Introduced by Colm Tóibín
Illustrated by Anne-Marie Jones
Considered by many to be Lawrence’s greatest novel, Sons and Lovers is introduced here by Colm Toibin. Illustrated by Anne-Marie Jones.
‘When they come to manhood, they can’t love, because their mother is the strongest power in their lives, and holds them.’
This is how D. H. Lawrence described the central conflict of Sons and Lovers (1913), his first major work and considered by many his greatest novel. Lawrence drew on his own family life to write about the unhappy marriage between Morel, a miner, and his better-educated wife, and the intense relationship between the mother and her sons, especially her second son Paul. As he grows older, Paul forms a relationship with farmer’s daughter Miriam, and later with an older woman, Clara, a suffragette who is separated from her husband; but his emotional ties to his mother are not easily supplanted.
Winner of the Best Illustrated Book Cover at the V&A Illustration Awards 2014
E. M. Forster described Lawrence as ‘the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation’ while Philip Larkin said of Sons and Lovers that ‘nearly every page of it is absolutely perfect’. With great freshness and sensitivity, Lawrence gives us a universal portrait of a family: ‘Home was home, and they loved it with a passion of love, whatever the suffering had been.’ In Paul’s troubled romances with Miriam and Clara, Lawrence paints a tragic picture of the relations between men and women at the time. Lawrence also captures the life of a Nottinghamshire mining village at the turn of the century; the men in their ‘pit-dirt’, the families collecting the colliers’ wages on a Friday, and children hunting for blackberries in the nearby countryside.
‘There is nothing quite like Sons and Lovers in the whole of literature. It is momentous’
Published by Folio to mark the centenary of the book, this edition is set from the unexpurgated text first published by Cambridge University Press in 1992. The introduction is by the internationally award-winning author Colm Tóibín. Describing Paul’s Oedipal longings for his mother’s love and his father’s destruction, he says that ‘Lawrence did not need Freud to write this; he knew it.’ Anne-Marie Jones has created ten hauntingly enigmatic images, using a mixture of painting and digital artwork.
D. H. lawrence was born in Nottinghamshire in 1885 to Arthur Lawrence, a miner, and Lydia Lawrence, a former teacher and factory worker. Lawrence was a novelist, poet, short-story writer and literary critic, but he is probably best known for the novels Sons and Lovers (1913), Women in Love (1920) and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). His first novel, The White Peacock, was published in 1911, shortly after the death of his beloved mother. Sons and Lovers was very much influenced by this loss, and the novel is heavily autobiographical. Lawrence was vilified in his lifetime for the overtly sexual content of his writing, but he is now widely recognised as one of the finest writers in the English language. He died of tuberculosis in March 1930, aged just 44.
Colm Tóibín is an Irish novelist, short-story writer, journalist, essayist, playwright and critic. Born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in 1955, he has written several award-winning novels including The Heather Blazing (1992), The Master (2004, LA Times Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Brooklyn (2009, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year). His short-story collections include Mothers and Sons (2006, winner of the Edge Hill Prize), which deals extensively with the complexities of the mother–son dynamic. Tóibín is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University.
Anne-Marie Jones studied Illustration at University College Falmouth and was a runner-up in the 2011 book illustration competition run by the Folio Society and House of Illustration. She works in a combination of paint and digital; her illustrations begin as a painting which she then composes digitally and collages to build up layers, textures and contrasts.
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Review by anon on 27th Aug 2015
"I studied "Sons and Lovers" at school MANY years ago and found it disappointing and in some way incomplete. I bought the Folio edition in the hopes that age might have added to my understanding of the..." [read more]