HG Wells revealed what he thought of DH Lawrence in a rude cartoon book now up for auction
An excavated copy of a book by DH Lawrence owned by HG Wells, adorned with scrawls of a phallus, has revealed exactly what he really thought of the 20th-century author.
Sketches made by Wells on a signed first edition of Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover show several ink drawings satirizing its rival author.
In one, Wells shows Lawrence naked with an extremely large, oversized member, captioned “Up Jenkins!” Below, Wells writes: “DHL by itself”.
On the relevant page, which lies at the base of what appears to be a tall pillar, Lawrence is depicted staring at his much smaller genitals and asking, “Well, does any other man have the same thing?”.
Sketches made by Wells on a signed first edition of Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover show several ink drawings satirizing its rival author
Next to him is a bottle that says ‘Tonic’ and the picture is captioned ‘The real DHL’.
Wells also writes on the page opposite his doodles, “My god, what stuff!”
The copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover is being auctioned at Bonhams in London – the auction house is set to sell in November for an estimated £15,000-25,000.
Matthew Haley, Bonhams managing director and head of books and manuscripts, described the sketches as a fit of “literary bitchyness,” he told the Times.
He said Wells’ copy gives a “fascinating insight” into the relationship between the authors.
“Earlier in their careers, both writers wrote with admiration for each other’s work,” he said. Lawrence wrote of Wells’s 1909 novel Tono-Bungay that it was the “best novel Wells wrote—it’s the best novel I’ve read—oh, how long?”
Wells Wells Wells: Lawrence’s scathing 1926 review of Wells’ novel The World of William Clissold urged HG Wells to retaliate privately in his copy of Lady Chatterley. Pictured: HG Wells in the 1920s.
Haley added: “However, Lawrence’s scathing 1926 review of Wells’ novel The World of William Clissold was obviously angered and Wells exacted his revenge, albeit privately, in his copy of Lady Chatterley.
“The cartoons seem to indicate that although Lawrence introduced himself in the novel as the working-class male gamekeeper Mellors, he was actually more like Lady Chatterley’s husband, the paralyzed and betrayed Sir Clifford.”
Wells’ 1928 edition of the novel, signed by Lawrence, was one of 1,000 that had been privately printed in Italy.
Lawrence had been unable to find a British publisher who would publish it, as the book’s sexually graphic content fell under British obscenity laws.
The novel, which focuses on the affair between Mellors and Lady Chatterley, became a notorious trademark of the 20th century when Penguin Books attempted to publish it in the 1960s and was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act.
However, an Old Bailey jury ruled that it was not obscene, and when it was released a month later, all 200,000 copies had been sold on day one.
Haley said early editions of the novel appeared frequently, with a “not very good copy” selling for £1,500 this year.
Lawrence had been unable to find a British publisher to bring out Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as the book’s sexually explicit content was deemed to fall under British obscenity laws. Pictured: DH Lawrence
“You don’t normally get copies with inscriptions,” he added of the Wells copy.
The November auction will also include archival materials relating to novelist EM Forster, who was a witness for Penguin at the trial.
Among the items sold is a letter from Forster to his biographer PN Furbank asking him to arrange the posthumous publication of Maurice, Forster’s tale of homosexual love in 20th-century Britain.
Forster had stopped writing fiction by the 1920s, partly because of Britain’s obscenity laws. The book was not published until 1971.
There are also letters to Furbank, who died in 2014, from Harry Daley, a police officer and alleged former lover of Forster.
Daley, who was publicly known to be gay but avoided prosecution, became a public figure after a series of talks on the BBC about life as a police officer, said to have inspired the television series Dixon of Dock Green.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11343095/HG-Wells-revealed-thought-DH-Lawrence-book-rude-cartoon-auction.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 HG Wells revealed what he thought of DH Lawrence in a rude cartoon book now up for auction