The Virgin and The Gypsy by D. H. Lawrence for 1930 Club

I probably wouldn’t have picked up The Virgin and The Gypsy if it hadn’t been for the 1930 Club. After all, I have owned this novel for many years after reading an insightful review somewhere, quite some time ago, which convinced me to buy it. Perhaps I became discouraged by the cover alone; it looks ridiculous, frankly, with its 1970’s cover on a 1930’s book.

Yet within this slim volume, of only 120 pages, there seems to dwell a passion which is hard to duplicate by any other writer than D. H. Lawrence. He brings the sensual to life, the innocence of Yvette contrasts starkly with the married gypsy man whose frank stare pierces her heart.

The little Jewess gazed at Yvette with great eyes of stupor.

“You’re not in love with that gipsy!”she said.

”Well!” Said Yvette. “I don’t know. He’s the only one that makes me feel – different! He really is!”

”But how? How? Has he ever said anything to you?

”No! No!’

”Then how? What has he done?”

”Oh, just looked at me!”

”How?”

”Well you see, I don’t know. But different! Yes, different! Different, quite different from the way any man ever looked at me…as if he really, but really, desired me,” said Yvette, her meditative face looking like the bud of a flower.

And there, in its simplest form, is the essence of the novel. It is instantly meaningful to any one who has ever been looked at in that way.

(Thanks to Simon who co-hosts this event with Karen, for the impetus to read this little volume published in 1930.)

16 thoughts on “The Virgin and The Gypsy by D. H. Lawrence for 1930 Club

    • I have never read Sons and Lovers, although I think it’s the title which most sticks out in my memory of all his works. Last year I read two novellas of D. H. Lawrence, and while I can’t take him in a steady dose, his sensuous quality of writing feels more powerful than what the romance writers are doing today. Not that I make it a habit of reading romance.

      What made it a less than great experience for you?

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    • Perhaps it is too short to give much of an indication of the novel, but to me, it sums it all perfectly. There are many, many references to the gipsy’s eyes, intent stares, and the way it makes Yvette feel…more powerful than a physical touch, really.

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    • How interesting that your husband likes D.H. Lawrence; I would have thought that his appeal would tend more toward feminine perspectives. Now I wish we could all sit round the living room together and have a proper chat! This particular novel was not long, only 120 pages, so perhaps you would enjoy it. I also read some of his novellas last year, neither of which required a large time commitment. (That is hard to do with exciting reading adventures one finds oneself involved in, such as German Lit Month on the horizon for November.)

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  1. Thanks for sharing this book. Sounds like a club I’d enjoy. On another note, I’m thinking of reading Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”. (A symbol of Christ, as some had stated) Would you be interested? I’m thinking of finishing it before Christmas.

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    • Arti, I would love to read along with you again! However, I have read The Idiot in an extensive class at Toronto University a few years ago, and I’m not ready for a reread yet. Also, November has Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea published on the 5th, and it is German Lit Month for which I’ll be reading All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski. Could we choose something in January? Maybe even something Japanese for the Japanese Literature Challenge 13? (I’m considering The Makioka Sisters.) I have such fond memories of Midnight’s Children and the parts of Remembrance of Things Past I could glean as I finished up my teaching career…xoxo

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      • Yes, I’ve enjoyed our read-along’s in the past. Don’t forget we also did Anna Karenina too! I still remember you took that course at the U of T. Totally understand you wouldn’t want to reread it at this point. So, maybe something different next year. As for The Makioka Sisters, I’ve watched the film and liked it a lot. I’ll keep that in mind come next JLC. All the best! 🙂

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  2. I have not really read anything from Lawrence, although I read a biography about him. Have seen Lady Chatterley’s Lover of course. I have Sons and Lovers and Women in Love in my book case. Old pocket books, with very small text! I think that is what has prevented me. Probably better to get an e-book. The Virgin and the Gypsy sounds like an interesting read. Could be good to start with.

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    • I have not seen Lady Chatterley’s Lover, nor read it, nor am I familiar with Sons and Lovers (or Women in Love)! I think I have only read his lesser known works, somehow. Very small text can be so tedious. One of the good things about this book is its size: 120 pages made for rather quick reading, although I am not a fast reader. Perhaps one day we will both get to his famous novels! 😉

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