At last things are looking up a bit for D H Lawrence. Four decades after the Second Wave feminist critique brought his reputation crashing down from its dizzy 1960s heights, today’s students come to him as though to a blank sheet. If they don’t know much about him, at least they know no ill of him. Critics are making a counter-case for Lawrence as a feminist, just as the 2011 BBC Four adaptation of Women in Love did. BBC One is adapting Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And the Cambridge Edition of the Letters and Works of D H Lawrence, ongoing since 1979 and now approaching the fortieth volume, is finally almost finished, making Lawrence the most meticulously edited writer of the early 20th century.
I say almost finished. This is because these two volumes of his poetry (one of the actual poems and prefaces to the original editions, one of editorial introduction and notes) are still to be joined by a third volume of textual variants and unpublished poems. But these volumes are worth