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.)