OST of the major research and editing of the works of DH Lawrence
has now been done, leaving Lawrence scholarship today resembling
an abandoned goldfield. Nevertheless, the occasional small nugget
can still turn up.
I have been the fortunate
fossicker to stumble on one such overlooked nugget, and the reason,
I believe, it fell to me is that I am an Antipodean and thus came
across something in Lawrence's writing which would not have alerted
the ears of the Lawrence academic fraternity which is predominantly
located in the northern hemisphere in England and the USA.
My nugget is my discovery
that Lawrence based much of the
character of Alvina
Houghton in his 1920 novel, The Lost Girl, on the New Zealand-born
short story writer, Katherine Mansfield.
now, the accepted wisdom was that he based Alvina on Florence
Cullen, whom he had known in his Midlands youth. This is true
up to a point. The early Alvina and her family resememble Florence
and the Cullens. But the later Alvina, as I will show, is a different
character, resembling Mansfield and mirroring several incidents
in her life.
it is my contention that Katherine Mansfield was in fact Lawrence's