D.H. Lawrence

Brenda Maddox, Author Simon & Schuster $30 (624p) ISBN 978-0-671-68712-0
Maddox's (Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom) epic biography, drawing on 2000 previously unpublished letters, portrays the volatile union between ``the genius and the Valkyrie'' with subtlety, wit and compassion. The novels of British modernist Lawrence (1885-1930) incite carking disagreement; Lady Chatterley's Lover has been characterized as a frank and lyrical exploration of erotic love and ``the foulest book in English literature.'' As the author shows, the conflicts that animate Lawrence's fiction-between the miner and the aristocrat, exuberant heterosexuality and ambivalent homoeroticism, the Tory and the iconoclast-were grounded not only in his parents' hostile marriage, but also in his own. Yet Maddox carefully explores the bonds that allowed a match between such different people-irascible, tubercular Lawrence and outspoken, sexually adventurous Baroness Frieda von Richthofen Weekley-not only to endure but to flourish. That two such hyperbolic temperaments, riding the crest of the avant-garde, found solace and sustenance in homely domesticity is a beguiling theme of this remarkable book. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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