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Welcome to the June bulletin
 



The writer, essayist and broadcaster Kevin Jackson has died and so I'd like to dedicate this bulletin to him. He was a true polymath, writing on a diverse range of subjects that ranged from Dante and Ruskin to the birth of Modernism. Tom Sutcliffe's obituary captures his thirst for knowledge perfectly: "His intellect was extraordinarily capacious – it was easy, at times, to believe that he had read everything – but also entirely free of airs and graces. If you needed to know about the late films of Andrei Tarkovsky, say, or the artistic possibilities of the epigraph, Jackson could usually extemporise on the subject from a cold start. If, on the other hand, you were after the complete lyrics for The Flintstones theme tune, he could sing them to you, fortissimo, and would encourage you to join in on the chorus".   

I commissioned Kevin to produce a comic about Lawrence for Dawn of the Unread - a graphic novel celebrating Nottingham's literary history. Underpinning the project was a simple premise: 'When the dead go unread, there's gonna be trouble. Writer's are turning in their graves and the only thing that can save them is booooks'

It was a twist on the zombie genre but made an important point: Do writers cease to exist if we no longer keep them alive in our imagination. Read 'em or lose 'em. The backdrop to the project was alarming statistics about the drop in independent bookshops, libraries facing cuts, and appalling literacy levels. 

Kevin took all of these factors onboard and came up with 'D.H. Lawrence Zombie Hunter'. The zombie metaphor was perfect given that Lawrence described Britain as a graveyard full of half-dead 'grey heads'. I've published his rationale for creating the comic further down the newsletter.

You can read Tom Sutcliffe's obituary here 


You can read 'D.H. Lawrence Zombie Hunter' here

If you want anything included in the bulletin, lob it over to me (james.walker@ntu.ac.uk) or Brenda (brenda.sumner@gmail.com)   .  


Home (Eastwood)

Tuesday 1 June (8pm)
Nottingham Industrial Heritage Association. The 'Ripley Rattlers'
The ‘Ripley Rattler’ was the notorious tram system which operated between Nottingham & Ripley from 1913 to 1932. It featured in DH Lawrence's short story 'Tickets Please'.
In your best Blakey voice: ‘Get them trams outta here!!!’ (see flyer further down the bulletin for more info)
 
Wednesday 9 June (7pm) by Zoom.
Professor Keith Alldritt "Lawrence in Mecklenburgh Square".
This talk will consider Lawrence in the weeks immediately following his enforced exile from Cornwall in late 1917. It will examine the perspective on Lawrence at this time offered by the American poet Hilda Doolittle in her prose work ‘Bid Me To Live’ (Zilboorg edition). Keith will suggest that of all the many memoirs of Lawrence this is the only one that has to be considered as an achieved work of literary art.
 

Away 

Bloomsday Festival 11 – 16 June (various)

 
Bloomsday celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. Once more, it is most likely to be Zoomsday with lots of activities online. A couple of things to look forward to include: Bloomsday Breakfast, A Ulysses Punk Cabaret, Bloomsday Film Festival screenings, Joyce Art exhibitions and drawing workshops. For more information, please see the Bloomsday Festival website here
 
Thursday 17 June (6.30pm)
D.H. Lawrence London Group

Stefania Michelucci ‘Lawrence’s Representations of Ancient Italy and the Rise of European Totalitarian Regimes’
 
 
The Loneliness of the Lockdown Reader



Lockdown, if nothing else, has been a test of the imagination as we’ve all found innovative ways to cope with our enforced solitude; be that learning to play the ukulele or seeing how long you dare dunk a digestive before it collapses into your tea (12 seconds is my record btw). But a recent article by Josh Cohen in The Guardian put forward another test: Be more like Alice and other characters from fiction. Cohen describes Lawrence as ‘the literary high priest of emotional intensity’ and gives the example of The Rainbow which features the voluntary confinement of the young newlywed couple, Anna and Will Brangwen. Anna has an urge for ‘a real outburst of housework’ and tries to help Will be suggesting ‘Can’t you do your wood-work?’ as a coping mechanism for boredom.

You can read the article ‘Be more Alice! The fictional characters with lessons for lockdown’ here


 
The High Priest of Loathe


Kevin Jackson explains why old grumpy guts DHL is perfect for the zombie genre
 
I’d really like to brag or moan about how hard it was to come up with the ideas for this comic, but to be frank, compared to a lot of the stuff I have had to research so as to provide material for Hunt Emerson (who is, by the way, one of the very few people I have met who is possessed of genius), this was a doddle.
 
First of all, Lawrence’s short life was packed with all the action you could need: tough childhood, early struggles, unlikely marriage to an exotic aristocrat whose cousin had been a legend of the Great War, passionate friendships and bitter feuds, then travel, travel, travel, all around the globe… Allowing for a little fantastical license here and there, the account of Lawrence’s life in this strip is pretty accurate. Most of the standard biographies don’t mention zombies, though.
 
Then you have the fact that DHL was a real Mr Angry – the Basil Fawlty of literary modernism. He has sometimes been called the “High Priest of Love”, because of the notorious sexy bits in his books, but High Priest of Loathe would be more apt. You name it, he was probably driven nuts by it. Among major twentieth century writers, his only rivals in rage were Ezra Pound (who went mad from anger, and not in a pretty way) and Louis Ferdinand Celine (who may also have been mad; if he wasn’t, he’s probably burning in Hell).
 
Finally – the biggest stroke of luck – the way in which Lawrence wrote about the people and the countries he hated was an almost perfect fit for the required zombie metaphor. He liked to snarl that his enemies were either half-dead (especially in the genital zone) or as good as dead; he described Britain as a giant graveyard, and as a vast open coffin sinking into the seas. Tweak those outbursts just a little and, voila! Lawrence’s “savage pilgrimage” from nation to nation becomes a one-man war against the zombification of the human race.
 
It might seem odd to say this, but it is this slightly barmy, ranting side of Lawrence that I now find most attractive. Like most people, I first read him as a teenager. For some teenagers, boys and girls alike, he has been one of the great liberating forces. But this was the seventies, when a new wave of feminism was on the rise, and Lawrence became a major villain – Public Male Chauvinist Pig Number One. And then I went to college and studied English, at a time when the previously overpowering presence of DHL’s biggest champion, F.R. Leavis, had finally withered and all but died. No one I respected so much as mentioned him, except with a shrug or a knowing sneer.
 
This was unfair, and unfortunate. One of the writers I did greatly admire in my teens (and still admire) was someone who seemed the precise opposite of Lawrence: Anthony Burgess. Where Lawrence was humourless and would-be prophetic, Burgess was funny - sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Where Lawrence was ponderous, Burgess was fleet. Lawrence was a bar-room philosopher and a bully; Burgess was a polymath who wore his learning with wit and panache. And so on.
 
Yet – how odd this seemed – Burgess greatly warmed to this author who was so much unlike him. What Burgess responded to was Lawrence’s distance from the London literary elite – as a Mancunian, Burgess never felt comfortable with the Establishment; and his capacity for sheer hard work; and his sense that to be a writer is to be more than just someone who hawks their goods in the marketplace. Burgess also liked quite a lot of Lawrence’s prose, and explained why in a short, highly readable book about DHL, Flame Into Being.
 
It was that book which persuaded me to try to be more open-minded about Lawrence. When it comes right down to it, I still don’t like the smell of him, as it were. As a completely soppy dog-lover, I cannot forget the horrible incident in which he kicked a bitch almost to death because she had not obeyed his call. He was self-righteous, and narcissistic, and often very, very boring. I doubt I would have liked him, and I am sure he would have despised me. But, I’ll admit it. The bastard could write.

Original article published by Dawn of the Unread here
 
The D.H. Lawrence Society of North America is pleased to invite nominations for the following awards in Lawrence studies:
 
The Harry T. Moore Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Encouragement of Lawrence Studies.
 
The Mark Spilka Lectureship. Lecture by a distinguished Lawrence scholar to be delivered at the International Conference. Awarded no less than once per decade.
 
The Extraordinary Service Award. For service to the DHLSNA and/or Lawrence studies in general.
 
The Biennial Award for a book by a Newly Published Scholar in Lawrence Studies. For a book substantially, though not necessarily exclusively, devoted to Lawrence. Only books published from August 2018 to July 2021 will be considered.
 
The Biennial Award for an article by a Newly Published Scholar in Lawrence Studies. Only articles or book chapters published from August 2018 to July 2021 will be considered. Chapters published in multi-author collections such as D.H. Lawrence in Context or the
Edinburgh Companion to D.H. Lawrence and the Arts are eligible for this award, as are individual chapters in single-author volumes.
 
All nominations and self-nominations should be sent to DHLSNA President Elect Ronald Granofsky at granofsk@mcmaster.ca and must be received no later than Labor Day, 6th September 2021. Winners will be announced in the Spring 2022 Newsletter.
 
Adam Parkes
President, DHLSNA

 
Lawrence and Academia 


 

D. H. LAWRENCE, DISTANCE AND PROXIMITY
AN INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM
10‒14 JULY 2021
 
“What a pity that distance remains distance, so absolutely”
 

Please join us in July for this first in Lawrence Studies – a virtual symposium of short papers by around 80 international scholars. With topics from demos, disabilities, ecocriticism, gender, and modernity to the literary forms of fiction, poetry, and the short story, there really is something here for every Lawrence reader. All events are free and open to non-speakers.
 

The provisional programme announced last month is available at www.dhlawrencesociety.com/symposium ‒ and further events will be added, including this stimulating visual and creative interlude:
 
‘Picture postcards: a colour and collage workshop’
Monday, 12 July, 1500 ‒ 1545 BST
 
Lawrence was a prolific sender of postcards, although usually we pay more attention to the words on the back than the pictures on the front ‒ or their paradoxical signalling of distance from and proximity to the viewer and everyday life. This visual workshop, which aims to make us look again at how we communicate through the colours and composition of images, will be framed by a selection of Lawrence’s picture postcards curated by Jonathan Long (Independent scholar, UK).

Please also come prepared for a hands-on colour and collage workshop led by artist Rebecca Loweth (Slade, 2015). As a creative departure from the predominantly verbal nature of our symposium, we will be collaging in colour (essentially blue, green and red), so participants will need the following materials:

  • Postcard-sized paper / card to collage on
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Coloured or patterned papers or printed images (e.g. from magazines)

Although you can simply join us on the day, it would be helpful to register your interest in advance for this free event: dhlsymposium2021@gmail.com

We hope to see you at some or all events at ‘D. H. Lawrence, Distance and Proximity’, which will take place during a month-long ‘Festival of Modernism’ convened by the British Association of Modernist Studies – for that further details see https://bams.ac.uk/modfest2021/
 
Final announcements about our symposium will follow, but please hold 10‒14 July in your diaries and contact me with any questions at dhlsymposium2021@gmail.com
 
Susan Reid, on behalf of the symposium committee: Kate Foster, David Game, Andrew Harrison, Holly Laird, Stefania Michelucci, Nanette Norris, Doo-Sun Ryu, Joseph Shafer.

 




Buxi Duan is an English Literature PhD candidate at Birmingham University who is researching D. H. Lawrence & modernist periodicals. You can find him on Twitter @buxi_duan where he’s been enthusiastically tweeting about the D.H. Lawrence Symposium 2021 and the opportunity to create a map pinpointing the participants around the world. You can access the interactive map here 

 

On the Box
The Raymond Williams Society (@R_Williams_Soc) are releasing digitised archive footage on their YouTube channel. This includes a 1985 interview with Williams discussing D.H. Lawrence. In 1958 Williams wrote Culture and Society which explores how the notion of culture developed in Great Britain, from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. This seminal text includes a chapter on Lawrence which, in part, led to Williams being called as a defence witness at the Chatterley trial in 1960.
You can watch it on YouTube
here
 


 

Last month on Stephen Alexander's Torpedo the Ark there were several new posts on Lawrence and his work:

1. Reflections on a Green Carnation
http://torpedotheark.blogspot.com/2021/05/reflections-on-green-carnation.html

Whilst Wilde is notorious for his reversal of mimetic philosophy and rejection of depth, it may surpise some readers to discover that D. H. Lawrence also rejects the idea of spontaneous human nature and authentic feeling.

2. On the Splendour of Greco-Sicilian Superficiality
http://torpedotheark.blogspot.com/2021/05/on-splendour-of-greco-sicilian.html

Like Nietzsche, Lawrence understood the idea of being superficial out of profundity and remaining true to the surface (to shapes, folds, colours, tones, appearances) and having done with interiority and all that soul-twaddle

3. We Are Transmitters: Reflections on Síomón Solomon's Audio-Poetics
http://torpedotheark.blogspot.com/2021/05/we-are-transmitters-reflections-on.html

Like post-punk icon Ian Curtis, Lady Chatterley hated the radio and thought it deathly. This post explains why. It also discusses Lawrence's thoughts on the ear, music and birdsong.


4. D. H. Lawrence and a Postcard from Paris
http://torpedotheark.blogspot.com/2021/05/d-h-lawrence-and-postcard-from-paris.html

On the question of pornography, Lawrence oscillates between liberalism - its the laughter of genius - and reaction - censor it!
Here we examine once more his thoughts on human nudity and his particular dislike of erotic French postcards.

5. Little Hell Flames: On D. H. Lawrence's Poppy Philosophy
http://torpedotheark.blogspot.com/2021/05/little-hell-flames-on-d-h-lawrences.html

Seeing a large red poppy come into bloom at the top of my back garden reminds me of Sylvia Plath's poetry and Lawrence's philosophising on the flower in his 'Study of Thomas Hardy', wherein he challenges us all to burst into wasteful splendour.

 
 
The Lady's not for touring


After various cancellation brought about by Covid, Happy Idiot productions are currently working on their ‘Not: A Classic’ series which sees them create subversive, comedic parodies of Classic Literature. ‘Not Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ is a parody of Lawrence’s infamous novel and is described by the company as ‘Think The Naked Gun and Airplane! mixed with a steamy costume drama in this laughter-filled parody of the D.H. Lawrence novel’.  
Visit the production website here

You wait for one Lady Chatterley stage production and then two turn up at the same time...

A new musical adaptation of Lady C will come to the West End for a strictly limited run this summer, it has been announced. Crafted by composer John Robinson (Behind the Iron Mask, Closer to the Sun) and directed by the award-winning Sasha Regan (Blondel, The Last Five Years) with original libretto by Phil Willmott (Once Upon a Time At the Adelphi, Relativity: The Einstein Musical), and production design by Andrew Exeter (High Fidelity). This world premiere will be shown at Shaftesbury Theatre this year. It will also be filmed to stream later in the year before future live performances.

From the JDHLS Archives

By Kathleen Vella
 
“The beauty of the night made him want to shout. A half moon, dusky gold, was sinking behind the black sycamore at the end of the garden, making the sky dull purple with its glow” (Sons and Lovers)
 
Have you ever wondered what makes D. H. Lawrence’s work so touchingly compelling and why we resonate with Lawrence’s writing in such a personal manner?
 
Keith Sagar’s ‘Early Lawrence: A Critical Exercise’ in JDHLS 3.2 (2013) – available online from the JDHLS archives at
https://journalofdhlawrencestudies.com/ – offers an interesting answer. The immediate objective of this multifaceted exercise, originally intended for first year students at the University of Nottingham, is to draw the reader “into” Lawrence’s powerful, multi-sensorial writing. Sagar then explains how Lawrence’s writing holistically stimulates the neurological system in the brain and cites the work of Philip Davis, whose research demonstrates that “serious literature” acts “like a rocket-booster to the brain”. This clearly establishes Lawrence’s writing as the most solid rocket-booster not only of the brain but of the spirit too.
 
Research indicates that literature can “shift mental pathways” and “create new thoughts, shapes and connections” (Telegraph, 3 June 2020). Discussion of Lawrence’s work as an art form in the brain, creating shapes and cognitive sub-modalities in one’s neurology, also indicates that his literature is so powerful as to be able to reconfigure our mental mapping and energetic field. It is a very Modernist notion for writers to attempt to express themselves in the very sub-modalities of their neurology, as in the application of the Lacanian gaze in psychoanalytic theory and phenomenology, which refers to tunnels of characters, metaphors, signposts and scenes which are created by the writer but also by readers themselves.
 
Sagar describes how Davis’s research also finds that poetry, in particular, increases activity in the right hemisphere of the brain, an area concerned with “autobiographical memory”. This helps the reader to reflect on and reappraise their own experiences in the light of what they read, which is reminiscent of Bataille’s “inner experience” as a kind of “giant simultaneity”. While Virginia Woolf attempted to record the impressions made in the ordinary course of life and the incessant shower of innumerable atoms on the brain (“I think I am about to embody, at last, the exact shapes my brain holds”, she wrote in her diary), Lawrence was inspired by Cézanne’s propensity to capture the life-spirit of what he painted by employing the “fourth dimension” and to steer away from being mimetic, capturing instead the object in its “own living relatedness to its own circumambient universe at the living moment” (‘Morality and the Novel’). Lawrence’s perennial quest is to connect to the primal, to nature and to pure consciousness. Sagar’s piece is a reminder of the inimitable rich legacy that Lawrence has left us all: his word through which to connect to our own and to his spirit. 
 
The new website of the Journal of D. H. Lawrence Studies hosts articles published since 1988. Please delve into the searchable archive at
https://journalofdhlawrencestudies.com/ and email the JDHLS editor about your own favourites: Susan Reid sue@niallc.co.uk
.

 


There are two types of tribe in Britain. Those who watch EastEnders and those who watch Coronation Street. During a recent Zoom meeting, one Society member forgot to unmute their mic, revealing their allegiance to Coro. Derek Aram was quick to point out at our Poetry Day that Lawrence made an appearance in Coro in March 2020 when Roy from Roy’s Rolls bonded with his niece Nina on a night out bat watching. Both quoted Lawrence’s poem ‘Bat’ with Roy calling himself ‘a keen admirer of his work’ and Nina that ‘we did him in English at school’. Of course Lawrence didn’t share their enthusiasm for the pipistrello – his poem ends ‘Bats!/ Not for me!’ Needless to say it is highly unlikely Lawrence will ever make an appearance on Eastenders as his poetry tended to avoid observations of bald-headed brothers fighting in the Queen Vic.  

You can watch the discussion of Bat on Coronation Street
here.
You can read the full poem here


 

 
D.H. Lawrence and Dialect


If you switch on the news you're bound to hear some politician or other talking a load o' fudge about this and that. So save yer tabs and switch it off. Other dialect starting with F includes fawce, fend, fettle, flig and fridging. Dialect is the second artefact in the D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre. 

Source: D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre
 


‘D.H. Lawrence: Life and Work’ was the topic of Start the Week on Radio 4 yesterday. In this, Francis Wilson, Salmon Rushdie and Simon Armitage reflect on Lawrence’s role within the Canon and discuss how issues in his work have influenced their own writing. The programme is hosted by Andrew Marr.  

You can listen to this on the BBC Iplayer here:
BBC Radio 4 - Start the Week, DHLawrence: life and work


Robert Arellano, a professor from Southern Oregon University, has recently created a musical anthology: Last Poems (of D. H. Lawrence), 17 tracks of synthetic settings for DHL's posthumously published poetry. It may be streamed for free or downloaded for a modest fee at Bandcamp here:



Lawrence features on the cover of the Literary Review (May 2021 issue) owing to a review of Francis Wilson's Burning Man: The Ascent of D H Lawrence (Bloomsbury, 2021).

David Wheatly writes: 'The similarities between Lawrence, the congregationalist son of a Nottingham coal miner, and Dante may not be immediately apparent, but Wilson has chosen to model her book on the tripartite form of the 
Divine Comedy'

You can read the article here:

 


Lawrence and Me: Brenda Sumner

Brenda is on the right of the picture.

I was brought up in a small village in Leicestershire where my father was a farmer and went to school in Ashby de la Zouch. I was introduced briefly to Lawrence as a twelve year-old, when a small group of us read certain marked pages of a borrowed Lady C during a lunch break. At that point I didn't endeavour to read any more of it. The first Lawrence book I studied was Sons and Lovers for A level, which I enjoyed at the time and still do.
 
After school, I couldn't wait to escape from our village and in 1966 went to the University of Wales in Cardiff, where I studied English and History. Surprisingly, I don't remember reading any further Lawrence as part of my degree. From there, I went to the College of Law in London (no Lawrence there either), where I took the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations and met my future husband. I continued in London to do Articles but when my father became seriously ill I wanted to get back to Leicestershire and at that point Nick and I got married and I worked as a solicitor in Leicester until our first child was born in 1979. After that I worked part-time in our solicitors’ practice which Nick had set up in a short time before.
 
In 1986 Nick wanted a change of lifestyle, so he took a two year contract as a District Magistrate in the Solomon Islands. I was not entirely happy leaving my mum, home and horse but our time on the small, remote island of Gizo proved to be a wonderful and very memorable experience. I was fully occupied home-schooling our three sons, swimming, scuba diving, holding parties and the friends we made there have remained close friends. At the end of those two years, ironically it was Nick who wanted to come home and I would have preferred to stay in Gizo.
 
On our arrival home, as we needed to make some money quickly, we decided to set up a new solicitor’s practice in our family home. We took the view that people did not mind travelling provided they had somewhere to park their car. This worked well until we had our fourth child and that point it became somewhat chaotic in the house with three solicitors, three secretaries, a baby and myself, so we bought a small farm yard in the next village and converted it into offices so that the practice could expand.
 
At this point I was spending less time in the office and began to feel the need to do more study and thought about doing a further degree. Any university needed to be within easy driving distance as our youngest son was then three years old. I looked at the prospectuses for local universities and saw that there was an M.A. course on D.H. Lawrence and the Modern Age at Nottingham. I wrote to the Professor, who was John Worthen, and said that I had not done any English study since my first degree in 1969 but that I would be interested in doing the course. He suggested I should go over to discuss and as a result joined the two year part-time course in 1995.

This was a steep learning curve; I had never used a computer, my typing skills were poor and I had done no academic study for a very long time. However, with the help of excellent tuition from John Worthen, Peter Preston and Henry Hillier I managed to get through. After the course, I wanted to retain my interest in DHL and joined the D. H. Lawrence Society; at that time Joan McCluskey chaired meetings which were held in the library in Eastwood. It wasn't long before I joined the Council and still remember our Council meetings then chaired by John Worthen, with tea and biscuits provided by Frank Skillington. Gradually I became involved helping Ron Fawkes with the secretarial side and took over from him and as you know I'm still doing it. 
 
Apart from the many and varied talks we have had over the years at Society meetings and festival events, one of the great joys of being a member of the D. H Lawrence Society has been associating with such lovely people. I am constantly in touch with people all over the world who have a shared interest in DHL. Although the pandemic has meant we have lost, for the time being, our friendly meetings in Eastwood, it has meant through Zoom, that we have made a closer connection with our distant UK and overseas members. This has been wonderful and I hope that once we are back having meetings in person that we shall still be able to link up with our more distant members who I can regard as friends.
 
Surprisingly, during the pandemic I have not found as much time to read as I had hoped. I always manage to see jobs that need doing at home and there’s always cooking and gardening to be done. So, I am looking forward to future holidays when I can catch up on reading and re-read DHL. Later this year, three of our four sons will be living overseas, two in Vietnam and one in Brunei so I am also looking forward to frequent visits to see them and to do more exploring in the Far East.
 
One of my other interests is watching ballet and I am a Birmingham Royal Ballet supporter. An ambition for the future is to have a ballet created by them based on a Lawrence novel or short story, again if anyone has any ideas on this I would be pleased to hear from them. A short ballet based on Lady C was made in Canada a couple of years ago but so far as I am aware that is the only one and I don’t think it has been performed in the UK.

 

From the Archives

Here’s a picture of DH Lawrence’s niece, Peggy Needham reading from DH Lawrence’s letters to the children at Beauvale Infants School in newsletter 65 from 1999 – I wonder what they made of that...


 
Learn more about Lawrence
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