‘Tender’, Says Lawrence

There in the world of the mechnical greedy, greedy mechanism and mechanised greed, sparkling with lights and gushing hot metal and roaring with traffic, there lay the vast evil thing, ready to destroy whatever did not conform. Soon it would destroy the wood, and the bluebells would spring no more. All the vulnerable things must perish under the rolling and running of iron. (142)

I first fell in love with D. H. Lawrence reading his novel Women in Love, the sequel to The Rainbow.

The sequel features four unique protagonists: Gundrun, Ursula, Birkin, and Gerald. The characters regularly engage in profound, philosophical discussions that occur so often and are so profound that many scenes are rather surreal. Lawrence provides no comic relief for his readers and after reading Women in Love I instantly read further about the novel to discover that it is generally criticised for being too dogmatic.

I found the novel extremely readable and engaging. It feels as if each character is a puzzle that Lawrence challenges his readers to desire. Ultimately all of the characters have a tragic inevitability which is evident throughout the novel, and yet as a reader you still hope they will be successful with their goals. I would definitely recommend it as an enthralling read.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is perhaps a slightly lighter novel than Women in Love. I think many readers are drawn to the novel for its descriptive sexual passages that shocked Lawrence’s 1920’s audience. However I was drawn to Lawrence’s depiction of the idea of ‘tenderness’ against the harsh, cold world. In 1928 the image of a ‘harsh, cold’ world was based on the growing industrialism and increasing urbanisation. Today, in the face of riots, civil wars and ongoing war conflicts around the world, I think we could still do with some more of Lawrence’s special tenderness towards one another. 

 

‘TENDER,’ SAYS LAWRENCE

This act
llllis soft
seeping, weeping
lllllllllllllllllllllllllquiet
from the thunder.

Let it
swallow
llllthe sureness,
surrender your arms
lllll to a flowering secret
to the warmth

llllof another

touch.

 

April Roach

Lawrence, D. H. Lady Chatterley’s Lover. London: Harper Press, 2013.

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4 thoughts on “‘Tender’, Says Lawrence

  1. Nice little review here! I would’ve liked to hear a bit more about the previous book, the Rainbow. Was Woman in Love better than that which is why it had more focus? This sounds like a very interesting book? Maybe one I can try in the future ^.^

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  2. Yes, this world could definitely do with more tenderness!
    On another note, I read “The Rainbow” for A Level English Literature (many years ago) and that included the theme of growing urbanisation, though I don’t recall it being a harsh view of it. I think Ursula (??) ended the novel looking at the rainbow over the city and feeling once more at peace. If I remember correctly….

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  3. I have yet to read ‘The Rainbow’ myself, but it would be interesting to compare how D. H. Lawrence’s view on urbanisation in ‘The Rainbow’ to ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’.

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