The Virgin and the Gipsy

The Virgin and the Gipsy

by D. H. Lawrence
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The Virgin and the Gipsy by D. H. Lawrence

The Virgin and the Gipsy was discovered in France after D. H. Lawrence's death in 1930. Immediately recognized as a masterpiece in which Lawrence had distilled and purified his ideas about sexuality and morality, The Virgin and the Gipsy has become a classic and is one of Lawrence's most electrifying short novels.

Set in a small village in the English countryside, this is the story of a secluded, sensitive rector's daughter who yearns for meaning beyond the life to which she seems doomed. When she meets a handsome young gipsy whose life appears different from hers in every way, she is immediately smitten and yet still paralyzed by her own fear and social convention. Not until a natural catastrophe suddenly, miraculously sweeps away the world as she knew it does a new world of passion open for her. Lawrence's spirit is infused by all his tenderness, passion, and knowledge of the human soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679740773
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1992
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 830,921
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.42(d)

About the Author

D. H. Lawrence, whose fiction has had a profound influence on twentieth-century literature, was born on September 11, 1885, in a mining village in Nottinghamshire, England. His father was an illiterate coal miner, his mother a genteel schoolteacher determined to lift her children out of the working class. His parents' unhappy marriage and his mother's strong emotional claims on her son later became the basis for Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (1913), one of the most important autobiographical novels of this century.   In 1915, his masterpiece, The Rainbow, which like it's companion novel Women In Love (1920) dealt frankly with sex, was suppressed as indecent a month after its publication. Aaron's Road (1922); Kangaroo (1923), set in Australia; and The Plumed Serpent (1926), set in Mexico, were all written during Lawrence's travels in search of political and emotional refuge and healthful climate. In 1928, already desperately ill, Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterly's Lover. Banned as pornographic, the unexpurgated edition was not allowed legal circulation in Britain until 1960. D. H. Lawrence called his life, marked by struggle, frustration, and despair "a savage enough pilgrimage." He died on March 2, 1930, at the age of 44, in Vence, France.

Date of Birth:

September 11, 1885

Date of Death:

March 2, 1930

Place of Birth:

Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England

Place of Death:

Vence, France


Nottingham University College, teacher training certificate, 1908

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The Virgin and the Gipsy 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book does not delve into a passionate love affair that lady chatterly's lover does. in that regard i was very dissapointed. of course lawrence does not fail to portray accurately the emotions of the human experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was found in D.H. Lawrence's papers after his death. It has been published as it was found, which was probably incomplete. The story has some rough edges that undoubtedly would have been smoothed with more rewriting. The book raises interesting questions about what love, proper behavior, and life are all about. The rector had a tragedy in his marriage. The woman whose virginal beauty and nature he had loved became frustrated with him, and left him with two young daughters for another man. Despite his loss of 'she who was Cynthia,' the rector still loves that memory. His younger daughter, Yvette, grows up to be a lot like her mother. That makes life tough for her, because her Grandmother and maiden Aunt rule the roost, and despise anything that or anyone who reminds them of 'she who was Cynthia.' Despite the encouragement of her more conventional older sister, Yvette is at sixes and sevens. She cannot stand her home, her family, or the young men who woo her. She feels totally bored and frustrated. In the midst of her crisis after school ends, she notices a gypsy who seems to command and excite her at the same time. He is the only person who has ever positively moved her, and she doesn't know what to make of it. But her lack of focus keeps her from doing much about it. 'She was born inside the pale. And she liked comfort, and a certain prestige.' So the idea of running off with a married father of five children who lives in a caravan doesn't exactly thrill her. The tension builds in the household as her rector father discovers she has made friends with 'unsuitable' people (a couple living together prior to marriage, following the woman's divorce). Yvette cuts off her connection with them. Probably nothing would have happened, but the gypsy returns one more time . . . and the unexpected happens. Vague thoughts must become bold action, or danger awaits! The book's ending has many of the qualities of 'The Lady or the Tiger' and you will be left to fill in the blanks of what happens next in your own mind. The book left me feeling a little uncomfortable. The class distinctions, the hatred, the unpleasantness to one another, and the purposeless lives irritated me. I wasn't sure where Lawrence agreed with these views and where he did not. He seems to be coming down on the side of those who are 'disreputable' but he is hard on them for having inappropriate qualities as well. It's almost as though Lawrence didn't like any of his characters, except perhaps the gypsy. Certainly, it is rewarding to read about complex characters who are flawed. The book's main weakness is that the metaphors weigh a bit too heavily on the story. A little more subtlety would have made the story more appealing. For much of the book, I thought the structure stuck out too much. There is little action for most of the story, yet the character development is limited except for Yvette and her father. Those who are used to modern novels will find all of the hinting around about sexual attraction to be a little strange. I thought that it was sort of charming in the context of a society that liked to pretend that such emotions only occurred on a limited basis within marriage. After you enjoy the story (be sure to stick with it to the end!), I suggest that you think about where we deny emotions and attitudes that people have every day. What honesty and spontaneity are lost thereby? Enjoy your honest emotions as well as your honest thoughts! Be kind to all you meet! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution