The Rainbow is a 1915 novel by British author D.H. Lawrence. It follows three generations of the Brangwen family, particularly focusing on the sexual dynamics of, and relations between, the characters. Lawrence's frank treatment of sexual desire and the power plays within relationships as a natural and even spiritual force of life, though perhaps tame by modern standards, caused The Rainbow to be prosecuted in an obscenity trial in late 1915, as a result of which all copies were seized and burnt. After this ban it was unavailable in Britain for 11 years, although editions were available in the USA. The Rainbow was followed by a sequel in 1920, Women in Love. Although Lawrence conceived of the two novels as one, considering the titles The Sisters and The Wedding Ring for the work, they were published as two separate novels at the urging of his publisher. However, after the negative public reception of The Rainbow, Lawrence's publisher opted out of publishing the sequel. This is the cause of the delay in the publishing of the sequel. The Rainbow and Women in Love were originally intended to form one novel entitled The Sisters, which was begun in 1913 when Lawrence was living in Italy, but as the novel developed across 1913-14 - whilst Lawrence and Frieda moved from Italy to Germany to England and back to Italy again - its scope grew so much that in the autumn of 1914 Lawrence decided to create two novels. The Rainbow was finished in March 1915 and published on 30th September 1915 and is one of his major achievements, radical in both form and content. It is clearly an attempt to take the novel into new territory, breaking with the conventions of nineteenth-century realism and furthering the exploration of human desire which had already caused some controversy after the publication of Sons and Lovers. In this respect, and others, The Rainbow was quickly bdeemed to have gone too far: in November copies were seized by the police, the novel was tried and found obscene, and on November 13th the magistrates suppressed the novel and all unsold copies were burnt. The outcry of the conservative press made much of sexual "filth" but was probably as much animated by outrage at Lawrence's disenchantment with modernity and militarism, some critics arguing that such a book would undermine the moral health of the nation in a time of war. The critics were reactionary but not obtuse: Lawrence did indeed intend to undermine traditional notions of the human which he, in common with later modernists such as Woolf, saw as alien encrustations, foisted upon the person by modern social institutions such as the factory and the school . In a letter to Edward Garnett on 5th June 1914 Lawrence had said "You mustn't look in my novel for the old stable ego of the character. There is another ego, according to whose action the individual is unrecognizable, and passes through, as it were, allotropic states which it needs a deeper sense that any we've been used to exercise, to discover are states of the same single radically unchanged element." Instead of focusing on character in predominantly social or behavioural terms, Lawrence's interest is in what one might call "being" or - to use a metaphor derived from linguistics - the "deep structure" of selfhood, previous fiction having focused primarily on "surface structure." On the surface The Rainbow does not seem to be a novel much concerned with historical reality, concentrating instead on the consciousnesses and states of feeling of its main characters. However, there is a recognition that consciousness is not separate from history. The Brangwens have for generations been farmers in the Midlands of England and the novel focuses on three generations of the family, starting from around 1840 and continuing up to the beginning of the twentieth century. This of course was a period of fundamental change in virtually every area of life: the consolidation and further development of the industrial revolution and its associated technological innovations such as the railway; increasing urbanization; the decline of conventional religion and the establishment of science as the dominant belief system; advances in education, to name only some of the most obvious. The Rainbow is not interested in dealing with those directly but rather explores their implicit effect on consciousness and feeling, particularly in the context of relationships between men and women. By the time of the final generation of Brangwens, represented by Ursula Brangwen, we see the emergence of a modern consciousness. English novelist, story writer, critic, poet and painter, one of the greatest figures in 20th-century English literature. Lawrence saw sex and intuition as a key to undistorted perception of reality and a way to respond to the inhumanity of the industrial culture. From Lawrence's doctrines of sexual freedom arose obscenity trials, which had a deep effect on the relationship between literature and society. In 1912 he wrote: "What the blood feels, and believes, and says, is always true." Lawrence's life after World War I was marked with continuous and restless wandering. "The novel is the book of life. In this sense, the Bible is a great confused novel. You may say, it is about God. But it is really about man alive. Adam, Eve, Sarai, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, David, Bath-sheba, Ruth, Esther, Solomon, Job, Isaiah, Jesus, mark, Judas, Paul, Peter: what is it but man alive, from start to finish? Man alive, not mere bits. Even the Lord is another man alive, in a burning bush, throwing the tablets of stone at Moses's head." (from 'Why the Novel Matters' in D.H. Lawrence: Selected Criticism, 1956) David Herbert Lawrence was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in central England. He was the fourth child of a struggling coal miner who was a heavy drinker. His mother was a former schoolteacher, greatly superior in education to her husband. Lawrence's childhood was dominated by poverty and friction between his parents. In a letter from 1910 to the poet Rachel Annand Taylor he later wrote: "Their marriage life has been one carnal, bloody fight. I was born hating my father: as early as ever I can remember, I shivered with horror when he touched me. He was very bad before I was born." Encouraged by his mother, with whom he had a deep emotional bond and who figures as Mrs Morel in his first masterpiece, Lawrence became interested in arts.
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