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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2014
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?", and in this case and many other cases the answer is probably No, especially as he found himself overshadowed, almost as soon as the first edition of his book appeared in the early 1990s, by the truly epic and admirable three-volume Cambridge biography by John Worthen, Mark Kinkead-Weekes, and David Ellis. Those are the books anyone wanting to really understand Lawrence and get a real-feeling sense of the man should turn to, expensive though they may be.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2010
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
on 11 December 2013
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
on 29 June 2013
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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D. H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider
D. H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider by John Worthen (Paperback - 27 April 2006)

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