Letter: Their starter before lunch

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The Independent Online
IN HIS review of The Married Man, my biography of D H Lawrence, Blake Morrison disputes my assertion that Lawrence and Frieda were in bed within 20 minutes of meeting in 1912 ('Midlands Bert becomes Lorenzo', Sunday Review, 4 September). To support his view, he quotes the Lawrence scholar, John Worthen: 'This could not have happened.' Mr Morrison might have said that this quote appears in my book.

I took some care to acknowledge this contrary interpretation of one bit of the evidence for my argument. It would have been courteous of Mr Morrison to do the same.

He might also have acknowledged that I, like he, mention the factual dissimilarities between Lawrence and Frieda's first meeting and the scene in the transparently autobiographical novel, Mr Noon. I cited the seduction en route to the dining-room in Mr Noon to disprove the claim that such a swift encounter could not have happened. Lawrence in his novel vividly demonstrates how it can be done.

Lawrence and Frieda met at her home in Nottingham on a spring day when her husband, his former professor, had invited him to lunch. Frieda says in her autobiography that she had him to herself in her room for a half-hour before the meal. And that she and Lawrence later, on widely separate occasions, each told a friend they had made love at first sight.

Brenda Maddox

London W8

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