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The Rainbow (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

D.H. Lawrence
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 1995 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by Lionel Kelly, University of Reading.

In 1915, Lawrence's frank representation of sexuality in The Rainbow caused a furore and the novel was seized by the police and banned almost as soon as it was published. Today it is recognised as one of the classic English novels of the twentieth century.

The Rainbow is about three generations of the Brangwen family of Nottinghamshire from the 1840s to the early years of the twentieth century. Within this framework Lawrence's essential concern is with the passional lives of his characters as he explores the pressures that determine their lives, using a religious symbolism in which the 'rainbow' of the title is his unifying motif. His primary focus is on the individual's struggle to growth and fulfilment within marriage and changing social circumstances, a process shown to grow more difficult through the generations. Young Ursula Brangwen, whose story is continued in Women in Love, is finally the central figure in Lawrence's anatomy of the confining structures of English social life and the impact of industrialisation and urbanisation on the human psyche.

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The Rainbow (Wordsworth Classics) + Women in Love (Wordsworth Classics) + Sons and Lovers (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New Ed edition (1 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853262501
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853262500
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.3 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Lawrence is not fashionable at present, perhaps because he is just too good, and too gifted. Hardly any other English writer, perhaps only Thomas Hardy, comes near him in his ability to show the reality of people's whole lives, to present their emotions, and to depict the experience of living and working in 20th-century Britain. This is a unique and marvellous book, but we should also read his 'Sons and lovers' and 'Women in love'.- William Podamore -- --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

D. H. Lawrence started 'The Sisters' in 1913, wrote four different versions and claimed to have discarded 'quite a thousand pages' before completing The Rainbow in 1915. Mark Kinkead-Weekes gives the composition history and collates the surviving states of the text to assess the damage done to Lawrence's great novel. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic sensual saga 2 Feb 2014

Though Lawrence is best known for writing Lady Chatterley's Lover, for me, The Rainbow is a far more illuminating and interesting look at sexuality. It also avoids Lawrence's key pitfalls: tendency to be florid when describing sex, long passages of Lawrence philosophising and my pet hate- the Mellors type. Lawrence has a particular type of male character he loves writing about- a rough, hearty man-of-the-soil, a man's man who can barely string a sentence together but is seething with bestial passions. Mellors is of course the epitome of this character. I don't know whether Lawrence thinks women like things like that or whether he has a penchant himself. Anyway, we only get a very minor character of the Mellors type in The Rainbow.

Originally Women in Love, the sequel to The Rainbow, was going to make up the fourth and final section of the book. Though The Rainbow is not rigidly divided into sections, there are three key eras in the history of the Brangwen family. The first generation is Tom Brangwen, who marries a Polish widow Lydia Lensky. She's six years his senior with a tragic sort of soul that Tom can never quite understand. As an antidote to the alienation he feels from his wife, Tom focuses his affections on her little stepdaughter Anna. Though Tom and Lydia have children together, it is Anna Lensky that heralds the second era of the novel.

As a teenager, Anna falls for Will Brangwen, her 'cousin'. Will is different from the typical blonde-haired Brangwens; he is skinny and dark-haired. This will become a theme of the novel, as each new era involves a change that moves the family away from their agricultural history and towards the modern era. Like Tom and Lydia, Anna and Will have a deep passion with trouble at its heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars free book on kindle - classics 9 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
All D H Lawrence fans should have a copy of 'the rainbow'. He writes prose in such a poetic way, it is beautiful to read. This is a free book on kindle so I shouldn't complain, but I think the censoring for kindle was a bit unnecessary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Lawrence novel? 29 April 2012
The Rainbow is an intergenerational saga set in late Victorian England. It deals with the inner emotional lives of a Nottinghamshire farming family-the Brangwens-who have lived on the land for generations and yet have to face to upheaval of a fast changing world. It is a novel about human relationships and all their complexity. This is evident from the outset when the young Tom Brangwen marries an older Polish lady and he forms a close bond with her daughter Anna, who he adopts.

It is not hard to see why the book was banned in 1915. The book is exceptionally frank and it is honest about the problems that can occur between men and women. Tom is insanely jealous when his adopted daughter marries her cousin Will Brangwen and the subsequent Will-Anna match is fraught with difficulty. They clash over matters religious: the religious buildings that Will loves leave Anna cold.

Eventually Will and Anna have a daughter Ursula, who grows up to be something of a free spirit. Ursula wants to make her own way in the world and this brings her into conflict with her father. She becomes a school teacher in Nottingham (a terribly draining but ultimately rewarding experience for her). Lawrence describes the fear and drudgery of teaching exceptionally well and he seems to be remarkably sympathetic to Ursula and her desire for freedom.

This is definitely one of those 'great books' that I felt more than lived up to its critical reputation. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic fiction and especially to people who have only read Lady Chatterley's Lover. This-I felt- was a much more rewarding and challenging book.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite D.H. Lawrence 10 July 1998
By A Customer
Lawrence's fame (or notoriety) rests on his sexual frankness, but what a lot of readers overlook is how well he wrote about parent-child relationships and family dynamics. The beginning of this novel is absolutely brilliant: Tom Brangwen and the Polish widow marry in haste, then find that they still haven't worked out their relationship. Her young daughter is an uneasy third party, and the child's sensitivity to the unease in their household is beautifully described, as well as her stepfather's gentle efforts to befriend her. As Lawrence continues the family history, his usual obsessions surface. But in general, it's a good story: sex is an organic part of his characters' lives rather than the mainspring of the whole plot (as in some of his other novels). And the characters come across as multi-dimensional human beings rather than talking heads (or other organs) for Lawrence's comments on life. A good novel for people who "don't like D.H. Lawrence."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 16 Dec 2010
By Guv
The Rainbow is a hugely rewarding novel, which despite its relative brevity has the air of the epic about it. I had previously read Lady Chatterley's Lover and I've since read Women in Love, but while I enjoyed both neither had the impact of The Rainbow. That this book was censured and unavailable to buy legally in Britain for over a decade is testimony that many aspects of British life in the earlier decades of the last century are not worth mourning. The Brangwens are a family to be savoured, and Lawrence expertly evokes a long lost semi-mythical past without resorting to sentiment. This is a magnificent novel, and in over thirty years of devouring books of many kinds, this is one that has few peers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Works perfectly with iPad & iPhone
Published 10 days ago by Mr David M Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars ... passages (especially the final chapter) which are amongst the...
So difficult to read in parts and yet so rewarding for the passages (especially the final chapter) which are amongst the greatest in the english language. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Keith Wileman
5.0 out of 5 stars superb!
Published 1 month ago by miss darling
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Peter Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars Muddled and slow at times.
Good delivery and packaging. The book, though, was a little boring. Was this his early work? He seems to be trying too hard to be prosaic and so lacking in interest is the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Michael Hawthorne
2.0 out of 5 stars I did not enjoy this book.
I think if an editor had been available it may have helped the book flow better. It was also quite a negative story which had few redeeming features.
Published 4 months ago by Maureen Stewart
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
So repetitive, going round in ever decreasing circles. Lawrence must have cut his literary teeth writing this book. I found the repetitive stifled emotions frustrating.
Published 5 months ago by Diver Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh god...
Having not read DH Lawrence since 6th form in 1976, I thought I'd complete the novel I'd only touched upon (in order to satisfy an extended essay). Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Bristow
4.0 out of 5 stars Works of a local hero
After a period of notoriety in the 50's Lawrence is now recognized as the fine writer he was. the communities Having worked in the area in which the book is set. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cephas
3.0 out of 5 stars Felt like there was no end to it
This family saga was very long and felt it, with lots of dull parts, though some very interesting bits too, I thought. The style is bizarre: everything seems to be said twice. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bob Ventos
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