19 February 2012

D. H. Lawrence and the University of Nottingham, England

D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, and attended Nottingham University College in the town between 1906 and 1908. The College moved to the present University Park near Beeston in 1928, and became the University of Nottingham in 1948.

This life-sized bronze statue of Lawrence was sculpted by Diana Thomson and unveiled in 1994.

It stands between the Law and Social Science Building and the Hallward Library, and was sculpted by Diana Thomson. Thomson's website also includes a photo of her Lawrence sculpture Song of a Man Who Has Come Through, recalling another collection of his poems.

Thomson also made the Lawrence bust on the colonnade at Nottingham Castle.

Lawrence holds a blue gentian, which remembers his poem:

Bavarian Gentians

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime torchlike with the smoking blueness of Pluto's gloom,
ribbed and torchlike, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
white lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off light,
lead me then, lead me the way. Reach me a gentian, give me a torch
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness was awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendor of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the
lost bride and groom.

‘Nottingham’s New University’ was one of a number of poems included in Lawrence's collection Pansies, and although far from being one of his best, it is nonetheless very interesting, if far from flattering either to the university or Nottingham itself.

In Nottingham, that dismal town
where I went to school and college,
they've built a new university
for a new dispensation of knowledge.

Built it most grand and cakeily
out of the noble loot
derived from shrewd cash-chemistry
by good Sir Jesse Boot.

Little I thought, when I was a lad
and turned my modest penny
over on Boot's Cash Chemist's counter,
that Jesse, by turning many

millions of similar honest pence
over, would make a pile
that would rise at last and blossom out
in grand and cakey style

into a university
where smart men would dispense
doses of smart cash-chemistry
in language of common-sense!

That future Nottingham lads would be
cash-chemically B.Sc.
that Nottingham lights would rise and say:
– By Boots I am M.A.

From this I learn, though I knew it before
that culture has her roots
in the deep dung of cash, and lore
is a last off-shoot of Boots.

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