David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)
He always tried to reach the core of natural life, based on instinct and intuition . He was against social class divisions and against technological progress, which destroys the beauty of nature. He exalted sexual love, a fusion of body and soul on a deep rooted spiritual affinity. His works, which would have a deep influence on the modern novel, were considered immoral in Britain, still tied to Victorian and post-Victorian rules.
The fourth of five children, David Herbert Lawrence was born in 1885 at Eastwood, a poor mining village in Nottinghamhire. His father was an illiterate coal miner, often drunk but generous and full of vital energy, while his puritan mother, an intellectual and refined ex-teacher, came from a well-to-do middle-class family. These differing cultural background were the cause of frequent quarrels. The family tensions deeply affected young Bert, as he was known, a delicate and sickly boy, shy and insecure , in a complex relationship of dependence with his over-protective mother.
At the age of thirteen he won a scholarship to Nottingham high school, which he left at sixteen for a job as a clerk in a firm of surgical appliance manufacturers in Nottingham. But he soon fell ill with pneumonia, which would eventually lead to tuberculosis. In 1901 he made the acquaintance of Jessie Chambers (the Miriam of Sons and Lovers) , a sweet ,intelligent girl, with whom he used to read poetry and take long walks in the country. Jessie played an important part in his life, encouraging him to write.
In 1903 Lawrence entered Nottingham University College and, after taking a teacher's certificate in 1908, he went to teach at Croydon, remaining there until 1912. During all this time he went on writing and, in 1911, he saw his first novel published. His other had died in 1910 and, in 1912, he gave up his job hoping to find a new position at a German University. But something happened which totally changed his life. While paying a visit to a well-known linguist, Mr Weekly, who had been his Professor at Nottingham, he met the latter's German-born wife, Frieda von Richthofen, who was give years older than him and mother of three children. They fell passionately in love and, six weeks after meeting, they fled to Germany. This elopement marked a turning point in Lawrence's life. After spending two years in Germany and Italy, in 1914 the couple returned to England, where (after Frieda's divorce) they eventually married. When the First World War broke out they were suspected of being spies, perhaps because of their hostility to the war or just because Frieda was German. They were thus not only denied passports, buy were also ordered by the police to leave Cornwell, where they had settled. Among the problems of this period there was also the suppression of his new novel The Rainbow (1915), which was condemned and banned as immoral. When the war ended, in 1919, after the restitution of their passports, Lawrence decided to leave England for ever, only ever returning on short visits. Together with Frieda, he took to travelling, touring the world in search of an ideal land where he could feel at ease. Until 1922 he stayed in Italy; while there he visited Sardinia and Sicily; this visit inspired his Sea and Sardinia (1921). After visiting Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Australia, the USA and Mexico, he settled in New Mexico for some time. In 1925, with his health deteriorating, he returned to Italy, where he remained untill 1928. In 1929, seriously ill with tuberculosis and embittered by the continual attacks on his Books in the British press, he moved to the south of France, where he died on March 2nd 1930.