Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence, originally published by B.W. Huebsch Publishers. The Modern Library placed it ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. While the novel initially received a lukewarm critical reception, along with allegations of obscenity, it is today regarded as a masterpiece by many critics and is often regarded as Lawrence’s finest achievement.
The book ‘concerns childhood and adolescence and all that go with them, including fear, shame, self‑consciousness, emotional hypersensitivity, sexual awakening’ (Morrison, 2013).
It focuses upon Mrs Morel, and her youngest son Paul, as well as the relationships he has with two different women in the town: Miriam and Clara. Paul and his mother have an intensely close relationship, and the two behave as lovers – hence the title – which then has an impact on the way Paul sees the world and forms relationships with others.
Sons and Lovers has Lawrence’s clear imprint upon it; the use of Nottinghamshire dialect, characters from a working-class background, the setting of a mining town, and touching on themes such as class, gender, and sexuality.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) was an English writer and poet. His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. Some of the issues Lawrence explores are sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct.
Lawrence’s opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his “savage pilgrimage”. At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as “the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Later, the literary critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness.