The brilliance of D. H. Lawrence: a pornographer or a genius?

I can’t bear art that you can walk round and admire. A book should be either a bandit or a rebel, or a man in the crowd.

Writers are often perceived as strange people because of their lifestyle and sometimes because of their writing style. D. H. Lawrence was a British writer and poet who was regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was a controversial writer – some of his works about sexuality were attacked or even censored. A lot of people even regard him as a pornographer who wasted his talents. However, he didn’t lack those who appreciated his work and saw him as a genius. E. M. Forster, an English fiction writer, had this to say about him: “the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.”

I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze.

A little about D. H. Lawrence

He was born David Herbert Lawrence on September 11, 1885, to Arthur John Lawrence who was a miner, and Lydia Beardsall, a formal pupil-teacher. He was born in the coal-mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire where he spent his early years. Young Lawrence didn’t like his father but he so much adored his mother. His mother was from a middle-class family and also a great lover of literature. The upbringing that Lawrence had would later influence some of his writings.

He was not the type of boy that everyone would love to be friends with while growing up but he was an excellent student. At the age of 12, he became the first boy in his town to win a scholarship to Nottingham high school. He started work as a factory clerk in 1901 but this career ended when he fell sick. After he recovered he became a teacher at the British School, Eastwood, where he met Jessica Chambers. They were both lovers of books and she encouraged him to start writing. He began writing poetry and also drafted his first novel, which would eventually become “The White Peacock”. Lawrence later married the wife of his professor, Frieda, whom he eloped with.

For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack. 

Was Lawrence just a pornographer?

Much of Lawrence’s criticism was because of the way he openly talked about sex. His writings were explicit: in 1915 when he published “The Rainbow”, it attracted a lot of attention and was later banned for obscenity. In the book, he vividly explained sexual acts and talked about same-sex attraction. He also published “Women In Love” in 1920, which he considered to be the second half of “The Rainbow”. This was also banned although not for long.

In 1927, he published another novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which also met with unfavorable judgment. It was nothing short of his high graphics details of sexual activities. He wrote about a sexual relationship between an aristocratic lady and a working-class man. The book was also banned because of its content. The publisher of this book would later face trial some years after his death and found “not guilty.” This would also give way for many publishers to escape the obscenity law.

The cruelest thing a man can do to a woman is to portray her as perfection. 

Most of his works must have been motivated by his personal life. During the time he was writing the draft that will eventually become two novels, “The Rainbow” and “Women in Lover”, he was having a personal crisis. He constantly fought with his wife who felt she was free to have other lovers and during that time questioned his sexual orientation. He even developed a strong relationship with a farmer and some believed it was romantic… especially for the fact that he was openly talking about the same gender affair in his books.

He considered his writing as an attempt to challenge the constrictive view of the people about sex and give them freedom of expression. Lawrence responded to people who didn’t like his work and he once said, “what is pornography to one man is the laughter of genius to another.” He faced criticism till the time of his death and even after his death. He later died on March 2, 1930, of illness.

All that we know is nothing, we are merely crammed wastepaper baskets, unless we are in touch with that which laughs at all our knowing. 

Lawrence was a great writer

Maybe most of his critics would have a different thing to say about him if they were alive today. Most of his works were ahead of his time and some of the things he was criticized for are being seen as normal today. His works were later proven to be of great literary merit and his novels are now recognized to be of great quality. D. H. Lawrence has made an important contribution to English fiction with his writing and today he is recognized as one of the influential writers of the 20th century.

Consciousness is an end in itself. We torture ourselves getting somewhere, and when we get there – it is nowhere, for there is nowhere to get to.

Written by AARON BOLUWATIF

P.S. My new book recommendationsWomen in Love, D. H. Lawrence (I reread this book recently, recommend it to authors writing contemporary romance, erotica, or about love-hate relationships); The Burning Edge, Arthur Chichester (the book about Belarus, Chernobyl, from a person who really been there); Exsilium by Patrik Walts (really cool science-fiction, I recommend to start from book 1, Effugium) – click to check

erotic carving from Nepal temple


Next post – Is the universe symmetrical? 

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45 Responses

  1. masercot says:

    Lawrence was a brilliant writer. Sons and Lovers is one of the great books from an era of many notable books. A father works hard to give his son an education and that education is what estranges the two.

    One of my favorite writers…

  2. A pleasure and an education reading you, Victoria – you pitch your literary posts as near perfect as can be for me.

  3. I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Women in Love in college. I should reread them now, I guess.

    He certainly led an interesting life I knew nothing of. Thanks for sharing.

    Now I’m interested in Arthur Chichester. Checked. This sounds like my kinda book.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Arthur Chichester’s book was a present from WordPress-friend 🙂 I got a paperback by mail… very surprising 🤩😃📚💜 I grew up in Belarus 🇧🇾 & I knew people who died bcz of Chernobyl so it was a very “personal” read. I know that the author is also running a YouTube channel about his trips. Women in Love is a perfect novel for women :)) there’s not so much erotica there 😂 but just a beautiful descriptions of desire, lust & love 💕

  4. I saw the movie Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

  5. Lawrence was certainly a brilliant writer, maybe a lot ahead of his times!

  6. tom says:

    Interesting

  7. K E Garland says:

    The Rockinghorse is a favorite of mine.

  8. Great post ! I love being introduced to authors I’ve not heard of before

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Cool! 😃 He’s probably more author for “females/or romantics”… that’s how I see it. BUT!! In his books he discusses the theme of death (often!), so I’d say, men could find a philosophical ground there or lots of ideas to think & discuss

      • Yeah, I’d think I’d like to read it just to read something completely different from what I’m used to – new perspectives, new writing styles I can learn from 🙂

      • Hey, and a question, If you had to recommend what you think is your best book, what would it be? I’d like to get it. I love your blog, I’m sure I’d love your books 🙂

        • Victoria Ray NB says:

          None lol my best book is “Omphalos of Joy” – right now only in project 🙂 but hopefully will be ready to publish one day, soon… I’d advise to wait until my next thriller will come up – in 2021. I’d recommend to get Milan Kundera’s book… his writing style is remarkable:) I think you r going to like it, he unites nonfiction & fiction 🙂 + add irony, politics, self-help & nonlinear narrative. I’m reading “Ignorance” now 🙂 Btw, I’m planning to write a post about him & his style/

          mmm… and I was serious! 😀✌️

        • Victoria Ray NB says:

          I mean I wouldn’t advise to read any my book 🙂
          Still, I believe after all the practice 😂 I’ll write a really great story 🙂 – it takes time

  9. kinkyacres says:

    🙂 🙂

  10. Sorryless says:

    I love your Lawrence bio, RNB.

    To my way of looking at it, great writing is like great sex. It sweeps you up into a passionate embrace and then it lets all those naughty little particulars have their way with you. After which you crave a smoke.

  11. I missed this one yesterday. For some reason I didn’t get any notifications. Super post, VR

  12. librepaley says:

    You always have the best post titles. This also points to one of the insane issues in literature – that writers can go in and out of fashion. It feels as if Lawrence has been ‘out of fashion’ for some time, so it’s good to see this discussion. What gets overlooked as people clutched in horror at their pearls if the word ‘penis’ was mentioned is that sex was often written about very sensually. Sex and sensuality as a profound, a fundamental, expression of the human experience. And also often lovingly, as in Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes, I think I haven’t heard about Lawrence in a while… maybe he’s out of fashion right now bcz he didn’t write erotica as expected in 2020? 😂

      As you said… he’s more “romantic& sensuality writer” 🙂 the way he describe one-night-stand…ah, just like a magical dream 😄😅

  13. Hi. When I read Lady Chatterley decades ago, I liked it quite a lot. About fifteen years ago I read it again, and thought it was boring. Oh well. Bye. Enjoy the weekend.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      I understand that… so many books I hated when I was younger 🙂 but now I love them. Shifting in experience and perception, I guess :))

  1. December 17, 2020

    […] The brilliance of D. H. Lawrence: a pornographer or a genius? […]

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