Skip to main content

Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930



  • Existence: 1885-1930

D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, painter, translator, and literary critic is regarded as one of the twentieth century's most influential and controversial authors. His deeply autobiographical works confront issues relating to emotional health, human sexuality and dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. Both in life and death, Lawrence’s literary reputation occupies a polarizing position. Some label Lawrence as a pornographer, fascist, and sexist, while others proclaim him a genius and place his fiction within the English canon.

Born the fourth child of Arthur John Lawrence, a barely literate miner, and Lydia Lawrence, a former pupil teacher and lace factory worker, Lawrence spent his formative years in the small mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. After leaving Nottingham High School in 1901 Lawrence was employed as a clerk for a surgical supply company and later followed in his mother’s example by taking up a teacher-training scholarship at University College, Nottingham.

In 1909 a selection of Lawrence’s poems were published in the English Review. His career as a professional author began in earnest when London publisher Heinemann published his first novel, The White Peacock, in 1911. It wasn't until he persuaded the wife of his former professor to run away with him that Lawrence resolved to quit teaching and make his way as an author. In May 1912, Lawrence and Frieda Weekley eloped in her family’s home in Metz, Germany. This turbulent period in Lawrence’s life was also marked by illness, the death of his mother, and the publication of some his most renowned works such as Sons and Lovers (1913),The Rainbow (1915) Women in Love (1920).

In 1919, Lawrence and his wife left England once more, embarking on a period of extensive travelling within Europe and then further afield to Ceylon, Australia, Mexico and New Mexico. His deteriorating health required Lawrence to return to Europe with Frieda in 1925. During his last years, Lawrence spent much of his time in Italy where he wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), his best-known and most infamous novel. Lawrence died on 2 March 1930 in the south of France.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Dorothy Brett Collection

Identifier: MS27
Abstract Artist Dorothy Brett, a member of the Bloomsbury group, was a friend of Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, and Frieda and D.H. Lawrence. This collection includes typescripts for her autobiography, a continuation of her memoirs on D.H. Lawrence, and some of her correspondence to John Middleton Murry about the Lawrences. Brett's diaries recounting her visits to Taos, New Mexico (1924), and Capri (1926); a copy of her manuscript on her friendship with Katherine Mansfield; and an interview...
Dates: 1922 - 1969; Majority of material found within 1965 - 1969

D. H. Lawrence Collection

Identifier: MS11-MS88
Abstract D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, painter, translator, and literary critic is regarded as one of the twentieth century's most influential and controversial authors. The D.H. Lawrence Collection consists of correspondence, typescripts, proofs, photographs and two original drawings from publisher William H. Heineman's files for The Letters of D.H. Lawrence, edited by Aldous Huxley (London: William Heineman, 1932. Shelfmark:...
Dates: 1909-1951; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1973

Anais Nin Collection

Identifier: MS14
Abstract The Anaïs Nin Collection contains manuscripts, proofs and galleys for much of Nin's writing from 1925-1964. Included are early unpublished works, short stories, unfinished novels and plays, and various stages of major works, namely, Under a Glass Bell, House of Incest, Winter of Artifice, Children of the Albatross, Ladders to Fire, Spy in the House of Love, Collages and Seduction of the Minotaur. Her first critical book, ...
Dates: 1925-1964