Wednesday, 8 April 2015

D. H. Lawrence The Dover Reader (Sons and Lovers)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This anthology is part of The Dover Reader Series, a way of providing cheap, accessible access to popular and lesser known works by the author.  Other authors in The Dover Reader Series include: Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Edith Wharton, Jack London, Edgar Allen Poe and G.K. Chesterton.   Because there are so many elements to this anthology, I am only going to give a true review Sons and Lovers.  Even though I have rated Sons and Lovers 4 out of 5 I really enjoyed the accompaniments, which I probably wouldn't have read otherwise.  These accompaniments being: an essay, "Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious," some poetry and the short stories "The Prussian Officer," "Odour of Chrysanthemums," and "England, My England."  This is good for someone who hasn’t read much of D.H. Lawrence.

Sons and Lovers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This story follows Paul Morel who has many ambivalent relationships. It follows Morel from his birth, which seems to be the standard format for 19th/early 20th century novels.

The main theme to this book, which is probably obvious, is relationships.  Although Lawrence was lampooned as a ‘pervert’ there is not a lot of sex, it is mainly implied.  Most of the ‘action’ tends to be in the psychological tensions, what is left unsaid and thoughts about the relationship from both the ‘insiders’ and the ‘outsiders’.  Morel’s relationship with his mother is proto-Freudian and I am left wondering about the type of ‘kisses’ that Lawrence is referring to – certainly no one else in the book had such an ‘affectionate’ relationship with their parent.

When I read Wuthering Heights, the only thing I didn’t like are the passages with the Scottish dialect as it was hard to understand what he was saying.  There is quite a bit of dialect in this book, but, for me at least, it was easier to understand. When I struggled I just read it aloud/mouthed it phonetically and it was OK.  As a side note, “mater” is in Maurice by E.M. Forster so I am guessing it was common slang for ‘mother’ like ‘Mum’ is today?

I have to admit that Part 1 was better than Part 2.  I found Part 2 hard to follow, it was unclear who the ‘she’ Morel was talking too.  Chronologically, I found it hard to follow.   Morel’s age goes back and forth, in one section he is 22 and another he is 24 and then later on he is 22 again.  I think Lawrence focuses on a special aspect of Morel’s life and then goes to another aspect, going back in time.

Generally, the plot isn’t that predictable also looking back there is some foreshadowing.  There are many lines that I enjoyed in this book.  Some parts are quite witty (e.g. the part about people carving their name as a poor way of achieving immortality and "Love-tokens" and some parts are quite insightful.  Having finished Sons and Lovers, I am left wandering what it was Morel was searching for in his relationships. I did enjoy the ending however, it is the kind that leaves way for a second book because we don’t know whether Morel’s future is happy or sad.  Overall I enjoyed reading this book but it wasn’t as enjoyable as Of Human Bondage Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham and so for that reason it is a respectable 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Facts
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 512
Publisher: Dover Thrift Editions

Photo of D.H. Lawrence, has beard, is looking to the side with sad persona.

This book was allowed for a review through NetGalley and the kindness of Dover Thrift Editions.


  1. I enjoyed Of Human Bondage. It took me so many years to discover it!
    Sons and Lovers has been on my bookshelf but I have not had the courage to read it.
    Your review has pushed in the right direction...thanks!

    1. Yes, you're right!! He is hard to find as there's not a lot of coverage of Maugham, have you read any of his over works? I hope you enjoy it, if you enjoyed the style of Of Human Bondage then you will definitely like Sons and Lovers, it is far more grittier. I'll look forward to reading your review :-)


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