COLUMN: Lawrence’s wish to escape from society by Dave Brock

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Writing to Mark Gertler from Chapel Farm Cottage in February 1918, Lawrence continued to repudiate conventional life and enthuse about escaping it.

He wrote: ‘As for work, I don’t think that to work is to live... one wants to have a certain richness and satisfaction in oneself, which is more than anything produced. One needs to be.’

And he urged: ‘We need to go away, as soon as we can... live a new life... we could be at peace with one another, at peace, and free, and spontaneous... as if we were all complete beings.... as in a new world.’

Lawrence continued to envisage living ‘away from the body of mankind’, where he could keep ‘the human spirit from disintegration’ and his thoughts on this subject feature in several of his essays, including On Human Destiny.

Years later, in December 1923, Lawrence organised a gathering of friends at the Cafe Royal in London.

This dinner was to be a thank you for loyal help, a farewell and an invitation.

Lawrence made an emotional appeal to each individual present to move with him to New Mexico, and establish Rananim - a paradise away from society.

Several pledged allegiance, but ultimately only the Rt Hon Dorothy Brett, an artist who needed an ear trumpet, was as good as her word.

The dream of Rananim still lives on.

It is vibrantly alive in the hearts of true Lawrentians.

And there is an active North American DH Lawrence discussion group, called The Rananim Society, which all Lawrence enthusiasts are free to join.