Manuscripts and Special Collections

Editing DH Lawrence

This exhibition ran from 3rd February to 29th May 2022 in the Weston Gallery, Lakeside Arts.

DH Lawrence is an iconic figure in English literature, but also one of the most controversial. He struggled with publishers throughout his career to express himself in the form he wanted. Drawing on a range of items including manuscripts and typescripts, and rare first editions, this exhibition traces the ways in which his writing was amended and censored, and the innovative approaches to publishing he developed in response to censorship. 

Image of Frieda Lawrence, DH Lawrence and 3 others in Mexico, 1923


Frieda Lawrence, DH Lawrence, and others, near Mexico City, 1923. Lawrence Collection, La Z 4/1/22 


In this online version of the exhibition you can read a selection of the exhibition boards, embark on a virtual walk through Nottingham inspired by Sons and Lovers, read about the different ways Lawrence’s work was edited, and learn more about our Lawrence collections. 

Editing DH Lawrence is curated by Manuscripts and Special Collections and Dr Andrew Harrison, Director of the DH Lawrence Research Centre in the School of English at the University of Nottingham, with contributions by Emeritus Professor John Worthen.


Exhibition themes

DH Lawrence’s changing literary identity, and the shifts in his reputation, can be traced through his conflicted interactions with the literary marketplace, and through the various posthumous editions of his work.

Six exhibition boards were on display in the Gallery, detailing DH Lawrence’s interactions with publishers and editors, and the way his work was amended and censored both during and after his lifetime. These boards can be downloaded or viewed online as Adobe PDFs. For copyright reasons it has not possible to include the images used on the boards and text only versions are displayed here instead. 

IntroductionDH Lawrence self-portrait

Conflict with PublishersBlack and white photograph of DH Lawrence with Aldous Huxley

CensorshipDetail from the cover of DH Lawrence's novel The White Peacock


The Heinemann EditionImage from a dust jacket of a Heinemann edition of a DH Lawrence novel

The Cambridge EditionDetail of illustration of DH Lawrence

Adapting DH LawrenceFilm still from Sons and Lovers (1960). Item reference La Z 10/1/4/1/3/2


 Accessing items from our collections

Items from our collections are available to consult in the Manuscripts and Special Collections reading room on King's Meadow Campus.

You can search our catalogues to find items in the manuscript and printed collections relating to DH Lawrence. 


Short films and tours

A Walk Through Nottingham...

A recreation of an extract from Lawrence's Sons and Lovers detailing Mrs Morel's journey into Nottingham with her son Paul, on their way to a job interview with a factory owner.


Watch our series of short films introducing items from the exhibition...

 Sneak peak at Editing DH Lawrence

 DH Lawrence's poncho


John Galsworthy and The Rainbow


From the blog

Read our series of blog posts on the DH Lawrence Collection


Photograph of DH Lawrence, La Phot 1-19Volunteer Buxi Duan talks about his experience cataloguing part of the DH Lawrence Collection. 

Go to the blog

Dorothy Brett

Photograph of Dorothy Brett, For L 2-5-4Looking at the painter and friend of Lawrence, Dorothy Brett

Go to the blog


Detail from an artwork by DH Lawrence, La D 1-6-6PhD student Gregory Walker explores literary censorship. 

Go to the blog


Digital Gallery

Explore our galleries of digitised images of Lawrence, his work and his family and acquaintances.


Turn the Pages

Browse a selection of postcards from DH Lawrence to his Nottinghamshire friends Muriel May Holbrook, William Holbrook and Jessie Chambers.




A series of talks accompanied the exhibition and recordings are available to view here.

"What do I care for first or last editions?": DH Lawrence, Editing and Editions

Dr Andrew Harrison addresses Lawrence's interactions with editors, printers and publishers, and casts an eye over the many editions of Lawrence which have circulated both during his lifetime and subsequently. 

This talk was recorded on 9 February 2022.

Editing Magnus: The Life and Death of a French Foreign Legionnaire

Emeritus Professor John Worthen looks at the life of Maurice Magnus, one time soldier in the French Foreign Legion, and his friendship with DH Lawrence.

This talk was recorded on 7 April 2022


Drawing in Words, Writing in Images

Writers often express themselves not only in words, but images. Dr Rebecca Moore discusses the visual works of various writers, including DH Lawrence and Evelyn Waugh, and how these shed light onto the often-overlooked talents of some of the most revered authors.

This talk was recorded on 8 March 2022

Editing Eastwood for the Stage

Professor James Moran details Lawrence's skill in preparing work for the theatre, pointing to the way that Lawrence's plays draw on the author's day-to-day life in Eastwood. 

This talk was recorded on 23 May 2022


Further Reading 

The DH Lawrence Collection held by Manuscripts and Special Collections forms one of the major international research resources for the study of DH Lawrence (1885-1930). It contains many fascinating manuscript and typescript documents which show Lawrence’s editing process, including examples from his short story Odour of Chrysanthemums, set around Brinsley Colliery in Nottinghamshire.  

Explore our webpages about Lawrence and the Collection.

Look back at our previous Lawrence exhibition 'The Many Lives of DH Lawrence' [2012]


Get the latest updates

Follow Manuscripts and Special Collections Exhibitions on twitter @mssLakeside to keep up to date with the latest exhibition news.


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651