David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)
Lawrence was born in 1885 from a miner and a schoolteacher. He had a very close relationship with his mother, who always encouraged him to study and leave his destiny as a miner. He managed to be accepted to the Nottingham University College, where he studied to become a teacher. In 1910, his mother died, and Lawrence continued teaching until 1912 when he was forced to quit his job due to an attack of pneumonia. He eloped, and then married, the German wife of a colleague; even if during WWI, their German and British marriage was not well seen. In his last years, he travelled throughout the world and died in France of TB.
Lawrence gave great importance to emotional life. His view of life was against the mechanistic aspects of industrial society and he analysed the relations between the sexes. He thus gave great importance to sex and its impulses, which were seen as natural and as what could save oneself from self-destruction. As a modernist writer, he limited authorial interventions and described stories for the characters’ points of view.
Sons and Lovers (1913)
Sons and Lovers is a semi-autobiographical novel, which narrates the story of Paul’s family and in particular his Oedipal relationship with his mother, Mrs Morel, who is well educated and represents what Paul aims to become. On the other hand, Mr Morel is a miner and slowly becomes violent towards his wife and children, and thus estranges himself from his own family. This troubled relationship will highly influence Paul’s capability to approach women and to have a stable relationship with them. This happens with his first girlfriend, Miriam, who incarnates spiritual love. He then has an affair with the married, Clara, who fulfils his sexual desires. After his mother’s death, Paul is torn between committing suicide or leave his past behind.
With this novel, Lawrence expresses his passion for everything that is natural and consequent hate towards industrialisation and civilisation. The characters are often attached to an opposite, for example, Mrs Morel who was at first attracted to Mr Morel for his being different from her intellectual world; but now feels relegated to a housewife’s role she doesn’t feel like her own, and for this reason she envies Miriam, who can truly express herself.