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Rainbow, The

The Rainbow, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, Women in Love. The Rainbow

a novel by D. H. Lawrence, published in 1915. Begun in early 1913, The Rainbow had a tormented compositional and publishing history and was suppressed by Court Order on grounds of obscenity. It is now regarded, with Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, as amongst his best work. The novel is written to a classic generic pattern—the three-generation family saga—and there is evidence that Lawrence initially thought of it as a pot-boiler. It is, by his standards, complexly plotted and tells the overlapping stories of the Brangwen family beginning on the Nottinghamshire family farm. The first part deals with Tom Brangwen's marriage to Lydia Lensky, a Polish exile. The second recounts the relationship of Will Brangwen, Tom's nephew and a craftsman carpenter, with Anna, Lydia's daughter by her first marriage. The final and longest part concerns Will and Anna's daughter Ursula and takes her from girlhood through the beginnings of a vividly described career in teaching and her early relationships, including a lesbian affair. The novel ends with Ursula looking positively to the future after a miscarriage and the break up of her engagement to Anton Skrebensky, an upright army officer. Originally the novel was to have taken the story further but Lawrence split the material in 1915 and Ursula's story is continued in Women in Love. The Rainbow deals with the arrival of the modern world. It starts on the land in the late nineteenth century and moves, through the experiences of an artisan craftsman, to the situation of a modern woman working in an urban school. Throughout Lawrence is interested in the tension between the traditional and the new. But the novel is also notable for its controversial descriptions of sexuality and individual scenes of extraordinary power which are typical of Lawrence's best work. The novel is stylistically highly original with a resonant, symbolic style which would reflect Lawrence's developing concern with unconscious physical and psychological forces.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)