english. The problem with this books which contain pages and pages of endless dialogue. It is too much. This whole relationship mayhem (Paul - mother, Paul - Miriam, Paul - Clara) should have been shorter and maybe then would have been intensiver. The whole Miriam chapters are just annoying and boring. Nowadays, a guy so attached to his mother, would have 100% turned out to be gay. It is the classical image. Overwhelming mother and spineless father. I mean "Let's just be friends". And then is the whole relationship with Baxter. There are some hints, that DHL was bisexual, so it fits. In my opinion his relationship with Baxter was the nicest in this novel. Anyway he did a good job describing his relationship with his mother, but he could have made it even more intensiver. In the end, i got the feeling the whole book was about his relationship with Miriam - let's be together, let's not be together, he loves me, he loves me not, this is not that spiritual for me, i want it more spiritual, i want it only spiritual. And the fact that Paul had made it in his twenties without even touching his weewee...hmmm, not very realistic if you ask me. Maybe I am too harsh on it because the second part starting with Paul's youth was just too boring. But the book was ok afterall. I have my mixed feelings about it, still there are enough themes to start disscusions from. In the end, a book has to stimulate disscusions and opinions, and this book does that. And being honest, the whole relationship with Ms Morel is quite well described. The whole psycho thing is there.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    Another of Lawrence's gems. Not as good as Women in Love, but still worth reading. In this work you can easily notice one of Lawrence's obsessions. The love for his mother.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    Generally regarded as semi-autobiographical, this is a very brave and evocative portrayal of working-class life in a Nottinghamshire mining community in the very early part of the twentieth century. You feel the characters' claustrophobia, and however much you may dislike them, sense that they are trapped in their lives by both their actions and their aspirations. The story line is engrossing and shocking for its time, both in its accurate portrayal of the imprisonment and desperation of individ Generally regarded as semi-autobiographical, this is a very brave and evocative portrayal of working-class life in a Nottinghamshire mining community in the very early part of the twentieth century. You feel the characters' claustrophobia, and however much you may dislike them, sense that they are trapped in their lives by both their actions and their aspirations. The story line is engrossing and shocking for its time, both in its accurate portrayal of the imprisonment and desperation of individuals belonging to an underclass, and also for its frank depiction of sexual fantasies and appetites. I think this is probably Lawrence's best novel, although it was an early work (his third published novel). The self-absorption of the characters, and intensity of the writing are ever-present, as in all Lawrence's work, but ameliorated by a direct and powerful story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    david

    Not his strongest work but I sure do like the writings of DH Lawrence. This is the story, semi-autobiographical?, of Paul Morel and his concomitant relationships with contemporaries and his mother. Beyond that, there are four hundred pages that you will need to read to get the full picture. Many consider this a classic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roland

    I wanted to read this book for months, and now that I've finished it I can say that it was a terrible disappointment. The main character Paul treats the women in his life like absolute crap, and it's hard to care about a Mama's boy who can barely make decisions for himself. The mother in the book is a bitter, complaining shrew, and regardless of the first part of the book which explains why she's so protective of her son, you still want to slap her one. There are some good passages, but overall I wanted to read this book for months, and now that I've finished it I can say that it was a terrible disappointment. The main character Paul treats the women in his life like absolute crap, and it's hard to care about a Mama's boy who can barely make decisions for himself. The mother in the book is a bitter, complaining shrew, and regardless of the first part of the book which explains why she's so protective of her son, you still want to slap her one. There are some good passages, but overall it's a dull book. I can only recommend this to someone who's interested in getting into Lawrence, or for people who actually want to read all 100 books on the Modern Library list.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    It was mostly a bore. Some of the events had me interested, but overall i just kept waiting to be really moved and wasn't. I liked the descriptions of Paul in his discussions with Miriam about their relationship when they were getting close to "breaking off." I kept wishing I could identify more with Paul. I read an interpretation that said the drive and ambition Mrs. Morel had driven into Paul to help him rise above his roots eventually hindered his ability to accept any woman as good enough fo It was mostly a bore. Some of the events had me interested, but overall i just kept waiting to be really moved and wasn't. I liked the descriptions of Paul in his discussions with Miriam about their relationship when they were getting close to "breaking off." I kept wishing I could identify more with Paul. I read an interpretation that said the drive and ambition Mrs. Morel had driven into Paul to help him rise above his roots eventually hindered his ability to accept any woman as good enough for him. I'd say that's accurate, but I don't really know how realistic it is or how much I can sympathize. *shrugs shoulders* ..meh

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gearóid

    Really brilliant book! From the minute i started reading i was totally absorbed. I didnt know what to expect when i started reading this but it was just go engrossing and the writing so lovely it just carried me along through this story. The whole setting in the mining community was so vividly described and the characters really felt like i knew them. Really connected with the dad as he was working in the mines and had such a hard life but i think loved his family anyway. Miriam was a little gem...i woul Really brilliant book! From the minute i started reading i was totally absorbed. I didnt know what to expect when i started reading this but it was just go engrossing and the writing so lovely it just carried me along through this story. The whole setting in the mining community was so vividly described and the characters really felt like i knew them. Really connected with the dad as he was working in the mines and had such a hard life but i think loved his family anyway. Miriam was a little gem...i would have married her myself. What was that Paul thinking at all..lol There as some sections of writing in this book that are just so amazing descriptive. He loves to describe nature and i'm so glad he does. D.H Lawrence i believe is not so popular these days but i have to say he is now one of my favourite authors now. Need to check out what else he has written now.

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