Women In Love

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: DH Lawrence

Narrated By: Bob Peck

Publisher: The Copyright Group Ltd.

Date: May 2017

Duration: 2 hours 23 minutes


Women In Love studies the nature of relationships between men and women through four very different characters, each of whom seeks fulfilment in their own way. Gudrun seeks an intellectual equal, while for Ursula, overwhelming love is all that will suffice; Gerald attempts to fill his emotional void with success and physicality, whereas Birkin desires total commitment from both his lover and his friend. Lawrence uses the foursome to form a complex emotional web, voicing his own views through the semi-autobiographical figure of Birkin.

1. LOVES OLD AND NEW. Gudrun Brangwen, recently returned from London to Beldover in the industrial Midlands, sits discussing marriage with her sister Ursula. Both sisters agree that they may not marry at all - then go off to watch a wedding. There Ursula notices Rupert Birkin, lover of Hermione Roddice. Gudrun eyes the attractive Gerald Crich, son of the local mine-owner. Later, the sisters are invited to Hermione's country home. Hermione, enraged by Birkin's rejection of her, attacks him with a paperweight. He fends her off and staggers away. The fight signals that all is over between him and Hermione.

2. LOVE'S UNSMOOTH PATH. Ursula encounters Birkin by a mill pond and they take his punt to an island. There they talk about love - a word that Birkin insists has been vulgarised and will not use, because he seeks a relationship on a higher plane than the physical. But Ursula insists that love is all and at their next meeting Birkin gives in to her, calling her 'my way love'. Soon after, Gerald's father gives a water-party which all the Brangwens attend. Gudrun meets Gerald again; he gives the sisters a canoe and they paddle to an island.

3. DANCING AND DROWNING. While Ursula sings; Gudrun starts to dance and suddenly realises that a herd of Highland cattle is watching them. Undaunted, she dances up to them when a shout makes them stampede: Gerald and Birkin have arrived. Gudrun, annoyed, walks away and Gerald follows her. They argue and she strikes him, losing the self-control that is so important to her. However, the four return to the party as couples, Gudrun paddling Gerald in the canoe and Ursula with Birkin. As they cross the now dark waters, desperate cries are heard; Diana Crich, Gerald's sister, has fallen in and the young doctor has dived in to save her. Gerald dives repeatedly, but they are not found until dawn, when the drained lake reveals their corpses.

4. PROPOSALS. Birkin, ill again, ponders his relationship with Ursula, whose love he fears will overwhelm him. Gerald tells Birkin that he will offer Gudrun the post of art teacher to Winifred, his younger sister. As old Mr Crich is ill, Gerald has taken over the running of the family firm and reorganises it along more dynamic lines, obsessed with efficiency, mechanisation and the material world. Birkin finally confesses his love to Ursula, but when he goes to her home to propose to her, he meets her father first and the whole attempt proves a fiasco.

5. COMING TOGETHER. Humiliated, Birkin visits Gerald again. They talk and agree to a bout of naked wrestling. Birkin finds this an intensely moving experience, as he has long wanted a more intimate friendship with Gerald. After a visit to London, Gudrun is welcomed back by Winifred with flowers: she occupies the studio at Shortlands, the Crich family home. Birkin meets Ursula and takes her for a drive through the countryside. They quarrel but make up, and finally spend the night together in Sherwood Forest, united at last.

6. ONE MARRIAGE. Depressed by his father's death and needing someone else to supply his emotional strength, Gerald slips into Gudrun's house one night and sleeps with her. For her the night passes painfully slowly. Soon after, Ursula announces to her parents that she is to marry Birkin the next day, causing a row as her parents are upset by her independent, unconventional attitude. Gerald talks of marriage too, but does not mean it. After their wedding, Birkin and Ursula give up their respective jobs at Beldover and Gerald suggests all four go away for Christmas. Gudrun feels insulted that Gerald dare make plans for her, but nevertheless they set off for the Tyrol.

7. IN THE ALPS. At first all goes wonderfully well as they enjoy the freedom of the mountains. But Gudrun feels remote from Gerald, whose physical presences she adores but whose emotional and intellectual feebleness she despises. The two sisters enjoy the company of Loerke, a sculptor, but their men hate him. Ursula grows tired of the snow, however, so she and Birkin leave for Italy.

8. HATRED AND DEATH. Alone with Gerald, Gudrun is free to speak her mind. She says that she never loved him, but only pitied him. The hostility between them creates such a tension that sexually Gerald thrills Gudrun more than ever. Loerke is delighted to discover that she is not married to Gerald, and suggest that she goes to Dresden with him. Gerald hates Loerke but does not take him seriously. Instead, he feels a mounting desire to kill Gudrun. She announces that she is leaving and on her last day she goes out with Loerke. Gerald appears, hits Loerke and starts to strangle Gudrun. Then, realising the futility of this, he drops her and makes off, later dying in the snow. Birkin and Ursula hurry back, but Ursula finds her sister unmoved. Birkin is distraught at Gerald's death, bitterly resenting the way that he has been abandoned, for as he tells Ursula, he had loved and needed Gerald.


Women In Love

by DH Lawrence

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Women In Love, DH Lawrence