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D.H. Lawrence and the 'Insidious mastery of song'

Jones, Bethan


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Dr Bethan Jones
Senior Lecturer/ Programme leader for BA English with Foundation Year.


This article initially considers possible approaches to the analysis of musical influences on Lawrence and his literary work. The unique method adopted in this particular study is then highlighted: it involves a "practical" or analytical approach to the way in which Lawrence's work both assimilated and inspired song cycles (musical works in which the "verbal music" of a poem is replaced by the "music of music"). There is an in-depth analysis of Lawrence's enthusiastic response to Edvard Grieg's work Haugtussa in 1910, followed by a consideration of Lawrence's own (much later) attempt to set text to music in creating his play David (1926) .The article concludes with an analysis of a selection of recent works by prominent composers such as Nigel Osborne, William Neil and Phillip Rhodes, in which Lawrence's poems have been used as the basis for musical settings, with particularly successful results.


Jones, B. (2013). D.H. Lawrence and the 'Insidious mastery of song'. D. H. Lawrence studies, 20(2), 155-175

Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal D. H. Lawrence Studies
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 155-175
Keywords Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930, Grieg, Edvard, 1843-1907, Music and literature
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Additional Information Copy of article published in: D.H. Lawrence studies, 2013, v.20, issue 2