Sons and Lovers Published
The 29th of June 1913 AD
By common consent Sons and Lovers was D.H. Lawrence ’s first great novel, and in spite of the qualities of The Rainbow, Women in Love and even Lady Chatterley’s Lover which came after it, is often regarded as his finest.
The novel somehow seems to belong far more to the 1920s or 1930s than the period immediately prior to WWI , with its working class environment of mine village and Nottinghamshire factory: nobody here is likely to enter and ask: “Anyone for tennis?” In less than a year WWI would begin; yet there is no last party mood about the work, nothing elegiac.
Equally the power Lawrence breathes into his women characters sets it apart from its time – though the author originally titled it Paul Morel, it is tempting to think Paul’s mother is the focal point. Some contemporary readers were shocked at the depiction of these women; and shocked too by the sexual strands of the story.
Lawrence’s most autobiographical novel, Sons and Lovers displays his affection for the countryside around Eastwood – Bestwood in the book – where he grew up, and at times for the bricks and mortar of his hometown. His ability to paint such poetic word pictures is too often overlooked in the rush to analyse the psychologies of his protagonists; the beauty of such scene-setting in contrast to some of his occasionally -generally unfairly - parodied dialogue.
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