18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2001
This book is incredible value, including not only all of Lawrence's short stories (except for one or two unfinished stories), but also his novellas 'The Virgin and the Gypsy', 'The Ladybird', 'The Fox' and 'The Captain's Daughter'. Furthermore, it's an attractive, well-printed hardback.
Lawrence was astonishingly prolific, writing superb novels, superb essays (there's a selection published in Oxford World's Classics), a thousand-odd pages of poems (and how many other early-20th-century poets from England are worth reading?), superb letters (Cambridge have a selected edition), and these superb short stories.
Unlike the poems, Lawrence's short stories are not merely among the best, but are unmatched by any English writer of this century. After a few early attempts, virtually all Lawrence's stories are excellent, and many can be placed among his greatest work. (And if that sounds academic, it can be said that "great", with Lawrence, is synonymous with "enjoyable", "memorable", "provoking".)
There stories cover all of Lawrence's writing career, and reflect a constantly developing sense of what short stories could do. The early stories deal with situations familiar to readers of 'Sons and Lovers'. They include what is perhaps the most joyous, carefree (and funny!) piece of writing that Lawrence produced, in 'A Chapel and a Hay Hut in the Mountains', from the time of his marriage to Frieda. The middle-period stories are artistically related to 'The Rainbow': full of passionate appreciation of life, and intense and subtle explorations of human relationships. The later stories can be satires, or even what could be called myths. Lawrence's by now completely flexible narrative voice can contain both an expression of a couple's mania for buying objects, and ironic mockery of their enslavement to "things" (in the story with that title). In other stories a woman rides of to join American Indians; or Lawrence creates a new Resurrection story; or describes a man's increasingly Swiftean disgust for humanity as he lives on less and less inhabited islands.