D. H. Lawrence

Other names: 

David Herbert Lawrence

Date of birth: 
11 Sep 1885
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
02 Mar 1930

Garsington Manor, Oxford; 1 Byron Villas, Vale-of-Health, Hampstead, London.


David Herbert Lawrence was born in Eastwood, near Nottingham, to coalminer Arthur Lawrence and Lydia Beardsall. Lawrence won a County Council scholarship and went to Nottingham High School. He did not excel, but went on to teach at the British School in Eastwood. In 1906, he started to write what would eventually become his first novel, The White Peacock (published in 1911). While teaching at Davidson Road elementary school in Croydon in 1908, he continued to write. His friend Jessie Chambers showed his writing to Ford Madox Hueffer (later Ford), who recommended it to William Heinemann for publication.

By 1913, Lawrence had met and married Frieda Emma Maria Johanna, and the two of them lived briefly in Germany (near Munich) and Italy before the First World War. Forced to stay in England, Lawrence soon began to meet the people associated with Garsington Manor around Lady Ottoline Morrell. His new acquaintances included Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, Bertrand Russell, E. M. Forster and Aldous Huxley. Their meeting on 29 November 1915 with Lady Ottoline Morrell along with Philip Heseltine, Aldous Huxley, Willy MacQueen and Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy is recorded in his letters:

There was an Indian there - a lineal descendent of the Prophet, whose curse is a dreadful thing - and a young musician, and Bertie Russell. Of course we talked violently in between-whiles, politics and India and so on. I always shout too loud. That annoys the Ottoline. The Indian says (he is of Persian family): "Oh, she is so like a Persian princess, it is strange - something grand, and perhaps cruel." It is pleasant to see with all kinds of eyes, like Argus. Suhrawardy was my pair of Indo-persian eyes. He is coming to Florida. (Letters of D. H. Lawrence, vol. II )

After the war, Lawrence moved to Italy, France and Sicily, before going to America in 1922. He briefly visited friends in Ceylon first, before leaving for Austrialia and arriving on the west coast of the United States. In 1926, he returned to Italy and revived his friendship with Aldous Huxley. There he started writing Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928).

During the late 1920s, Lawrence visted London frequently. He met Mulk Raj Anand at a sherry party at Harold Monro's Poetry Bookshop. In Conversations in Bloomsbury (1981), Anand, who was still a student of philosophy then, describes the meeting thus: '"I am not sure which philosophy you are studying," said Lawrence and coughed a wheezy cough. "But I hope you can trust your eyes, nose, mouth, skin and the human sense against the ethereal Tagory"' (p. 23). Lawrence had previously been outspoken in his criticism of Tagore's indictment of nationalism, and his prejudices about the East made Anand uncomfortable. Already in 1916, Lawrence had scorned the writing of Tagore. In a letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell dated 24 May 1916, he wrote:

I become more and more surprised to see how far higher, in reality, our European civilizations stands than the East, India or Persia ever dreamed of. And one is glad to realize how these Hindus are horribly decadent and reverting to all forms of barbarism in all sorts of ugly ways. We feel surer on our feet, then. But this fraud of looking up to them - this wretched worship-of-Tagore attitude - is disgusting. "Better fifty years of Europe" even as she is. Buddha worship is completely decadent and foul nowadays: and it was always only half civilized. (The Collected Letters, p. 451)

Lawrence and Anand would remain friends, though. After returning to the continent, Lawrence's health deteriorated and he settled in Bandol, in the south of France, by the sea, where his friends rallied around him in his last months. Mulk Raj Anand visited Lawrence a few weeks before his death on 2 March 1930.


Richard Aldington, Mulk Raj Anand, Dorothy Brett, Achsah Brewster, Earl Brewster, Witter Bynner, Catherine Carswell, Norman Douglas, T. S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, E. M. Forster, Mark Gertler, Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock), Aldous Huxley, S. S. Koteliansky, Maurice Magnus, Edward Marsh, Katherine Mansfield, Lady Ottoline Morrell, John Middleton Murry, Bertrand RussellNikhil Sen, Mollie Skinner, Hasan Shahid SuhrawardyRabindranath TagoreVirginia Woolf.

Published works: 

The White Peacock (London: William Heinemann, 1911)

The Trespasser (London: Duckworth, 1912)

Love Poems and Others (London: Duckworth, 1913)

Sons and Lovers (London: Duckworth, 1913)

The Prussian Officer and Other Stories (London: Duckworth, 1914)

The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd: A Drama in Three Acts (London: Duckworth, 1914)

The Rainbow (London: Methuen, 1915)

Amores (London: Duckworth, 1916)

Twilight in Italy (London: Duckworth, 1916)

Look! We Have Come Through! (London: Chatto & Windus, 1917)

New Poems (London: Martin Secker, 1918)

Bay: A Book of Poems (Westminster: Beaumont Press, 1919)

Touch and Go: A Play in Three Acts (London: C. W. Daniel, 1920)

Women in Love (New York: Privately printed for subscribers only, 1920)

The Lost Girl (London: Martin Secker, 1920)

Movements in European History (London: Mitford, 1921)

Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1921)

Sea and Sardinia (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1921)

Tortoises (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1921)

Aaron's Rod (London: Martin Secker, 1922)

England, My England, and Other Stories (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1922)

Fantasia of the Unconscious (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1922)

Birds, Beasts and Flowers (London: Martin Secker, 1923)

The Ladybird, The Fox, The Captain's Doll (London: Martin Secker, 1923)

Kangaroo (London: Martin Secker, 1923)

Studies in Classic American Literature (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1923)

The Boy in the Bush (London: Martin Secker, 1924)

Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine, and Other Essays (Philadelphia: Centaur Press, 1925)

St Mawr, together with The Princess (London: Martin Secker, 1925)

David: A Play (London: Martin Secker, 1926)

The Plumed Serpent: Quetzalcoatl (London: Martin Secker, 1926)

Mornings in Mexico (London: Martin Secker, 1927)

The Collected Poems of D. H. Lawrence (London: Martin Secker, 1928)

Lady Chatterley's Lover (Florence: Privately printed, 1928)

The Woman who Rode Away, and Other Stories (London: Martin Secker, 1928)

The Escaped Cock (Paris: Black Sun Press, 1929)

Pansies (London: Martin Secker, 1929)

Love Among the Haystacks, and Other Pieces (London: Nonesuch Press, 1930)

Nettles (London: Faber, 1930)

The Virgin and the Gipsy (London: Martin Secker, 1930)

Apocalypse (Florence, 1931)

A Collier's Friday Night (London: Martin Secker, 1934)

D. H. Lawrence: Reminiscences and Correspondence (London: Martin Secker, 1934)

Fire and Other Poems (San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1940)

The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, ed. by Vivian de Sola Pinto and Warren Roberts (London: Heinemann, 1964)

Study of Thomas Hardy and other Essays, ed. by Bruce Steele (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1914] 1985)

Sketches of Etruscan Places and Other Italian Essays, ed. by Simonetta de Filippis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1932] 1992)

The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, 8 vols, ed. by J. T. Boulton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979-2000)

Contributions to periodicals: 

English Review

Secondary works: 

Apana, A. P., The Other Universe of Man: Travel, Autobiography and D. H. Lawrence (New Delhi: Prestige, 1999) 

Becket, Fiona, The Complete Critical Guide to D. H. Lawrence (London: Routledge, 2002) 

Black, Michael H., Lawrence's England: The Major Fiction, 1913-1920 (Basingstoke: Palgrave in association with St Anthony's, Oxford, 2001)

Brett, Dorothy, Lawrence and Brett: A Friendship (London: Martin Secker, 1933)

Bynner, Witter, Journey with Genius: Recollections and Reflections Concerning the D. H. Lawrences (London and New York: Peter Nevill, 1963)

Callow, Philip, Body of Truth: D. H. Lawrence: The Nomadic Years, 1919-1930 (London: Greenwich Exchange, 2006)

Callow, Phillip, Son and Lover: The Young D. H. Lawrence (London: Allison & Busby, 1998)

Carswell, Catherine Roxburgh, The Savage Pilgrimage: A Narrative of D. H. Lawrence (London: Chatto & Windus, 1932)

Chaudhury, Amit, D. H. Lawrence and Difference: Postcoloniality and the Poetry of the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)

Cooper, Andrew, D. H. Lawrence, 1885-1930: A Celebration (Sherwood: D. H. Lawrence Society, 1985)

Corke, Helen, D. H. Lawrence: The Croydon Years (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965)

Delany, Paul, D. H. Lawrence's Nightmare: The Writer and His Circle in the Years of the Great War (New York: Basic Books, 1978)

Ellis, David, Kinkead-Weekes, Mark and Worthen, John, D. H. Lawrence, 1885-1930: The Cambridge Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

E. T. [Jessie Chambers], D. H. Lawrence: A Personal Record (London: Jonathan Cape, 1935)

Green, Martin Burgess, The von Richthofen Sisters: The Triumphant and Tragic Modes of Love: Else and Frieda von Richthofen, Otto Gross, Max Weber, and D. H. Lawrence, in the Years 1870-1970 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974)

Iida, Takeo, The Reception of D. H. Lawrence around the World (Fukuoka, Japan: Kyushu University Press, 1999)

Kinkead-Weekes, D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile, 1912-1922 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Kripalani, Krishna, Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962)

Lawrence, Frieda von Richthofen, 'Not I, But the Wind...' (London: Heinemann, 1935)

Lawrence, Frieda von Richthofen, E. W. Tedlock, The Memoirs and Correspondence (London: Heinemann, 1961)

Luhan, Mabel Dodge, Lorenzo in Taos (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1932)

Miller, Henry, The World of Lawrence: A Passionate Appreciation (Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1980)

Moore, Harry Thornton, The Intelligent Heart: The Story of D. H. Lawrence (London: William Heinemann, 1955)

Murry, John Middleton, Reminiscences of D. H. Lawrence (London: Jonathan Cape, 1933)

Nehls, Edward, D. H. Lawrence: A Composite Biography, 3 vols (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1957-9)

Oh, Eunyoung, D. H. Lawrence's Border Crossing: Colonialism in His Travel Writings and 'Leadership' Novels (London: Routledge, 2007)

Page, Norman, D. H. Lawrence: Interviews and Recollections, 2 vols (London: Macmillan, 1981)

Parmenter, Ross, Lawrence in Oaxaca: A Quest for the Novelist in Mexico (Salt Lake City: G. M. Smith/Peregrine Smith Books, 1984)

Preston, Peter, A D. H. Lawrence Chronology (New York: St Martin's Press, 1994)

Roberts, Francis Warren, A Bibliography of D. H. Lawrence (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1963)

Sagar, Keith M., D. H. Lawrence: Life into Art (London: Viking, 1985)

Sagar, Keith M., D. H. Lawrence: A Calendar of His Works (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994)

Spencer, Roy, D. H. Lawrence Country: A Portrait of His Early Life and Background with Illustrations, Maps and Guides (London: Cecil Woolf, 1979)

Sumner, Rosemary, A Route to Modernism: Hardy, Lawrence, Woolf (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999)

Worthen, John, D. H. Lawrence: A Literary Life (London: Macmillan, 1989)

Worthen, John, 'Lawrence, David Herbert (1885-1939)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/34435]

Archive source: 

Photo of Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, Philip Arnold Heseltine (Peter Warlock), David Herbert ('D. H.') Lawrence, NPG Ax140425, National Portrait Gallery, London

Correspondence, notebooks and mss, Bucknell University Library, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Correspondence and literary mss, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Colorado University

Correspondence and literary mss, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Literary Mss, papers and correspondence, Nottingham Central Library

Correspondence, Nottinghamshire Archives, Nottingham

Correspondence and papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas

Correspondence, literary mss and papers, Stanford University, California

Correspondence, literary mss and papers, University of California, Berkeley

Papers, University of California, Los Angeles

Literary mss, correspondence and papers, University of Nottingham Library

Literary mss and papers, University of New Mexico Library

Correspondence, literary mss and notebooks, Beinecke Library, Yale University

Papers, University of Cincinnati Libraries

Correspondence with Society of Authors, British Library, St Pancras

Letters to S. S. Koteliansky, British Library, St Pancras

Correspondence with A. Lowell, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Iowa State Education Association

Letters to E. M. Forster, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Berg Collection, New York Public Library

Philip H. & S. W. Rosenbach Foundation

Correspondence, Dora Marsden Collection, Princeton University Library

Corespondence, Sylvia Beach Papers, Princeton University Library

Letters to A. Brackenbury, Tate Collection

Letters to F. Brett Young and J. Brett Young, University of Birmingham

Letters to B. Jennings and mss, University of Liverpool

Letters from D. H. and F. Lawrence to C. Carswell, University of Nottingham Library

University of Toronto Library