Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Pronounced obscene when it was first published in 1915, The Rainbow is the epic story of three generations of the Brangwens, a Midlands family. A visionary novel, considered to be one of Lawrence’s finest, it explores the complex sexual and psychological relationships between men and women in an increasingly industrialized world. “Lives are separate, but life is continuous—it continues in the fresh start by the separate life in each generation,” wrote F. R. Leavis. “No work, I think, has presented this perception as an imaginatively realized truth more compellingly than The Rainbow.”
About The Rainbow
Spanning the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, D. H. Lawrence’s provocative novel traces the lives of three generations of one family on their Nottinghamshire farm. Rooted in an agrarian past, Tom and Lydia Brangwen and their descendants find themselves navigating a rapidly changing world—a world of unprecedented individualism, alienation, and liberation. Banned after an obscenity trial in 1915 for its frankness about sexuality, THE RAINBOW was most remarkable for the pathbreaking journeys of its female characters, particularly that of Ursula Brangwen, whose destiny Lawrence explored further in his next novel, Women in Love.
In its surface drama, in its capacious and expansive rhythms that so resemble the rhythms of nature itself, THE RAINBOW is one of the world’s great examples of the multi-generational family saga. But the large claim that Lawrence’s masterpiece has made on the attention of readers and critics stems less from this fact than from the deeper parallel history he provides for the Brangwens—a history of the growth of their souls, moving in a great arc from sensuality to self-awareness and freedom.
“[Lawrence] had that quality of genius which sucks out of ordinary experience essences strange or unknown to men.” —Anaïs Nin
About D.H. Lawrence
David Herbert (D. H.) Lawrence, whose fiction has had a profound influence on twentieth-century literature, was born on September 11, 1885, in a mining village in Nottinghamshire, England. His father was an illiterate coal miner, his mother a genteel schoolteacher… More about D.H. Lawrence
About D. H. Lawrence
The son of a miner, the prolific novelist, poet, and travel writer David Herbert Lawrence was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in 1885. He attended Nottingham University and found employment as a schoolteacher. His first novel, The White Peacock, was published… More about D. H. Lawrence