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Thank you, D H Lawrence. (And Frances Wilson!)

M’dear Planksters,

How are you? Well, I trust!

I have long been a fan of the writings of D H Lawrence and I credit him with renewing my love of reading.

I was never a strong reader as a child and recall being taken out of lessons in primary school to join ‘Mrs Buck’s Special Group’ for individual reading practice. And I still feel a mild twinge of resentment at not being allowed to browse the ‘Gazelle’ books, as I had not yet conquered the ‘Antelope’ set (I don’t actually remember moving on – maybe I didn’t!)

Thankfully, I had parents who read to me and kept my love of stories alive (I can’t stress enough the value of being read to as a child!!) even though I wasn’t much of an active reader myself, preferring instead to look through catalogues and gaining much satisfaction from reading the colours assigned to various sofas and curtains, such as ‘wine’ and ‘pistachio’!

It wasn’t until I was approaching the end of secondary school when lurking in the school library, I happened to open up at random ‘Sons and Lovers’ by D H Lawrence and on reading his powerful descriptions of the Nottinghamshire countryside, was utterly hooked! It amazed me that words could be used to such an effect and I quickly devoured many of his other novels, especially enjoying ‘The Trespasser’ and ‘The Lost Girl’.

I recently came across a fascinating interview on YouTube from the London Review Bookshop, featuring Geoff Dyer and Frances Wilson ( where he talks to her about D H Lawrence, and she discusses her book, 'Burning Man – The Ascent of D H Lawrence’. Based on the interview I headed over to my Audible account and instantly purchased it and was not disappointed.

Frances Wilson does an exceptional job of bringing Mr Lawrence to life detailing his search for fulfilment, his love of travelling, his passion, his temper, and his relationships. It was also very insightful to see how each new book idea of his was inspired by his latest expedition.

D H Lawrence is portrayed as a very demanding character that is electrifying to observe, but with whom you wouldn’t necessarily like to befriend! Clearly, a genius with regard to his writing, and the banning and burning of his novels must surely have contributed to his feeling that the world was against him, thus driving him further away from society. He managed to irritate a lot of people along the way, arguing with them or insulting them and failing to disguise his use of them as characters in his books, not even bothering to change their names on some occasions, which is a bit harsh but, in some ways does seem in keeping with the personality of the man Frances Wilson so skilfully depicts.

D H Lawrence was a great observer of people and apparently an excellent mimic – How I wish there were videos of this! His life was short, but it was lived with passion and his ability to capture with words what he saw around him makes him, in my opinion, one of the greats.

‘Burning Man – The Ascent of D H Lawrence’ by Frances Wilson – comes highly recommended!

With a twirl and a remarkably low bow, Thalamus Plank.

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