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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2012
This is a handsome hardcover edition of some of Lawrence's stories. Some are novellas (60--70 pages long) while others are longish short stories. Here is the list of contents:
The Virgin and the Gipsy
Odour of Chrsanthemums
The Rocking Horse Winner
The Blue Moccasins
The Man Who Died
Daughters of the Vicar
The Fox
The White Stockings
England My England
The Prussian Officer
The Lovely Lady
The Captain's Doll
Jimmy and the Desperate Woman
The Woman Who Rode Away

Here are my impressions of four of these:

"The Virgin and the Gipsy"
This is a more mature and mellow work than one expects from Lawrence. At 70 odd pages, it is a novella, a form in which Lawrence was arguably at his best. The Virgin and the Gipsy is really quite good. Thematically, it resembles Wuthering Heights: Cathy Earnshaw reincarnates here as Yvette Saywell, the village Rector's daughter; Heathcliffe in Lawrence's tale is the gipsy man, all dark eyes and proud silence. But it is much more than a replay of Emily Bronte, for it develops in its own Lawrentian way. I am not sure when it was written: the setting is post-world war one. There is also an affinity with Lady Chatterley's Lover In both stories, the heroine is dissatisfied with her domestic life; in both she encounters a man who--from her perspective--is a "proud outsider". Lady Chatterley is irresistibly drawn to the gamekeeper Mellors; Yvette feels drawn to the gipsy man. The Lady Chatterley novel is more notorious, but The Virgin and the Gipsy is the better story.

"The Captain's Doll"
This is a novella, set in post world war one Austria. It describes a rocky relationship between a Scottish army captain, and an impoverished countess who earns a living making dolls. As is usual in Lawerence's world, the heroine finds her man frustrating. The problem is that he is disillusioned with love, which has never worked for him. But nor does he want to be alone. He would settle for a marriage where he is honoured and obeyed, but with no love expected. She for her part is a normal woman, not yet disillusioned, for whom love is important. Lawrence is not able to explore this theme in full in this novella; however, he does (as so often) raise some interesting questions

"The Prussian Officer"
(1914, 20 pages) Anthony Burgess in his book about Lawrence Flame Into Being, pointed this out as one of Lawrence's best stories. It is a brilliantly written story of an abusive relationship between a German cavalry officer and his orderly. There is a suggestion--nothing more--of homosexual feeling, on the officer's part. The tone is beautifully sustained, as it proceeds to the tragic conclusion.

"The Fox"
Another novella. This one describes the life of two women who live on a country property, where they raise chickens, The women become very fond of each other. Then a young soldier on leave stops by, and that's when things start getting interesting. The story proceeds at a leisurely pace to its inevitible--and tragic--end.
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