Monday, March 17, 2014



I knew him before his marriage, in White Peacock days, and still hope that a certain photograph of him taken at that time may be reproduced somewhere. It was a charming likeness, with an ethereal expression in those youthful features. Then he came to see me with his newly-married wife; I cooked, in her honour, a German luncheon.

He sometimes turned up at the English Review office with stories like the Prussian Officer written in that impeccable handwriting of his. They had to be cut down for magazine purposes; they were too redundant; and I was charged with the odious task of performing the operation. Would Lawrence never learn to be more succinct, and to hold himself in hand a little? No; he never would and he never did; diffuseness is a fault of much of his work. In Women in Love, for example, we find pages and pages of drivel. Those endless and pointless conversations! That dreary waste of words! To give your reader a sample of the chatter of third-rate people is justifiable; ten consecutive pages of such stuff is realism gone crazy.

Norman Douglas, Looking Back – An Autobiographical Excursion, New York, Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1933.

D.H. Lawrence, Autograph manuscript pages from The Dance of the Sprouting Corn, 1924.

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