The Rainbow  

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The Rainbow is a 1915 novel by British author D. H. Lawrence. It follows three generations of the Brangwen family, particularly focusing on the sexual dynamics of, and relations between, the characters.

Lawrence's frank treatment of sexual desire and the power plays within relationships as a natural and even spiritual force of life, though perhaps tame by modern standards, caused The Rainbow to be prosecuted in an obscenity trial in late 1915, as a result of which all copies were seized and burnt. After this ban it was unavailable in Britain for 11 years, although editions were available in the USA.

The Rainbow was followed by a sequel in 1920, Women in Love. Although Lawrence conceived of the two novels as one, considering the titles The Sisters and The Wedding Ring for the work, they were published as two separate novels at the urging of his publisher. However, after the negative public reception of The Rainbow, Lawrence's publisher opted out of publishing the sequel. This is the cause of the five-year gap between the two novels.

In 1989, the novel was adapted into the UK film The Rainbow, directed by Ken Russell who also directed the 1969 adaptation Women in Love. In 1988, the BBC produced a television adaptation directed by Stuart Burge with Imogen Stubbs in the role of Ursula Brangwen.


Further reading



  • The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, ed. James Boulton and others, 7 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979-93).


  • Delany, Paul, D. H. Lawrence's Nightmare: The Writer and his Circle in the Years of the Great War (Hassocks, Sussex: Harvester Press,1979)
  • Kincaid-Weekes, Mark, D H Lawrence: Triumph to Exile, 1912 - 1922 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996 )


  • Beynon, Richard, The Rainbow and Women in Love ( Cambridge: Icon Books) 1997
  • Clarke, Colin (ed.), D. H. Lawrence: The Rainbow and Women in Love: A Casebook (London: Macmillan, 1969),
  • Holderness, Graham, D. H. Lawrence: History, Ideology and Fiction (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1982).
  • Ingram, Allan, The Language of D. H. Lawrence (London: Macmillan, 1990).
  • Kinkead-Weekes, Mark, The Marble and the Statue: The Exploratory Imagination of D. H. Lawrence, in Maynard Mack and lan Gregor (eds.), Imagined Worlds: Essays in Honour of John Butt (London: Methuen, 1968), 371-418.
  • Kinkead-Weekes, Mark, The Marriage of Opposites in The Rainbow, in Mara Kalnins (ed.), D. H. Lawrence: Centenary Essays (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1986), 21-39.
  • Kinkead-Weekes, Mark, 'The Sense of History in The Rainbow', in Peter Preston and Peter Hoare (eds.), D. H. Lawrence in the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 121-38.
  • Leavis, F. R., D H Lawrence: Novelist (London: Chatto and Windus, 1955)
  • Leavis, F. R., Thought, Words and Creativity: Art and Thought in Lawrence (London: Chatto and Windus, 1976)
  • Meyers, Jeffrey (ed.), D. H. Lawrence and Tradition (London: Athlone Press, 1985).
  • Meyers, Jeffrey (ed.), The Legacy of D. H. Lawrence: New Essays (London: Macmillan, 1987).
  • Mudrick, Marvin, The Originality of The Rainbow in Harry T Moore (ed.) A D. H. Lawrence Miscellany (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1959).
  • Pinkney, Tony, D. H. Lawrence (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990).
  • Ross, Charles L., The Revisions of the Second Generation in The Rainbow, Review of English Studies, 27 (1976), 277-95.
  • Ross, Charles L The Composition of (The Rainbow' and Women in Love: A History (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979).
  • Sanders, Scott, D. H. Lawrence: The World of the Major Novels (London: Vision Press, 1973).
  • Simpson, Hilary, D. H. Lawrence and Feminism (London: Groom Helm, 1982).
  • Smith, Anne (ed.), Lawrence and Women (London: Vision Press, 1978).

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