Manuscripts and Special Collections

The Many Lives of D H Lawrence

This exhibition ran from May to September 2012 and was produced by Manuscripts and Special Collections.

The exhibition was curated by Dr Andrew Harrison, Director of the D H Lawrence Research Centre at The University of Nottingham, and staff in Manuscripts and Special Collections.


D H Lawrence provides an endlessly fascinating subject for both biographers and the general public. Controversy began during his lifetime, with family, friends and literary critics divided in opinions about his character and creative genius. Since his premature death in 1930, aged only forty-four, his life and work has been subject to continual re-evaluation. Events like the 1960 obscenity trial, which vindicated Penguin’s publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, helped to make Lawrence a household name. In the last fifty years, fresh evidence about his life and the influence of his work has helped to introduce new audiences to new interpretations.

The Many Lives of D H Lawrence drew on the rich Lawrence Collections at the University of Nottingham. It charted the creation and steady extension of Lawrence’s story, as seen by himself, his family, contemporary friends and critics, later biographers and readers, and the general public. Eastwood and Nottinghamshire feature both in the making of his identity and the establishment of his local reputation, but the exhibition also showed the influence of stage and film, festivals and broadcasts in the creation of his iconic status.

Exhibition videos

Lakeside Arts Centre

Two videos featuring Dr Andrew Harrison and Lawrence biographer Professor John Worthen are available on The University of Nottingham's YouTube channel.

The Search for D H Lawrence

Emeritus Professor John Worthen, in conversation with Dr Andrew Harrison, discusses the question of Lawrence and biography in the context of the Lakeside exhibition 'The Many Lives of D H Lawrence'.

Writing the Writer - The Biographer's Story

Emeritus Professor John Worthen is interviewed by Dr Andrew Harrison about his work as a biographer of D H Lawrence.

Exhibition themes

The exhibition boards which were displayed in the Weston Gallery are available to download in PDF format

They present images and text on the following themes:

  • Memoir, legacy and biography revealed in The University of Nottingham’s D H Lawrence Collections
  • Battle of the biographers
  • Nottingham's favourite son?
  • A composite biography
  • A life through letters
  • A global canvas

Exhibition poster

Many Lives of DH Lawrence exhibition poster

Click on the poster above to open a larger version.

Visitor comments

A fascinating, scholarly and meticulously curated exhibition.

Extremely interesting, a real sense of regional pride. Enjoyed immensely and it made me feel proud to be a student of the city.

Very nice exhibition! Thank you.

Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition

Made me feel that I want to read one of his books!

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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