Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer of Classics: Women in Love

Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence was added to the Summer of Classics because my mother wrote a significant paper on it in college and offered me her old c.1972 copy, complete with her maiden name written on the title page and her underlines and notes throughout.  I read it because I figured my mom liked it enough to write a paper about and because I figured I needed some Lawrence to round out my Summer of Classics.  A little eroticism never hurts, right?

My notes: excuse the handwriting!
I won't write an essay expound on what I thought of this novel, it would be too much.  Although, I did take a bunch of notes while reading (which is why I always keep a little notebook and pen in my purse)!  I had to.  The notes kept me sane.  This novel was so thick with theories, philosophies and entendre.  I found myself referring to readings I did for graduate school - Karl Marx, Leon Foucault, Walter Benjamin - readings I'm not sure I really understood even in graduate school!  I couldn't believe I was referencing them for a "fun" summer read.  Women in Love brought new meaning to the Summer of Classics reading challenge.  I certainly was challenged!

It's hard to say what I enjoyed in reading this book.  I didn't hate it, but I suppose I wasn't prepared for such a difficult book at the height of summer.  Some sections were really hot and heavy... which left me lusting for my husband; he very much appreciated this aspect.  Other sections of the book were beyond disturbing.  The violence between Gerald and Gudrun was particularly hard to read. 

The characters in WIL are completely self-absorbed and selfish.  The utter selfishness was the hardest part for me to read.  Particularly since the characters were all redefining marriage and how relationships should work.  If you ask me, selfLESSness should be at the forefront of any relationship or marriage.  How could they spend their lives together without taking a minute to appreciate their counterparts' needs and desires?  It was infuriating.  If I took anything away from this book, it's that sometimes grad school readings show up in the most random places and that being selfish lands you frozen in the bottom of a cravasse.

Up next: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  I can only hope this is more of a "beach read," but I'm pretty sure any book taking place in a slum with bad men seducing young girls is not a beach read!