David Herbert Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence played one season of cosmic baseball as an outfielder for the 1987 Bhutan Vanguards
Official Cosmic Record

Painting of Lawrence by Dorothy Brett

Lawrence (front row, third from left)
and his family

Age 21

D.H. Lawrence's Mother

Jessie Chambers

Louie Burrows

Freida Lawrence

Age 38

D.H. & Frieda Lawrence, 1926

September 11, 1885 - March 2, 1930

English Writer

Man & Women In Love

D.H. Lawrence is one of the 20th century's most inspired writers. A novelist, playwright, poet and psychologist, his impact on the way we think about love, sex, and cultural decay has been profound.

His novels and poetry explore the ills created by the Industrial Revolution and the role of sexuality in human relationships.

The dialectic between man and woman is a chief theme in Lawrence:

Man the doer, the knower, the original in being is he the lord of life? Or is the woman, the great Mother, who bore us from the womb of love, is she the supreme Goddess? (Lawrence, Fantasia of the Unconscious)

The decay of the so-called "sexual revolution" today is an affirmation of Lawrence's theory of sexuality. Lawrence was most definitely a godfather of the 20th Century sexual revolution. In practice, the sexual revolution is or was a revolt against the depressing notion that our lives, controlled by growing governments and threatened by nuclear annihilation, are pre-ordained. Free will is just an empty metaphor inside this realm. The sexual revolution unleashed a potent rebellious impulse that contradicted the anxiousness of freedom-less reality.

While Lawrence's utopian vision matched the 1960s mantra of "make love not war" he would not have understood the purely hedonistic and narcissistic aspects of the sexual and cultural revolutions. For Lawrence, sexuality was primarily a moral issue. Those that denied and suppressed their sexuality subverted the hope of people coexisting peacefully and happily.

What Lawrence did comprehend is the polarity inherent in love between human beings, specifically between men and women. Lovers can also be betrayers. The line between love and hate is thin indeed and the ubiquitous loneliness of our post-modern culture thins the line further. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to demarcate the line, transcribe its limits. Our only defense against fate is passion, unruly and free, but committed to humanity.

Lawrence's attitude toward women, much like Henry Miller after him, seems problematic. He was, from start to finish, dominated by women. Feminists routinely dismiss him. Others are more tolerant but no less understanding of his complexities. Barbara Hardy writes in an essay entitled "Women in D.H. Lawrence's Works":

It is easy to see Lawrence as the enemy. He is hard on women. He creates saints and monsters as he sheds and fails to shed his Oedipal sicknesses, admitting, denying, and re-admitting his mother's stranglehold...He criticises and harangues women for coming too close, for being too personal, for wanting to be loved, for having too much mind, for having too much cunt. He disapproves what he himself invents.

Much is made of Lawrence's "Oedipal" problem. His first novel Sons and Lovers (1913) is about this battle. John Tytell in his book Passionate Lives comments about Lawrence's struggle with maternal authority:

He loved his mother, perhaps even unnaturally in his deepest fantasies, but at the same time he needed to repudiate the narrow fundamental Christianity that defined her world and to free himself from her.

It is interesting to note that within a year of Lawrence's first sexual affair, at age 25, with Alice Dix, the wife of the local drug merchant, his mother died.

Lawrence's prior experiences with passion and sexual desire were marked with frustration. Jessie Chambers, whom Lawrence became enamored with as a teenager never allowed him to become sexually intimate, nor did Louie Burrows, a woman he met while a pupil-teacher. Tytell describes what it must have meant to be in love with the writer:

In Lawrence's own courtships, his own writing was an object of centrality, as if it was his imaginative vision, his creativity, his very genius that he was asking Jessie or Louie to love. It was essential to Lawrence that any woman he loved could respond to his writing and become...a collaborator.

It was Frieda Richthofen Weekley who became Lawrence's greatest collaborator and his wife. Frieda was both Lawrence's greatest inspiration and nemesis. And if Lawrence could see just how thin the line between love and hate really is, much of this vision was informed by the eclectic and electric personality of Frieda. It was Frieda who would desert her husband and children to elope with Lawrence, all in the name of fantastic love.

The difficulty of monogamy in the Industrial Age, the pressures against fidelity and the paradox of passionate love, all themes of Lawrence's novels, are also embedded in his relationships with women. And it was his relationship with Frieda, a strong, confident and complex woman, that most influenced Lawrence as a person and Lawrence the writer. In a letter to a friend, Lawrence wrote early on of his relationship with Frieda:

God, how I love her-- and the agony of it.

Maria Huxley, Aldous Huxley's wife, according to Frieda's daughter Barbara, explained the nature of Lawrence and Frieda, it was she said, "a great passion". Barbara Weekley reports that Maria Huxley understood and explained the relationship's chemistry:

Frieda is silly. She is like a child, but Lawrence likes her because she is a child.

To stifle the desire to love physically and emotionally can only harm the individual and the wider collective. Lawrence spent a lifetime transcribing in prose and poetry the contours of love between the sexes. The battle between the land and the Industrial Revolution so common in Lawrence's work is an echo of the battle between men and women, trying to do more then just coexist. Late 20th century post-industrialized culture is rife with the failure of monogamy. Lawrence's work, his loves and his life leave clues as to why this is so.

We are proud to honor David Herbert Lawrence with this Honored Cosmic Player Plate for his contributions to cosmic baseball and to humanity as a sultan of passion and vision.

D.H. & Frieda Lawrence, 1922

Official Cosmic Record

D.H. Lawrence Official Record Cosmic Batter
1987 Vanguards of .251 287 72 6 31

POS-Position; BA-Batting Average; AB-AtBats
H-Hits; HR-Homeruns; RBI=Runs Batted In

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D.H. Lawrence- Honored Cosmic Player Plate
URL dhlhcpp.html
Published: September 17, 1997
Updated: September 17, 1999; August 24, 2000
Copyright © 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association

Email: editor@cosmicbaseball.com