Literature is a toil and a snare, a curse that bites deep – D.H. Lawrence

by |August 5, 2010

Even the great writers revise. Here is D.H. Lawrence trying toattempting to… searching for the right way to start Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Three versions of the same idea:

Ours is essentially a tragic age but we refuse emphatically to be tragic about it.

D.H. Lawrence – The First Lady Chatterley

Nope… let me try again…

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has fallen, we’ve got used to the ruins, and we start to build up new little habitats, new little hopes. If we can’t make a road through the obstacles, we go round, or climb over the top. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen. Having tragically wrung our hands, we now proceed to peel the potatoes, or put on the wireless.

D.H. Lawrence – John Thomas and Lady Jane

No, that’s not quite it, either…

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

D.H. Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Yeah, that’s the stuff!

Did he make the right decision?

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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Comments

  • August 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I always thought he opened with John Thomas. Hmmm. Curious mistake to make…

    Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. As someone said to me recently… “Editing is like being in love. You have to flatter and cajole. Guide, tease and reward. Wait, & give in to the will of another.”
    Smart words. Worked for Lawrence, clearly. And maybe John Thomas.

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