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The Lost Girl

D.H. Lawrence


PUBLISHED: 21st October 2003
ISBN: 9780812969979
ANNOTATION:
"The Lost Girl, D. H. Lawrence's forgotten novel, is a passionate tale of longing and sexual defiance, of devastation and destitution. Alvina Houghton, the daughter of a widowed Midlands draper, comes of age just as her father's business is failing. In a desperate attempt to regain his fortune and secure his daughter's proper upbringing, James Houghton buys a theater. Among the traveling performers he employs is Ciccio, a sensual Italian who immediately captures Alvina's attention. Fleeing with him to Naples, she leaves her safe world behind and enters one of sexual awakening, desire, and fleeting freedom.
The Lost Girl
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PUBLISHED: 21st October 2003
ISBN: 9780812969979
ANNOTATION:
"The Lost Girl, D. H. Lawrence's forgotten novel, is a passionate tale of longing and sexual defiance, of devastation and destitution. Alvina Houghton, the daughter of a widowed Midlands draper, comes of age just as her father's business is failing. In a desperate attempt to regain his fortune and secure his daughter's proper upbringing, James Houghton buys a theater. Among the traveling performers he employs is Ciccio, a sensual Italian who immediately captures Alvina's attention. Fleeing with him to Naples, she leaves her safe world behind and enters one of sexual awakening, desire, and fleeting freedom.

Annotation

"The Lost Girl, D. H. Lawrence's forgotten novel, is a passionate tale of longing and sexual defiance, of devastation and destitution. Alvina Houghton, the daughter of a widowed Midlands draper, comes of age just as her father's business is failing. In a desperate attempt to regain his fortune and secure his daughter's proper upbringing, James Houghton buys a theater. Among the traveling performers he employs is Ciccio, a sensual Italian who immediately captures Alvina's attention. Fleeing with him to Naples, she leaves her safe world behind and enters one of sexual awakening, desire, and fleeting freedom.

Publisher Description

"The Lost Girl," D. H. Lawrence's forgotten novel, is a passionate tale of longing and sexual defiance, of devastation and destitution. Alvina Houghton, the daughter of a widowed Midlands draper, comes of age just as her father's business is failing. In a desperate attempt to regain his fortune and secure his daughter's proper upbringing, James Houghton buys a theater. Among the traveling performers he employs is Ciccio, a sensual Italian who immediately captures Alvina's attention. Fleeing with him to Naples, she leaves her safe world behind and enters one of sexual awakening, desire, and fleeting freedom.

Author Biography

David Ellis is the author of Lawrence's Non-Fiction: Art, Thought and Genre and Wordsworth, Freud and the Spots of Time. He has been commissioned to write Volume HI of the New Cambridge biography of Lawrence.

Review

"[Lawrence was] a writer with an extraordinary sense of the physical world, of the colour and texture and shape of things, for whom the body was alive and the problems of the body insistent and important." --Virginia Woolf

Review Quote

"[Lawrence was] a writer with an extraordinary sense of the physical world, of the colour and texture and shape of things, for whom the body was alive and the problems of the body insistent and important." -Virginia Woolf

Discussion Question for Reading Group Guide

  1. Consider Alvina's life before she met Ciccio. Why do you think she felt the need to follow him? What opportunities would a woman of Alvina's age and class have had in the nineteenth century? 2. How does Alvina's life change once she reaches Italy? Is this all due to Ciccio? How is life in Italy different from life in England? What is Lawrence saying about the opportunities and limitations for women in England? In Italy? 3. V. S. Pritchett once wrote of Lawrence, "He is responsible for the fact that no living writer has any idea how to write about sexual love." What do you think he means by this? 4. Critics say Lawrence's earlier novels ponder the ideas of identity within the community, while his later novels explore notions of individualism and isolation. Identify isolation. How do you think The Lost Girl fits in with this argument? 5. Scholars believe that the first half of The Lost Girl was written before World War I, while the second half was written after the war. How could this have affected Lawrence's themes? Consider Alvina's journeys abroadcould Lawrence's choice of these settings be a result of his disillusionment with society? 6. In the book's last scene Alvina tells Ciccio, "We have our fate in our hands." Is this Lawrence's theme of the book? Do you think the author himself believed this?

Excerpt from Book

CHAPTER I The Decline of Manchester House Take a mining townlet like Woodhouse, with a population of ten thousand people, and three generations behind it. This space of three generations argues a certain well-established society. The old "County"1 has fled from the sight of so much disembowelled coal, to flourish on mineral rights in regions still idyllic. Remains one great and inaccessible magnate, the local coal owner: three generations old, and clambering on the bottom step of the "County," kicking off the mass below. Rule him out. A well established society in Woodhouse, full of fine shades, ranging from the dark of coal-dust to grit of stone-mason and sawdust of timber-merchant, through the lustre of lard and butter and meat, to the perfume of the chemist and the disinfectant of the doctor, on to the serene gold-tarnish of bank-managers, cashiers for the firm, clergymen and such-like, as far as the automobile refulgence of the general-manager of all the collieries. Here the ne plus ultra. The general manager lives in the shrubberied seclusion of the so-called Manor. The genuine Hall, abandoned by the "County," has been taken over as offices by the firm. Here we are then: a vast substratum of colliers; a thick sprinkling of tradespeople intermingled with small employers of labour and diversified by elementary schoolmasters and nonconformist clergy; a higher layer of bank-managers, rich millers and well-to-do ironmasters, episcopal clergy and the managers of collieries, then the rich and sticky cherry of the local coal-owner glistening over all. Such the complicated social system of a small industrial town in the Midlands of England, in this year of grace 1920. But let us go back a little. Such it was in the last calm year of plenty, 1913. A calm year of plenty. But one chronic and dreary malady: that of the odd women.2 Why, in the name of all prosperity, should every class but the lowest in such a society hang overburdened with Dead Sea fruit of odd women, unmarried, unmarriageable women, called old maids? Why is it that every tradesman, every school-master, every bank-manager, and every clergyman produces one, two, three or more old maids? Do the middle-classes, particularly the lower middle-classes, give birth to more girls than boys? Or do the lower middle-class men assiduously climb up or down, in marriage, thus leaving their true partners stranded? Or are middle-class women very squeamish in their choice of husbands? However it be, it is a tragedy. Or perhaps it is not. Perhaps these unmarried women of the middle-classes are the famous sexless-workers of our ant-industrial society, of which we hear so much. Perhaps all they lack is an occupation: in short, a job. But perhaps we might hear their own opinion, before we lay the law down. In Woodhouse, there was a terrible crop of old maids among the "nobs," the tradespeople and the clergy. The whole town of women, colliers'' wives and all, held its breath as it saw a chance of one of these daughters of comfort and woe getting off. They flocked to the well-to-do weddings with an intoxication of relief. For let class-jealousy be what it may, a woman hates to see another woman left stalely on the shelf, without a chance. They all wanted the middle-class girls to find husbands. Every one wanted it, including the girls themselves. Hence the dismalness. Now James Houghton3 had only one child: his daughter Alvina.4 Surely Alvina Houghton---- But let us retreat to the early eighties, when Alvina was a baby: or even further back, to the palmy days of James Houghton. In his palmy days, James Houghton was cr

Product Details

Author
D.H. Lawrence
Pages
400
Publisher
Modern Library
Series
Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
Language
English
ISBN-10
0812969979
ISBN-13
9780812969979
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Year
2003
Publication Date
2003-10-31
Country of Publication
United States
Residence
ENK
Edition
New edition
Short Title
LOST GIRL-ML REV/E
Edition Description
Revised
Subtitle
A Novel
Audience
General/Trade