To be oneself was a supreme, gleaming triumph of infinity This is the insight that flashes upon Ursula as she struggles to assert her individuality and to stand separate from her family and her surroundings on the brink of womanhood and the modern world. In The Rainbow (1915) Lawrence challenged the customary limitations of language and convention to carry into the structure of his prose the fascination with boundaries and space that characterize the entire novel. Condemned and suppressed on its first publication for its open treatment of sexuality and its 'unpatriotic' spirit, the novel chronicles the lives of three generations of the Brangwen family over a period of more than 60 years, setting them against the emergence of modern England. The central figure of ursula becomes the focus of Lawrence's examination of relationships and the conflicts they bring, and the inextricable mingling of the physical and the spiritual. Suffused with biblical imagery, The Rainbow addresses searching human issues in a setting of precise and vivid detail. In her introduction to this edition Kate Flint illuminates Lawrence's aims and achievements against the background of the burgeoning century.
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