For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.
D(avid) H(erbert Richards) Lawrence (1885-1930) was an English novelist and poet, whose works were not only controversial during his lifetime, but long after his death. The explicit sexuality of his books, including his most popular work, 'Sons and Lovers', reached a peak with 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', his final book, that was not published in an unexpurgated form in the U.K. until after a court case for obscenity was dismissed, in 1960.
David Herbert Lawrence was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire in 1885. He was the fourth son of a coal miner, who drank heavily. His mother was a former teacher. Lawrence spent much of his childhood ill and confined to bed, whilst his parents argued constantly. Living in near poverty, his mother was determined that Lawrence should not become a miner, and encouraged him academically.
He was educated at Nottingham High School until he was fifteen, he then worked in a surgical goods factory and for four years as a pupil-teacher. After their studies at Nottingham University, Lawrence worked as a teacher in Croydon, South London, however, his teaching career was ended by the death of his mother, an event which affected him badly. As a result of this, and his ensuing illness, he wrote and published one of his most famous novels, the autobiographical Sons and Lovers (1913).
In 1912 he eloped to Bavaria with Frieda von Richthofen, the wife of his old professor at Nottingham University. They married in 1914, which was not a good time for an Englishman to marry a German woman. During the First World War, they were unable to obtain passports and were constantly harassed by the authorities. Frieda was a cousin of the legendary ‘Red Baron’ von Richthofen and was naturally viewed with great suspicion. At the end of the war, they travelled around Europe and settled in Italy in 1920. Between 1922 and 1926 Lawrence and Frieda lived intermittently in Ceylon, Australia, New Mexico and Mexico. These travels provided the settings for several of his novels and stories. After a severe illness in Mexico, he was found to be suffering from life-threatening tuberculosis.
His most notorious work, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, was first published privately in 1928 in Florence but was banned in both the UK and the USA. It was not published in an unexpurgated form in the UK until 1960 after an obscenity trial.
In the last few years of his life, they travelled in Germany and the South of France seeking a cure for his condition, but he died at Vence, near Nice, on March 2nd, 1930.