Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Encyclopedia of Literature: 110A Piccadilly to Nelson Algren Biography

Aaron's Rod

lilly war wife lawrence

a novel by D. H. Lawrence, published in 1922. Aaron Sisson, a checkweighman in a Nottinghamshire colliery, and amateur piccolo player, suddenly leaves his wife and children on Christmas Eve immediately after the First World War. He goes to London, where he joins the Covent Garden orchestra and becomes involved with a smart set of bohemian people, led by Jim Bricknell, a man obsessed with the importance of filling himself with food and love. Aaron encounters the writer Rawdon Lilly and his Norwegian wife, Tanny. When Aaron becomes ill in body and soul, Lilly nurses him and the two become intimate friends. Though they quarrel, particularly over the war, Lilly exercises a powerful influence over Aaron; after an emotional visit to his abandoned wife in the Midlands, Aaron follows Lilly to Italy. There, an unfulfilling affair with an American-born marchesa, and the shattering of his flute in an anarchist bomb attack, lead Aaron to despair. Lilly urges him to yield to the ‘deep power-soul’ and unfold his own destiny. Loosely episodic in form, the novel contains some of Lawrence's most passionate writing about the First World War and reveals the sense of release that Italy provided him. The title of the book refers to the biblical Aaron, the brother of Moses and founder of the priesthood, whose blossoming Rod is a symbol of miraculous authority.

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