One of the most versatile and influential figures in twentieth-century literature, D. H. Lawrence was a master craftsman and profound thinker whose celebration of sexuality in an over-intellectualized world opened the door to that topic for countless writers after him.
Perhaps his finest novel, Women in Love (1920) continues the story of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, who first appeared in Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow (1915). The story contrasts the passionate love affairs of Ursula and Rupert Birkin, a character often seen as a self-portrait of Lawrence, with that of Gudrun and Gerald Crich, an icily handsome mining industrialist. Birkin, an introspective misanthrope, struggles to reconcile his metaphysical drive for self-fulfillment with Ursula’s practical view of sentimental passion. As they fight their way through to a mutually satisfying relationship—and eventual marriage—Gudrun and Crich’s sadomasochistic love affair careens toward a disastrous conclusion.
A dark, disturbing, yet beautiful exploration of love in an increasingly violent and destructive world, Women in Love nevertheless holds out the hope of individual and collective rebirth through human intensity and passion.