Sons and Lovers (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) [NOOK Book]

Overview



Sons and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable ...
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Sons and Lovers (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview



Sons and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
 
Called the most widely-read English novel of the twentieth century, D. H. Lawrence’s largely autobiographical Sons and Lovers tells the story of Paul Morel, a young artist growing into manhood in a British working-class community near the Nottingham coalfields. His mother Gertrude, unhappily married to Paul’s hard-drinking father, devotes all her energies to her son. They develop a powerful and passionate relationship, but eventually tensions arise when Paul falls in love with a girl and seeks to escape his family ties. Torn between his desire for independence and his abiding attachment to his loving but overbearing mother, Paul struggles to define himself sexually and emotionally through his relationships with two women—the innocent, old-fashioned Miriam Leivers, and the experienced, provocatively modern Clara Dawes.

Heralding Lawrence’s mature period, Sons and Lovers vividly evokes the all-consuming nature of possessive love and sexual attraction. Lushly descriptive and deeply emotional, it is rich in universal truths about human relationships.

Victoria Blake is a freelance writer. She has worked at The Paris Review and contributed to the Boulder Daily Camera, small literary presses in the United States, and English-language publications in Bangkok, Thailand. She currently lives and works in San Diego, California.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781411433199
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 215,496
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Victoria Blake is a freelance writer. She has worked at The Paris Review and contributed to the Boulder Daily Camera, small literary presses in the United States, and English-language publications in Bangkok, Thailand. She currently lives and works in San Diego, California.

Biography

Born in Nottinghamshire, England, D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) was the author of a remarkable array of novels, stories, poetry, literary criticism, and travel writing, including the novels Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, and Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      David Herbert Richard Lawrence. Called "Bert" by his family. Jessie Chambers and Lawrence H. Davison are pseudonyms.
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 11, 1885
    2. Place of Birth:
      Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      March 2, 1930
    2. Place of Death:
      Vence, France

Read an Excerpt


From Victoria Blake's Introduction to Sons and Lovers

The story of how and why D.H. Lawrence wrote Sons and Lovers is a love story as much as it is a story about literature. The story begins at D.H. Lawrence's birth and ends just before the outbreak of World War One. Although it is a love story, it is not a story about amor, per se, the exclusive romantic love. Rather, it is about love in all its various guises-love for the Mother Country and the mother, love for the work of writing and, above all, love for life itself. D.H. Lawrence was a passionate man; he threw himself into life. In his presence, his peers were aware of life lived more highly, of emotions felt more truly and of the rawness of human experience. Lawrence took life in huge gulps, personalizing it and, in the end, changing it to suit his own artistic goals.

"I remember seeing him sitting apart at a table doing matriculation work," writes Jessie Chambers in her book D. H. Lawrence: A Personal Record see "For Further Reading". "He smiled across at me, and I saw again his uniqueness, how totally different he was from any of the other youths. . . . There was his sensitiveness . . . his delicacy of spirit, that, while it contributed vitally to his charm, made him more vulnerable, more susceptible to injury from the crudeness of life" p. 47.

Sons and Lovers is Lawrence's third novel. He began writing it when he was twenty-five years old, a young, sensitive schoolteacher with periodic bouts of pneumonia and a penchant for problems of the heart. The novel underwent four major revisions and a name change before being published in 1913. As conceived, it was to be a book based on fact: the story of the young man, Paul Morel, growing up in a coal-mining district of the English Midlands. As such, it would be a thinly disguised fictionalization of Lawrence's own life, a portrait of the artist as a young man or, as the critic Harold Bloom suggests, a portrait of the artist as a young prig.

Lawrence was born in 1885 in a lower-middle-class town in Nottinghamshire during a time in English history characterized by repressive social mores, strict morality, and austere, even ascetic, religious practices. In other words, the author was born at a time and in a place particularly inclined toward priggishness.

Lawrence chaffed under the yoke of Victorian England. His gift of perception, which told him that life was a vast mystery and wonder, also told him that his country was ruining itself with its industrialization, its mechanization, and its impulse toward war. As he grew up, he grew intolerant. "Curse you, my countrymen," he wrote to Edward Garnett, his publisher and friend, in a letter dated July 1912, "you have put the halters round your necks, and pull tighter and tighter from day to day. You are strangling yourselves, you blasted fools" The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, Vol. 1, edited by James T. Boulton. To borrow Lawrence's own phrase, England suffered under a "Thou Shalt Not" mentality.

Lawrence longed for the implied permission of the "Thou Shalt," two words that promise not only freedom but also free will. The purpose of life, Lawrence wrote, was not simply to live, but to live vitally and at the edge of the great mystery of existence. This will to live-or, perhaps more correctly, the will toward life-was, in a characteristically Lawrencian sense, mixed up with a philosophy of sex. With more emotion than logic, Lawrence felt that "Thou Shalt," when murmured by a partially clothed woman, promised not only sexual union but also spiritual union. His philosophy is not simply, as future critics would categorize it, "sex in the head." What Lawrence wanted was not crude, not base, not purely sexual. "It's a pity that sex is such an ugly little word," Lawrence wrote in an essay titled "Sex Versus Loveliness." "While ever it lives, the fire of sex, which is the source of beauty and anger, burns in us beyond our understanding. . . . Sex and beauty are one thing, like flame and fire. If you hate sex, you hate beauty." Lawrence wanted, through sex, to understand beauty and through beauty, mystery. It was this understanding that Lawrence defined as intuition, and it was this intuition that Lawrence felt to be his prime talent as a writer.

And it is a pity that sex was such a dirty little word in Victorian England, though for admirers of Lawrence it would be hard to wish it otherwise. The most subtle, almost sublime, tensions in his writing owe much to the war between his second-natural will to live and his natural desire to obey. Sons and Lovers is the work of a confused man, one who could not figure out which impulse to follow. As in life, so in fiction. In Sons and Lovers, the two impulses are represented on the one side by Paul Morel's relationship with his mother and on the other side by his relationship with first Miriam, then Clara. In a much-quoted letter written to Edward Garnett dated November 1912, Lawrence defends the idea of the book, succinctly illuminating its themes.

A woman of character and refinement goes into the lower class, and has no satisfaction in her own life. She has had a passion for her husband, so the children are born of passion, and have heaps of vitality. But as her sons grow up she selects them as lovers-first the eldest, then the second. These sons are urged into life by their reciprocal love of their mother-urged on and on. But when they come to manhood, they can't love, because their mother is the strongest power in their lives, and holds them. . . . As soon as the young men come into contact with women, there's a split. William gives his sex to a fribble, and his mother holds his soul. But the split kills him, because he doesn't know where he is. The next son gets a woman who fights for his soul-fights his mother. The son loves the mother-all the sons hate and are jealous of the father. The battle goes on between the mother and the girl, with the son as object. The mother gradually proves stronger, because of the tie of blood. The son decides to leave his soul in his mother's hands, and, like his elder brother, go for passion. He gets passion. Then the split begins to tell again. But, almost unconsciously, the mother realizes what is the matter, and begins to die. The son casts off his mistress, attends to his mother dying. He is left in the end naked of everything, with the drift toward death Letters.

Since Freud, mother love versus romantic love has become a familiar theme. Hundreds of pages, perhaps thousands, have been written about Lawrence's Oedipus complex as demonstrated in the novel. Critics began to see the novel in a Freudian light as early as 1913; Sons and Lovers was taken to be the first, great, Freudian allegory. "As he stooped to kiss his mother, she threw her arms round his neck, hid her face on his shoulder, and cried, in a whimpering voice, so unlike her own that he writhed in agony," Lawrence wrote. "'And I've never-you know, Paul-I've never had a husband-not really-'" Mrs. Morel says. Paul "stroked his mother's hair, and his mouth was on her throat."

Although Lawrence was aware of Freudian ideas as early as 1912, there is no indication that he intended the book to have a Freudian subtext. Responding to the Freudian interpretation, he thought the critics had carved a half lie from an honest portrayal of his childhood. He saw what he had written as a novel, not a case history, and considered the text universal, a representation of "the tragedy of thousands of young men in England" from the Garnett letter of November 1912. Later, in 1921, he published an anti-Freudian tract titled Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious.

However, Lawrence admitted in various letters that he had loved his mother like a lover. He wrote descriptions of Mrs. Lawrence as if he were writing about a girlfriend: "She is my first, great love. She was a wonderful, rare woman-you do not know; as strong, and steadfast, and generous as the sun. She could be as swift as a white whiplash, and as kind and gentle as warm rain, and as steadfast as the irreducible earth beneath us," he wrote to Louise Burrows in December 1910, on the eve of his mother's death Letters. In the same month he wrote to Rachel Ann and Taylor, "This has been a kind of bond between me and my mother. We have loved each other, almost with a husband and wife love, as well as filial and maternal." Later in the same letter he wrote, "Nobody can have the soul of me. My mother has had it, and nobody can have it again. Nobody can come into my very self again, and breath me like an atmosphere" Letters.

This, then, is the setting for the composition of Sons and Lovers. A remarkably gifted young man, tragically stifled under both the yoke of his mother's love and the weight of Victorian morals, conceives of an autobiographical novel that will stick to the facts of his upbringing. Eastwood, the rundown though respectable mining town where Lawrence was born, changes to Bestwood. Lydia Lawrence, his mother, changes to Gertrude Morel. And Lawrence, with little change, renames himself Paul.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 92 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    Enter a world

    This book evokes a complete world as very few others I have read. The main characters are so well written you feel you know them, you sympathize with them, you can see them in your mind. It is also is a very sensual book at times. Lawrence creates sexual tension between the romantic leads, and uses natural settings to heighten those tensions. The book is ultimately about the relationships between the members of a family and their friends, and describes those relationships beautifully, but in the end, to me, sadly.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Read this book!

    I read this book for an APLIT project and overall, I thought the book was very good. It was interesting and not hard to read. Some parts drag on a bit and the characters' love affairs can get a little annoying towards the end of the book because it seems as if they can't make up their mind when it comes to being with someone. None the less, I would highly recommend the novel, and although it might take you a while to read, it's worth it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    Small print, 26 pgs of spoiler you can skip at start

    Wanted to read for awhile now...others in series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    Sons and lovers is book that deals with a middle class British f

    Sons and lovers is book that deals with a middle class British family everyone can relate to a character.


    The book deals relationships with family and the main character Paul Morel. The book starts of between how the mother and father and then it talks about the children Paul, William, and his sister. Anyway if you want to read about a british family in the nineteen twenty about their every struggles you should read this book. It will make you laugh, some parts will make you mad especially William and his girlfriend.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    Terrible editing

    Too many typos.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Slow But Engaging

    It's one of those rare books that hooks you with emotional turmoil but also happens to be deeply tedious and slow. Not to turn anyone off - I'm glad I read it but you must be a patient reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2008

    Can be a tiresome book - but to the point of being very interesting!

    It is difficult to describe D.H. Lawrence's second novel in terms of the effect it has upon the reader. While I read it - out of pleasure, not a school assignment 'as it usually is' - I was drawn into the story through frustration. Surely the characters could not be so ignorant of their situation! Surely things must get better! And just when you think things will shift in one direction, they go elsewhere, sucking you in again to see what happens. Mind you, it's not the feeling one may have with a mystery or suspense novel -- no, it is simply a story about human conflict during the turn of the 20th century in rural England. I'm sure my review only perplexes you even more. But, if you enjoy classic literature and human / familial conflict, you should enjoy this story as well.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2003

    Different

    I purchased this book in Eastwood England as I visited D.H. Lawrence's boyhood home. I found the book to be hard to read at times. Local colloquial language is sometimes used, which while it gives flavor to the book it also makes it necessary to refer to the interpretations in the back of the book. I would love to read D.H. Lwrence A Personal Record by Jessie Chambers. It is a rebuttal to the way she is portrayed in the book Sons and Lovers. I loved the story. Lawrence sometimes gets carried away describing the flowers and the countryside.

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    Posted January 12, 2010

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    Posted July 15, 2011

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    Posted July 15, 2011

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