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11 September 2017: D H Lawrence

 The 11th September marks the birth of David Herbert Lawrence. Born in 1885, D H Lawrence grew up to be a controversial yet progressive figure in the literary realm. Lawrence wrote novels, poems, plays and essays as well as being a literary critic and painter. Thematically his writings reflect on the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation.

His views and writings brought official persecution and censorship resulting in a misrepresentation of his creative work which lead to his voluntary exile. It was not until after his death that his reputation was transformed and much of his works are now regarded as canonical.

In our library we have several works by Lawrence, mostly from the collection of Hugh Selbourne. Here are a few examples…

The book Lawrence is probably best known for is Lady Chatterley’s Lover. This is because of the obscenity trial that came hand in hand with its publication. There was a public prosecution of Penguin Books at Old Bailey under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. This was because Penguin published an unexpurgated edition in 1960. Prior to this only heavily censored and abridged editions were published, first in America in 1928 and then by Penguin in 1946.  The obscenity trial took six days and the jury found them not guilty which marked a change in the freedom of publishing explicit materials.

Here at Rooke we have the third edition of the censored publication published during Lawrence's lifetime. This is known as the standard edition of the text. Click here to view our listing.
 
 

We also have the first edition, fourth printing of The First Lady Chatterley. This work, published in New York, is the first draft of D H Lawrence’s work. This edition is interesting as the most commonly printed text is the third draft of his work. The work begins with a preface by Lawrence’s wife, Frieda.Click here to view our listing.
 

Following the initial publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover Lawrence wrote his work Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The work is a post-script whereby Lawrence uses this work to explain his novel, which had already caused some controversy. Click here to view our listing of this work.
 

Of course, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is not the only work written by Lawrence. He wrote many essays and works of literary criticism during his time. One particular work of interest is Lawrence’s essay Pornography and Obscenity. This work, published as a part of ‘Criterion Miscellany’ and is Number 5, explains his opinion on what should be considered obscene.  Click here for our listing. 
 

Another collection of essays by Lawrence in our library is Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine, and Other Essays. The work contains seven essays by Lawrence and is a limited edition number 394 of 475. The work is a first edition and has many essays reflecting on society and man. The work is in a lovely quarter cloth binding with marbled boards. Click here to view our listing. 
 

Lawrence’s letters were also published and we have a first edition of this work. Numbered 433 of a 525 copy print-run this splendid work has an introduction by Aldous Huxley. It is housed in a slipcase and presents much of Lawrence’s correspondence. Click here for our listing

We also have several first editions of other fictional works by Lawrence such as his first novel The White Peacock. This early work by Lawrence was inspired by the 1891 painting An Idyll by Maurice Greiffenhagen.  Lawrence began the novel in 1906 and rewrote it three times. The early versions had the working title Laetitia. The work follows themes such as the damage of mismatched marriages and the border country between town and country. Our copy is the first UK edition which preceded the American edition by one day.Click here to view our listing. 

We end this blog post with one of Lawrence’s final works published in his lifetime. The Virgin and the Gipsy is a short story collection. It was first published in a limited edition run and we have number 371 of 810 copies in this run. The work distils Lawrence’s views on sexuality and morality, joining characters together in their mutual passion, despite coming from different backgrounds and leading very different lives. The work is also known as The Virgin and the Gypsy, however the first edition, such as this, and many other early editions use the spelling 'Gipsy'. Click here to view our listing. 
 

This is just a small sample of the many works by D H Lawrence we have in our library. Feel free to take a further look by clicking here or simply searching 'D H Lawrence' in our search bar

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