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Edward Garnett's notes on Stage IIIb

By contrast with the opening chapters, the latter part of the novel was not only not fixed early on, but expanded considerably in the final draft. Whether or not this was the effect of Garnett's detailed notes on the Stage IIIb version of the novel which Lawrence had before him as he wrote Stage IV, the resulting length of the Final manuscript was clearly not what Garnett had intended.

It took Heinemann only three weeks to reject Lawrence's novel outright at the sight of the Stage IIIb manuscript, and send it back (on 1 July 1912). His editor, Walter de la Mare, wrote almost at once to Edward Garnett, editor for Duckworth, to explain the situation (Letters I, 424 n. 1), with the result that Garnett asked Lawrence for the manuscript. Heinemann's main objections were that the work lacked "unity" and "reticence" (Letters I, 421, n. 4). Despite his anger at the rejection, Lawrence apparently accepted the former point, for on 8 July he told Garnett, who had given him similar help with The Trespasser (no. 467): "I will make what alterations you think advisable. It would be rather nice if you made a few notes again. I will squash the first part together—it is too long."

It took Edward Garnett only three weeks to accept Lawrence's novel in


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principle, and to return the manuscript to him by 22 July together with notes which Lawrence described as "awfully nice and detailed." (no. 472) These notes have not survived, but by chance some of Garnett's jottings toward them have, tucked away among Lawrence's letters to him in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library where they and their significance have hitherto been overlooked. They are written in terrible scrawl—Garnett's handwriting is not the most legible at the best of times—on the back of a piece of paper[33] which Lawrence had evidently slipped in the parcel with the manuscript when he sent it to Garnett on 4 July, bearing in large clear letters his address in Germany.[34]

This is one final piece of evidence about the composition of the novel which the identification of the remains of Stage III by paper analysis makes it possible to set in place. For three of the page numbers beside the sixteen brief notes on this piece of paper refer to surviving pages of Stage III. The first is: "331 'Fabian v. Socialistic'". This page became page 371 of chapter X, "Clara", in the Final manuscript, and Lawrence had written of Clara at Stage IIIa: "She had acquired a certain amount of education, under Fabian and Socialistic and Unitarian influence." In Stage IV he completely revised the middle part of this page, beginning with that sentence, and wrote instead: "During the ten years that she had belonged to the Women's movement, she had acquired a fair amount of education. . ." Lawrence's revision here confirms that although this scrap of jottings remained among Garnett's papers, he sent Lawrence notes based on them.

Another jotting refers to page 341: "Talk is a little cheap." This page was one of an eleven-page sequence carried forward from Stage II and renumbered 337-347 in Stage III; page 341 was then renumbered 381 in Stage IV. It was part of the description of the walk Paul and Clara took to the Castle in Nottingham on Paul's birthday: their actual "talk" lasted from page 341 to 345 (renumbered 381-385 in Stage IV). On page 341 in Stage III they merely commented on how small the people in the streets below the Castle seemed from the Castle grounds, and Lawrence appears not to have found anything "cheap" to rewrite, for he had not altered this or the next few pages very much. However, he did revise the bottom half of page 342; but when Garnett eventually saw Lawrence's revisions, in the Final manuscript, in December 1912, he still found the passage unacceptable, and deleted all the conversation from half-way down page 342 to the end of page 343 (pages 382-383 in the Final manuscript), so that it was never printed. In these 35 lines, Paul turned the conversation round to talk about Clara's apparent self-loathing, and then about her husband Baxter's "naturalness".

The other page that corresponds with Garnett's jottings, page 373 (renumbered 417 in Stage IV), contains the words "like a cynicism" which Garnett found "lurid" (indeed they are underlined with Garnett's wavy line in pencil in the manuscript). This page was one of the pieces of blue paper that


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Lawrence used in Waldbröl for writing Stage IIIb. In that May 1912 version he had written:

". . . It has always been you fighting me off." . . . She had finished—but she had done enough. Now at last, since she denied that their love had ever been love at all, he was severed from her. She had spoken the historical phrase to him, as he to her when he said: 'You are a nun.'

He sat silent in bitterness. At last, the whole affair looked like a cynicism to him. He became intellectual and cruel.

In response to Garnett's criticism, Lawrence heavily revised these two paragraphs, to the form they had in the first edition (except for the addition of two sentences on the proofs). And when the revisions are compared with this passage, it is noticeable that, although the context is expanded and explained, the actual phrase that Garnett objected to is only slightly recast: "At last, the whole affair appeared in a cynical aspect to him."

It is a great pity that the notes Garnett sent and his letters to Lawrence, have not survived, for clearly his criticisms made a considerable contribution to Lawrence's development of his novel. And yet Lawrence seems often to have altered the wording to meet the criticisms, but in such a way as to reinforce his underlying intentions, even though these may have been at the root of the objection. But in some instances—as with the second of the criticisms for which full evidence survives—Garnett was able to have the last word, when he prepared the Final manuscript for the printers and pruned a tenth of it.