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The Paper Research
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The Paper Research

Because we were concerned with distinguishing between a number of similar papers by minute differences in measurement, it was helpful to refer to them not by the trade names for the different paper-sizes but by their distinctive fine-measurements which we made entirely in millimetres. The height of each leaf needed to be measured at both side edges and the width at both top and bottom, because in some batches they varied, and if Lawrence reversed a page the variation could give a false impression of a different paper-batch. Many of the later papers were large sheets folded into quires, and because these had been torn unevenly down the fold it was necessary to reassemble conjugate leaves to make accurate measurements across the width.

We chose, in fact, to trace all the patterns of conjugate leaves and original quires, but these are not recorded in Table 1. They led us to discover that Lawrence, who wrote on one side of the paper only, left the quires intact and occasionally inserted leaves from earlier drafts among the pages of the quires. When Garnett edited the manuscript he crossed out text and wrote the delete symbol in the margin with the quires still intact, so that some of his writing which overflowed the fold is now on the reverse of conjugate leaves. It is most probable that the quires were torn in the printing shop for distribution to the compositors.

We found the use of a micrometer for measuring paper thickness (calibration) in hundredths of a millimetre very helpful; but measurements needed to be taken at various points on a page because some papers had uneven density.

Describing the colour of paper is problematic, not only because most papers are a variety of white, but also because they discolour with age differently according to the different conditions in which they have been kept by their various owners. Dr. Philip Gaskell of Trinity College, Cambridge, whom I consulted about this research, suggested we should assemble a collection of samples of papers of graduated colour shades and label them numerically. This excellent advice we did not have time to follow, and the


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resulting colour descriptions we resorted to served only as subjective aidemémoire. In the end, colour difference did not constitute the sole basis for any identification—despite the one very distinctive blue paper, which also had very distinctive line-numbers—and I doubt if in advance we would have thought to extend the range of samples to cover the variety of flecked-brown papers Lawrence acquired by the Lago di Garda.

Many of Lawrence's papers, especially the early ones bought in England, were lined and we had to develop a number of definitions for distinguishing between them. The greatest problems presented by this enquiry concerned the very similar pads of uniform lined paper that Lawrence used while writing the now critically dispersed Stage IIIa draft. These papers, of 24 and 26 lines (see the e,g,k and h,j,l papers in Table 1), are easy to confuse; and to make matters worse he used further similar pads in his letters which do not occur in the surviving remains of the novel. Therefore, in addition to the routine measurements of spaces between lines (only the averages of which are given in Table 1), spaces above the top lines and below the bottom lines (which for convenience we called "top and bottom margins") and any side margins, we also paid attention to the direction of the slope with which the lines were characteristically printed on the page (or which characteristically resulted from the way the blocks were cut), to the quality of the printing, and whether the lines were printed differently on front and back of the paper.

As a result of my preliminary discussion with Dr. Gaskell, we decided upon five categories to define paper quality,[9] which turned out to be very useful. The first two categories were the characteristics the paper displayed by transmitted light, its "See-through features", consisting of transparency or density and the presence or absence of watermarks. Degrees of transparency were often significant, and although there were few watermarks they appeared and disappeared in clear-cut sequences in the letters, and this contributed useful dating evidence for the novel.

The other categories of paper quality were descriptions of the general impression the paper-finish displayed to the eye under normal and raking light. Under the heading "Finishing features" we recorded whether the paper was shiny or matt; whether it was flexible or brittle (including our impression of the noise a page made when shaken if this was a significant corroboration of its stiffness or suppleness); and its calendering. "Calendering" was not recorded when paper was "laid", that is, had chain-and-wire lines; most of the papers were "wove", but we doubted whether the labour of measuring the mesh would be rewarded with the clear distinctions we were looking for, and instead we recorded as an aide-mémoire our impression of the surface patterns under a raking light. These various subjective descriptions of finishing features were, like paper-colour, only corrective or supportive of any identification, made primarily on the basis of measurements, lines and watermarks in combination with idiosyncrasies such as the "serrated" top edge.


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Finally, under the heading "Format" we recorded any evidence of the form the paper batch had taken whether pad (i.e. glued block), quire or sheet. We found that some single sheets showed evidence of being torn from a pad while others from the same pad had been torn off without any betraying mark being sustained.

When Lawrence went back to Croydon to continue teaching (after his mother's death on 9 December 1910) he wrote his letters on a wide range of papers. If he was writing from his lodgings in Colworth Road it included not only pages from the supply he was using for his novel or poems, but also mourning notepaper with black edges and Colworth Road headed notepaper. When he wrote letters from school he used pages torn from school registers or exercise books, or even Croydon Education Committee headed paper, and, once, an Accident Report Form. When he went to stay with people he used their headed notepaper; and the letter on a concert programme also comes from this period.

From 19 November 1911, when he fell ill, to 28 February 1912, there was a sudden change from this miscellaneity to a simple sequence of good-quality letter-writing paper. He started the first, watermarked "Court Royal", on 15 November and finished it on 13 December 1911; the second, watermarked "Classic Parchment", was then used equally consistently from 17 December 1911 to 7 January 1912. That last letter on Classic Parchment was the first he wrote from his place of convalescence, Compton House, Bournemouth; he then discovered the guest-house's supply of headed notepaper, and set his Classic Parchment aside to use up later (10 February to 17 April).

After his return to Eastwood on 9 February he was mobile again and inevitably his letter-paper became miscellaneous again (once the Classic Parchment was finished), and began to include the lined paper he was currently using for his novel and poems. Then when he went abroad in May 1912, his letter-paper became, if possible, even more varied; but it did include the two surviving papers introduced in Stage IIIb and four of the six new papers used for Stage IV.[10]

In the surviving manuscripts of Sons and Lovers there are nineteen different papers. These I have labelled in alphabetical order (omitting i and o) to correspond with the chronological order of their use in the manuscripts,


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using capitals for the papers first introduced in Stage II (A-D), then lower case for those first used in Stage IIIa (e-l) and IIIb (m-n), and capitals again for Stage IV (P-U). Lower case is used for Stage III for instant recognition because of the difficulties presented by the dispersal of the manuscript remains of this draft.

The character of the sequence of papers in the manuscript drafts of the novel is from cheap-quality lined papers in England to quires of unlined paper in Italy, where Lawrence wrote much of the novel out afresh for Stage IV.

The information derived from the letters needs to be used with care for a number of reasons. Lawrence used several uniform pads of lined paper, and while sequences of similar paper distinguish themselves from each other by physical comparison in the body of The Paul Morel Manuscript or the Final manuscript and Fragments, transporting these fine distinctions for comparison with individual letters of one or more leaves in libraries many miles distant needs to be done with cautious scepticism to prevent misidentifications. Furthermore, Lawrence must often have had a variety of papers in use simultaneously and used them at intervals (as can be seen with the S paper in Table 1). On the other hand, some papers are very distinctive, and because they make their appearance in the letters for a short period and then disappear, they do provide real evidence about the novel. If this evidence is used with circumspection and in conjunction with the other information available, not only does it establish a number of facts, it is indeed the sole means of answering some questions.

Table 1

Table 1 takes each paper in chronological order of its use in the drafts of the novel, which is identical with the order in the letters except for paper S, and provides for each a description which is sufficiently full to help in the recognition of most papers.

Where it has been possible to identify any paper in other works the details are added below each description, but this question has been investigated only in the collections at Nottingham University Library; the Bancroft Library, Berkeley; H.R.C., Austin; and the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. Finally, the letters written on the same paper are listed by their numbers in Letters I and their dates.

Table 2

Table 2 lists the surviving pages[11] of each draft of the novel, and shows the sequences of paper-types within each manuscript. The survivals from each stage of composition are in broad outline as follows: Stage I is lost; Stage II survives in large part, as 264 pages of The Paul Morel Manuscript, which


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lacks both its opening and concluding pages. Some pages were transferred by Lawrence into subsequent stages of composition and 13 are now in the Final manuscript. Seven unnumbered pages of the novel's opening now kept with The Paul Morel Manuscript do not belong to this draft, but will be shown below to have been an abortive start to Stage IIIa. Of Stage III proper, both a and b, 161 pages (probably about one-third) are preserved piecemeal in a variety of ways. There are the 58 pages of Fragments rejected by Lawrence during the writing of Stage IV, now in the Bancroft Library; there are the 80 pages that Lawrence transferred a few at a time into Stage IV, now in the Final manuscript; and there is the section of 23 pages from chapter IX now at the H.R.C. Stage IV is the Final manuscript in the Bancroft Library.

Because Stages II, IIIa and IIIb no longer stand complete in their original form, part of the information in Table 2 is an abstract reconstruction. Many pages from these three periods of composition are now missing; and because those that survive are now dispersed in separate sections and in the Final manuscript, it is necessary to add to the brief information about each sequence of pages as they originally stood in each draft, a note of where those pages are now located.

The dates of each draft are given at the head, and the dates of the paper's use elsewhere are summarised in addition (but the paper's use elsewhere is omitted if precise dates cannot be given, as for pages of the Love Poems MSS).

The version of the novel for which this exercise of reconstruction is most crucial is, of course, Stage III: it would be impossible to detect that the material on m paper belonged to Stage IIIb and not IIIa except by investigating the letter-paper. Similarly it is only possible to deduce that Lawrence wrote pages 1-74 of Stage IIIa before his illness in November 1911 from the fact that the paper (f) was used up during the next month in almost every letter, and then a new supply of paper followed with the same consistency.


The description below of the composition of the second and third drafts of Sons and Lovers follows as exclusively as possible two threads of interest: the information derived from the letter-papers about the paper-batches in the surviving drafts, and the new discoveries about the composition history. These two strands have to be extricated from the complex weave of Lawrence's other writing, the pressures and influences exerted upon him, and his various friendships during this period, the whole pattern of which cannot be recounted here, but brief sketches of which are given when they impinge directly on the composition of the novel.

Stage II Lawrence's letter of 9 May 1911 (no. 264) containing the paper clue was one of eleven written between mid-March and the end of May in which he reported to Louie Burrows on his progress with the novel.

In the first, of 13 March (no. 236), he announced that he had begun 'Paul Morel' again and added that he feared it would be a "terrible" (i.e. a painful) novel. He made the same announcement to two other people in the next two days and then did not mention the novel again until 12 April (no. 254), by


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which time he was beginning to worry about his rate of progress. He told Louie: "I have just done one folio, a dozen MSS pages, of Paul Morel. That great, terrible but unwritten novel, I am afraid it will die a mere conception." By "just" he seems to have meant "just now" and not "only". These folios must have been among the opening 71 pages which are now missing, for the first pages that survive (pp. 72-165) are the "serrated" paper, now labelled A paper, which Lawrence began using for his letters in his next letter to Louie of 24 April (no. 256). He did not use folios again until page 255.

The anxiety he expressed on 12 April deepened, and on 28 April (no. 259) he wrote to Louie in an outburst that could be read as an appeal for moral support: "Do you know I simply cannot work. I have done only about five pages of MSS, 'Paul Morel'; and that only from sheer pressure of duty. I don't want to work: and I don't care a damn about it." She must have responded to the appeal, for three days later Lawrence was evidently making use of her encouragement to force himself through these initial difficulties (no. 261): "At your behest I wrote yesterday fourteen pages of Paul Morel, and I sit with the paper before me to continue when this is done."

Then, three days after this, on 4 May (no. 262), he gave the first indication where he was in the text, and even recorded how he felt about what he had written so far: "I have written 90 pages of Paul Morel. I think about 7 of these pages may be called amusing, and 20 perhaps pleasant. The rest are "navrant" [i.e., distressing]. I wonder how Paul will work out."

Of these ninety pages, numbers 72-90 survive in The Paul Morel Manuscript. The first three were originally numbered 74, 75 and 76, and perhaps Lawrence renumbered them as he removed a few earlier pages.[12] The text on page 72 begins mid-sentence in the middle of a satirical scene in which Walter Morel, ill in bed, receives a visit from his boon companion, Jerry. The loyal friend has smuggled in for him a longed-for bottle of beer, and is moved to tears by the unwonted difficulty Walter has, because of his enfeebled condition, in swallowing more than a few grateful mouthfuls. This scene ends on page 77.

The rest of the chapter recounts Walter Morel's convalescence, his rejection by the baby Paul, and Paul's casting aside by his mother into the hands of a nurse at the age of seventeen months because of the birth of Arthur. At this last event, Walter Morel, then Miss May (Miriam's governess, who was later to teach Paul to paint) and Mr. Revell (the local non-conformist clergyman) gather round Mrs. Morel's bedside to discuss the new baby. The chapter ends at the top of page 88, and a new one begins immediately on page 88: Chapter IV, "Paul Morel's First Glimpses of Life", which takes him from the age of three to six. By page 90 he had reached four and Arthur was "three and a half" (corrected by Louie to "two and a half"), and Lawrence had begun to describe Paul's fits of motiveless weeping.

On 7 May (no. 263) Lawrence reported to Louie that he was on page 112 and found it all "very rummy"; then he reflected: "I don't think the last


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chapter of Paul has action enough, moves sufficiently. It is the bane of my life, to get the action of a novel hurried along." The new chapter that he had begun on page 88 went on to page 125, so by the "last" chapter he must have meant chapter III, described above.

When Lawrence came to rewrite this chapter in Stage IIIa, his new chapter III contained a revised version of the same material. It began with the causes of Walter Morel's illness (now missing from Stage II) and continued with Jerry's visit to his bedside, his convalescence and the baby Paul's rejection of him, all modified but not changed a great deal. But the description of the birth of Arthur which followed was not only much abbreviated, but Lawrence even then deleted several lines of the new version at the end of the chapter (see Fragment 5). Evidently as he copied and modified the offending chapter, he identified its lack of movement with the scene at Mrs. Morel's bedside after the birth of Arthur.

At this point the paper evidence provides information of a different kind. Every letter that Lawrence wrote to Louie from 24 April to 14 May 1911 (nos. 256-268), excluding one (no. 262) written from school, was on A paper— with the odd exception of one that he wrote from Colworth Road and dated 29 April (no. 260). In almost all of them (except those of 11 and 14 May) he gave a progress report on the novel: clearly he sat down to both tasks in the evening in front of the one block of paper. The letter-paper and manuscript dovetail so neatly here that the one odd letter arouses suspicion. On closer inspection it is evident that Lawrence wrote it not on 29 April as he dated it but on 29 May. (He had started writing April on 26 May, too, but corrected himself in time.) The dates of the Whitsun holiday that he refers to, saying: "This time next week we shall be going to Eastwood", were 5-11 June. With this letter, Lawrence sent Louie his 'Paul Morel' manuscript: "It's nine o'clock. I'm going to do a bit of Paul. I send you this mass. I'm afraid it's heterogeneous; since I have never read it through, very blemishy. Correct it and collect it will you, and tell me what you think. This is a quarter of the book . . . What will you think of it, I wonder. I want to take it to Ada at Whitsun." This letter needs to be re-dated, then, 29 May, by which time Lawrence might well have written a quarter of his novel. The next day, 30 May (no. 272) he wrote Louie a postcard in French enquiring whether the parcel had arrived and apologising for not putting enough stamps on.

In what therefore turns out to have been the previous letter, of 26 May (no. 271), Lawrence had compensated for refusing Louie's request to see his manuscript poems, by promising: "But at Whit I will show you the first two hundred pages of 'Paul', that book of books." Then, having promised to show it to Louie personally, he changed his mind in favour of sending it for her to tidy up so that he could show it to his sister, Ada. He doubtless wanted helpful comments from both, but from neither could he expect the severe literary standards and independent knowledge and judgement of the material that Jessie Chambers had brought to bear on The White Peacock.[13]


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Because Lawrence was letting Louie read his manuscript nearly a week earlier than he had originally promised, the "mass" he sent her may not have been the 200-page length he had predicted on 26 May; and since page 166 is now missing, it is tempting to speculate that it was lost because it was the last page in the parcel. Page 165 is the last of the A pages, and page 167 is the first of B paper, a thin 27-lined paper very like one he used for his letter to Louie of 1 June. The supporting speculation thus suggests itself, that Lawrence sent her all he had written when he finished his perforated pad of A paper. On neither page 165 nor 167 is there a natural break in the text: the one ends mid-sentence, the other opens mid-conversation; but at the end of this chapter, on page 176, Lawrence started a new one on the same page, so that did not provide a natural break either.

The two papers, A and B, are very different sizes, and while it is true that this alone could have caused the loss of page 166 at any time, it also suggests that the changeover may have seemed to Lawrence as suitable a break as any. Indeed, his evident haste, the suddenness of his decision to send the manuscript, his sense of its miscellaneity and his failure to put enough stamps on the parcel, all betray a degree of casualness that might easily result in loss of some sort.

Lawrence described this portion as a quarter of the book, and if it was pages 1-166 the expected total would be 664 small pages and nineteen short chapters. But since he failed to complete this draft, and the end of the next is now lost, and the completed final draft was found to be too long, it is impossible to guess what length he envisaged at this stage.

Chapter IV, "Paul Morel's First Glimpses of Life" (pp. 88-125), contained scenes from Paul's early childhood. Some were still present in the final draft, such as the evenings the children spent helping Walter Morel to make straw fuses while he told them tales of the pit; some were later dropped, such as a graphic account of Paul's participation in the games and candle-lit story-telling sessions of his elder sister Annie and her friends, and another of a day he spent on the ice in winter which led to an attack of pneumonia.

Chapter V, "Acquaintances" (pp. 125-176), described Paul's convalescence and his childhood friendships with "Ginger" and Miriam. In this version Lawrence placed Miriam in the household he later used for The Lost Girl, with an invalid mother, an impractical entrepreneurial father, and a governess, Miss May, who taught her to play the piano. The break caused by the loss of page 166 occurs just as Paul and Miriam are playing with Paul's rabbit, Adolphus, in her house. The chapter ended with elegant tea at Miriam's house followed by angry tales of his father's drunkenness on Paul's return home.

Chapter V (bis), "Launched" (pp. 176-207), was devoted to Paul's interview at Jordan's factory and his experience of working there. Again when Lawrence finished this chapter he began the next on the same page.

Louie did correct the manuscript for him a little, though there were many slips that she overlooked. In the whole of the surviving manuscript there are only fifteen alterations and corrections in hands other than Lawrence's, and


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only eleven of them are unmistakably by Louie: they occur between pages 83 and 188. Her hand is distinctively even, rounded and upright or backward-leaning, and her alterations are minor one-word corrections of inconsistencies in names or dates, and small slips. She changed George to William three times (pp. 97,121); Job Arthur to Alec three times (p. 126); Muriel to Miriam once (p. 167) and three to two (p. 90). She also inserted till on p. 105, which was demanded by the context; wrote ois over Lawrence's spelling "chammy leather" (p. 188); and altered his "This was a lady" to "She was . . ." (p. 83). She used a thick black pencil from pages 83 to 126, and a very fine one from pages 167 to 188. If therefore, Lawrence had sent her pages 1-166, perhaps she had only reached page 126 by Whitsun, or had not noticed any errors thereafter, and then when they met during the holiday Lawrence gave her the continuation to read, which she marked using a different pencil.

The few changes made in other hands are hard to attribute.[14] Lawrence may have asked his sister Ada to correct any errors she noticed. Jessie Chambers read the manuscript months later, and some further pencil marks appear to be by her (see below).

After the Whitsun break, Lawrence gave up sending Louie regular progress reports on 'Paul Morel', but on 12 June, replying to Martin Secker who had written offering to publish his short stories, he humorously described his work on the novel (no. 274); "I stick at my third book like a broody hen at her eggs, lest my chickens hatch in a winter of public forgetfulness." But at some point during the summer he abandoned his post, probably during July (cf. nos. 280, 288) and possibly somewhere around page 353.

What he had written was very different in many respects, particularly in its plot, from the eventual novel, Sons and Lovers. Around the central core of the Morels' married life as their children grew up, he had constructed a variety of fictional narratives. He had introduced a girl, Miriam, whose teenage friendship with Paul caused him conflict with his mother, but had placed her in a petty-bourgeois family setting; he had divided his own character between two Morel sons, the artisan but artistic Paul who worked at Jordan's factory, and the clever but spoilt and volatile Arthur, a successful college boy. Then, using a shocking incident that apparently occurred[15] in his uncle's family, Lawrence described the manslaughter of Arthur by his father. Walter Morel died soon after his release from prison, and by the end of the eighth chapter, Lawrence had engineered the amicable isolation together of Paul and his mother.

In the next chapter he immediately began to introduce a thirty-year-old married woman, "a tall, silent blonde" called Frances who had left her husband, George Radford, after seven years of unhappy marriage. Some of the


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later pages of this chapter describing Paul's conversations with Frances, Lawrence transferred to the next drafts as he rewrote the novel, changing the name Frances to Clara.[16] Thus the last pages of this draft that have survived are pages 341-351 now in the Final manuscript, and p. 353 standing isolated at the end of The Paul Morel Manuscript, its text filling the page with Paul and Clara's unfinished conversation. Although Lawrence did not complete this draft, page 353 itself contains no indication of where he left off.

On 17 July 1911 he had confessed to Louie that he had "not done any Paul lately" (no. 288), and in October he told her he had not done any for months (no. 316). The last twenty-five surviving pages are on D paper, which Lawrence also used for sixteen letters between 7 July and 20 October 1911. This might suggest that he renewed his efforts at the novel during the period from July to October, but it is unlikely, because for a long time he had been receiving attractive requests for short stories and poems, with the result that he was almost wholly occupied with stories from July to September and verse from early October. (This may explain why some of his verses for Love Poems are on D paper.)