Born the son of a Nottingham coal miner and a strong-willed mother on September 11, 1885, Lawrence grew up amid considerable poverty in the Eastwood section of Nottingham in Northern England. The fourth of five children, Lawrence was exceptionally close to his mother, who encouraged his early interest in painting and his pursuit of a university education.
Success on an examination won him a full scholarship (of those taking the examination, he was among the first eleven candidates in the whole of England), allowing him to attend Nottingham University. His fitful high-school romance with Jessie Chambers, two years younger than Lawrence and the model for Emily in Lawrence's first novel, The White Peacock (1911), and for Miriam in Sons and Lovers (1913), continued while he attended the university.
Lawrence subsequently became romantically involved with Alice Dax, a married woman seven years his senior, a militant socialist and suffragist, who was the model for Clara Dawes of Sons and Lovers. After she ended their affair, Lawrence eloped with Frieda Weekley.
©Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938)/NPG Ax140568. Katherine Mansfield, ca. 1915 (©4)
Much of the bitterness of the war years, along with D.H. Lawrence's disenchantment with English narrow-mindedness, can be found in what is perhaps the novelist's greatest exploration of homosexual subject matter, Women in Love. Here Lawrence and Frieda are depicted as Rupert Birkin and Ursula Brangwen in a tale based partly on Lawrence's clamorous relationship with the writer Katherine Mansfield, her husband, the literary critic John Middleton-Murry, and Lady Ottoline Morrell.
©Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938)/NPG Ax140601. John Middleton Murry, 1917 (©4)
From an aristocratic German family (and the cousin of Baron von Richthofen, the "Red Baron"), Frieda was the wife of one of Lawrence's former professors and the mother of three children. The Lawrences' marriage was notoriously stormy, involving violent verbal battles culminating in cutlery-throwing and fist-fighting in the presence of friends.
Although Sons and Lovers achieved critical acclaim, the publication of The Rainbow (1915) brought Lawrence unwanted notoriety when the book was suppressed by a court order. During the war, he and Frieda were further harassed by police officials because of Lawrence's pacifism and suspicions generated by a German-born wife. The Lawrences were ordered to leave their residence in Cornwall by military authorities who suspected them of spying.
Much of the bitterness of the war years, along with Lawrence's disenchantment with English narrow-mindedness, can be found in what is perhaps the novelist's greatest exploration of homosexual subject matter, Women in Love (1920).
Here Lawrence and Frieda are depicted as Rupert Birkin and Ursula Brangwen in a tale based partly on Lawrence's clamorous relationship with the writer Katherine Mansfield, her husband, the literary critic John Middleton-Murray (Gudrun and Gerald of the novel), and Lady Ottoline Morrell (Hermione Roddice).
It was during the composition of Women in Love that Lawrence, frustrated by his failure to forge a deeper bond with Murray, evidently had a sexual relationship with a Cornish farmer named William Henry Hocking in the town of Tregerthen.
The short-lived affair was the culmination of a long-standing struggle with homosexual feelings. "I would like to know why nearly every man that approaches greatness tends to homosexuality, whether he admits it or not," Lawrence wrote to a friend in 1913. Lawrence told another acquaintance, "I believe the nearest I've come to perfect love was with a coal-miner when I was about sixteen."
Yet Lawrence's inability to intensify his relationships with either Murray or Hocking generated his most forthright fictional examinations of homosexual desire, an intense five-year absorption in the subject that included not only Women in Love and Aaron's Rod (1922) but the treatise "Goats and Compasses" (1917) and the self-suppressed Prologue to Women In Love.
Lawrence destroyed "Goats and Compasses," and though no pages survive, both Ottoline Morrell and Lawrence's friend Cecil Gray read it and found it to be shrilly dogmatic. Its argument remains unknown, although the essay's title suggests a struggle between panlike homoerotics and scientific rationalism.
Lawrence spent the last part of his short life traveling with Frieda to Italy, America, and Mexico, the last the setting for The Plumed Serpent (1926). In addition to his fiction, Lawrence published several volumes of poetry, critical essays, and travel narratives.
Lawrence's last novel, Lady Chatterly's Lover (1928), won him his greatest fame but was not published in an unexpurgated English edition until after a ground-breaking censorship trial in 1961. Always frail in health, Lawrence died of tuberculosis in 1930 in Vence, France, while traveling with Frieda in the company of Aldous and Maria Huxley.
Author: Kaye, Richard
Entry Title: Lawrence, D. H.
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2002
Date Last Updated March 2, 2004
Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/lawrence_dh.htm
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date March 2, 2013
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates
Frieda Lawrence (August 11, 1879 – August 11, 1956), born Frieda Freiin von Richthofen, was a German literary figure mainly known for her marriage to the British novelist D. H. Lawrence. She was a distant relation of Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron".
Emma Maria Frieda Johanna Freiin (Baroness) von Richthofen (also known as Frieda Weekley, Frieda Lawrence, and Frieda Lawrence Ravagli) was born in Metz. Her father was Baron Friedrich Ernst Emil Ludwig von Richthofen (1844-1916), an engineer in the German army, and her mother was Anna Elise Lydia Marquier (1852-1930).
In 1899, she married a British philologist and professor of modern languages, Ernest Weekley, with whom she had three children, Charles Montague (born 1900), Elsa Agnès (born 1902) and Barbara Joy (born 1904). They settled in Nottingham, where Ernest worked at the university. During her marriage to Weekley she started to translate German literature, mainly fairy tales, into English and took considerable pride in their publication in book form.
In 1912, she met D. H. Lawrence, a former student of her husband. She soon fell in love with him and the pair eloped to Germany, Frieda leaving her children behind. During their stay, Lawrence was arrested for spying and, after the intervention of Frieda's father, the couple walked south, over the Alps to Italy. Following her divorce from Weekley, Frieda and Lawrence married in 1914. They intended to return to the continent, but the outbreak of war kept them in England, where they endured official harassment and censorship. They also struggled with limited resources and D.H. Lawrence's already frail health.
Leaving post-war England at the earliest opportunity, they travelled widely, eventually settling at the Kiowa Ranch (now D. H. Lawrence Ranch) near Taos, New Mexico and, in Lawrence's last years, at the Villa Mirenda, near Scandicci in Tuscany. After her husband's death in Vence, France in 1930, she returned to Taos to live with her third husband, Angelo Ravagli. The ranch is now owned by the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.
Mainly through her elder sister Else von Richthofen, Frieda became acquainted with many intellectuals and authors, including the socioeconomist Alfred Weber and sociologist Max Weber, the radical psychoanalyst Otto Gross (who became her lover), and the writer Fanny zu Reventlow.
By her approving the dramatization for the theatre of Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover—thought to be based partly on her own relationship as an aristocrat with the working class Lawrence—it became his only novel ever to be staged. John Harte's play was the only dramatization to be accepted by her, and she did her best to get it produced. Although she loved the play when she read it, the copyright to Lawrence's story had already been acquired by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who was a close friend. He only relinquished it in 1960. John Harte's play was first produced at The Arts Theatre in 1961, five years after her death.
Frieda Lawrence died on her 77th birthday in Taos.
She is an important character in On the Rocks, a play by Amy Rosenthal which deals with her sometimes difficult relationship with D. H. Lawrence.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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