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D.H. Lawrence : readers and audience, 1904-1919

John Worthen, Terence (1969) D.H. Lawrence : readers and audience, 1904-1919. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94738) (KAR id:94738)


This thesis is constructed on the hypothesis that, firstly, the relationship between D. H. Lawrence and his readers is an important (and often misunderstood) part of our knowledge of his background, his environment and his early writing career; and, secondly, that such a relation - in a more impersonal sense - had a considerable influence on the ways that his writing changed and matured, and especially on his major works of fiction.

These hypotheses are examined in four ways.

Firstly, the early period of Lawrence's creativity is studied in chapters two and three, and the influence of people who can be called the "intimate readers" examined. Elementary but previously unattempted distinctions are drawn between the different people who read and perhaps influenced his work, both in his Eastwood circle and later in London. These chapters are concerned with the people who were not only shown unpublished work in ms. and whose opinion was asked, but those whom at various times Lawrence suggested his work was 'for'.

In chapters three and four, the thesis examines Lawrence's relationship with those people in established literary and social positions who helped and advised him. Again, vital but often ignored distinctions are drawn between their relative importance to Lawrence. The thesis further charts his development during these years towards a career as a fully professional writer, and draws attention to the increasing value he himself set upon his role as a writer for a particular audience.

The fifth chapter analyses Lawrence's involvement with politics, and examines the other ways he adopted in 1914 and 1915 of approaching his audience more directly than his creative writing ordinarily could. It tries to establish his reasons for concentrating upon social issues, and suggests that his involvement with social concerns to some extent affected his writing, both fictional and philosophic.

The sixth chapter studies Lawrence's relationship with his writing and with his audience after the turning point of the Rainbow prosecution, and comments in detail on both the form and genre of his work; it also draws conclusions about the significance his 'philosophical work' assumed during the war. The chapter ends with a statement of the position Lawrence felt he had reached in 1919, comments on his sense of creative isolation, and links the direction and interests of his writing with that sense of isolation. It attempts to establish the real nature of the break he felt had occurred between his writing and his audience.

A concluding chapter develops the study of that relation in a literary critical argument, and concludes that such a relation can and should be the subject of critical concern. As a test case, it studies the relationship between writer and reader in Lady Chatterley's Lover.

The length and detail of this study are designed to produce, firstly, a coherent picture of Lawrence's literary relations; secondly to demonstrate the kind of contact with advisers and friends he both needed and established; thirdly, to indicate over a period of years the changes that contact and that need underwent. The point throughout has been to situate his most important work in the context of the people who were a circle round him, who his work was for, who read it because he wanted them to, who were an audience for it, or who belonged to its wider public.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94738
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 08:45 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2023 16:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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