Read by Richard Mitchley (Unabridged: 52mins)
David Herbert Lawrence was born on the 11th September 1885 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, a coal mining town where the reality of a harsh life was only useful as experiences for future literary works.
He was educated at Beauvale Board School and became the first local boy to receive a scholarship to attend Nottingham High School. After 3 years he became a junior clerk in Haywood’s surgical appliances factory. He was also attempting a literary career which, in the short term, led to a teacher training position in Eastwood and later a teaching qualification from University College, Nottingham.
Lawrence’s first efforts were poems, short stories and a draft of ‘The White Peacock’. Moving to London and a teaching position in Croydon his writing attracted the attention of Ford Madox Ford, editor of The English Review, and he commissioned him to write ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’.
Wanting to write full-time he now began work on what would become ‘Sons and Lovers.
In 1912 he met the older and married mother-of-three Frieda Weekley. They eloped to Germany and here Lawrence could see for himself the growing tensions with France. So keen was his interest that he was arrested and accused of being a British spy.
In early 1914 Frieda obtained her divorce and they returned to Britain to be married just days before the outbreak of war. Owing to her German parentage, and his own public dislike of militarism and violence, the couple were treated with contempt and suspicion throughout the war years.
Despite this he continued to write but his reputation in England was so tarnished and, mirrored by his own disdain for the country, he and Frieda left England in November 1919, first for Europe and then America via Ceylon and Australia.
They bought a ranch in Taos, New Mexico and visited Mexico several times. The third visit in March 1925 caused a near fatal attack of malaria. To convalesce they moved to Florence. Here he continued work on ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ which for many years would cause controversy. A renewed interest in oil painting resulted in an exhibition in 1929 which was raided by the police and several works were confiscated.
D H Lawrence died of complications arising from a bout of tuberculosis on the 2nd of March 1930 in Vence, France. He was 44.