Welcome to the December bulletin

Christmas is a time for celebration. When we can fondly look back on all the things we didn’t do and all the places we didn’t go because of covid. *sigh* Lawrence liked to party. In the recent book launch for The Edinburgh Companion to D. H. Lawrence and the Arts, Sue Reid mentioned that there are around 300 references to parties in Lawrence’s work. He loved them all, except surprise parties which might have meant he was not dressed appropriately.

Kate Foster draws our attention to this letter Lawrence wrote describing a Christmas party at his sisters in Ripley: ‘We played charades — the old people of 67 playing away harder than the young ones — and lit the Christmas tree, and drank healths, and sang, and roared - Lord above.’

For many of us, Christmas parties will most likely be via Zoom. Although this is not ideal, try to remain positive. Lawrence would no doubt have hated the artifice of Zoom, I suspect he’d have enjoyed the ‘mute’ function, particularly the ability to mute critics. So just remember, this Christmas you can mute annoying relatives on Zoom calls without them knowing. Lining, silver, every…           

And if you can’t see friends and families and you don’t care much for Zoom, have a read of The Rainbow to get you in the festive spirit: “The time came near, the girls were decorating the church, with cold fingers binding holly and fir and yew about the pillars, till a new spirit was in the church, the stone broke out into dark, rich leaf, the arches put forth their buds, and cold flowers rose to blossom in the dim, mystic atmosphere. Ursula must weave mistletoe over the door, and over the screen, and hang a silver dove from a sprig of yew, till dusk came down, and the church was a grove.  In the cow-shed the boys were blacking their faces for a dress rehearsal; the turkey hung dead, with opened, speckled wings, in the dairy. The time was come to make pies, in readiness. The expectation grew more tense. The star was risen into the sky, the songs, the carols were ready to hail it. The star was the sign in the sky. Earth too should give a sign. As evening drew on, hearts beat fast with anticipation, hands were full of ready gifts. There were the tremulously expectant words of the church service, the night was past and the morning was come, the gifts were given and received, joy and peace made a flapping of wings in each heart, there was a great burst of carols, the Peace of the World had dawned, strife had passed away, every hand was linked in hand, every heart was singing.”

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

Thursday 3rd December. 7.30pm
WRAP Live: In conversation with Derek Owusu

Join the award-winning novelist, poet and former Mostly Lit podcast host, Derek Owusu in conversation with poet Becky Cullen for a lively virtual dialogue about writers and writing, passions and poems, and the influence of D.H Lawrence on Derek’s writing. Free event open to all.
Link here to join

Wednesday 9th December. 7pm
JDHLS 2020 Preview.
Holly Laird discusses the latest journal. More info on this in our JDHLS section.
Saturday 12th December

Virtual Christmas Concert podcast (access at any point)
Alan Wilson is organising a podcast Christmas Concert of carols, music and readings based on the Festival of Light. enabling a virtual reconstruction of the Eastwood Congregational Church, the spiritual home of the Lawrence and Chambers families, which will be available to listen to at any time on that day. Alan will be doing a write up on the website soon.

Christmas Zoom Party. 7pm

Expect a quiz, lighthearted readings and an impromptu singing of Christmas carols. As there are no restrictions on Zoom, we’re bubbling up with the Haggs Farm Preservation Society too. Brenda to send more details closer to the date. 
The zoom details are the same for all society meetings:
Meeting ID: 849 4042 1574
Passcode: 38292


From the JDHLS archives
Susan Reid, JDHLS editor

JDHLS 2020 is coming soon! But please bear with us until the printshop reopens – we think it will be worth the wait. Holly Laird has guest edited a bumper special issue, which begins to explore the impact that Christopher Pollnitz’s magnificent three-volume Cambridge Edition of D. H. Lawrence: The Poems will have on how we read the poetry from now on. I won’t give too much away here, as Holly will preview this year’s journal at a Society meeting (via Zoom) at 7pm, Wednesday 9 December. Please join us!

JDHLS 2019 will soon be added to the online archive, but meanwhile you might like to dip back into your paper copy for Holly Laird’s essay ‘New London Poet’, which complements Christopher Pollnitz’s ‘D. H. Lawrence: Croydon Poet’ in the forthcoming special issue. You can also find a treasure trove of articles about the poetry in the online archives, including Kate McLoughlin’s 2015 revaluation of Lawrence as a war poet in response to the publication of his sequence ‘All of Us’ in The Poems, Volume I:  and John Worthen’s 2014 important contextualisation of ‘Lawrence and Some Romantic Poets’ 

Please delve deeper into the searchable archive of JDHLS articles published since 1988 at: and feel free to write in about your own finds.

Next month Kate Foster will guest write this feature. Please do contact me if you would like to write a post:
Lawrence and Academia 


Terry Gifford’s paper "Organic Metaphor as Mutual Agency in The Rainbow", which was originally presented at the Paris conference in 2019, is now published in the journal Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism.

Abstract: The material turn in ecocriticism has been partly based upon Karen Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway and Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter. Whilst Barad proposed the notion of ‘intra-action’, Bennett developed the idea of agency in matter and its apprehension in human affect. Taking its starting point in D. H. Lawrence’s remarkable articulation of the mutual biosemiotics of his relationship with a tree in his essay ‘Pan in America’, this paper challenges the conventional anthropocentric way of reading organic metaphors in Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow to open the possibility of a more complex understanding of mutual agency and affect in the performativity of natural matter’s intra-action with Lawrence’s characters. Can flowers and floods be read as acting, not as metaphors for human emotions, but actually cause those states of being – not correlative, but causal? Was Lawrence implying a kind of mutual agency in some key organic metaphors in The Rainbow?

Available to read here

Christmas Quacker...

The second artefact in the D.H. Lawrence Memory Theatre is dialect. 

While folk have been doing exciting things during lockdown, like learning to bake sourdough bread while blindfolded, I've been collating all of the references to 'duck' in Lawrence's work and getting locals to read them out. Warning, this video includes David Amos. 

Watch dialect and ducks here

Torpedo the Ark included eight new posts on the work of D. H. Lawrence this month:

One on the topic of chickens in relation to an early essay by Gilles Deleuze:

Two in relation to Ricard Matheson's novel The Shrinking Man (1956):

And this riposte to those who think that their working class northernness makes them more authentic human beings:

Pictures of You

If you've ever dreamed of having pictures of naked men and women on your wall, now is your chance. The film director, Christopher Miles, had replicas of Lawrence's controversial paintings created for his 1981 film "Priest of Love" which were based on allegorical and classical themes, and which were banned by Scotland Yard in 1929. These were living in Breach House, Eastwood but we would be interested in seeing some of them go out into public spaces to help raise awareness of Lawrence's lesser known work. If you are interested or know of an organisation who may like to give them a new home (temporary or permanent), please let us know and we will send you more details. 
Six of these Lawrence paintings were recently exhibited at Durlstone Castle in Swanage for a charity screening of ‘Priest of Love’ at the Rex Cinema in Wareham last year in aid of ME which raised over £3,000 that night. Some of the paintings were hung at Waterstones bookshops in Nottingham and in the Fulham Road for the launch of Dr Keith Sagar’s book on the paintings in 2003. 

We think loaning the pictures out are a great opportunity to promote the Lawrence Society and potentially reach new audiences. This ties in with the AGM comments below... 


In our recent AGM, Jonathan Long discussed the need for a mission to reignite interest in Lawrence among the many who haven't heard of him. Many of you feel very passionate about this. Here’s some initial reactions from members.

Jane Costin writes: ‘When I was an undergraduate at the University of Exeter (1998-2001) Lawrence was not on the syllabus. When I started my PhD in 2007 at the Tremough Campus (in Cornwall) of the University of Exeter, at that time, there was no-one in Exeter University who had sufficient knowledge of Lawrence to act as my Lawrentian supervisor. Lawrence was still not on the syllabus at the main campus and only appeared fleetingly at Tremough. Since I left, I believe studies of Lawrence at Tremough have ceased too. The only time I read Lawrence was when I was doing my M.A. through the Open University - Sons and Lovers was read on the foundation part of the course. But when I wanted to do a dissertation on Lawrence, my supervisor tried very hard to dissuade me because she was an ardent feminist and hated Lawrence!

I feel my experience shows that generations of students do not get any exposure to Lawrence. Now that meetings are via Zoom, I wondered whether it would be possible to circulate the information about speakers and joining the meetings to universities so that students could join in if they wanted? Even if we only got one student from the odd university it would be a start.’

Nick Caramella echoes these sentiments and believes this is why we should support Daniele Marzeddu’s multimedia project Return to Sea and Sardinia which will follow in the footsteps of Lawrence’s journey exactly 100 years on from the day he set out.

Nick said: ‘In my opinion, we should support initiatives of this kind, mainly because this is the only way to get Lawrence’s thought known to a larger public, especially in schools.  So, I entirely agree with those who, the other night, said that we should spread Lawrence’s Word in schools. Else, it is true, we’ll vanish into ‘thin air’, and in the best of cases we may turn into some sort of ‘sect’.’

More information on Daniele's project further down the bulletin.

From the Archive...

Issue 4 of the newsletter, published in summer 1976, warned of the perils of commercialising literary heritage...


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 Sardinia. It was the topic of the October London group discussion and now is set to get a multimedia makeover.

Return to Sea and Sardinia will follow in the footsteps of Lawrence’s journey exactly 100 years on from the day he set out.

Documenting the journey will be Daniele Marzeddu; a multi award-winning director experienced in documentary filmmaking. Daniele was born in Italy in 1978. He usually calls himself son of emigration, and he is a sort of stateless person. Having lived in South Austria, Venice, Portugal, Spain and several different cities in Europe, he has settled in the UK since 2015.

The centre piece of the project will be the film that records Lawrence’s retraced journey – scheduled for release at arts and cultural venues across the UK and Sardinia in April 2021.

Return to Sea and Sardinia will also curate captured material into a limited-edition photo book, featuring a commentary about the locations and scenes as they existed in Lawrence’s day and also today, 100 years on.

The objective of Return to Sea and Sardinia is to capture an historical record that appropriately marks the centenary of D. H. Lawrence’s travel to Sardinia. In doing so, we hope to arise an interest in Lawrence’s life and works as well as in the Sardinian culture.

Supporters of the project will be given an opportunity to have themselves credited on the photo book and/or film produced as record.

Support the project via GoFundMe


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

Something Understood series ‘Inside a Tree’
Lawrence and other writers featured in the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Something Understood’ which explores our relationship with trees. According to an area of forest the size of a football field is destroyed every 1.2 seconds, 46% of the world’s forests have already been destroyed, and 15% of all greenhouse emissions are the result of deforestation. Herman Hesse puts is beautifully: “For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.” 

Listen to the programme here

David Ellis on a very special anniversary... 
Writing for Wordworth Editions, David Ellis celebrated the centenary of the publication of Women in Love in November. “The way in which Women in Love is written might well be called experimental, although it seems to me misguided to think that we do Lawrence a favour by enrolling him among the modernists.  His methods should not have seemed too disconcerting for anyone well read in the nineteenth century novel.” 
Read it here

From the blog: Love or Loathe?

The latest blog on the D.H. Lawrence Society website features two pictures from the Lawrence collection at The Manuscripts and Special Collections Department, Nottingham University by the artist Eric Gill, intended to illustrate Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but never used. John Worthen and Kate Foster debate how Lawrence might have felt about them.
Read it here:

Me and Lawrence: Ruth Hall

Ruth Hall has had over 27 years involvement with the D.H. Lawrence Society and is currently helping with the Haggs Farm Preservation Society. We couldn't think of anyone more appropriate to kick off our new feature introducing members of the DHL Society.  

Many moons ago I attended a scriptwriting course (just for kicks) and the only thing I remember from it now was a ‘quick’ exercise we had to do assembling a timeline of important events in our lives. I failed utterly at this but I subsequently chewed it over and realised that my most important happenings all involved meetings: the world, my mother, my children, family, ‘loves’ etc. I include Lawrence in this, even though arguably I have ‘met’ him a few times – he’s just that sort of writer. I must say our first meeting was an inauspicious one; under my dad’s bed, where Lady C kept company with Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer – though which one was on top I can’t now remember! I’ll be honest, I didn’t make much of either of them, being nine at the time.

Like a lot of people (dare I say especially women?) my first proper introduction was as a 17 year-old ‘A’ Level pupil in the mid-70s, studying Sons and Lovers, and feeling a strong connection with ‘Miriam’. I know there is, even now, some debate about Lawrence’s fictional portrayal of Jessie Chambers in the novel but he must have got something right because, for a while there, I think I thought I was her!  And coming as I did from a working class (though bookish) background in nearby Derby added to my interest and appreciation of him. I even dragged my parents out to Nottinghamshire once on the trail of The Haggs – a thankless task even then, as I recall.

My third significant meeting was an indirect one in the early 90s, when I contacted the D H Lawrence Society for some help with a series of botanical flower paintings I was putting together using quotations from Lawrence’s nature writings. This led, with encouragement from the then editor and fellow flower enthusiast Rosemary Howard, to joining the Society – Lawrence’s representative on earth, if you will (the Society, not Rosemary) – and marked a more general, grown-up interest in Lawrence. And that’s about where I still am with the great man – he comes and goes in my consciousness, a bit like the seasons, but is never less than ‘alive’ to me.

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