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Unusual and Rare D.H. Lawrence and Frieda Lawrence Letter from Germany

Item: 21677
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LAWRENCE, D.H. (1885-1930). English author whose works, including the novels Sons and Lovers, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, examined the modern human condition and contemporary sexual mores and FRIEDA VON RICHTHOFEN LAWRENCE (1879-1956), Lawrence’s wife, and cousin of the German WWI aviation ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen, known as “the Red Baron.” ALS. (“D.H.L.”) and (“F.”). 4pp. (1½pp. written by Lawrence in English and 2½pp. written by Frieda in German on the same folded sheet of paper). 8vo. [Irschenhausen, September 16-17, 1927.] To Frieda’s sister, pioneering German social scientist ELSE JAFFE RICHTHOFEN (1874-1973).

Frieda writes:

“The money is here. Lorenzo was chopping wood when I just returned from Mrs. Häuslmeyer. 3 lovely days; we even saw deer twice. They were looking at us with a curious expression. We liked Schönberner, and the Kahlers came – very nice, but both tired and anxious; she is charming and Sunday we are going there with Barby. I tore down the cow stable by the window which imagined it was a bird cage, and I planted flowers. Lorenzo visited the woman next door, too. She wants 500 for the lilies and 400 for the others. – Do not tire yourself out so much after all we are not spring chickens anymore. Anna is coming back tomorrow, it works nicely like that; her Bavarian enchants me – [the following sentence is in the Bavarian dialect:] I do not believe a thing, except 3 lbs of meat makes for a nice soup. And Baroness Goduch [?] was a ‘Bafarian’ like me! The Leitner woman came, too! Lawr[ence] has taken another step toward recovery! Anni will drop in as well from Zell.”

D.H. Lawrence writes:

“So nice of you to send all those toilet things, & the money – but why didn’t you keep the money to pay for them. Let me know how much they cost.

The Jugend man came – a nice little soul after all – but they’ll do him in – he’ll never stand the modern mill. And the Kahlers came – both very nice – but like all the people of that class nowadays, they’ve lost their raison d’etre, & there seems no reason whatever why they should exist – they haven’t even, like the Nachbarin [female neighbor], the poignancy of woes. 

A rainy morning & a cold wind.

Barby arrives in München at 10:40 tonight – so Frieda will go in by a late train, & they’ll come out tomorrow morning. We’ve promised to go to the Kahlers tomorrow to tea.

Did you get the book I sent? – The Jugend man wants only a short–short story – 4 Schreibmaschine-Seiten [typewritten pages]: that’s about 2000 words. No stories are as short as that – usually 5000. I must try and hunt him something up.

Hope all is well in Heidelberg. Greet everybody!…This swanky paper comes from Fr[au Therese] Hauselmaier – or however she is called.”

Photo of D.H. and Frieda Lawrence

D.H. and Frieda Lawrence

In 1912, Lawrence, the son of a coal miner and an aspiring novelist, fell in love with Frieda Weekly, the aristocratic German wife of his former teacher, English philologist Ernest Weekly. Defying class and age differences as well as Frieda’s marital status, the pair eloped in May 1912 and the following year, with Frieda’s assistance, he completed his first successful novel, Sons and Lovers, criticized for its obscenity. The work was followed by his popular novels The Rainbow in 1915 and Women in Love in 1920. Financial success, however, did not follow and the impoverished couple traveled through England, Germany and Austria, marrying upon Freida’s divorce in 1914. British law compelled her to forfeit custody of her three children, including Barbara Joy “Barby” Weekly (1904-1998). It is perhaps for inspiring his controversial novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, penned between 1926 and 1928, that Frieda is best remembered.

Although the Lawrences had settled in the bohemian enclave of Taos, New Mexico in 1924, Lawrence’s ill health from tuberculosis and malaria prompted their return to Europe, and our letters were written during their September 1927 sojourn in the Bavarian town of Irschenhausen, just outside of Munich, at the summer home of Frieda’s sister Else von Richthofen, a pioneering female economist who had earned a doctorate in economics from Heidelberg University in 1901, studying under renowned social scientist and economist Max Weber.

It was von Richthofen who introduced Lawrence to literary editor and art historian Franz Schoenberner (1892-1970), who became editor of the German art magazine Jugend in 1927. Founded in 1896, Jugend lent its name to the German version of Art Nouveau “Jugendstil.” Schoenberner went on to edit the competing journal Simplicissimus before the Nazis drove him into exile. After the Emergency Rescue Committee helped Schoenberner escape to New York, he published his memoir Confessions of a European Intellectual.

Our letters mention visits with historian and philosopher Erich von Kahler (1885-1970), who lived in Munich after completing his doctorate in Vienna. In 1920, he published Der Beruf der Wissenschaft, “a polemic directed against Max Weber’s Wissenschaft als Beruf,” (“Erich Kahler,” Jewish Virtual Library, After the Nazis denounced his important Der deutsche Charakter in der Geschichte Europas, he eventually found a position at Princeton, where he was close to Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann, and gave a series of well-known seminars at Cornell.

Frieda outlived her husband by 26 years and, from her ranch in Taos, continued to participate in Lawrence’s posthumous literary affairs, penning a forward to Lady Chatterley’s Lover and approving a dramatization of the novel.

In The Letters of D.H. Lawrence Frau Therese Hauselmaier’s surname appears in the index spelled three different ways (Häuslmeyer, Häuselmair).

Published in volume Six of James Boulton’s Complete Letters (letter 4138, pp.148-50), in which Boulton dates these letters to Irschenhausen, September 16-17, 1927. Written on all four pages of a folded sheet; lightly creased with scattered staining and wear. In fine condition and rare in this form.

Unusual and Rare D.H. Lawrence and Frieda Lawrence Letter from Germany

$3000 • item #21677

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