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D.H. Lawrence: A Biography [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Meyers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jeffrey Meyers, the author of highly acclaimed biographies of Hemingway and George Orwell, offers this masterly work on British novelist D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930). Meyers' fresh insights into Lawrence's life illuminate Lawrence's working-class childhood, his tempestuous marriage, and his death in France after the scandalous publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover, revealing Lawrence's complex method of intermingling autobiography and fiction. Through intensive research and access to unpublished essays and letters of Lawrence and his circle, Meyers describes the circumstances of his mother's death, the reason for the suppression of The Rainbow, and the author's protean (and extreme) sexuality that mirrored that of his fiction.

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This clean, energetic, and untendentious biography of D.H. most welcome for its candid narrative and new information about the novelist's childhood, marriage, sexual life, health, and always complex friendships. Meyers has produced a readable, scholarly biography that doesn't break its subject on the wheel of some reductive thesis or bury him in self-serving detail. Lawrence lives The Wall Street Journal A fine piece of work. It is dispassionate, it is cool, not cold. It sets out the record and untangles conflicting accounts...Meyers is scrupulous. He hardly ever fails to put the other side's case. He does not whitewash Lawrence...Meyers seems just and wise about Lawrence's feelings for his wife Frieda and hers for him. He seems to understand both, to feel for both. -- Noel Annan The New York Review Of Books It is a daunting task to record the life of a genius and prophet. Meyers is up to the task. He presents both new material about Lawrence's life as well as a cogent summation of what we already know. His biography is a scholarly, lucid, and comprehensive account of the writer whom E. M. Forster called ' the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation'...the detached elan with which Meyers analyzes and makes familiar the tempestuous-yet -binding relationship [between Lawrence and Frieda] is one of the more engaging aspects of the book. By sketching Frieda's numerous marital infidelities Meyers gives us Lawrence rooted in the human clay of marriage, the ' living man,' the author of great and original literature. The Christian Science Monitor

About the Author

Jeffrey Meyers, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, is the author of Gary Cooper, Scott Fitzgerald and Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2499 KB
  • Print Length: 482 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0815412304
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Press (9 Sept. 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GRWE20E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #682,166 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's Lawrence, Jim, but not as we know him. . . 3 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Imagine putting together a well-resourced team of researchers on Lawrence's life, and then giving the job of actually writing the biography to one of the more feverish feature-writers on the Sun or the Daily Mail -- and this is the book you end up with. OK, it's a rollicking good read -- though constantly irritating if you know anything about Lawrence to start with -- but this is essentially a tabloid treatment of a major writer and thinker still scandalously underrated, and a very special, valuable human being, a one-off in the best sense. It's not that all the alleged facts are wrong, though many are certainly questionable, rather that they are spun, and interpreted how it suits the author, which is to say in the most sensational way he can find, often laying great stress on nth-hand tittle-tattle from sources who may never have been reliable or unbiased. In some ways all biographies do this, otherwise they're just chronologies, but it's a matter of balance and reasonableness in marshalling evidence and suggesting conclusions. As a start, and as just one example of the book's atmosphere, look at the author's captions to the many photographs: I don't think we need to be told what we're looking at. Here's a perfectly ordinary good-natured studio portrait of a half-smiling Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry, but in Meyers' view, we learn that "Katherine's gaunt expression (it isn't in the slightest) and deep-set eyes (no again, they aren't) reveal the illness that killed her in 1923". (Ah, that's why he said those things: she died of TB, so she must look like it, but unfortunately for Meyers, she doesn't: though he'll say it anyway.) And then "Murry seems nervous and concerned". (Not remotely -- he's smiling for the camera.) You find yourself asking "Do I trust this biographer? Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D H Lawrence 6 Feb. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant book for help on my final year university literature course. Would recommend this book for any one studying D H Lawrence and the midlands area.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D. H. Lawrence - contradiction & resolution 11 Dec. 2013
By peejay
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Though not the most recent Lawrence biography, Jeffrey Meyers gets to the heart of the D.H. conundrum. Informed writing backed up with a toolkit of psychological insight, scholarly wisdom, empathy and balanced judgement. The book is well-balanced between concerns for the man`s life, social/political background and massively impressive artistic output. It`s no effort to read - but will leave those who do with a feeling of enrichment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars D. H. Lawrence 29 Jun. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am quite pleased with Jeffrey's book. As I'm doing some research on Lawrence's prose and how his novella The Fox features in it, Meyers' Biography has proved very useful. It has clearly been used/read before, but that I knew beforehand. So on the whole, well done, Amazon!
Yvan De Maesschalck
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine piece of scholarship, worthy of a larger audience. 9 Dec. 2013
By Alexander P. Simack - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
After reading John Worthen's bio a few years ago I never thought I'd see another fine life of DHL, but this certainly is one. Like Prof. Worthen, Jeffrey Meyers is compassionate, fair-minded and very thorough. He is much more unrestrained than Worthen, but that's the American way vs. the English I suppose. The reader gets more meticulous detail concerning DHL's sex life and marriage and friendships than perhaps he would want! But there are fine analyses of DHL's major works as well. I heartily endorse this brilliant work!

Disregard the one negative review here. I don't understand why people read a book when they are not enthusiastic about the subject matter.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The double-edged sword of creativity... 11 May 2014
By Michael Welch - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Meyers captures Lawrence so vividly, I had to believe this biography was as close to the truth as possible. What a brave and beautiful and baleful life DHL lived! While I have worshipped creativity all my life, I doubt it's worth the kind of cost DHL had to pay, not to mention all those around him. Certainly, this fabulous book goes a long way in explaining the passion behind the novels. Five cheers. MW
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars D H LAWRENCE: A BIOGRAPHY 30 Aug. 2012
By baby boomer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was heavy in parts, interesting in others. Basically a good read if you are interested in D H Lawrence, who was from what I read a complex author but a dedicated writer. I enjoyed the book, but then I have always enjoyed reading his material.
7 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE GREAT MAN? 25 Oct. 2003
By Sesho - Published on
Pretty much known as the Henry Miller of his time, D.H. Lawrence was a writer that lots of people were reading, but were ashamed to admit to. The sexually charged Lady Chatterly's Lover would have made him a wealthy man if he had lived a bit longer. Lawrence has too often been the victim of readers looking over his art to see the erotic elements. Jeffrey Meyers tries to present his subject as an artist who changed the times he lived in. Meyers pretty much fails.
Born into a working class family, Lawrence figured out early on that his mother was the one that made the decisions in the household, overriding his father, who was frequently drunk and abused his wife. As so often happens, this pattern would be repeated with DH's own marriage. After a couple of years of being a teacher, a job which he despised by the way, he met a woman somewhat older than himself who was married, and proceeded to fall in love. Much as Henry Miller's wife got him to quit his job and concentrate on his art, so too did Frieda. Eventually getting a divorce, Lawrence married her. Her love came at a price though. On their honeymoon, Freida had affairs with other men to prove her freedom.
Finding some fulfillment with Freida but still unable to feel complete, Lawrence set about writing a handful of novels about some semi-mystical state you could reach through sex. It was as though Lawrence felt so disconnected with the world and so alienated from women that he sought some cosmic answer in his books as to how they two sexes could be brought together in one being. Meyers also suggests that maybe as an alternative Lawrence sought for this union through affairs with men also.
In this biography I failed to see how anything about DH's and Freida's relationship was positive. She seems to be more a physical plaything that a loving wife. Every time you hear about DH and her, they seem to be yelling at each other and having actual physical fights. Probably because just like in his father's marriage, he is the passive-aggresive one who does not have the stamina to control Freida except in moments of anger when he hits her. The only thing she helped him with was sex. Meyers himself seems enamored of Freida, time and again saying how attractive she was when the pictures in the book make her appear just as Georgia O'Keefe comments upon meeting her, that she was "a chunky, gold-toothed, guttural-voiced woman". I still never figured out her supposed beauty.
I felt no connection with Lawrence. I don't know if it was the fault of the biographer or DH himself. He came off as a hypocritic man who tried to lord it over his friends. He never seemed to think they were good enough or smart enough to figure out what they wanted from their lives. He sacrificed many of his friends, such as that with Katherine Mansfield for his egomaniacal mannerisms. Some might say this is a symptom of genius. I believe that Lawrence was simply an above average writer, bordering on bad.
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