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Sons and Lovers (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

D. H. Lawrence , David Trotter
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Feb 2009 Oxford World's Classics
Lawrence's first major novel was also the first in the English language to explore ordinary working-class life from the inside. No writer before or since has written so well about the intimacies enforced by a tightly-knit mining community and by a family where feelings are never hidden for long.

When the marriage between Walter Morel and his sensitive, high-minded wife begins to break down, the bitterness of their frustration seeps into their children's lives. Their second son, Paul, craves the warmth of family and community, but knows that he must sacrifice everything in the struggle for independence if he is not to repeat his parents' failure.

Lawrence's powerful description of Paul's single-minded efforts to define himself sexually and emotionally through relationships with two women - the innocent, old-fashioned Miriam Leivers and the experienced, provocatively modern Clara Dawes - makes this a novel as much for the beginning of the twenty-first century as it was for the beginning of the twentieth.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reprint edition (26 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199538883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538881
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 599,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

No other writer with his imaginative standing has in our time written books that are so open to life." --Alfred Kazin

Sons and Lovers is a great novel because it has the ring of something written from deeply felt experience. The past remembered, it conveys more of Lawrence's own knowledge of life than anything else he wrote. His other novels appear somehow artificial beside it --Kate Millet, Critic

Sons and Lovers is a great novel because it has the ring of something written from deeply felt experience. The past remembered, it conveys more of Lawrence's own knowledge of life than anything else he wrote. His other novels appear somehow artificial beside it --Kate Millet, Critic --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Set in 1900s, this is a lushly descriptive and highly autobiographical portrayal of a young man growing up in class-divided Nottingham --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and true 22 May 2011
By Heather
Format:Paperback
This is one of those books that I like to re-read every few years, and every time I find something new and wonderful in it. Although inspired by Lawrence's own early experiences, and the chief focus of the novel is the growth of Paul Morel, the viewpoint shifts throughout - so the characters and their relationships are always changing, and are never finally defined. On my most recent reading I was especially moved by the mother, Gertrude, and the sadness of her unfulfilled life.

There are two important deaths in Sons and Lovers: Lawrence writes them starkly and simply and without sentiment. And he shows how grief can almost kill a person.

The setting of the novel is the Nottinghamshire mining village where Lawrence grew up, and you will never read a truer or more vivid account of early 20th century working class life, anywhere.

This Penguin edition of Sons and Lovers has an excellent introduction by Blake Morrison, with some really interesting insights into the drafting and editing, including the input of Jessie Chambers (Miriam in the novel), Lawrence's wife Frieda and editor Edward Garnett.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral and emotional 15 Mar 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This was the first Lawrence I ever read and so still reminds me of being 16,reading in the back garden of my parent's home... but even beyond the lovely memories it's still one of my favourites.

Passionate and enthralling, it shows Lawrence's skills at dissecting the relationships that bind men and women, and not just in a sexual sense. This is visceral and emotional, the kind of book that stops you in your tracks and makes you think 'yes, that's how life it'. Wonderful stuff and one of the most autobiographical of Lawrence's novels.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Audio Edition by Paul Slack Is Brilliant 30 Sep 2011
By Angus Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is of course the masterwork by one of the great influential writers of the 20th century. It's autobiographical content is not only an explanation of the evolving souls of its characters, the Morel family and those they love, but a brilliant evocation of life in a working-class mining town and the struggle to escape such roots. It's one of those must read texts!

Or rather, in the audio edition, it's become a must-listen text. Paul Slack, a former RSC actor and now the principal voice of Lawrence through his one-man touring production, Phoenix Rising, gives a virtuoso reading performance during which he brings to life the characters in all their rich vernacular and character.

Normally, I'd prefer a book over an audio version unless I wanted something to listen to while driving, but this is such a fine rendering they did add significant value to the original book, particularly as the accent, indeed patois of the mining village is so important to the quality of the novel and its dialogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So flawed 7 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is frustrating. It has touches of sheer brilliance lurking among some dreadful repetition and clunky passages. The literary innovations, fresh in the context of its production, have long since become mainstream and this book has not aged well. In that sense it is fairly typical of DHL's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral and emotional 15 Mar 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was the first Lawrence I ever read and so still reminds me of being 16,reading in the back garden of my parent's home... but even beyond the lovely memories it's still one of my favourites.

Passionate and enthralling, it shows Lawrence's skills at dissecting the relationships that bind men and women, and not just in a sexual sense. This is visceral and emotional, the kind of book that stops you in your tracks and makes you think 'yes, that's how life it'. Wonderful stuff and one of the most autobiographical of Lawrence's novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading. 20 Sep 2013
By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This extraordinary work is finally available in it's complete form. Originally edited and censored by 20% by Edward Garnett to allow publication, we now have Lawrence's original novel exactly as it was intended. A new level of sensuous awareness and some franker emotive moments bring added depth to this semi-autobiographical account of a young man and his relationships with the women in his life - and most significantly his remarkable mother. Previously regatded as one of the greatest novels in the English language, this moving masterpiece is now even richer and more challenging. The authors passion flows through every page - his descriptive powers are at his finest - and he does not fall victim to the florid overwriting of some of his later work. This "new" and definitive edition of "Sons and Lovers" is truly essential reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sons and Lovers 28 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Beautifully bound and pocket-sized. At first the font seemed too small but it was fine once I'd read a few chapters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncommonly brilliant 19 Jun 2013
By Ryan N.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perhaps Lawrence's masterpiece, this is one of the best novels I have ever read. Through Paul Morel, we get to see so many aspects of life: family, psychology, love, art and everything in between. Having heard bad things about some of his other works (I'm almost willing to fall out with friends over this!) my expectations were not too high but I can safely say Lawrence far exceeded them. Perhaps what I was least prepared for was for it to be such a touching book. Coming from a coal mining family not too far removed from the Morels, I can see the origins of my own family throughout the book. If you haven't already read the book, please be careful about spoilers from this point on!

Lawrence based the book on his own upbringing and, like many great bildungsromans, one of the central ideas is the protagonist's attempts to go 'into the world'. Unfortunately, this is complicated by his stormy family life, the death of his brother and his borderline suffocating relationship with his mother, Gertrude. Gertrude remains a spectre throughout the novel, becoming closer with Paul until their bond begins to overshadow everything else in his life. She is a sympathetic figure, a portrait of a life sadly wasted, but she also threatens Paul with the same thing. As he enters relationships, first with Miriam, then with Clara, he is never fully able to give himself over, finding his mother still looms over him. There is an obvious psychoanalytic reading here which is definitely present, but this does not do justice to the subtle psychology of the novel, which allows Lawrence to investigate the inner life of Paul and his family while being sensitive but not sentimental. Beyond this skillful approach, Lawrence's prose is beautiful without being excessively flowery, bringing the sadness of the novel to life.

Perhaps the highest praise I can give to Sons and Lovers is that when I read it, I kept wondering if I was reading a Flaubert novel.
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