First off - wow - this is a lot to absorb and write back to, but I desire to answer what has been said.
First - I don't know, in trying to recommend something to Quark, I picked "Women in Love" because he already expressed his dislike of "The Rainbow" and I was just reading online that "Women in Love" is actually considered Lawrence's greatest novel. I think it is, too.
First off I read the novels backwards originally, I suppose. I read "Women in Love" first and fell in love with Lawrence, then I tried S&L's and I could not get into it at all. The language tripped me up and I could not stand the constant bickering between the parents - too much like my own real disfunctional family, at the time. That was back in the 70's, I think. Ok recently I did read S&L's and I adored it, mainly because now I understood Lawrence's own personal story better, so to me that book is the 'beginning' and encompasses L's youth, he said so himself. Somewhere in-between the years I read "The Rainbow" - not aware at first it was the perceeding novel to "Women in Love". I felt like I was bored with it and lost patience with it's length. I probably need now to go back and re-read it from my new perspective.
When I read "Women in Love" I felt it was a very complete story...plot, characters, etc; it all added up to a coherent and complete novel to me. At that time I did not even know "The Rainbow" existed.
Ok, Virgil, I think that when you were forced to read both novels, back to back, you were overwhelmed with them and got bored by the time the second one came around. It is a shame professors do that to kids. Unlike me you did not really enjoy the second. I read it quite independently and recall enjoying every line. I do think you should go back and read it again. This time with new perspectives on L, you will enjoy the book emensely; I truly believe that.
Schokokeks, it was so great to see you in this thread. Like Virgil says if you just get a chance to read a short story here and there and observe it might be a good learning experience for you. It is funny, I consider myself a pretty liberated lady and I never really take offense at some of Lawrence's remarks, basically I probably just shrug them off and think they are something any man might say in his lifetime. I don't see where he is so antifeminist. In fact Lawrence had many feminist women friends...close ones...when he was young. I feel he looks at women and men equally and tries to figure them out phycologically or at least he has a keen sensitivity to the inner workings of the mind and presents people quite realistically - which always one cannot explain in any kind of final or set way. Many, or most of his characters leave one with question marks and I think this truly makes him a great writer. I, too, think Lawrence's philosophies are strange in some ways, but I don't think I could say I disagree mostly with Lawrence. I think I read it more from the standpoint of brilliant and amazing, and then his particular views I feel are his own and he is entitled to them. I try mostly to understand him. Yes, at times he comes off as being cynical or critical or "kooky" , as Virgil tags him - what author hasn't(?), and as Virgil pointed out so articulately in his paragraph:
Exactly - we sometimes have to take the author and put him back in the context of the day. When Lawrence wrote is books, novels, poetry, etc. he was paving new ground. He had to fight against all kinds of conventions and out there in his world was virtually a boiling pot of all kinds of new ideas from Freud to Neictzhe (sorry, can't spell that) and war was pending, and L was English, and married a German woman, not only that she was married when he meet her. He was crucified for that! Now, how many authors ran off and eloped with married women? So why did they make such a fuss over L?Now there you have two teaching approaches. Lawrence is a great writer, whether you agree with him or not. I don't agree with him on many things, probably more disagree than agree. He's got some kooky notions. So do lots of other writers. Yeats has some kooky notions. Unless they are advocating killing people you judge their art, not their thoughts. Do we judge Shakespeare because he may believe in divine right of kings? That today would be a kooky idea.
Anyway, Schokokeks, if you are the remotest bit interested in reading and learning more about Lawrence I would suggest reading about his life (brief biography) on this site or Wikipedia first off. That small bit will help you understand what he wrote about and what issues he explored continually in his novels, etc. Many people think Lawrence is all about sex and sexual freedom, but the man was actually very against free love and for monogomy. In some ways he came off a bit puritanical. People get wrong impressions sometimes. Also, he was a lot more than just this notorious novel "Lady Chatterly's Lover", which everyone automatically associates L, those who do not know anything else about him. He was firstly, against industrialisation encrouching on the countryside he loved. He often contrasted the downright poor, the working classes and the upper classes. He was an idealist. He was grasping all his life for a better way, but I doubt he found it really. He was a beautiful, but restless soul, and definetly talented beyond belief. He wrote a ton of material for his short 44 yr life span. If he lived today and saw global warming, our poluted earth and over population, etc...not to mention the war on terrorism, Lawrence would freak out and probably go mad. He would definitely say he could see it all coming. He was prophetic above all.
Back to the short stories, S, - really they are not hard to read, so if you find the time read up on here and we would be glad to hear what you think of his writing. I love the first story - "Things". We recently discussed that one.