Welcome to the September bulletin

On September 11th the world changed forever. D.H. Lawrence was born. Traditionally the first two weeks of September are when we celebrate our D.H. Lawrence Festival. Previously this has included literary walks, seminars, concerts, theatre productions, reading groups and anything else that enabled us to celebrate Eastwood’s finest son. But this year the C word has meant we must limit our celebrations to the screen. On a positive note, this means that we are no longer restricted by time and space and so are able to hook up with America for the birthday lecture and Australia during the day.

Also taking place is what Dickens may have called A Tale of Two Chairmen, as we witness the first performance of a newly written cantata by Alan Wilson (our current chairman) and Malcolm Gray (our previous chairman) based on Lawrence's debut novel The White Peacock. 

We hope that you can join us – wherever you are – and together we can rise from the flames of this pandemic and attempt to build a better festival.

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

September 12th: The Festival Lawrence ‘Birthday’ Day

Detailed information about each section will be available much nearer the time, together with a more precise schedule of timings etc. We will also be explaining how to make contact both through zoom and the livestreamed broadcastsHere follows a ‘rough’ timetable.
FESTIVAL DAY (British Summer Time)
9.30 – 12  
The Australian connection.(broadcast by zoom)
After an initial ‘welcome’ from our chairman Alan Wilson, two talks and discussions will be led by David Game and Paul Eggert. David will present an overview of Lawrence’s engagement with Australia, as reflected in a range of texts. Paul will deliver a paper (with illustrations) on ‘Birds, beasts and flowers’
12 -2 Break for lunch etc.
2 – 3.30 
Jessie Chambers. A zoomed talk on Lawrence’s poems relating to Jessie and his later alterations by Malcolm Pittock followed by a recorded interview (podcast) with Clive Leivers, who talks about his own life and a forthcoming publication of his new book connected with Jessie.
4 - 5 
A Musical drama/cantata
 based on ‘The White Peacock’ co-written by Alan Wilson and Malcolm Gray, the former also directing and recording this first ‘historic’ performance. The work will be preceded by a short background talk by Alan.
All this will be a streamed podcast (in order to get the best sound quality)
5 – 7 Break
7 -
The Lawrence Birthday Lecture,
 ‘A life of illness and resilience: Reflections on Lawrence’s letters in a time of pandemic’ given by Judith Ruderman.
This will be delivered by zoom, ending with interactive chat, not only about this topic, but about the whole day.

Some of you will be aware that for the last four years and more Paul Fillingham and me (James Walker)  have been putting together a project called 'The D. H. Lawrence Memory Theatre: A Digital Pilgrimage'. The purpose of the project is to explore Lawrence through a series of artefacts. At some point in September (hopefully by the time you read this bulletin) we will have our first artefact online which is Mr. Muscles. This artefact represent Lawrence's hard work ethic, his energy and vitality, and his warning that: 

'As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow through us.'

Each artefact is accompanied by contextual essays. Please feel free to contact me and tell what I have got wrong so I can make adjustments on the hoof. I don't claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I simply want to bring Lawrence (kicking and screaming) into the digital age and make his work accessible for newer generations. As with our previous literary projects (Sillitoe Trail, Dawn of the Unread), the intention is to whet the appetite and drive readers to the original texts. 

You are all free to submit artefacts to the project. Hopefully when you see the work online it will give you an idea of what we're after. Below is an early screenshot of how the essays will look online. This might all change but I wanted to share the early designs with you. .  

You can submit your ideas for artefacts here
You can visit the project here
Lawrence and Academia 

Ernest Weekley: a dilemma of biography
by Jeffrey Meyers

When Ernest Weekley died his obituary in the Manchester Guardian (May 10 1954) read: "Few can have spent 40 years in academic life and evoked so much affection and so little criticism, as he did.  His standards were those of his generation.  He preferred a man who was (as he would put it) ‘a gent’ and he admired polish and was not afraid to say so.  But there was never anything snobbish or sour in this.  He accepted the more relaxed atmosphere of the post 1918 epoch with understanding and tolerance salted now and then with a half-cynical quip.  He had a polished ready wit, and could with a few quiet words puncture pretentiousness and pomposity or brighten the deliberations of a dreary committee."
Read the 43 page paper here

(If you've written an academic paper and want it featured, please get in contact)


Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murray were witnesses at the Lawrence’s wedding and later enjoyed a failed attempt at Rananim in Higher Tregerthen, Cornwall in 1916. Mansfield would be part inspiration for the character of Gudrun Brangwen in Women in Love and Lawrence and Murray would have various fall-outs, particularly in light of his editorship of The Adelphi. Despite their fractious relationship, Mansfield wrote in her journal on 20 January 1920: 'I suppose it is the effect of isolation that I can truly say I think of de la Mare, Tchehov, Kotelianksy, Tomlinson, Lawrence, Orage, every day. They are part of my life….' 

Katherine Mansfield’s best-loved short stories were fully dramatised in two box-sets. These were recently broadcast on BBC4. You can still listen to some of them here:

Torpedo the Ark included three new posts on the work of D. H. Lawrence this month:
In the first, Stephen Alexander discussed the question of racial aesthetics with reference to Women in Love: On the Question of Racial Aesthetics with Reference to D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love

And in the second post, he looked at Lawrence's surprisingly idealistic view of books: D. H. Lawrence and the Ideal Side of Books

In the third post, Dr Alexander examined Lawrence's fruity relationship with Bertrand Russell:

And in his final post of the month, he explores the 'mob meaning' and 'individual meaning' of eating bread: Don't go to the Baker's with D.H. Lawrence

Other fascinating posts on a variety of topics including myth, blackfishing, and Benny Hill, can be found on:

We will never have the pleasure of hearing Lawrence reading his own poems, but thanks to YouTube we can hear Frieda reading some of them. Videocurious has uploaded the vinyl recording published by J.S. Candelario in 1950. It includes a cross section of Lawrence’s work selected by Frieda, of which ‘Terra Incognita’ and ‘Bavarian Gentians’ were her favourites. Thanks to Glyn Bailey for sharing this link.

The record is extremely rare but after a bit of research it seems the recordings were made available on CD in 2000 and 2014. The OCLC Number is 900989453. Content uploaded to YouTube can be taken down sharpish if it is seen to break copyright law – so check out the link while you can. You can access it here
From the Archive...

In 1975, Margaret Chambers was our Lady Chairman and tasked with developing the heritage we try our best to maintain today. We thought this extract from the opening newsletter was interesting, not least because we begin to see that literary heritage often involves dealing with pragmatic requirements, in this case signposting to culture - literally. Having worked on the board of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, I can tell you first hand how difficult it was to get signage up declaring Nottingham's status. But after a lot of moaning there are now signs at various points as you enter the city. So it is easy to imagine the excitement at seeing these signs and trails become a reality, evidence that Lawrence's legacy is being taken seriously as it is in Hardy and Bronte country.     


Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say online...

Here's a couple of Twitter accounts that will be of interest if social media is your thing. 

What's Gray'ner than Gray'n? - Moorgray'n. If you have no idea what this means, fear not. It's local dialect and David Amos is on hand to explain more in his article about the closure of Moorgreen Colliery 35 years ago. You can read it here 

I can be anywhere at home except a hotel...

annalouisekeel posted the above picture on Instagram, saying: Call me a cynic (and I love DH Lawrence) but I can’t help hearing the marketing team behind this scrawl on the mirror in my hotel saying “Ok team! Let’s google some literary quotes that make people want to spend more!”


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