D. H. Lawrence Quotes

David Herbert Richards Lawrence, 1885 – 1930

Born: 11 September 1885, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
Died: 2 March 1930, Vence, France

The prolific, and sometimes scandalous, poet and novelist was raised at Eastwood and Nottingham, then worked as a school teacher. After gaining his full teaching credentials he moved to London in 1908 and soon found a publisher for his work. In 1912 he met Frieda Weekley, while living with her in Germany he was accused of being an English spy. The couple moved to Italy and by the outbreak of World War I she had secured a divorce, they had returned to England, and married. In Cornwall Lawrence was accused of signaling German submarines from their home and in 1915 The Rainbow was suppressed for alleged obscenity, his first official issue with censorship. When war ended, Lawrence continued to publish but the couple returned to the Continent, spent most of a year getting to the US by way of Australia and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), making only two brief visits to England during the rest of his life. Lawrence was plagued by ill health throughout his life, suffering severe cases of pneumonia and influenza followed by extensive recoveries, contracted malaria and tuberculosis in 1925, succumbing to TB at age 44. Of his many works, he is probably best known for Lady Chatterley’s Lover which he wrote in 1928 but was immediately banned and was not legally published until 1959 in the US and 1960 in the UK, although private copies were widely circulated.

D. H. Lawrence quotes:

A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and one’s religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification.
    D. H. Lawrence

All that we know is nothing, we are merely crammed wastepaper baskets, unless we are in touch with that which laughs at all our knowing.
    D. H. Lawrence

All vital truth contains the memory of all that for which it is not true.
    D. H. Lawrence

And what’s romance? Usually, a nice little tale where you have everything As You Like It, where rain never wets your jacket and gnats never bite your nose and it’s always daisy-time.
    D. H. Lawrence

Art-speech is the only truth. An artist is usually a damned liar, but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day.
    D. H. Lawrence

Be a good animal, true to your instincts.
    D. H. Lawrence

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.
    D. H. Lawrence

But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.
    D. H. Lawrence

California is a queer place in a way, it has turned its back on the world, and looks into the void Pacific. It is absolutely selfish, very empty, but not false, and at least, not full of false effort.
    D. H. Lawrence

Consciousness is an end in itself. We torture ourselves getting somewhere, and when we get there it is nowhere, for there is nowhere to get to.
    D. H. Lawrence

Creation destroys as it goes, throws down one tree for the rise of another. But ideal mankind would abolish death, multiply itself million upon million, rear up city upon city, save every parasite alive, until the accumulation of mere existence is swollen to a horror.
    D. H. Lawrence

Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion.
    D. H. Lawrence

Design in art, is a recognition of the relation between various things, various elements in the creative flux. You can’t invent a design. You recognize it, in the fourth dimension. That is, with your blood and your bones, as well as with your eyes.
    D. H. Lawrence

Do not allow to slip away from you freedoms the people who came before you won with such hard knocks.
    D. H. Lawrence

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.
    D. H. Lawrence

Do not allow to slip away from you freedoms the people who came before you won with such hard knocks.

D. H. Lawrence
Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.

D. H. Lawrence
Europe’s the mayonnaise, but America supplies the good old lobster.

D. H. Lawrence
Every man has a mob self and an individual self, in varying proportions.

D. H. Lawrence
Evil, what is evil? There is only one evil, to deny life.

D. H. Lawrence
For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.

D. H. Lawrence
For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.

D. H. Lawrence

Apocalypse and the Writings on Revelation (1980)
He was an adventurer into the vaults and cellars and horrible underground passages of the human soul.

D. H. Lawrence

on Edgar Alan Poe in Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)
Her father was not a coherent human being, he was a roomful of old echoes.

D. H. Lawrence
I am only half there when I am ill, and so there is only half a man to suffer. To suffer in one’s whole self is so great a violation, that it is not to be endured.

D. H. Lawrence
I believe that a man is converted when first he hears the low, vast murmur of life, of human life, troubling his hitherto unconscious self.

D. H. Lawrence
I can never decide whether my dreams are the result of my thoughts, or my thoughts the result of my dreams.

D. H. Lawrence
I cannot cure myself of that most woeful of youth’s follies, thinking that those who care about us will care for the things that mean much to us.

D. H. Lawrence
I can’t bear art that you can walk round and admire. A book should be either a bandit or a rebel or a man in the crowd.

D. H. Lawrence
I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.

D. H. Lawrence

I hate the actor and audience business. An author should be in among the crowd, kicking their shins or cheering them on to some mischief or merriment.

D. H. Lawrence

letter to Carlo Linati (22 January 1925)
I hold that the parentheses are by far the most important parts of a non-business letter.

D. H. Lawrence
I like to write when I feel spiteful; it’s like having a good sneeze.

D. H. Lawrence

letter to Lady Cynthia Asquith (25 November 1913)
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

D. H. Lawrence
I think I am much too valuable a creature to offer myself to a German bullet gratis and for fun.

D. H. Lawrence
I want to go south, where there is no autumn, where the cold doesn’t crouch over one like a snow leopard waiting to pounce. The heart of the North is dead, and the fingers of cold are corpse fingers.

D. H. Lawrence
I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.

D. H. Lawrence
If a woman hasn’t got a tiny streak of harlot in her, she’s a dry stick as a rule.

D. H. Lawrence
If I take my whole, passionate, spiritual and physical love to the woman who in return loves me, that is how I serve God. And my hymn and my game of joy is my work.

D. H. Lawrence
If only we could have two lives: the first in which to make one’s mistakes, which seem as if they have to be made; and the second in which to profit by them.

D. H. Lawrence

letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell (24 May 1928)
In every living thing there is the desire for love.

D. H. Lawrence
It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing.

D. H. Lawrence
It is no good casting out devils. They belong to us, we must accept them and be at peace with them.

D. H. Lawrence
It is quite true, as some poets said, that the God who created man must have had a sinister sense of humor, creating him a reasonable being, yet forcing him to take this ridiculous posture, and driving him with blind craving for this ridiculous performance.

D. H. Lawrence
It is so much more difficult to live with one’s body than with one’s soul. One’s body is so much more exacting: What it won’t have it won’t have, and nothing can make bitter into sweet.

D. H. Lawrence

Life is a traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.

D. H. Lawrence
Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.

D. H. Lawrence
Literature is a toil and a snare, a curse that bites deep.

D. H. Lawrence

letter to Louie Burrows (25 September 1911)
Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.

D. H. Lawrence
Men and women aren’t really dogs: they only look like it and behave like it. Somewhere inside there is a great chagrin and a gnawing discontent.

D. H. Lawrence
Men! The only animal in the world to fear!

D. H. Lawrence
My God, these folks don’t know how to love. That’s why they love so easily.

D. H. Lawrence
My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true. The intellect is only a bit and a bridle. What do I care about knowledge. All I want is to answer to my blood, direct, without fribbling intervention of mind, or moral, or what-not.

D. H. Lawrence
Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.

D. H. Lawrence
Naught is possessed, neither gold, nor land nor love, nor life, nor peace, nor even sorrow nor death, nor yet salvation. Say of nothing: It is mine. Say only: It is with me.

D. H. Lawrence
Never set a child afloat on the flat sea of life with only one sail to catch the wind.

D. H. Lawrence

letter to Blanche Jennings (1908)
Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it

D. H. Lawrence

Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)
Oh literature, oh the glorious Art, how it preys upon the marrow in our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us, and chucks us aside.

D. H. Lawrence

letter to Walter De La Mare (10 June 1912)
Oh the innocent girl in her maiden teens knows perfectly well what everything means.

D. H. Lawrence
One could laugh at the world better if it didn’t mix tender kindliness with its brutality.

D. H. Lawrence

One must learn to love, and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it … and the journey is always towards the other soul.

D. H. Lawrence
One realm we have never conquered: the pure present.

D. H. Lawrence
One sheds one’s sicknesses in books, repeats and presents again one’s emotions, to be master of them.

D. H. Lawrence
One should stick by one’s soul, and by nothing else. In one’s soul, one knows the truth from the untruth, and life from death. And if one betrays one’s own soul-knowledge one is the worst of traitors.

D. H. Lawrence
Only in a novel are all things given full play.

D. H. Lawrence
Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.

D. H. Lawrence
Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.

D. H. Lawrence
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.

D. H. Lawrence
People always make war when they say they love peace.

D. H. Lawrence
Perhaps only those people who are capable of real togetherness have that look of being alone in the world.

D. H. Lawrence
Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it.

D. H. Lawrence
Reason is a supple nymph, and slippery as a fish by nature. She had as leave give her kiss to an absurdity any day, as to syllogistic truth. The absurdity may turn out truer.

D. H. Lawrence
Sex and beauty are inseparable, like life and consciousness. And the intelligence which goes with sex and beauty, and arises out of sex and beauty, is intuition.

D. H. Lawrence
Sex is the root of which intuition is the foliage and beauty is the flower. Why is a woman lovely, if ever, in her twenties? It is the time when sex rises softly to her face, as a rose to the top of a rose-bush.” Just below the title of the article, the magazine’s editors inserted this tease: “An Enlightening Essay Concerning a Phrase Which Everybody Knows and Nobody Understands.

D. H. Lawrence

“Sex Appeal” in Vanity Fair (July 1929)
Sex is the root of which intuition is the foliage and beauty is the flower.

D. H. Lawrence

“Sex Appeal” in Vanity Fair (July 1929)

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