Welcome to the first bulletin of 2021

In 1911 D.H. Lawrence visited Southwell. He was 25 at the time. I visited just before Christmas to see the the 'Wall of Hope' (pictured above) and thought of Will Brangwen in The Rainbow. ‘Have you been to Southwell?’ he said. ‘I was there at twelve o’clock at midday, eating my lunch in the churchyard. And the bells played a hymn.’ He goes on to explain to Anna, his future wife, that 'He was very much excited and filled with himself that afternoon. A flame kindled round him, making his experience passionate and glowing, burningly real.’ I felt a similar flame kindling my belly during my visit, a flame of optimism that soon we may be able to drink in a pub, travel abroad, hug and kiss those we love. To do this, we need a vaccination that works - and lasts. As you will see further down this bulletin, people in Eastwood weren't keen on compulsory vaccines last time they were required...  

New Year's Eve was a rather sombre occasion this year as a result of social distancing. But as the narrator of these poems remind us, there's much fun to be had in front of a roaring fire. Hope your celebrations were as equally warm! 

"New Year's Eve" by D.H. Lawrence

There are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fire-glow.

This fire-glow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.

Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!
Your breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!

As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!

"New Year's Night" by D.H. Lawrence

Now you are mine, to-night at last I say it;
You’re a dove I have bought for sacrifice,
And to-night I slay it.

Here in my arms my naked sacrifice!
Death, do you hear, in my arms I am bringing
My offering, bought at great price.

She’s a silvery dove worth more than all I’ve got.
Now I offer her up to the ancient, inexorable God,
Who knows me not.

Look, she’s a wonderful dove, without blemish or spot!
I sacrifice all in her, my last of the world,
Pride, strength, all the lot.

All, all on the altar! And death swooping down
Like a falcon. ’Tis God has taken the victim;
I have won my renown.

Each week a new vaccine is developed promising a magical cure for Covid. Rather than being excited at the prospect of possibly being able to live a semi-normal life again, the internet is awash with conspiracy theories. But similar fears and phobias have always existed… 
Measles, diphtheria, diarrhea, scarlet fever and whooping cough were common in the late Victorian period, accounting for 10% of all deaths in the Basford Rural District (which included Eastwood) in 1898. Overcrowding, sanitary conditions and inadequate disposal of sewage were all contributing factors to this malaise of ills. But parental ignorance also played a part with rumours that whooping cough was caused by something in the air. This might have been because respiratory illnesses, such as tuberculosis and bronchitis, were the biggest killers, accounting for 17% of deaths that year.

There were also large demonstrations against the introduction of compulsory vaccines in Eastwood in 1898 which suggests there was ignorance of medical practice and their purpose. So, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to read that 122 years later there is an anti-vax movement suspicious of Covid vaccines. The difference now is that ignorance is amplified by social media platforms and influencers (rather than influenzas) and therefore has an impact across the globe rather than a small community.       

A survey commissioned by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH)  found that around one in six British people were unlikely to agree to being vaccinated against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and a similar proportion had yet to make up their mind.
Seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same…
Source: D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre Instagram account
Further reading: History of Anti-Vaccination Movements

Brenda reminds us that if you 'take a look at the Society’s website,, you will see that Kate Foster has done a wonderful page all about our Christmas festivities 2020. You can still hear the’ historic’ reconstructed virtual concert. There are also programme notes, background notes, photos, and two wonderful reviews of both the concert and the party by Malcolm and Kate respectively.  It also includes a recording of carol singing around the piano at a Christmas party in the Breach House in 2017 - quite a gem!'. This will be available until 2 February (Candlemas)

If you want anything included in the bulletin, lob it over to me ( or Brenda (      .  

HOME (Eastwood)

Dr Fiona Fleming: ‘D. H. Lawrence and Hardy’

Wednesday 13th January

You can see videos of Fiona on this topic on our YouTube channel here
The zoom details are the same for all society meetings:
Meeting ID: 849 4042 1574
Passcode: 38292
Zoom link


AWAY (London Group)

Anthony Paccito: 'A Sense of Ancient Gods: the origins of the novel'
Thursday 28th January (6.30 pm UK time)

'Anthony’s grandparents came to England from Italy in about 1890. Anthony was born in London, and sent off to boarding school for a proper English education. But in the background another narrative was playing, the images and sensations of early childhood visits to his grandfather’s villa on the slopes of Monte Cassino, the intoxicating alchemy of heat-white light and dense shade, the scent of crushed mint and wild fennel on the terraces around the house, the incessant sawing of cicadas, and at night, the myriad pulsing glow of fireflies in the darkened gardens. On the sleepy senses of a little boy used only to the dappled play of leafy London suburbs, these images and sensations left a deep impression, one which would perhaps colour future life choices. Anthony has a diploma in Italian Studies from the University of Perugia, and a B.A. in History of Art and History of Ideas from Kingston University. He has spent long periods of time living and working in Italy. A Sense of Ancient Gods is his first novel. It has its origin in a gouache of memories from many years ago, and in particular a conversation with an eminent Shakespeare scholar at a boozy lunch in a Rome piazza, the subsequent discovery of a hidden corner of art history, the unlikely backdrop of the wild mountains of the Abruzzo, and the brief burning presence in that remote world of the almost religiously compelling figure of D. H. Lawrence.’ 
You can buy Anthony's book here

Contact Catherine Brown for more details:

You can read write-ups of recent discussions below:
November 2020: James Walker, The D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre
December 2020: Terry Gifford, The Plumed Serpent and Ecology
December 2020: The Edinburgh Companion to D. H. Lawrence and the Arts



From the JDHLS archives
Kate Foster

D. H. Lawrence, Dance-Sketch

‘Dance runs like a vein of ore through Lawrence's work.’ Who can forget Anna, pregnant, ‘dancing herself to the Lord, to exultation.’ Or Gudrun dancing in front of Highland cattle ‘confident of some secret power within herself.’ Or Connie throwing off her clothes and her inhibitions to dance in the rain?

In Lawrence’s writing dance is exhilarating, liberating and empowering. But to Mark Kinkead-Weekes it is also ‘a sensitive register of how his vision of the human-being-in-the world grew and deepened’: ‘D. H. Lawrence and the Dance’, JDHLS 1992-3. And so he traces this vision through Lawrence’s writing, from personal self expression, to the dynamics of a relationship, to communal rituals and celebrations, until in the friezes at the Etruscan Tombs ‘Dance eventually acquires the status of a form of religion.’

Mark Kinkead-Weekes is ‘less interested in Lawrence-as-dancer, than in what he saw in dancing.’ But the reader can’t help but be struck by how far a miner’s son from Eastwood has travelled to find himself entranced by Native American tribal dances in New Mexico. And yet in that Lawrence I still see ‘the same Bert who rushed with such joy to the Haggs’ teaching his friends the dances his father knew, throwing off his inhibitions and becoming more like him as he did so.

The new website of the Journal of D. H. Lawrence Studies hosts articles published since 1988. Please delve deeper into the searchable archive and feel free to write in about your own finds to Susan Reid: And look out for your copy of JDHLS 2020 in the New Year – we will send it out as early as we can manage.

Lawrence and Academia 


Virtual Graduation Student Conference
17th April 2021

Abstracts are welcome on any topic in D.H. Lawrence studies, including any aspect of his fiction, poetry, and essays, literary contacts, and place in modernism.  We are especially interested in papers relating to one of the following themes: place and landscape; crisis; disease and recovery. 

The online conference will use the Zoom meeting platform but will follow the traditional format of in-person meetings.  Each session will be led by a Chair and will feature a respondent, a senior Lawrence scholar who will provide constructive commentary on the papers.  Our aim is to enable as many students as possible to participate without budgetary pressures.  There is no conference fee but DHLSNA membership is required for presenters (student rate: $10 USD).   
Please email an abstract of 200-300 words plus concise c.v. to Adam Parkes, Professor of English, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA, at by 12th February 2021.  Acceptance notices will be sent by 26th February.   


Britain's Favourite Novel

‘If you had to pick just one novel by a British author, what would it be?’ would inevitably provide biased results if put to our membership. To answer this question more fairly, Channel 5 have been conducting research which culminated in Britain’s Favourite Novel, a programme broadcast on 27th December on Channel 5.

From their survey, they came up with a shortlist of 30 books - including that novel by Lawrence. The shortlist was based on sales figures, previous surveys, and critical opinions. Then the British public got to decide. Given what happened last time the British public were asked to decide something of national importance, you may not like the final verdict. If you want to find out who won, you can watch the programme again on Catch Up.
C5 Catch up


During December, Torpedo the Ark featured nine posts that contained references to (and/or discussions of) Lawrence's work:
  1. On the Use of Dialect as an Erotico-Elementary Language in D. H. Lawrence
  2. On Eric Gill's Illustrations for Lady Chatterley's Lover
  3. Krampusnacht 
  4. Hey Look, It's Me!
  5. Crawling on All Fours in Shaggy Inhumanity ...
  6. On the Sex Life of Robinson Crusoe 1: Getting Jiggy with a Soap Bark Tree
  7. On the Sex Life of Robinson Crusoe 2: The Man Who Married the Earth (and Sired Mandrakes)
  8. On the Sex Life of Robinson Crusoe 3: Becoming the Perverted Sun Angel
  9. Piquerism and Notes on Knife Play

Return to Sea and Sardinia

January 2021 sees the centenary of D.H. Lawrence’s documented trip that resulted in his acclaimed book, Sea and SardiniaReturn to Sea and Sardinia will follow in the footsteps of Lawrence’s journey exactly 100 years on from the day he set out. Due to Covid-19 pandemics the project will begin as soon as the travelling conditions will allow the crew to travel across Sicily and Sardinia

Adam Lang

I was due to be in Cagliari in January with friends, colleagues, writers and academics to celebrate the centenary of the book at various events. The upsurge in the pandemic has curtailed, aside from a Zoom link, those celebrations. But we are hoping to get the U.K. DHL Society involved in the annual Mandas DHL Festival, scheduled for July 2021.Again the pandemic and lockdown may make this difficult. It may be carried over into 2022. But so far the plans include travel to Sardinia by boat, train and boat. A stay in Cagliari and then with Sardinian friends to retrace DHL’ s journey including staying at Mandas and contributing to the festival. At the time of writing the dates for the festival have not been confirmed but as soon as they are I can circulate along with an itinerary of approx 5/ 7 days with suggestions of places to stay and details of travel.  
D.H. Lawrence and Dialect

Source: D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say online...


D.H. Lawrence makes an appearance in The Guardian’s Feed Your Soul: the 31-day literary diet for January. You can find him on day 27.


Literature Cambridge (20th March 6 pm)

Hugh Stevens, Lawrence’s Nature Poetry

The poetry collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923) expresses Lawrence’s remarkable joie de vivre in the years after the First World War. The poems in the collection were written between 1919 and 1923, and follow D. H. Lawrence’s and Frieda Lawrence’s peregrinations from Tuscany and Sicily, through Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Australia and ending up in the American Southwest.

The poems all use a disarmingly casual and fluent speaking voice full of challenging addresses to the reader. They are delightful, full of spontaneous inventive verbal creativeness, marvellously original observations of the natural world, thoughts about our relationship with our environment, and often containing profound and sustained meditations on the meeting between the human and the non-human.

D. H. Lawrence described his novel Kangaroo as a ‘thought-adventure’, and these poems are all ‘thought-adventures’ in their own way. We will focus on a selection of poems, including: ‘Pomegranate’, ‘Fig’, ‘Medlars and Sorb-Apples’, ‘Bare Almond Trees’, the sequence of poems about a family of tortoises, and his great masterpiece ‘Snake’. Most of these poems are collected on our blog page.

Live online lecture and seminar with Hugh Stevens, Senior Lecturer, University College London

Saturday 20 March 2021
18.00 British Time
19.00 Central European Time

£26.00 full price
£22.00 students and CAMcard holders

Link to enrol here

From the Archives

It’s great to see how busy the Birthplace Museum was when it first opened in 1976, with visitors from twenty two countries in all. While we can’t compete with that, going online during the pandemic means we have reached some far flung places and meetings have been joined by members from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Malta, Belarus, America, India, South Africa and Australia.

Me and Lawrence: Stella Howells

Stella Howells is a member of the Croydon Writer's Group. Here she shares some of her connections with Lawrence and why he remains a literary hero to her.
At the age of eighteen I arrived in Streatham to begin studying English and Drama for a teaching career, unaware at the time that it would see me through to collecting a pension. Prone to fits of self-doubt, passionately feminist and harbouring literary aspirations, I had conscientiously attacked the list of recommended reading, rejecting the Romantic poets in favour of Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. The latter was to be the subject of my final dissertation, an exploration of the role of women in Lawrence’s novels, with specific reference to The Rainbow and Sons and Lovers.

Decades have passed and D.H. Lawrence still comes out top of my ‘authors - who -influenced – me’ list. In 2020 he might be regarded as misogynistic, anti - feminist and full of contradictions by some critics. To my younger self, his writing began to open my eyes to the richness of language and his narratives held me in thrall. I firmly believed that he was a visionary, ahead of his time both in his writing and philosophy.

Like Lawrence, I have worked at Davidson Road School in Croydon. I was part of the long-since defunct Multicultural Support Service. I often sat through meetings there and wondered how such an intellectual survived teaching in the south of London after a lifetime in the Midlands. His teaching career was cut short when he contracted tuberculosis and his writing flourished, unlike my own attempts, which dwindled as the teaching took over my life.

In retirement and latterly through lockdown, I have thumbed the brownish pages of my paperback copies from college days. In 1976 my copy of The Rainbow published by Penguin cost 85p new. It is peppered with my annotations. Descriptions of the lives of the ordinary working classes and the insights he gives the reader into their hardships makes for compelling reading. At the time, I prided myself that I understood Lawrence’s descriptions of physical and emotional relationships. He was unafraid of going against convention; his personal life was complicated and shocking in those days.

With older eyes I am blown away by his travel writing and poetry, which resulted from his self-imposed exile from England. His travels were extensive and well-documented. He walked across the Alps to Italy, sailed to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), spent time in Australia, then on to America in 1922 where he hoped to settle and set up a utopian community, all the time writing relentlessly. I liked the idea of his ‘hippie community’, which seemed a million miles from the grey, socially rigid upbringing he spent his life railing against.

As a writer, poet, painter, and philosopher, D.H. Lawrence remains controversial - I think that this draws me back to his works. There is a wealth of information, analysis and critical thinking around his writing which continues to change and develop our understanding of him. For me, he will always be a literary hero. There is a house in Addiscombe with a large blue plaque denoting Lawrence resided there. I’m hoping one day soon it will come up for sale and I could move in, ready to be inspired by the great writer’s spirit.

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