Lawrence masterpiece marks 100th anniversary

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The novel said to have launched DH Lawrence’s career has just marked its 100th anniversary.

Sons and Lovers is said to have changed literary history, and has been called a ‘ground breaking masterpiece’ by Lawrence Society member, Dave Brock.

The first novel of its kind to focus so honestly on working class life, Sons and Lovers is an autobiographical story about Lawrence’s life growing up in Eastwood.

It tells the story of a young man, Paul Morel, struggling to break free from his mother’s love to move on and have relationships with other women, mirroring what Lawrence went through personally.

Mr Brock, said: “A very beautiful look at the inner life of a young man in a working class community.

“It was the first great novel of working class life. A ground-breaking book.”

Not only was Lawrence the first writer to focus on working class life, but he was also the first writer to come from a working class life.

“He had not come from the same classes as other writers and poets,” said Mr Brock.

As a coal miners son in Eastwood, it was unbelievable. Unprecedented. To come from such unpromising beginnings and have such talent was just unheard of,” he said.

“Some people have even refused to believe that a working class lad like Lawrence was able to produce such literature.

“It changed literary history. It was a landmark novel and spawned new generations of working class writers,” added Mr Brock.

Sons and Lovers, published in 1913, was the first of its kind for several reasons.

Lawrence’s characters were sympathetically described. Proper working class individuals, instead of stereotypes that used to have an almost comic effect.

The way Lawrence touched on such an intimate and personal subject, was also unprecedented.

But Mr Brock argued the controversial relationship between Paul Morel and his mother, was not such a far stretch from reality.

“I think there are men that can’t entirely escape their mother and their mothers love,” he said,

“I’ve known men to put their mothers before their wives and to have situations where their mother is jealous of their partner.”

The literature enthusiast said Sons and Lovers enabled Lawrence to ‘deal with his upbringing’.

Once it was out of his system, he was able to move on to write the Rainbow and Women In Love, he said.

“It’s him coming to terms with his upbringing. It got it out of his system and gave him huge confidence to go on to his other great masterpieces. It helped to free him.”

Although Lawrence’s third novel, Sons and Lovers was the one that launched his career, and Mr Brock thinks it’s Lawrence’s his best work.

“I think it’s Lawrence’s best works, and its a favourite for many people – the book they identify DH Lawrencce with.

“It was a fantastic achievement. Utterly astonishing. He really is the most astonishing genius.

“We need to celebrate the centenary of sons and Lovers and acknowledge what a remarkable writer he was. Everybody should recognise it in Eastwood, and feel so proud,” added Mr brock.