D. H. Lawrence: The Story of a Marriage

Overview

Drawing on nearly 2,000 previously unpublished letters, Brenda Maddox presents a rich and startlingly new portrait of D. H. Lawrence: a hilarious mimic, a lover of nature, an inspired teacher, a brilliant journalist, an ecological visionary, and, above all - a married man.
This award-winning work examines Lawrence's perplexing, restless life through the greatest contradiction in it - his marriage - taking it not just as another aspect of Lawrence but as the encompassing whole. ...

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Overview

Drawing on nearly 2,000 previously unpublished letters, Brenda Maddox presents a rich and startlingly new portrait of D. H. Lawrence: a hilarious mimic, a lover of nature, an inspired teacher, a brilliant journalist, an ecological visionary, and, above all - a married man.
This award-winning work examines Lawrence's perplexing, restless life through the greatest contradiction in it - his marriage - taking it not just as another aspect of Lawrence but as the encompassing whole. His marriage to Frieda von Richthofen Weekley was a mismatch made in heaven, and yet it lasted until the tubercular Lawrence lost his heroic struggle for life, a struggle in which, he told Frieda, "nothing mattered but you." Or so she claimed.

In this monumental biography--the first to draw on 2,000 previously unpublished Lawrence letters--the prizewinning author of Nora brilliantly resolves the contradictions surrounding one of our most controversial literary figures. 32 pages of photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Maddox's (Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom) epic biography, drawing on 2000 previously unpublished letters, portrays the volatile union between ``the genius and the Valkyrie'' with subtlety, wit and compassion. The novels of British modernist Lawrence (1885-1930) incite carking disagreement; Lady Chatterley's Lover has been characterized as a frank and lyrical exploration of erotic love and ``the foulest book in English literature.'' As the author shows, the conflicts that animate Lawrence's fiction-between the miner and the aristocrat, exuberant heterosexuality and ambivalent homoeroticism, the Tory and the iconoclast-were grounded not only in his parents' hostile marriage, but also in his own. Yet Maddox carefully explores the bonds that allowed a match between such different people-irascible, tubercular Lawrence and outspoken, sexually adventurous Baroness Frieda von Richthofen Weekley-not only to endure but to flourish. That two such hyperbolic temperaments, riding the crest of the avant-garde, found solace and sustenance in homely domesticity is a beguiling theme of this remarkable book. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Maddox, best known for Nora (LJ 6/15/88), her excellent biography of James Joyce's wife, chooses to examine Lawrence's life "through the greatest contradiction in it: his marriage" to Frieda von Richthofen Weekley. This perspective gives effective shape to her book. Maddox was able to make use of all seven volumes of the Cambridge University Press's edition of Lawrence's letters, but her biography doesn't claim great originality. Instead, it offers a vivid, balanced, readable, and occasionally jarring portrait of Lawrence and Frieda and their "mismatch made in heaven." Livelier than Jeffrey Meyer's D.H. Lawrence (LJ 5/15/90), another recent mass-market life of Lawrence, Maddox's work aims for a more general audience than the authoritative three-volume Cambridge biography, one volume of which has been published (John Worthen, D.H. Lawrence: The Early Years, 1885-1912, LJ 7/91). For general literature collections.-Keith Cushman, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro
Booknews
Maddox examines Lawrence's perplexing life through an examination of his marriage to Baroness Frieda von Richthofen Weekley. Without overlooking his misogyny, anti-Semitism, flirtation with fascism, and other defects, as well as new revelations about his tuberculosis, his many friendships, and his complicated sexual life, Maddox presents a portrait of a vulnerable, likeable Lawrence: a hilarious mimic, a lover of nature, an inspired teacher, a brilliant journalist, and, above all--as he saw himself--a married man. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Barnes & Noble
This biography examines Lawrence's perplexing, restless life through its greatest contradiction: his marriage to Frieda von Richthofen Weekley, a woman even more defiant of conventional morality than he was. B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393314540
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/17/1996
  • Pages: 620
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Maddox
Brenda Maddox

Brenda Maddox is an award-winning biographer whose work has been translated into ten languages. Nora: A Biography of Nora Joyce, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Silver PEN Award, and the French Prix du Mailleur Livre Etranger. Her life of D. H. Lawrence won the Whitbread Biography Award in 1974, and Yeats's Ghosts, on the married life of W. B. Yeats, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 1998.

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