Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The White Peacock” as Want to Read:
The White Peacock
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The White Peacock

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Lawrence’s first novel The White Peacock was begun in 1906, rewritten three times, and published in 1911. The Cambridge edition uses the final manuscript as base-text, and faithfully recovers Lawrence’s words and punctuation from the layers of publishers’ house-styling and their errors; original passages, changed for censorship reasons, are reinstated. Andrew Robertson’s i ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1972 by Penguin (first published 1911)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The White Peacock, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The White Peacock

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  377 ratings  ·  31 reviews

Sort order
Michael Nutt
Lawrence's first novel 'The White Peacock', published in 1911, exhibits all the charms and faults you would expect of a first novel. It was six years in the writing, undergoing three re-writes, yet despite its long gestation it would have benefitted from some prudent editing and re-structuring of the narrative.

The novel is set in an undefined time that is recognisable as late Victorian England, a world of distinct classes where the heart of the industrial revolution was still beating. It tells
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I see that Lawrence reworked this novel 3 times. If only one of those times he had realised that the first person narration didn't work - at times it feels that the narrator is just a voyeur, and too often I found myself thinking, well how does he know that? And why, in his revisions, didn't he write an ending?
That said, it has to be given 4 stars for the quality of the writing and the depth of characterisation. His detaile dobservation is a wonder: here is Meg, obsessed with her baby to the exc
Zebardast Zebardast
« دي. اچ. لارنس نويسنده ناممكنهاست؛ يا به عبارت بهتر، نويسندهايست ناممكن؛ همچون همين پيشگفتار كه پس از پايان ترجمه داستانهايي از او قرار گرفته اما پيش از آن ظاهر شده، گويي كه «آينده» را جاي «گذشته» جا زده است. اگر براي هر شاعر يا نويسندهاي قائل به خانوادهاي باشيم كه او را در بر ميگيرد، بيگمان بايد لارنس را نيز در خانوادهاي از ديگر شاعران و نويسندگان ناممكني قرار دهيم كه بيش از حد معاصرند، بدان معنا كه هماره خود را از گذشته به آيندهاي ميافكنند كه هميشه پيش روي ماست، نه در پسِ ما، كه هيچگاه نميتوا ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Lawrence's first novel and clearly a biographical snapshot of his young manhood is flawed and unfulfilling, but shows the sketched outline of the genius to come. "The White Peacock" is full of landscapes that change with the seasons and the moods of its characters. While the natural world gets described in thrillingly glorious detail, his treatment of animals is strangely callous and gruesome. I can't recall another book with such a high animal death toll. The book's main weakness is its central ...more
Kitabin dili güzel , temiz ve akıcı. Hele doğa tasvirleri mükemmeldi. Yalnız, zaman geçişlerinde bir sıkıntı söz konusu.
Michael de Percy
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
It is always interesting to read a major author's last works first, and then delve into their first novel. I found myself spiralling down from a Love Among the Haystacks quaintness, to a period Enid Blyton curiosity, and finally to a period piece of young adult (YA) fiction. That is, until towards the end when the major characters are approaching middle age. This is where the back cover's "strange genius" is evident. The tone moves with the age of the characters. It is always difficult to limit ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a re-read. As Lawrence's first novel, this one acts really as a foreshadow of brilliance to come in his later works. To me, his ability to capture the beauty and simplicity of nature is unparalleled. He often juxtaposes nature with the complexities (words, actions, spirit) of his characters. His strength definitely lies in his characters – Their relationships with one another and their individual construction, often complicated though relatable. What doesn't work in this novel is the cho ...more
David Cain
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charming first novel from one of English's greatest novelists, full of the kind of stuff that would make Lawrence famous. Everyone feels, everyone suffers, relationships fail. Ah, Lawrence.
Moss Bioletti
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never mind the naysayer's this book is a masterpiece.
The Babadook
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was happy to have read the debut novel of one of my favorite authors this year, The White Peacock by D.H. Lawrence. Like most of his later work, I found the story involving and upsetting per usual. He focuses on a kind of small hamlet of characters and how they connect and live among the animal characters of their environment. I’m sure Lawrence had a deeper poetic meaning to weaving the two so closely together and here, I think it is at once meaningful and.... let’s be honest, macabre. There i ...more
Simona Friuli
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il Lawrence, a vent'anni, già si presentava indagatore meraviglioso della umana natura e dei rapporti tra i sessi- aspetti cardine della sua opera matura. Se già la dinamica Lettie-George anticipa, nella sua impossibilità, quel ritorno a un modus viventi istintivo e non corrotto da intellettualismi posticci e frenanti- e in questo sta l'errore di George: nel non mantenersi fedele alla propria estrazione sociale, e diventare ibrido- anche si svela tutta l'ambiguità con cui l'autore indaga il femm ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawrence's first published novel from 1911, when he had recently been teaching in Croydon...& living a stone's- throw from where I am writing this now - a plaque on the house mentions 'Sons and Lovers' rather than 'The White Peacock'! - and it clearly shows signs of a talent, if still to emerge in its later vivid colours! is very much the sketching-out of D.H.'s world of men & women, troubled by the growing social violence of the 20th century...when traditions & long-cherished c ...more
Brooke Tallent
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lettie toys with recklessness and she frivolously plays on George's desire for more out of life. He can never escape her fixed grasp on his heart and his life will never be fulfilled as long as she coyly taunts him with what he will never have. This may be a but harsh on Lettie but the underlying theme is much more beautiful read, therefore experienced, rather than explained.
Tatiana Ghegoiu
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cliff Moyce
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. DH Lawrence can tell an entire story through the dialogue of his characters. Such evocative writing.
Pollapollina Books
Ho tentato di leggerlo, ma la traduzione è assolutamente terribile... peccato, perchè il romanzo immagino sia piacevole, purtroppo così è incomprensibile.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story about friendship and growing up. Also an apt and sadly accurate description how alcohol destroys people.
Brigitte Doss-johnson
D.H. Lawrence's writing satisfies me, yet this ending leaves me hanging more than the ending of Lady Chatterley where he wrote enough cues for the reader to conjecture a fulfilling story end. In White Peacock, the cues lead the reader to George's suicide. But, Lawrence didn't cement that in black and white. If I were to write a committed ending, this is how it would go: (I suggest reading the book first. SPOILERS)
Cyril, seeing George so "downcast" feels burning guilt over the judgment he cast on
This is an early effort, with flashes of his later magic, but not quite there. A very personal, touching story, but for some reason, he puts himself into it. It's not about him, he's mostly an observer, but a battle plays out in the novel - he's starting to form his writer-voice as a narrator that gets inside the emotional life of each character, and this is struggling against the fact that as the brother of the main character, there are intimate moments in his sister's life that he really shoul ...more
As Lawrence's first novel it is worth 4 or 5 stars. It gives revealing insights into his outlook as a man and as a novelist and into his sexuality. As a novel, in its own right, it is something of a quagmire to get through. His choice to write in first person means putting his narrator into all sorts of situations where he must play the gooseberry. It doesn't work.
The student of literary landscapes has much to go on. Wander around the Notts/Derbys border and you'll be wandering the fields, wood
Gavin Whyte
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book. This has been my introduction to Lawrence and I couldn't fault it. I found his style to be compelling and every sentence seemed to be like a meditation on the art of writing prose. One thing which stood out for me was what I read this book was about; because for me it wasn't. For me it was about the relationship between the protagonist and his friend George. It was probably the most homoerotic thing I've ever read and I wasn't expecting it at all. Amidst reading it I did a little r ...more
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hated some of the characters in this book. I love the way DH doesn't follow the rules... you think something is going some where but then off it goes somewhere else. This one doesn't even have the crazy goodbyes of other books with there climaxation that I thought all books needed... but apparently not, he just kinda says see ya later and I don't feel like I needed more. I did have to adjust the way I read in order to enjoy it though. I normally like to run through a book getting sucked in to al ...more
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few chapters in, and although you can see the glimmerings of the D. H. Lawrence of later books, he's not quite there yet. The story is stilted and tedious. The first person narrator is largely redundant and could be dispensed with entirely. The descriptions of nature and country life are charming, but sit uneasily in the jerky narrative. The characters are without distinction or personality.

The book improves as you move into the second and third volumes, although the narrator still feels large
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel by D. H. Lawrence and is set in Eastwood, where he grew up. It was first published in 1911.
The story is about unhappy marriages, but the book includes some excellent descriptions of nature and the impact of industrialisation on the countryside and the town, which remained significant themes for Lawrence throughout his life.
وائل المنعم
His first novel and got all the problems of a young writer first novel. Very bad that i read his last one then his first. I know what Lawrence is capable of.

Except for the passionate scent in some scenes there's nothing especial.
incipit mania

Immobile, osservavo i peoci scivolare, come ambre nell’oscurità del laghetto del mulino.....
Il pavone bianco
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful slow burn.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some nice use of language but pretty boring story.
I've picked up this book because it was written in 1911. I am reading it for the way people spoke and social mores of the time to influence Woman of Ruinous Face.
Lawrence's first work but anticlimactic ending was a disappointment
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Attempts at a Life
  • Dark Laughter
  • A Man Could Stand Up
  • Melymbrosia
  • Selected Poetry and Prose
  • The Jolly Corner
  • The Dog
  • Berg
  • The Life to Come and Other Stories
  • The Complete Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant, Part One
  • Miss MacIntosh, My Darling
  • The Pillow Boy of the Lady Onogoro
  • La maison du canal
  • Excitability
  • Chance
  • The Origin of the Brunists
  • North of Boston
  • Three Novels: Midaq Alley / The Thief and the Dogs / Miramar
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
“Be a good animal,true to your instincts.” 128 likes
More quotes…