University of Leeds History Women in Love by DH Lawrence Analysis Review
Students in HIS 1401E will write two discussion papers which consider how fiction can be a
mirror into the past. Each paper will deal with a novel a] from the period prior to 1850 and b]
from 1850 until the Second World War. The first paper will be from the earlier period, and the
second paper from the later period.
In these short papers [1000-1250 words] you will begin by reviewing briefly the plot of the novel,
giving two or three brief quotations which exemplify the writing style and intentions of the
author, and will continue by discussing the context in which the author wrote, noting his/her
intentions if these are known. The most important part of the paper will be an assessment of
what the author can directly or indirectly tell the reader about the history of the period. How
does the book illustrate the social norms, gender relations, family connections, religious
beliefs, possibilities for employment, economic challenges, legal dangers and political
ideas of the period? Obviously, not every book will deal with all these issues. Each student will
determine which are the most important themes in the novel being studied.
Resources for writing this paper need not be numerous. The novel itself, the text books
for the course, and a few easily found background details which may well come from such
sources as The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which can be accessed on -line
through the Weldon library catalogue, or from encyclopedias/dictionaries of authors found on
the reference shelves.
These are not research papers. Rather they demand that students read thoughtfully
and consider the underlying information which can be gained from a work of fiction considered
as a primary source.
It is probably easiest to use English novels, and I suggest some below, but you may
also choose translations of novels from French or other European languages. If you
choose another novel from the period, please contact me and get my approval before you start.
Possible List of English Novels from which to Choose
Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Old Curiosity Shop, Little Dorrit, Hard Times
George Eliot, Middlemarch, Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Aldous Huxley, any novel
James Joyce, Dubliners
D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, The Newcomes
George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1984
Anthony Trollope, one of the novels in The Chronicles of Barsetshire or one of the Palliser
Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Scoop, Brideshead RevisitedWhen I mark your paper, it will be on a chart such as the one below. In the centre portion
of the chart I will review how well you fulfilled the requirements which I have written in the chart.
Please consult this as you write, since the relative importance of the various parts of the paper
should be obvious from the marks assigned to each.
Marking Chart: HIS 1401E Discussion Papers
Student Name: Text:
Review of plot [10%] Approx. 2 paragraphs introducing the protagonists and explaining the plot. 10
A good explanation will mention all the important characters, the plot twists
and the final resolution. This should lead easily into the historical
Illustrative quotations Two or three quotations will show how the author makes a point and 5
[5%] illustrate his/her literary style
Historical context & This section will place the life of the author into the British historical context. 15
intentions of author Here the author’s gender, class and education may all be of importance.
[15%] What is happening in Britain at the time of writing? How does the author
respond to contemporary events? Is the author overtly commenting on the
society of his time, or is the criticism more subtle? Do we have any
information about his/her intentions in writing this book?
Historical significance of A good answer will discuss just how the text is significant from a historical 50
text [50%] perspective. Does it give the reader insight into the 18
century world of the
rural gentry or into the dirt of the Victorian city? Does it consider issues of
class, of employment, of law and punishment? How are men and women
depicted in their relationships with each other, and with authority in general?
Is the picture of marriage or of childhood at odds with today’s norms? How
do the protagonists react to the political and religious demands of their day?
What do these reactions tell us about the period?