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Sons and Lovers was the first modern portrayal of a phenomenon that later, thanks to Freud, became easily recognizable as the Oedipus complex. Never was a son more indentured to his mother's love and full of hatred for his father than Paul Morel, D.H. Lawrence's young protagonist. Never, that is, except perhaps Lawrence himself. In his 1913 novel he grappled with the discordant loves that haunted him all his life--for his spiritual childhood sweetheart, here called Miriam, and for his mother, whom he transformed into Mrs. Morel. It is, by Lawrence's own account, a book aimed at depicting this woman's grasp: "as her sons grow up she selects them as lovers--first the eldest, then the second. These sons are urged into life by their reciprocal love of their mother--urged on and on. But when they come to manhood, they can't love, because their mother is the strongest power in their lives."
Of course, Mrs. Morel takes neither of her two elder sons (the first of whom dies early, which further intensifies her grip on Paul) as a literal lover, but nonetheless her psychological snare is immense. She loathes Paul's Miriam from the start, understanding that the girl's deep love of her son will oust her: "She's not like an ordinary woman, who can leave me my share in him. She wants to absorb him." Meanwhile, Paul plays his part with equal fervor, incapable of committing himself in either direction: "Why did his mother sit at home and suffer?... And why did he hate Miriam, and feel so cruel towards her, at the thought of his mother. If Miriam caused his mother suffering, then he hated her--and he easily hated her." Soon thereafter he even confesses to his mother: "I really don't love her. I talk to her, but I want to come home to you."
The result of all this is that Paul throws Miriam over for a married suffragette, Clara Dawes, who fulfills the sexual component of his ascent to manhood but leaves him, as ever, without a complete relationship to challenge his love for his mother. As Paul voyages from the working-class mining world to the spheres of commerce and art (he has fair success as a painter), he accepts that his own achievements must be equally his mother's. "There was so much to come out of him. Life for her was rich with promise. She was to see herself fulfilled... All his work was hers."
The cycles of Paul's relationships with these three women are terrifying at times, and Lawrence does nothing to dim their intensity. Nor does he shirk in his vivid, sensuous descriptions of the landscape that offers up its blossoms and beasts and "shimmeriness" to Paul's sensitive spirit. Sons and Lovers lays fully bare the souls of men and earth. Few books tell such whole, complicated truths about the permutations of love as resolutely without resolution. It's nothing short of searing to be brushed by humanity in this manner. --Melanie Rehak --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
When Sons and Lovers was first seen by its reading public in 1913, its publishers had in fact, out of caution and timidity, shortened Lawrence's originally submitted version by about ten percent--cuts that are restored in this new ``uncensored and uncut'' edition. Complexity of characterization, intensity of characters' confrontations, and sexual frankness are now, say the publishers, as the author intended them. Example: ``He could smell her faint perfume'' returns to its original, ``He could smell her faint natural perfume, and it drove him wild with hunger.'' -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Whenever I wish to contemplate on my mother's childhood I open this book at any page and enter into it. D.H. Read morePublished 14 months ago by sunshine
While I love D.H Lawrence, i should have chosen almost any other copy to read it. This one has terrible paper quality, very small and not a very legible print.Published 24 months ago by Anastasia
While "Sons and Lovers" would not be a best seller if it was written by a current day author, it was, for its times, quite controversial and forward-leaning and should always be... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2012 by Ronald W. Maron
knowing the reputation of this novel, i was curious to find out what the fuss was about. but i found that the best thing about the novel is the description of his family,... Read morePublished on June 29 2003
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence. Recommended.
Sons and Lovers is said to be the most autobiographical of D. H. Read more
A tour de force! Bravo. It is story of Paul Morel who loves his mother more than himself. Mrs. Morel who is married to a ignorant, illiterate coal miner tries to find comfort,... Read morePublished on May 8 2003 by Vijay B. Kumar
D. H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" should have been titled "Mother and Sons", since it is an unflinching, at times harsh, look at a mother's relationship with... Read morePublished on March 29 2003 by John Kwok
The say there's nothing like the love of a mother for her son, but in this novel by D.H Lawrence, the bond between mother and son cannot be broken. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2002 by Alberto Garcia
They say there's nothing like the love of a mother for her son, but in this novel by D. H. Lawrence, the bond between mother and son cannot be broken. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2002 by Alberto Garcia