D. H. Lawrence

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D. H. Lawrence, the usual formulation of the name of the author David Herbert Lawrence, was born in Eastwood, a small town in the Nottingham coalfield (his father was a miner) in 1885. His mother, an aspiring woman with pretensions to the middle class, and his father were in constant tension, which appears in much of his work. He first worked as a teacher, before becoming a full-time writer after the death of his mother and a serious illness in 1911. He is most famous as a novelist, with apprentice pieces The White Peacock (1911), The Trespasser (1912) preceding Sons and Lovers (1913) an autobiographically inspired masterpiece and The Rainbow (1915) and Women in Love (1916, published in 1920), related novels about the Brangwen sisters. In 1912, he became attached to Frieda Weekley (née von Richthofen), wife of one of his teachers, whom he married in 1914. The combination of the First World War and her German name - she was related, distantly to the Red Baron (Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen (1892–1918)), Germany's leading fighter pilot ace - led to difficulties: after the war (which the Lawrences spent largely in Buckinghamshire and then in Cornwall), he moved to live in Italy in 1919, and then went to the USA via Sri Lanka and Australia, where he wrote a novel Kangaroo (1923). In America he wrote many stories and poems, and a novel The Plumed Serpent (1926). He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1926, and left America (his visa was at an end) for Italy, where he wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover (1926), a work notorious for its explicit accounts of sex: it was the cause of the first major trial (1960) under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959, where it was acquitted. It is now probably the most famous of his works. It deals with such major themes of his work as industrialization, urbanization, physical sensation, and the relationships between the sexes. D. H. Lawrence died in 1930, leaving a large body of work - including literary criticism (F. R. Leavis called him "the finest literary critic of our time - a great literary critic if ever there was one", and Edmund Wilson called his Studies in American Classical Literature (1923) "one of the few first-rate books that have ever been written on their subject") and travel writing, which the ODNB regards as some of the finest in English - as well as the more overtly creative works, plays, poems and fictions. He was also an accomplished painter, although his paintings too attracted attention for alleged obscenity.