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The Rainbow (Brangwen Family #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  11,744 ratings  ·  392 reviews
1915. Controversial English novelist, short-story writer, poet and essayist, Lawrence is known for his frequently misunderstood, but basically idealistic theories about sexual relations and for his interest in primitive religions and nature mysticism. Lawrence regarded sex, the primitive subconscious, and nature as cures for what he considered modern man's maladjustment to ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1915)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve Sckenda
Behold, I show you a mystery. Not all shall see the rainbow that I beheld. My reading experience eerily evoked the phantasmagoric mystery of love between a man and a maid. Infatuated, I dissolved into delirium and lingered with my new book in bed-- panting, feverish, lapping the quasi-religious liturgy known to humans since Adam first beheld naked Eve.

Despite my being no stranger to carnality, I did not recognize what was happening to my weak flesh as I read. I had surrendered my heart to Lawre
...more
Dolors
Jun 24, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those capable of blooming in constant contradiction
“She turned, and saw a great white moon looking at her over the hill. And her breast opened to it, she was cleaved like a transparent jewel to its light. She stood filled with the moon, offering herself. Her two breasts opened to make way for it, her body opened wide like a quivering anemone, a soft, dilated invitation touched by the moon.” (268)

Re-reading "The Rainbow" after so many years has been like a shattering force of nature. A rampant flood that has washed me anew, a piercing light tha
...more
Esdaile
I cannot explain it myself but I feel and have always felt, DH Lawrence's novels to be enormously tedious. I have read them out of a sense of duty to Literature with a capital L and have always been pleased when the ride was over. It is not that I am unsympathetic to the man or his ideas. Quite the contrary. I met someone once who said that they intensely disliked what Lawrence was trying to say but admired Larence's novels as great literature. With me it is exactly the opposite. I strongly appr ...more
Paul
Farty proto-fascist flapdoodle served up with a twist of hippy bollocks and garnished with enough of a patina of feminist sympathy for it to goosestep rapidly under some people's radar. Yes DH Lawrence could write. Somebody should have stopped him though.
Anna
Wow! What can I say about D.H. Lawrence? I finished this book on the train from Montreal to New York and I think it left a greater impression upon me than my entire trip. The first chapter is tremendous. The next couple of hundred pages was difficult for me to read--a testiment to the impossibility of ever really connecting with someone you love. Lawrence is an amazing writer, despite the reputation. It was an interesting experience reading this after Women in Love and knowing what was in store ...more
Joshua Frampton
Lawrence is a tough read. One chews through the pages of his books - sometimes with vigour and often with bafflement. While he is hard to read, he is even harder to write about. Yet, despite the thick language and often threadbare plot, there is a sense of exhilaration in The Rainbow. Underneath all of the claustrophobic intensity are strands of genius and genuine food for thought.

The language of The Rainbow is at once alien and alluring. To fully appreciate Lawrence I really think a reader must
...more
Jenny (Border Dweller)
I sort of had the idea that I'd read The Rainbow during my culture-vulture phase as a student, so it was rather a pleasant surprise to realise I hadn't. I think D.H.Lawrence still has a status in the general public perception as a bit of a smut-monger; he is considered rather un-English in his liberal approach to sex and will forever be associated with the Lady Chatterley trial. I must say that the book covers and TV/film adaptations don't help!

However there could never be anything more English
...more
Heather S. Jones
i love this book -- a seminal favorite! so organic initially in it's portrayal of people, the earth, and relationships and then there is this evolution of these creations as the generations pass -- new ideas, new freedom in their world, leading to stronger selves. i just love the thoughts on having children -- d.h. never had children and he's a man, nevertheless his insights into a woman's experience are so word perfect! here are some of my favorite snippets:

first, a short one:

"There was life o
...more
Boz4pm
The fecund fecundity of Lawrence's fecund verbosity is enough to drive anyone to distraction. Paragraphs upon paragraphs describing a sunrise (or was it a sunset? I forget) apparently is the moment two protagonists make love in a field. You need the notes to tell you that. So much for the man who wrote the infamous 'Lady Chatterly'.

Almost as tedious a read as George Eliot.
Jonathan
This is a novel, and a reading experience, unlike any other. While the novel may be a bit sprawling and unclear in its arc, in its lyrical prose and its gripping emotionality, it is unparalleled. Lawrence tells the tale of one family, across three generations. Lawrence's usual backdrop of the power and soul-rending ugliness of industrialized England is present, as is a natural sense of class culture and English identity. Yet all of this fades to the background as the smooth rhythm of Lawrence's ...more
matt

Surprisingly evocative, sensistive and rich. I know more about D.H. Lawrence as a person and a thinker than I do his prose, but I've had this book kicking around forever and I decided to knock it down for good.

I come to the text with all kinds of feminist apprehension. I've heard for years the critique that Lawrence is chauvinistic, sex-obsessed, mysoginistic and misanthropic and makes too much of a precious mysticism out of male-female relations, if not strictly abased in aw-shucks reverence
...more
Liz
Only half-way through so only superficial observations so far:

Women are unexpectedly 3-dimensional. Since I've read feminists have problems with Lawrence, I'm surprised that the women are so fleshed-out and imperfect (human). Male characters may objectify women but Lawrence presents females as emotional/intellectual equals and even superior/more complicated in many instances.

As another review mentioned, he def tells more than shows which is fine, but not my preference.

The psychology of some of
...more
Jeremy

And the rainbow stood on the earth.




Once, Lawrence was a king. He was important. Even in the 1970s, he remained a regular on Literature curriculums. Then, gradually, his grip loosened. His fingers tired from hanging on to the ledge, or they were plucked, one by one, by some grinning creature. Apart from the odd film adaption of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, he was let go. He fell. And, judging by many of the reviews here, ’twas a good thing to... Maybe now that beards are back, perhaps ... ? Alas, no,
...more
Christopher Jones
Finally managed to finish the book after maybe four months of slow-as-hell-reading!

It's kind of hard to describe this book. The most immediate genre that comes to mind is a coming-of-age novel, or as I like to call it, a "life novel," with the characters being presented to us first as children and later on as adults as the book progresses. The novel doesn't do this once, but three times, showing three generations of the Brangwen family, the subject of the book.

We see Tom Brangwen Senior stumble
...more
Saide
Breaking down unconscious, sex is a religion ritual, passion to the others and self, anti ego-centric, subterranean self, mixing unconscious with the daily life, Excavation of psyche by contrasting men and women’s relationship, widening the circle of life, family chronicle, progress and decay, finding believe in secular society, sex in the head, language of sex in describing earth and sky-farming, dialectical force of industrial revolution on men and women,
1- record of physical passion( pure pr
...more
Lizzy
It took me forever to finish because there is hardly a plot. It's like everything has already happened in some netherworld by the time Lawrence gets around to explaining it happening in the fictional world, and then by the time the reader's eyes connect the words and bring the fictional world into this world--considerable delay. It is written as if we are catching up on rather stale news.
But besides this, I think Lawrence is brilliant. And I think I might be Ursula Brangwen. Either that, or the
...more
Kalee
i actually didn't really like this book but i COULD NOT put it down - someone explain that.
Duane
The Rainbow was published in 1915 and was the prequel to Women in Love (1920). It is set in rural England in the early 20th century, and is the story of three generations of the Brangwen family. It deals with themes like love, relationships, family, homosexuality, social mores, religious rebellion, just to name a few. It was originally banned in England for it's frank portrayals of sex in nontraditional manners, something that Lawrence would encounter throughout his career.

I read Women in Love f
...more
Yara
When I was on holiday in the UK this summer, me and my family paid a visit to the birth house of D.H. Lawrence at my request. I had read Lady Chatterley’s Lover once a number of years ago and couldn’t remember that much about it other than that I thought it was a bit weird and that I didn’t really like, but on a two-week trip deprived of any other literary value, I figured I’d take what I could get. The tiny museum and its enthusiastic guide rekindled my interest and inspired me to give Lawrence ...more
Chrystal
A powerfully complex exposition of the human being's struggle for individuality and meaning in a dark, impersonal world which is constantly working to obliterate the self. This work pulsates with energy, bursting with sensory expression. Lawrence is very interested in describing all facets of life: human emotion, artistic and natural beauty, the eternal soul, and the overarching presence of religion, or the power of the infinite, in our lives. One can sense his steady purpose of using words, voc ...more
Tony
THE RAINBOW. (1915). D(David) H(Herbert) Lawrence. **.
I remember that this was one of the assigned novels for my class in English Lit. back during my college days. I also remember skimming the last four-hundred pages or so. Now that I am much older and, supposedly, more mature and knowledgeable, I thought I’d give this book another go. So much for added maturity and knowledge. The urge to skim again was hard upon me, but I had a purpose! This is not a novel in the modern sense of the word. Toda
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The setting of this novel was the rural midlands of England sometime in the early 1900's (this was first published in 1915). It startles as D.H. Lawrence, through its characters, presented some bold, provocative ideas here about religion, lesbianism, pre-/extra-marital sex, the social classes and women's independence. He was far ahead of his time and this book, upon its publication, was suppressed.

The story spanned three generations of the Brangwen family but the author opted to speak mostly thr
...more
Justin Evans
David Lodge's blurb for this is: "Lawrence is the most Dostoevskian of English novelists." He means that both sides of an ideological dispute get their say; here, individual vs community, religion vs materialism, idealism vs realism all get played out in the consciousness of individual characters. They occasionally talk to each other, but mainly they feel or think in a rather disconnected and puzzling manner. Lodge might also have said D.H. was Dostoevskian in the sense that he desperately needs ...more
carl  theaker



Rainbow is divided into three, each portion covering the course of a relationship
where DH reveals the intimate thoughts of the characters on love and religion.
The relationships are constantly scrutinized by the characters.

The first couple, Tom & Lydia are probably based on DH himself and
Frieda Richthofen (related to the WWI German flying Ace), who as
in the book was also 5 years older than her mate and a foreigner.

Anna & Will undergo the dissection in the middle of the book, and their
daug
...more
Richard Lodge
Worth a read, even if it cannot find the loving resolution it so desperately aches for. A grand survey of a family's development that inexorably points towards Ursula: the apotheosis of Lawrence's ideas. He struggles throughout with opposing forces: misanthropy and messianic zeal; misogyny and transgendering awe; love of life, despair at its failings. Always there is that vivid, forceful, intense style. Always there is the honesty, or aim at honesty, in the depiction of motivations, needs, desir ...more
Red
how to act...how to become oneself? this question stated by ursula is central.
in a letter to a friend, chekhov wrote, a good book asks a question.
and chekhov was touchstone of his time for writers like
woolf, mansfield, forster and lawrence.

but lawrence wasn't an academic and started answering the question himself.
first love of ursula gave her 'wuthering heights' as a present as a guide how to act.
how to move from the marsh to higher grounds.
all in all, bears must run free.
Angela
I took a full semester on D.H. Lawrence and read ALL of his works. The stack of books was taller than me. Luckily, this was the only class I took! The Rainbow is my favorite out of all his works, although I'm at a point in my life where I think I will revisiting the last tales he wrote while living in the Southwest and painting.
Rebecca
A few years ago I read Sons and Lovers, and this D. H. Lawrence was just as good. His description is excellent, and his exploration of human character and decisions always seems very realistic to me. However, like many books from the time period, sometimes the very detailed examination of characters can make any character seem ugly (in- or externally). In addition, I felt like the description of each romantic relationship ended up seeming catastrophic. I'm sure all relationships feel that way fr ...more
Bonnie
starts to get good-ish around page 300... ending is stupid.
Ursula
Hm, this one is a bit of a puzzle for me. At first, I was engrossed in it, both the style of writing and the story. But after a while, probably about the halfway point, I was no longer enjoying myself. It was a bit like going on one of those spinning rides at an amusement park and realizing you're starting to feel queasy, but you just have to stick it out to the end.

But that's getting ahead of myself. The book itself is a chronicle of multiple generations of the Brangwen family in England. Peopl
...more
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David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English writer of the 20th century, whose prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues rel ...more
More about D.H. Lawrence...

Other Books in the Series

Brangwen Family (3 books)
  • Women in Love (Brangwen Family, #2)
  • The Lost Girl
Lady Chatterley's Lover Sons and Lovers Women in Love (Brangwen Family, #2) The Rocking Horse Winner (Travelman Classics) Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence (Wordsworth Poetry Library)

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“If I were the moon, I know where I would fall down.” 57 likes
“Why, oh why must one grow up, why must one inherit this heavy, numbing responsibility of living an undiscovered life? Out of the nothingness and the undifferentiated mass, to make something of herself! But what? In the obscurity and pathlessness to take a direction! But whither? How take even one step? And yet, how stand still? This was torment indeed, to inherit the responsibility of one’s own life.” 26 likes
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