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The Rainbow. by  D. H LAWRENCE - First Edition - 1915 - from Peter Harrington (SKU: 136890)

The Rainbow.

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The Rainbow.


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  • hardcover
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London, United Kingdom
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About This Item

London: Methuen & Co. Ltd,, 1915. Octavo. Original blue-green cloth, titles to spine in gilt and to front board in blind. Neat ownership initials to half-title verso. Touch of wear to spine ends and tips, small pierce to cloth to centre of front joint, water marks and a little rippling to front board and front matter, inner hinges starting but firm; a good copy. First edition. Methuen published The Rainbow in September 1915 in a print run of 2,527 copies, but quickly withdrew it from sale in the face of almost universal hostility. The Defence of the Realm Act gave the government powers to suppress anything held detrimental to the conduct of the war. Lawrence's explicit portrayal of the marital and sexual relations of three generations, with suggestions of lesbianism and male impotency in a career soldier, was strikingly out of step with the tenor of the times. In November 1915 the book was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act. The presiding magistrate, Sir John Dickinson, who had lost his only son at the front six weeks earlier, condemned the book as utter filth and ordered it to be burned: "some 1,195 were destroyed" (Roberts & Poplawski). Roberts & Poplawski A7.


D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow follows three generations of the Brangwen family, with a particular focus on the sexual dynamics of, and relations between, the characters. Tom Brangwen, who is… let’s say “not the brightest,” succeeds to his father’s farm and falls in love with Lydia Lensky, a Polish widow; Anna, Lydia’s daughter (and Tom’s stepdaughter), marries Will, a distant relative of Tom’s; Anna and Will’s oldest daughter, Ursula, is a modern working woman. For Tom Brangwen’s generation sex happens, but between the lines. For Anna and Will, bodies are alluded to and desires described. By the time Ursula Brangwen is a young woman, sex is frequent and directly addressed. This depiction of sexual desire as a natural force — perhaps spiritual, even! — caused quite a stir upon The Rainbow’s publication. The novel was almost instantly removed from the shelves of bookstores across the UKcountry and was then prosecuted in an obscenity trial in a British Magistrates’ court in November 1915, just two months after its release. As a result, roughly half of the copies of the novel’s original print run of were seized and burnt. The Rainbow was unavailable in the UK for 11 years following. Lawrence initially conceived The Rainbow and what became its sequel, Women in Love, as a single novel titled The Sisters. However, after much revision, that manuscript became two of the author’s greatest novels. The Rainbow is ranked 48th on Modern Library’s “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century; Women in Love is ranked 49th.

Read more: Identifying first editions of The Rainbow.


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Peter Harrington GB (GB)
Bookseller Inventory #
The Rainbow.
Book condition
London: Methuen & Co. Ltd,
Date published

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Peter Harrington

All major credit cards are accepted. Both UK pounds and US dollars (exchange rate to be agreed) accepted. Books may be returned within 14 days of receipt for any reason, please notify first of returned goods.

About the Seller

Peter Harrington

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2006
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About Peter Harrington

Since its establishment, Peter Harrington has specialised in sourcing, selling and buying the finest quality original first editions, signed, rare and antiquarian books, fine bindings and library sets. Peter Harrington first began selling rare books from the Chelsea Antiques Market on London's King's Road. For the past twenty years the business has been run by Pom Harrington, Peter's son.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...[more]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]

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