Universally recognised as D. H. Lawrence's most important works, The Rainbow and Women in Love mark a major turning point in Lawrence's career and in the development of the twentieth-century English novel. In this Readers' Guide, Richard Beynon explores some of the most significant critical material to have been written about these novels since their publication in 1915 and 1920. The book provides readers with a clear introduction to Lawrence's place in literary studies, and offers a comprehensive account of the many shifts of critical opinion that have affected his literary reputation. Beginning with the early reviews and critical responses to the novels, the Guide moves on to consider Lawrence's declining reputation during the thirties and forties, followed by the so-called 'Lawrence Revival 'of the Fifties, with critical material reproduced from some outstanding studies of the decade. The enormous growth of interest in Lawrence during the Sixties is reflected in essays and extracts that tackle some of the central critical questions raised by the novels.
The final chapters discuss the radical revaluation of the novels in the light of feminist criticism in the Seventies, and leave the reader with a sense of the 'postmodern Lawrence' of the late Eighties and early Nineties.