D. H. Lawrence’s 1915 novel ‘The Rainbow’ is about the emotional life and loves of three generations of the Brangwen family, farmers and craftsmen of Nottinghamshire, Lawrence’s childhood home. Tom Brangwen, a farm youth, marries Lydia Lensky, a Polish widow of a political exile. Anna, Lydia’s daughter by her first marriage, grows up as Tom’s own child and marries her cousin, Will Brangwen, a strong-willed, morose man with a passion for wood carving.
Most of the novel is about Ursula, daughter of Anna and Will. A sensitive, high-spirited rebel, she escapes from her confining environment, as Lawrence himself did, by going to college and becoming a teacher. Her emotional life consists of a love affair with Anton Skrebensky, a Polish exile and officer in the British army, and an intense attraction to Winifred Inger, an older teacher. Winifred, an athletic, intellectual woman and a feminist, marries Ursula’s uncle; Ursula rejects Skrebensky.
Ursula’s story is continued in ‘Women in Love,’ a sequel. When ‘The Rainbow’ was published it was denounced as obscene and an entire edition was destroyed by court order.
“One of the 1000 novels everyone must read.” - The Guardian.
“The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” - E. M. Forster.
“The Rainbow follows the turbulent lives and loves of three generations of the Brangwen family of Marsh Farm in Lawrence's native Nottinghamshire . . . like its equally controversial sequel Women in Love, is remembered by most of its readers for the sex. It remains potentially dangerous reading for romantically inclined teenagers.”
- Lisa Allardice, The Guardian