The story of D.H. Lawrence at the University of Nottingham is closely linked to that of Professor Ernest Weekley (1865-1954), whose German wife Frieda (1879-1956) fell in love with Lawrence when he came to visit her husband in 1912.
She left her husband, children and home in Nottingham for an uncertain future with the young writer. Described by Lawrence as "the most wonderful woman in all England", Frieda became an influence of critical significance in his life.
For Weekley, life at University College continued. He too had success as a writer, publishing works about words and etymology which succeeded in making philology accessible to a general public. His academic reputation and popularity with his students contributed to the University's early disdain for Lawrence's work.
Ernest Weekley, c. 1935 [La We 3]
On 1 May 1951, The University of Nottingham conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on Emeritus Professor Ernest Weekley. By then aged 86, he was unable to attend in person.
In his letter of acceptance he reflects on the importance of higher education and his pride in Nottingham's University's development (UR 450).
Weekley's letter accepting an honorary degree from Nottingham University (detail)
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