Welcome to the February 2023 bulletin.

One hundred years ago, Lawrence was living high up in the mountains of New Mexico with 'The Danes' - Knud Merrild and Kai Gótzsche. Merrild, whose artwork is above, specialised in abstract art - today he is seen as the father of the flux painting technique. For Merrild, abstract art was ‘the purest and simplest of all art expression’. Needless to say, Lawrence disagreed: ‘Abstractions are of the hideous machine industrialism and are only making a memorial to their spiritual impotence. The soul's disintegration. Abstraction is a picture of nothing, of absolute nothing, and has no relation with life.' Ouch.

Despite their disagreements about what constituted art, they got on well. What was more important to Lawrence was commitment to your art - whatever that may be - or as he put it, your own 'Holy Ghost'.


'If you want to do a thing, you’ve either got to believe, sincerely, that it’s your true nature to do this thing, or else you’ve got to let it go. Believe in your own Holy Ghost (…) a thing you truly believe in cannot be wrong.


May the readers of this bulletin find pleasure in their own 'Holy Ghost'. And if you ever feel like telling us what that is or what it looks like, please do get in contact with either me or Brenda. or 





2 February - 27 May
Editing D.H. Lawrence 
D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, 8a Victoria St, Eastwood, Nottingham NG16 3AW

Wednesday 8 February (7pm, Zoom)
Jim Phelps Rainbird: The untold story of Cassandra Brangwen: The Woman who Disappeared.
The presentation is an experimental critico-fictional engagement with The Woman Who Rode Away drawing deeply on The Rainbow as a source.
Thursday 23 February
London Group of D.H. Lawrence Society
This meeting was cancelled by the speaker. At the time of writing, a replacement has not been found. See Catherine Brown’s website for updates. 
Friday 24 Feb (3pm)
The Rainbow
A rehearsed reading of a groundbreaking new adaptation of The Rainbow.
Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT
Book tickets here

In the 1930s there were a spate of memoirs about D.H. Lawrence. Knud Merrild’s account of his time spent with Kai Gøtzsche on the Del Monte Ranch in the winter of 1922 is one of the most objective, mainly because he didn’t want to write it. Merrild opens his account with a disclaimer: He is a painter, not a writer, and this is one of the reasons he put off writing his memoir until 1938. To avoid misquoting Lawrence from memory, Merrild quotes from books written during the period they knew each other, as he had witnessed the conversations which would be fictionalised in his novels, and because Lawrence ‘wrote as he spoke’. 

Their days on the ranch consisted of hard graft – chopping wood, fixing up the cabins, cooking and then music and conversations in the evenings. The Danes were enamoured by Lawrence’s knowledge on everything from art to the formation of the universe. But they found his obsession with death a bit wearing. 'He breathed death, spake and saw death everywhere, and only darkness (...) And when he spoke of new creations, his creations, his gods, his souls, his ideas, they were always shrouded in darkness not yet visible'. He even mocked the nearby Sunshine Valley, renaming it Death Valley. These conversations stayed with them when they returned to their cabin and had to be ironed out before they were able to sleep.
When he wasn't mithering on about death, Lawrence never got tired of talking about the 'new life' and his desire for Rananim. 'He wanted to find a place away from civilisation where he felt that the possibility of growth would be fairly secure.' All they needed was soil. They could grow bananas. It would be the beginning of a colony where, ‘when we have ourselves firmly established, then we can add one or two more of our friends at a time and let the thing grow slowly into full being, and the new life will grow and spread until it embraces the whole world.’

Although the Danes knew such a venture was destined to fail – as would any with Lawrence at the helm – they did respect his visions for society where ‘if we are intelligent, alert and undaunted, then life will be much better, more generous, more spontaneous, more vital, less loosely materialistic.’ 

Despite circulating half the globe, Lawrence still hadn't found the peace he desired. Thus, plans were made for a trip to Old Mexico in March 1923. But Merrild couldn’t do it. He felt indebted to Lawrence who had done everything he could to look out for them, including commissioning him to produce covers for some of his books. 'He had such friendly, even fatherly, concern for us, and it touched us deeply.' But he had his own ambitions and his own dreams and knew to follow Lawrence would ruin the great experience they had just had. If only Kai Gøtzsche had listened to this advice…

Merrild, Knud A Poet and Two Painters: A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence. George Routledge & Sons, London, 1938  


To read a longer version of this review, visit The Digital Pilgrimage. 

On the Wireless: The Chatterley’s

The Chatterleys is a vibrant new version of a well-known scandalous novel, a reinterpretation that gets back to the essence of DH Lawrence’s original - a marriage adapting to one person becoming disabled and the quest to become parents.

It's the latest collaboration between award winning audio indie, Naked Productions and Graeae, placing Deaf and disabled actors centre stage to challenge preconceptions and change attitudes towards deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists.

This cutting edge interpretation of Lawrence’s infamous novel of love, sex and class, is reframed as a 21st century drama about the impact of war, austerity and modern relationships. The drama was developed by working closely with members of BLESMA (British Limbless E Service Men Association), to inform the story and perform in the production.

The Chatterleys is set in contemporary Redcar, North East England, an area with strong military links, tough economic conditions and spectacular coastal landscape. It offers a dynamic insight into modern life, in particular the challenges of becoming disabled and learning to create a ‘new normal’. It is also, at heart, a love story.

The writer, Mike Kenny, is one of the UK's leading playwrights. He was included in the Independent on Sunday’s list of Top Ten Living UK Playwrights and his plays are performed regularly throughout the UK and all over the world. His adaptation of The Railway Children won an Olivier Award.

A transcript of the drama will be available for deaf and hard of hearing people on the BBC Radio 4 website on broadcast.

Listen to it here.

JDHLS Studies

Keeping Faith: In Memoriam Katherine Mansfield



Katherine Mansfield, 1916. National Portrait Gallery, UK, from the Lady Ottoline Morrell Collection

JDHLS loves a centenary, even a sad one, and this one is sad on several levels. (We also love a prize give-away so please read on for your chance to win!)

On 2 February 1923 Lawrence learned of Katherine Mansfield’s death in France of TB (foreshadowing the circumstances of his own death seven years later). He sent his condolences by return to her husband John Middleton Murry: “It has been a savage enough pilgrimage these last four years. Perhaps K. has taken the only way for her. We keep faith – I always feel death only strengthens that, the faith between those who have it” (4L 375).

Lawrence had been close to both Mansfield and Murry, who were witnesses at his wedding to Frieda in July 1914. Jane Stafford’s article in JDHLS 2019 celebrates the first meeting of Lawrence and Mansfield in London in June 1913, when she persuaded him to contribute his short story ‘The Soiled Rose’ to Rhythm, the magazine she was co-editing with her then lover Murry. Stafford draws parallels between two writers from the margins trying to negotiate London’s literary marketplace: Lawrence the son of a Nottinghamshire miner and Mansfield a self-proclaimed “little savage from New Zealand” (p. 89): Read it here

Stafford writes that the friendship was “intense until June 1916 and then proceeded unevenly until her death in 1923” (p. 84). The relationship was sorely tested during a failed experiment in communal living in Cornwall in May-June 1916, as attested in biographies by Murry and Lawrence’s more faithful friend Catherine Carswell and discussed in Jonathan Long’s article in JDHLS 2017: Read it here.

Lawrence’s faith in Murry was tried again, later in 1923, when Frieda left her husband alone in America and spent a lot of time with Murry. In JDHLS 2012 Michael Squires discusses the Lawrences’ marital crisis of 1923 in the context of ‘Five Newly Discovered Letters’, one of which compares Murry unfavourably to “the handsome and manly” circus performers he saw at Barnum’s Circus in Los Angeles. He wrote pointedly to Frieda on 14 September 1923 that “inside workers – Murry etc – give us nothing comparable” (Letter 2912c).

Lawrence was also critical of Murry’s posthumous publication of unfinished work by Mansfield, writing to Adele Seltzer of The Dove’s Nest and Other Stories (1923), “I think it’s a downright cheek to ask the public to buy that waste-paper basket (4L 503), and of Murry’s hagiography of his dead wife: “Poor Katharine [sic], she is delicate and touching. – But not Great! Why say great?” (4L 521).

A year after Mansfield’s death at the Gurdjieff Institute, he responded venomously to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s interest in Gurdjieff: “I have heard enough about that place at Fontainebleau where Katherine Mansfield died to know it is a rotten, false, self-conscious place of people playing a sickly stunt” (4L 555). He accused Mabel of having the same “awful disease” of “seriousness” as Murry and exhorted the necessity to keep up “an honest laugh. Not a dishonest laugh”, in terms that prefigure his “revenge” stories about Murry, written in the spring of 1924 and collected in The Women Who Rode Away and Other Stories (1928), especially ‘The Last Laugh’ and ‘Smile’.

‘Smile’ tells of a husband who arrives too late at his wife Ophelia’s deathbed because she “didn’t want him”: “He had always taken life seriously. Seriousness now overwhelmed him. His dark, handsome face, clean-shaven face would have done for Christ on the Cross” (WWRA 72). But as he sits in vigil “he felt her [Ophelia] nudging him somewhere in the ribs, to make him smile” (74), even as he howls in penance “‘Mea culpa! Mea culpa!’”. Lawrence thus gives the Mansfield figure the last laugh at the expense of the Murry figure, who doesn’t notice “the faint ironical curl at the corners” of her mouth. Lawrence cherished Mansfield’s wicked sense of humour and, unlike Murry, “knew her too well … to accept her as a saint!” (7L 610).  

For a chance to win a copy of Katherine Mansfield and Literary Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2011) or a printed copy of a back number of JDHLS (most are available), please write to me about your favourite article or journal number from JDHLS Online (c. 500 words by Word attachment by 21 February):
Susan Reid, JDHLS Editor

Lawrence and Academia 

Insights into D.H. Lawrence's Sardinia
Nick Ceramella and Daniele Marzeddu

The volume offers a wide horizon on D. H. Lawrence’s search for an ideal primitive society in a pristine natural environment. It lends itself to an interesting comparison with today’s reality, with a particular focus on Sardinia. It combines literature and photography in order to analyse Sicilian and Sardinian society. The volume investigates aspects which have hardly been considered in depth in previous publications on Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia, such as the strongly stressed ecological approach that makes Lawrence an incredible writer of our time, the role of Sardinian women as opposed to that of men as seen by Lawrence, and the importance of food and traditional costumes as persistent symbols of local identity.

Price: £67.99. ISBN: 1-5275-8983-8
Visit Cambridge Scholars website here


You can always rely on Lawrence to be a bit dramatic and so if nobody wants his essay ‘The Future of the Novel’ Thomas Seltzer can ‘burn it’. There was no need, though. It would find a home in the Literary Digest International Review in April. But perhaps he reacted like this because the censors did want to eradicate his writing. Women in Love had been selling well, but the New York Justice John Ford wanted the ‘loathsome’ book withdrawn after discovering his daughter reading a copy. He’d do best to ‘leave the tree of knowledge alone’ warned Lawrence in a telegram that would be published in the New York Times. ‘The judge won’t succeed in chopping it down, with his horrified hatchet. Many better men have tried and failed.’   

Up on the Del Monte Ranch in the Lobo mountains, Lawrence was loving life with his two Danish friends Knud Merrild and Kai Gotzsche. The days were filled with hard graft, the evenings with song and conversation. Frieda informs her mother ‘Lawrence has a cold, chopped ice for hours in a frozen-over brook!’

Gotzsche had been painting Lawrence. He has his arms folded and looks like he’s in a grump. ‘They say it has got my get-rid-of Mountsier face’ And get rid of his American literary agent he did…

After a winter in the Lobo mountains, it’s time to move on again. Mexico is his next intended stop and so Seltzer is asked to send over a copy of Terry’s Guide to Mexico so that he can prepare. Frieda suggests the reason for their latest move being ‘Lawr wants to go to Mexico, he thinks he might write his American novel there – You know he would like to write a novel of each continent – if possible.’


To read a longer version of this, visit The Digital Pilgrimage here.

To watch Locating Lawrence: Feb 1923 visit YouTube here

In January, your editor took a group of students to visit Breach House, the Birthplace Museum and Brinsley Colliery. Joining us on the trip was David Amos - a mining historian and Council member of the D.H. Lawrence Society. David provided an overview of mining in the area and a guided tour of key locations and artefacts related to mining. 

The students loved his tales but your editor had to bang him over the head with a snap tin as there didn't seem to be a point at which the stories would end and we all needed to get home. 




There are no posts from Torpedo the Ark this month and there may not be any more in the future. Stephen Alexander’s last post was the 4th January. In this he explains the purpose of his blog journal and his role as a scripteur. We hope that he continues to write and that his website has not transitioned from journal to mémoire.
Read his 4th Jan post here.


D.H. Lawrence Dialect Alphabet


Your editor has been werriting about his heating bill and wondering whether he should wear two jumpers or three jumpers to keep warm in the house.

Source: D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre

After months of being reconstructed, Catherine Brown’s website is now up again, and contains the write-ups of all the past meetings of the London Lawrence Group (not yet including Axel Englund’s address to us of last week)

Visit Catherine’s website here


Opening lines is a new programme on BBC Radio 4 where John Yorke explores books, plays and stories which are being adapted for the Sunday Drama series. This includes two episodes on Lady Chatterley’s Lover with interviews with Alison Macleod and Geoff Dyer. 

Then a new production called The Chatterley’s focusing on Clifford’s disability and desire to have a child, set in modern day Redcar,  created with advice from British limbless servicemen. I’ve attached a photo from BBC sounds about it. 
Listen to it here.


He Liked Having Enemies: The contested legacy of D. H. Lawrence

Book review of Burning Man in Book Forum.

Read the review here. 


New exhibition delves into Eastwood author's difficult relationship with publishers. Chad, 31 Jan.

Read it here.

You can listen to The White Peacock at

Listen to the book here.



Lawrence and Me:  Montserrat Morera

Hello, I’m Montserrat Morera, from Manresa, (Barcelona, Catalonia) Spain. I am a retired English Teacher and Translator. I’m 71 and I am a widow with two daughters and two grandchildren.
I first knew about Lawrence thanks to Tom Borthistle, an Australian teacher at the British Council Institute of Barcelona. It was 1978. He made us love the most important novels, and then I began to read everything DHL wrote.
In July 1980 I attended a conference in Nottingham for a week. It was the most wonderful experience: We visited many significant places of Lawrence’s life, and I learnt a lot, with Keith Sagar, John Worthen and other excellent professors. I also met my most faithful and dear friend, John Rowland from Derby. We have kept in touch, discussing Literature and life in general, first by post and now via e-mail, for forty years.
In 1985 I enrolled again and spent another magical week in Nottingham. I even got one of my stories printed in the Newsletter. This year it was reprinted: A letter from Larthia, an Etruscan girl. I have always been in touch with the Society, even from a distance. I’m a member since 1980.
In September 1985, I got married to my next door neighbour, a vegetable gardener, and we had our two girls. We lived happily for thirty years, in a sort of Connie/Mellors relationship (it worked!), until he died of cancer five years ago.
In these last two years, the Pandemic confinement has been a “solution” for me, because I have been able to participate via Zoom in a lot of meetings, lectures and events. I hope some day we can meet again in Eastwood, Nottingham or elsewhere. Keep safe, dear friends.

From the Archives

Before the internet, folk from the DHL Society would take clippings from newspapers and bundle them up in folders that lived a quiet and peaceful life in filing cabinets that now reside on the top of Breach House. 

This is one such of those clippings, taken from the February 1990 issue of the Radio Times. It shows that Lawrence continues to divide opinion. Your editor particularly likes the outrage of B.W. Ashley. He suspects Ovaltine may have been spilt when the BBC dared to broadcast Lady C into his bedroom...

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