Sandra Gilbert

Sandra Gilbert teaches English at the University of California, Davis. The Madwoman in the Attic, which she wrote with Susan Gubar, came out in 1979. Acts of Attention: The Poems of D.H.Lawrence and Wrongful Death: A Memoir came out in 1990 and 1995.

Visiting Perth in May 1922, D.H. Lawrence struck one May Gawlor, who met him at a literary picnic, as a cross between ‘a reddish bearded able-bodied seaman and a handyman at the backdoor’, so that she wondered ‘how this rather shabby, slightly coarse, far from spruce and tidy little man could possibly have caused such a flutter, apart from his books’. Yet he did cause rather more than a flutter. Quite apart from his remarkable range of novels, poems, letters, plays, travel writings and literary/philosophical ‘pollyanalytics’, most by now the fodder for countless critical treatises, and even apart from his still oddly scandalous paintings at which, David Ellis reports, 13,000 visitors to London’s Warren Gallery gawked in the early summer of 1929, he was a figure of extraordinary fascination, even during his lifetime. Paradoxically, then, to contemplate works by the author of that famous critical maxim ‘Never trust the artist. Trust the tale’ is more often than not to marvel at the ‘life-rapidity’ – another Lawrentian phrase – of the vehement ‘reddish bearded … rather shabby’ artist himself. Indeed, one might say of Lawrence, as Keats said of Shakespeare, that he ‘led a life of Allegory. His works are the comments on it.’’‘

Fifteen years on

Elaine Showalter, 20 October 1994

Fifteen years ago, having published their monumental study of 19th-century women writers, The Madwoman in the Attic, Sandra Gilbert, poet and professor at the University of California at Davis,...

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Learning to speak

Gay Clifford, 21 February 1980

Lawrence felt that Hardy’s Sue Bridehead was ‘no woman’ because ‘that which was female in her she wanted to consume within the male force … in the fire of...

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