What Connie did next

Why is DH Lawrence's excitable heroine the flavour of the month? Cathy Newman investigates; Lady Chatterley's Confession by Elaine Feinstein Macmillan, pounds 10.50

If you want to damage your health this autumn, how about an overdose of DH Lawrence? Lawrence wrote three versions of Lady Chatterley's Lover and three more sequels or rewrites of his succes de scandale have appeared in the last year: Craig Brown's The Hounding of John Thomas, not a guide to Mellors's member but the tale of his son; Spike Milligan's parodic squib, John Thomas and Lady Jane, with a cast of Spitting Image puppets and a script of Christmas cracker jokes, or Elaine Feinstein's scholarly sequel.

Craig Brown's Mellors became a "high class bloody grocer''. In Lady Chatterley's Confession, he doesn't even have to work out how to use a till as Constance finds him a job as gamekeeper on Count Bellaggri's estate in Florence. The book traces the decline of the couple's relationship and Connie's eventual replacement of Mellors with Kurt Lehmann, a German Jew at risk from persecution in fascist Italy. At the end of the original, Connie waits to marry Mellors. At the end of Feinstein's sequel, she waits to marry Kurt. The next sequel will presumably find a wizened Connie still waiting, needlework in hand...

A Lawrence scholar, Feinstein seems at first to have created a genuinely Lawrentian artefact. Her Mellors taps Lawrence's apocalyptic tune: "It'll have to be blown up," he tells a captive audience during an earnest post- prandial discussion. "And then maybe we can build a society on the ruins." The cycle of violent arguments and passionate reconciliations also pays homage to a Lawrentian belief in "strife'' between partners. Feinstein recycles themes from the author's whole canon: this is not so much a sequel as a collage of Lawrence's work. Mellors's charged relationship with Emily recalls Will's intensity with his daughter Ursula in The Rainbow, and his habit of "throwing ideas about'' with local fascists is indebted to Lawrence's tedious Kangaroo, where Harriet and Somers emigrate to Australia and become embroiled with a fascist leader.

While Feinstein rehashes her predecessor's plots, her style is more Hemingway than Lawrence: "The face was closed to me. Angry.'' Or: "I had no lies prepared for such a casual meeting. What to invent?'' Readers may be relieved to escape Lawrence's purple prose, but Feinstein's idiom is bland by comparison, and her imagery is uninspired. Hilda, for example, is "as elegant as a pencil''. Thin, maybe, but elegant? Unlike Lawrence, Feinstein is evasive about sex: "I could feel his body pressing against my own'', Connie coyly confesses before the curtain comes down at the end of the chapter. The earlier heroine by contrast "felt his penis risen against her with silent amazing force and assertion and she let herself go to him''. Feinstein doesn't let herself go to Lawrence.

Instead, she exorcises him. Mellors dies and the cult of the phallus dies with him. Connie's speculation that his emotional problems stem from an upbringing scarred by physical violence suggests Feinstein has rewritten Lawrence for a politically correct age. Should we conclude that Connie's admission, "all I ever wanted was to love and be loved'', points to child abuse? Creating a Lawrence for the Nineties is laudable, but it doesn't come off. Feinstein lays her book at Lawrence's shrine, but makes it clear that her idol is tarnished.

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower