An Eternal Summer, DH Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield,

Zennor Cornwall

Here in a letter dated October 1915, DH Lawrence, newly settled in Cornwall, describes to a friend his attraction to this far flung landscape:

…the shore is absolutely primeval: those heavy black rocks, like solid darkness, and the heavy water like a sort of first twilight breaking against them, and not changing them. It is really like the first craggy breaking of dawn in the world, a sense of the primeval darkness just behind, before the Creation. That is a very great and comforting thing to feel, I think: after all this whirlwind of dust and grit and dirty paper of a modern Europe. I love to see those terrifying rocks, like solid lumps of the original darkness, quite impregnable: and then the ponderous, cold light of the sea foaming up: it is marvellous. It is not sunlight. Sunlight is really firelight. This cold light of the heavy sea is really the eternal light washing against the eternal darkness, a terrific abstraction, far beyond all life, which is merely the sun, warm. And it does one’s soul good to escape from the ugly triviality of life into the clash of two infinities one upon the other, cold and eternal.

In April 1916 Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry arrived in Cornwall’s remote far west. They had just spent an idyllic time in Bandol in the south of France (the story about that period of their lives can be read here) but were returning to England during one of the darkest periods of the war, knowing that Murry, who had been rejected for national service, would shortly be called up for non-combatant services.

DH Lawrence had invited them to come and live in a cottage next door to him and his wife Frieda, ‘just under the moors, on the edge of the few rough stony fields that go to the sea’.

The cottages were just seven miles from St Ives, near Zennor. He wrote:

Zennor the nearest village: high pale hills, all moor-like and beautiful, behind, very wild…The Tinner’s Arms – it’s still there, next to the church dedicated – a rare instance of this – to St Senara, with its pew-end carved famously in the form of the Mermaid of Zennor. Primroses and violets are out, and the gorse is lovely. At Zennor one sees infinite Atlantic, all peacock-mingled colours, and the gorse is sunshine itself.


Katherine and Murry had been firm friends with DH Lawrence and Frieda since they met in the summer of 1913, when they had asked Lawrence for a story to publish in Rhythm, a magazine they edited together in London. At that time both Frieda and Katherine had been waiting for their divorces from other men.

Frieda was a lusty, exuberant woman, strong willed and direct. She was contemptuous of the bourgeois world and her forthright personality tended to divide people: some of Lawrence’s friends admired her fearless lack of inhibition, while others thought her vulgar and aggressive.

A German baroness from a noble family and sister of the famous fighter pilot the Red Baron, Frieda was six years older than Lawrence and the mother of three children. They had fallen in love on first meeting in 1912. He was attracted to her vitality and her sexual confidence, which was in sharp contrast to the timorous young women of his acquaintance. Lawrence had immediately recognised that Frieda was unfulfilled in her marriage but he refused to engage in a clandestine relationship with her and demanded that she tell her husband the truth before leaving with him. The upshot was that by 1914 she had secured a divorce and married Lawrence. Katherine and Murry were the witnesses at their wedding in Kensington and Frieda gave Katherine her old wedding ring, which she wore until she died.


For all that Katherine and Murry shared a deep affection for Lawrence, Murry said that Katherine was ‘prey to misgiving’ about Lawrence’s invitation to live in Zennor.

The previous year, when they had been living for near the Lawrences in Buckinghamshire, Lawrence had been thinking about starting an artists’ colony where friends would live, eat and create together. He called it Rananim, a word borrowed from a Hebrew song. But the concept of communal living held no appeal for Katherine; she told a friend she felt ‘very antagonistic’ to the plan.

She and Murry also had concerns about the Lawrences’ tendency to quarrel. One convivial evening spent with them had been brutally interrupted when Frieda mentioned that she was pining for her children. She had been forced to abandon all access to them as a condition of her divorce and so her love for Lawrence had come at an agonising cost. Yet he was staggeringly unsympathetic about her maternal grief, interpreting it as disloyalty to himself. In a poem titled ‘She Looks Back’ he compared her to Lot’s wife:

Nevertheless, the curse against you is still in my heart

Like a deep, deep burn.

The curse against all mothers.

That night he had tried to throw a tearful Frieda out and it had taken a theatrical intervention from Murry to restore harmony.

Now Lawrence had been urging them to: ‘come back, and let us all try to be happy together, in unanimity, not in hostility, creating, not destroying.’ To Murry, Lawrence confided: ‘I feel you are my only real friends in the world.’

Frieda had also written an encouraging note: ‘we are friends and we won’t bother anymore about the deep things, they are all right, just let’s live like the lilies in the field.’

In the weeks prior to their arrival in Cornwall, an upbeat Lawrence wrote to Ottoline Morrell that Mansfield and Murry would soon be joining them in the ‘Promised Land’, and he cast himself as ‘a Columbus who can see a shadowy America before him.’ Mansfield also wrote to Ottoline, but less enthusiastically: ‘We are going to stay with the Lawrences for ever and ever as perhaps you know; I daresay eternity will last the whole of the summer.’


Frieda later recalled the sight of them approaching Higher Tregerthen for the first time in a cart, with Katherine perched on top of their worldly goods looking like ‘an emigrant’.

Higher Tregerthen is a tiny cluster of cottages, just up a hill from Zennor. The Lawrences had taken the cheaper of two cottages, reserving the more substantial one for Katherine and Murry. Downstairs it had a large living and dining room with an open fireplace and above was a turreted room with panelled walls and windows looking out to sea. There was a grassy outdoor terrace, and behind the cottage were the tumbled boulders and gorse of the moors. There was neither running water nor sanitary arrangements in the cottages, which did not disturb the Lawrences, but in deference to Katherine’s sensibility a privy was organised.

Meals were were taken in the larger house, prepared by a maid hired between them whom Katherine dubbed the Cornish Pasty. There was an initial cheerful bout of homemaking, the Lawrences helping the new arrivals to paint their house, stain their floors and choose furniture.

Katherine wrote to her friend Virginia Woolf:

Perhaps the house itself is very imperfect in many ways but there is a – something – which makes one long for it. Immediately you get there – you are free, free as air. You hang up your hat on a nail & the house is furnished – It is a place where you sit on the stairs & watch the lovely light inhabiting the room below…You go by the edge of the fields to Katie Berryman’s for bread. You walk home along the rim of the Atlantic with the big fresh loaf – & when you arrive the house is like a ship. I mustn’t talk about it – it bewitches me.

She wrote about her new surroundings to Beatrice Campbell,

There is a creek close by our house that rushes down a narrow valley and then falls down a steep cliff into the sea. The banks are covered with primroses and violets and bluebells. I paddle in it and feel like a faint, far-off reflection of the George Meredith Penny Whistle Overture, but awfully faint.

Murry spends all his time hunting for his horn-rimmed spectacles for whenever he leaps over a stile or upon a mossy stone they fly from him, incredible distances, and undergo a strange and secret change into caterpillars, dragon flies or bracken uncurling.

To-day I can’t see a yard, thick mist and rain and a tearing wind with it. Everything is faintly damp. The floor of the tower is studded with Cornish pitchers catching the drops. Except for my little maid (whose ankles I can hear stumping about the kitchen) I am alone, for Murry and Lawrence have plunged off to St. Ives with rucksacks on their backs and Frieda is in her cottage. It’s very quiet in the house except for the wind and the rain and the fire that roars very hoarse and fierce. I feel as though I and the Cornish Pasty had drifted out to sea-and would never be seen again. But I love such days – rare lonely days. I love above all things, my dear, to be alone. Then I lie down and smoke and look at the fire and begin to think out an EXTRAORDINARILY good story about Marseilles. I’ve re-read my novel to-day, too and now I can’t believe I wrote it….

But it was not long before Katherine was writing to her friend, the Russian translator S.S. Koteliansky,

I am very much alone here. It is not really a nice place. It is so full of huge stones. But it is so very temporary. It may all be over next month; in fact it will be. I don’t belong to anybody here. In fact I have no being.

In another letter she described the gust of wind breaking over a house that had a ‘hollow’ feeling, and the narrowness of its doors and passages ‘that only a fish could swim through without touching.’ And finally, just three months after arriving in Zennor, she wrote to Lady Ottoline Morrell: ‘We are leaving here as soon as we can.’


What had happened? Murry later wrote that he had no happy recollections of this time, that Katherine was ‘acutely miserable’, and eventually the situation had become intolerable on all sides.

The violent behaviour Murry and Katherine had witnessed in Buckinghamshire had recurred in Zennor with a vengeance. There would be calm interludes but only until the next outburst: ‘he simply raves, roars, beats the table, abuses everybody’, wrote Katherine.

Katherine and Murry found it unbearable to watch the traded insults and hurled plates, and to see Lawrence becoming physically violent with Frieda. All they could do at such times was to humour the couple, cajoling them out of their fury and misery. Afterwards there would be acts of atonement from Lawrence that struck Katherine as ‘feminine’: he might trim a hat for Frieda, knit, sew or paint little pictures. ‘I don’t know which disgusts me worse,’ wrote Katherine to Koteliansky, ‘when they are loving and playing with each other, or when they are roaring at each other and he is pulling out Frieda’s hair’.

Murry was astonished by the differences that characterised the couples’ relationships. In his memoir about DH Lawrence he wrote:

I was still more shocked the first time I witnessed one of his bursts of physical fury against his wife. It was (I thought) utterly wrong; worse than wrong, it was mysterious and incomprehensible. Quite how mysterious and incomprehensible it was to be will be understood only by those who know – through her letters – the nature of my relation with Katherine Mansfield. Here were two utterly different conceptions and experiences of the relation between a man and a woman. It did not seem that they could belong to the same world; certainly, it was impossible for me to make them co-exist in my world.

Lawrence was particularly brittle and skinless at this time. He was struggling financially after the publication of his novel, The Rainbow (1915) which had been banned on the grounds of obscenity for its honest treatment of sexual love, and every available copy destroyed.

He had great hopes for The Rainbow. It is a work of astonishing originality, contemporaneous with Joyce’s Ulysses, and like that novel, one that forged new territory with its examination of a Nottinghamshire family’s shift from a timeless agrarian existence to the alienation of a life in an industrial society. In it he showed, as he explained in a letter at the time, that ‘One is not only a little individual, living a little individual life. One is in oneself the whole of mankind, and one’s fate is the fate of the whole of mankind.’ This was an utterly modern understanding that departed from Victorians like Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell who had used often fairly stylised characters to represent social change. For Lawrence, the individual WAS the change. His characters vibrate with life, and his shift of focus paved the way for an exploration of modern consciousness.

The Rainbow, which many believe to be Lawrence’s masterpiece, had been vilified by the literary establishment and by the public. Misunderstood and rejected, he felt like an outcast in his own country. Now his quarrels with Frieda were often focused on his demand for her respect, but although she had been his loyal supporter throughout their previous tribulations, her attitude towards him was changing to one of mockery.

Lawrence was also suffering from the early tuberculosis about which he was in denial but which would eventually kill him. Katherine also became afflicted by the disease, which many believe she contracted while living in such close proximity to Lawrence. She later claimed to recognise in herself a propensity to rage that she believed was induced by tuberculosis.

But that summer Katherine laid the blame for Lawrence’s outbursts squarely with Frieda. The two women had shared a sisterly relationship but now everything about Frieda began to grate on Katherine, from her new enthusiasm for washing clothes with gusto in vast tubs of water to her weight. Katherine had a growing conviction that Frieda dominated and smothered Lawrence and she wrote to Ottoline:

It is really quite over for now – our relationship with L. The ‘dear man’ in him whom we all loved is hidden away, absorbed like a little gold ring in that immense german christmas pudding which is Frieda.

In turn, Frieda resented Katherine and Murry for consuming so much of her husband’s time with their literary conversations. She felt excluded as the only one with no interest in writing, while the others were driven by powerful literary ambitions.

Lawrence’s outbursts were not confined to Frieda: Katherine and Murry also lived in the shadow of his tyranny. To a friend Katherine wrote: ‘If he is contradicted about anything he gets into a frenzy, quite besides himself…And whatever your disagreement is about he says it is because you have gone wrong in your sex and belong to an obscene spirit.’

Murry said there was a ‘taint of illness or hysteria’ in everything Lawrence said or did. He described his violent outbursts as his ‘third facet’, writing that:

The third Lawrence was terrifying. In this condition he also was not any more a person, but a man possessed. A sort of paroxysm of rage or hatred engulfed him wholly. He appeared to me then demented, or as one possessed by the Furies. Though I was often the witness, I was once the actual victim of one of these outbursts of rage, and then it passed into a kind of delirium during which he would call out my name in the night with all manner of strange and to me unintelligible denunciations.

The Blutsbrüderschaft

A quite extraordinary complication during this time was Lawrence’s attraction to Murry. Inspired by his recent interest in ‘dark gods’ he tried to persuade Katherine and Murry that their relationship was ‘false’ and ‘deadly’. He suggested that renewal could occur once the dark sources inside Murry were awakened by a ‘mystical’ relationship with Lawrence. The resultant intense attachment between them, a type of blood-brotherhood (Blutsbrüderschaft) would ‘complete’ Lawrence, and in turn invigorate relations between Murry and Katherine.

Lawrence was deeply conflicted about homosexuality. But his writing suggests that along with his homophobia arose feelings of homoeroticism. During one of their walks across the Cornish moors Lawrence proposed to Murry a ‘blood-sacrament’ involving a ‘queer wrestling-match’. Murry was ‘scared and more than a little naïve’, Lawrence said, having ‘envisaged it rather as some sort of ceremony of black magic to be performed amid the great stones of the eerie Cornish moors.’ The invitation was politely declined and this forever soured their relationship. Lawrence had initially named Murry as ‘one of the very few people I can count on’. But he realised that Murry was out of his depth when confronted with the intense spiritual and physical bonding he had envisaged for them. Bitterly disappointed, Lawrence concluded that Murry only ever wanted ‘the warmth and security of personal affection’.

For her part, Katherine took offence at Lawrence’s idea of blood-brotherhood, writing to Ottoline Morrell that he had become worryingly unstable: ‘he has gone a little bit out of his mind’.

And hamming it up to Beatrice Campbell she wrote:

I cannot discuss blood affinity to beasts for instance if I have to keep ducking to avoid the flat irons and the saucepans. I shall never see sex in trees, sex in the running brooks, sex in stones & sex in everything. The number of things that are really phallic from fountain pen fillers onwards! But I shall have my revenge one of these days – I suggested to Lawrence that he should call his cottage The Phallus & Frieda thought it was a very good idea.

By mid June, using the dampness of the cottage as an excuse, Murry and Katherine decamped thirty miles away to Cornwall’s leafier and softer southern coast. The ‘eternity’ of their stay had only lasted half the summer.

Reality Turns into Fiction – Women in Love

Lawrence was peeved by the failure of his Cornish Rananim experiment, writing to Koteliansky that his idea had been right but the ‘people were wrong.’ But anything of significance in Lawrence’s life usually found its way into his writing. The atmosphere in Zennor, charged as it was with tension and conflict, had spurred him out of the writer’s block he had experienced since the unfavourable reception for The Rainbow and had led to a burst of creative activity. Even before the decorating of the second cottage had been completed, he had returned to his notes on The Rainbow and started to write, incorporating the tensions around him into a sequel that became Women in Love (1920).

It has been widely accepted that two of the novel’s protagonists, Gudrun Brangwen and Gerald Crich, are loosely based on Katherine and Murry, while Ursula Brangwen is modelled on Frieda and Rupert Birkin on Lawrence. Katherine (whom Lawrence found interesting and intelligent) is portrayed with warmth as a pretty woman, with dark, sometimes ‘dilated’ eyes and a strikingly individual dress sense. She is spirited, a good conversationalist, slightly cynical, inclined to feminism. Katherine’s voice seems strongly present when Lawrence describes Gudrun’s envy of men: ‘The freedom, the liberty the mobility!’ He caught something of the ‘restless bird’ about her, a ‘bird of paradise’.

Lawrence completed what he had set out to do and had partly achieved in The Rainbow, which was to address ‘the woman question’. In his mind the problem of his time was ‘the establishment of a new relation, or the re-adjustment of the old one, between men and women’. He regarded the work that he had started in The Rainbow as doing ‘my work for women, better than the suffrage’. As he explained in a letter to a friend,

the chief thing about a woman – who is much of a woman – is that in the long run she is not to be had. She is not to be caught by any of the catch-words, love, beauty, honour, duty, worth, work, salvation – none of them – not in the long run.

What she did want, he believed, was satisfaction, ‘physical at least as much as psychic, sex as much as soul.’ And he explored these ideas by following the lives of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen. Coming from an old farming family, full of ‘blood intimacy’ and the repetitive cycles of an agrarian existence, the sisters navigate new paths beyond the village towards the city, and different ways of being. They grapple with freedom and choice, growing to understand that self-fulfilment is contingent on an education and financial independence. But without male protection, childbearing, the traditional role beside the hearth, what does love between a man and a woman look like? Perhaps it can be summed up by this discussion between Birkin and Ursula:

‘If you admit a unison, you forfeit all the possibilities of chaos.’

 ‘But love is freedom,’ she declared.

 ‘Don’t cant to me,’ he replied. ‘Love is a direction which excludes all other directions. It’s a freedom TOGETHER, if you like.’

 ‘No,’ she said, ‘love includes everything.’

 ‘Sentimental cant,’ he replied. ‘You want the state of chaos, that’s all. It is ultimate nihilism, this freedom-in-love business, this freedom which is love and love which is freedom. As a matter of fact, if you enter into a pure unison, it is irrevocable, and it is never pure till it is irrevocable. And when it is irrevocable, it is one way, like the path of a star.’

Lawrence’s understanding of the complexities of desire are particularly apparent in his treatment of the relationship that develops between Birkin and Crich. This presumably spells out what Lawrence had in mind for Murry on those moors. In this scene the men have stripped naked:

So the two men entwined and wrestled with each other, working nearer and nearer….He seemed to penetrate into Gerald’s more solid, more diffuse bulk, to interfuse his body through the body of the other, as if to bring it subtly into subjugation, always seizing with some rapid necromantic foreknowledge every motion of the other flesh, converting it and counteracting it, playing upon the limbs and trunk of Gerald like some hard wind. It was as if Birkin’s whole physical intelligence entered into the flesh of the fuller man, like some potency, casting a fine net, a prism, through the muscles into the very depths of Gerald’s physical being.

Lawrence worked on the novel with concentrated energy, completing the first version by the end of June.

Mansfield’s Writing

Like Lawrence, Katherine used real situations and emotions in her work, yet their shared environment on this occasion had largely put a stop to her own writing. In Bandol where she had been happy and tranquil and in love with Murry, her work had flourished. In Zennor she had written only one story. Carnation is a slight piece, drawn from her school days, which John Middleton Murry included in the collection Something Childish and other Stories, published in 1924 after her death. But Mansfield’s sparkling wit and her sharp psychological observations spilled into her letters and journal entries; she had a good deal to say about the relationship between Lawrence and Frieda.

A Friendship Continues

Not long after leaving Zennor, Katherine was in London’s Café Royal when she overheard two men mockingly reading aloud Lawrence’s poems. She asked for the book, then proceeded to march out of the café with it under her arm. Koteliansky, the friend who witnessed the incident, told Lawrence. Amused and touched by her loyalty, he included it in Women in Love in the chapter ‘Gudrun in the Pompadour’.

The following August Katherine wrote to Murry, who was by now working in Intelligence, that she had received a long letter from Lawrence. ‘He has begun to write to me again and in quite the old way…I am so fond of him for many things. I cannot shut my heart against him and I never shall.’

Meeting for the last time in the autumn of 1918, both Lawrence and Mansfield seemed to want to forget any bad feelings and focus on their love for each other instead:

I loved him. He was just his old, merry, rich self, laughing, describing things, giving you pictures, full of enthusiasm and joy in a future where we become all “vagabonds” – we simply did not talk about people. We kept to things like nuts and cowslips and fires in woods and his black self was not. Oh, there is something so loveable about him and his eagerness, his passionate eagerness for life – that is what one loves so.

During the ten years of their friendship, Katherine would insist that she and Lawrence were alike, ‘unthinkably alike, in fact’. As a daughter from the colonies and a coal miner’s son, each stood outside the literary establishment. They both looked to Europe to inject new life into a contemporary English literature that they believed had become stagnant and provincial. But perhaps the strongest reason for Katherine’s affinity with Lawrence was his extraordinary vulnerability and honesty. Although she rarely let down her own guard she admired a person who did, a person who lived without masks. Katherine once said, ‘the mind I love must have wild places.’ She truly met such a mind in DH Lawrence.


The Wounded Bird’, French for Rabbits

This song is based on one of twelve poems of Katherine Mansfield’s that were set to music by New Zealand artists, in a project headed by Wellington singer-songwriter Charlotte Yates in 2020. You can find out more about that project here.

Katherine wrote ‘The Wounded Bird’ just before she died. Towards the end of her life, she became preoccupied with images of caged and injured birds. They were analogous to the entrapment she felt as a result of her tuberculosis, the disease she probably caught from DH Lawrence in Zennor. In this poem she becomes the damaged bird. She had so often referred to her lungs as ‘wings’.

In the wide bed
Under the freen embroidered quilt
With flowers and leaves always in soft motion
She is like a wounded bird resting on a pool.

The hunter threw his dart
And hit her breast,
Hit her but did not kill.
“O my wings, lift me lift me!
I am not dreadfully hurt!”
Down she dropped and was still.

In the refrain ‘lift me lift me’ are the echo of Katherine’s brother Leslie’s last words before he died from his wounds on the Western Front. He had addressed them to her: ‘Lift my head up Katie, I can’t breathe.’

Katherine and Lawrence’s exile from their homelands (after Zennor Lawrence spent the rest of his life living in other countries), their suffering and early deaths, she at 34, he at 44, put them effortlessly in the company of the great Romantic poets Keats and Byron.

Read Mansfield’s complete poem here.


Having heard about the beauty of the cottages at Higher Tregerthen from an initially enthusiastic Katherine Mansfield, Virginia and Leonard Woolf rented them from a Mr Short in 1919. They had every intention of using them as a country retreat for themselves and friends but when the opportunity arose to buy Monks House in Sussex they let go of the lease on Higher Tregerthen without having stayed there.

Two years later the Woolfs spent part of the summer in the tiny hamlet of Poniou, very near Zennor. In a letter to Saxon Sydney Turner in June 1921 Virginia wrote:

We are between Gurnards Head and Zennor: I see the nose of the Gurnard from my window. We step out into the June sunshine, past mounds of newly sprung gorse, bright yellow and smelling of nuts, over a grey stone wall, so along a cart track scattered with granite to a cliff, beneath which is the sea, of the consistency of innumerable plovers eggs where they turn grey green semi transparent. However when the waves curl over they are more like emeralds, and then the spray at the top is blown back like a mane – an old simile doubtless, but rather a good one. Here we lie roasting, though L. pretends to write an article for the Encyclopaedia upon Cooperation. The truth is we can’t do anything but watch the sea – especially as the seals may bob up, first looking like logs, then like naked old men, with tridents for tails. I’m not sure though that the beauty of the country isn’t its granite hills, and walls, and houses, and not the sea. What do you say?


To me this is the most dramatic and ruggedly beautiful part of Cornwall. The road out of St Ives weaves close to the coastline, and the views are spectacular. You feel a very long way from anywhere else, high upon a ridge, aware of the sea and the sky. Travelling in the direction of Land’s End, the barren moors loom up to the left while to the right, little green patches of farmland encased by grey, treeless walls, roll down towards the sea. When the historian WG Hoskins needed an example of how the land looked in England before the Romans, he came to Zennor. These are the best preserved ancient fields in all of Europe, and still in use after a thousand years.

I was delighted to discover how Women in Love came to be written here. Lawrence’s passion for the human soul, sex, desire, paganism and primal instincts were difficult to resist when I was a teen. And although some suggest it is best never to revisit him in adulthood, I felt it still held up well after a recent rereading.

Higher Tregerthen is a tiny hamlet on a hill close to Zennor. It is not signposted, the cottages are private property and the owners do not take kindly to strangers with cameras. So on various occasions I have taken photographs of the immediate vicinity and some in Zennor, the small village that marks the start of the Penwith Coast.

I’ve included pictures I took on a particularly rainy weekend in June, about the same time of year when Katherine and Murry’s disillusionment with Cornwall thoroughly set in. It was unseasonably cold and tourists huddled miserably in restaurants and pubs. ‘Welcome to sunny Cornwall’ muttered one dad, as his kids attacked plates of fish and chips in a local pub. In a tearoom I heard a young man hiss to his girlfriend: ‘You never want to go on adventurous holidays with me. It’s always fucking teashops, strolls in the country and bad weather.’

But I still found this place exhilarating, scrambling up misty and sodden moorland tracks, and walking parts of the coastal path to appreciate the full effect of the summer storms driving in across the Atlantic.


The fig scene in Ken Russell’s highly celebrated film Women in Love (1969) starring Alan Bates, Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Gudrun.

Robert McCrum rated The Rainbow most highly of all DH Lawrence’s novels in his list of the 100 best novels.

An essay by Sandra Jobson Darroch about DH Lawrence’s portrayal of Katherine Mansfield in another novel, featured in Rananim, The Journal of the DH Lawrence Society of Australia.

The LibriVox audio recording of Women in Love.

Read more about Zennor here.

A picture of Higher Tregerthen in Zennor on Cornish


Alpers, Antony. The Life of Katherine Mansfield. Oxford University Press, 1982.

Cusk, Rachel. Coventry : Essays, Faber & Faber, 2019

Feinstein, Elaine. Lawrence’s Women: The Intimate Life of D.H. Lawrence, Harper Collins, 1993

Katherine Mansfield’s Men. Eds. Charles Ferrall and Jane Stafford, Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society and Steele Roberts Publishers, 2004.

Lawrence, D.H. Selected Letters, Penguin, 1950

Lawrence, D.H. Women in Love. Penguin Books, 2000.

Mansfield, Katherine. The Complete Stories of Katherine Mansfield. Golden Press, 1974.

Mansfield, Katherine. Letters of Katherine Mansfield to John Middleton Murry 1913-1922. Ed. JM Murry. Constable and Company, 1958.

Marsden, Philip. Rising Ground: A Search for the Spirit of Place, Granta, 2014

Meyers, Jeffrey. Katherine Mansfield: A Darker View. Cooper Square Press, 2002.

Murry, John Middleton. Reminiscences of D.H. Lawrence. Jonathan Cape, 1936.

Tomalin, Claire. Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life. Viking,1987.

Woolf, Virginia. The Letters of Virginia Woolf. Eds. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann. Vol II. New Harcourt Brace Jovanovic, 1975.

Worthen, John. D.H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider, Greenwood Press 1996.

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  1. Nicholas Rudd-Jones on

    Such a good read, So much vivid detail.

    Just a tiny point, I think the hamlet where the Woolfs lived is called Poniou rather than Ponion.


    Another insightful brilliance from ROAN, arriving so-fittingly 2 days after a Zennor pilgrimage
    Appetite-whetting, as always, for your next post…

    • Jo Wing on

      Ahhh Zennor. What I’d give to see that beautiful place again. That was a sweet coincidence, Julia. I’m less productive on the blog front this year due to other demands on my time but I’ll have a short piece up soonish. Thanks so much for your support.

  3. Marilyn Kinnon on

    A really interesting read of a number of big subjects! Great summaries. Thank you so much. Between the lines, you have truly got Cornwall nailed!

    • Jo Wing on

      Ha – thanks, Marilyn. I think Lawrence and Mansfield were a good match for each other. As for Cornwall, it was such a luxury to spend a decent amount of time there, to catch the seasonal shifts and the ebb and flow of visitors. It will always stay close to my heart.