The Lost Girl

ISBN: 0742631435
ISBN 13: 9780742631434
By: D.H. Lawrence

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Reader's Thoughts


This book gets off to a slow start, but it's well worth sticking it out through the first few chapters. At first I was a little skeptical, seeing as how the main character, Alvina, is portrayed somewhat as a tragic "spinster" of 30...but this couldn't be farther from the truth. While there are definitely aspects of tragedy to her life, she strives for control over it. The book raises some interesting questions: What does it mean to be lost?; Is being lost a good thing?; To what extent are we in control of our own destiny? etc.It seems almost as if the first part of the novel was written before WW1, and the latter part after/during the war. The tone definitely becomes darker near the end, but whether the ending can be seen as pessimistic or optimistic is really up to the reader's interpretation.


I am near the end, and I am only finishing it for the sake of finishing it and not because I am interested in the events happening in this book.


A powerful, if meandering read, well in keeping with D.H. Lawrence's sympathetic themes of female sexual repression and desire vs. cold English morality.

Gertrude & Victoria

The Lost Girl by D.H. Lawrence is a remarkable achievement of literary craftsmanship. Lawrence's meticulous attention to detail provides the reader with a penetrating look into one girl's world, a world of inner struggle. The flowering youth, Alvina, who has always been cared for by her father and his attendants, seeks to find herself afresh, independent of an overbearing society with its rigid rules and expectations.She meets an Italian of exotic beauty, Ciccio, who is employed to work at her father's new theater. She is attracted to his raw nature and direct manner, which is deemed less civilized by others. She leaves her home to runaway with Ciccio for Naples, against the wishes of those close to her. Her dreams and desires are aroused by this foreigner, but not always for the better.D.H. Lawrence through methodical design and panoramic vision sustains this novel to the end. His characterizations of Alvina and Ciccio are true to life, neither embellishments nor simplifications. This beautiful and accurate portrayal of one girl's wish to find herself in a complicated world is worth the effort.

Meera Srikant

Interesting but a very flat ending.

Elif Ozge

The first chapters are really good but then everything is in slow motion. I was expecting some thing more exciting.


Irked me at times, and some of Lawrence's depictions of women's thoughts was odd.. but by the end of the book I was content with reading the book.


As ever, Lawrence writes beautifully. In this novel, he seems a little bitter about the place of the exceptional individual in a conformity-based society. I enjoy his bisexual heroes, and laughed out loud when the one here tells his boyfriend that there is room for all three of them in his new girlfriend's bed.


I had not read much D.H. Lawrence...a few of his stories way back in college maybe. But reading The Lost Girl I can see why his works were so concerning to the status quo and so censored. It is not so much for shocking sex or salacious material, though I am sure some of the imagery and forthright language concerning sex were a bit shocking at the time. No, it is more for his seeming to want to break down conventions and barriers. And not even so much social and political conventions, but the conventions of feelings and true, visceral emotions, not the laced and guarded "correct" emotions we put on in our public, and even private lives. In this way Lawrence reminds me of the flip side of the coin to Orwell. Orwell wanted to change social and political castes. But Lawrence seems to be little concerned with that....though I think if these internal barriers fell by the wayside, those social and political ones would too. The "lost girl" of the title battles her own self, trying to find what is true internally. Sometimes she feels one way and then exactly the opposite as she continues her search for true emotion. And Lawrence seems to accept that to be true you can be, perhaps must be, inconsistent. Love and hate, cravings and disgust, lust and repulsions; all these live together and must be savored equally. Does the lost girl ever find her way? Who are we to say what her way should be? None of the surrounding English characters could say what it should be...not her father, her governess, her townspeople. The only one who could come close was her Italian. And only because he let her be all of the emotions and those feelings at once. I think she was no longer lost when she was able to let him be what he was, how he was...or at least it was a start of finding her way.Lawrence is a very sensual writer, concerned with the senses and the feelings of his characters. I enjoyed this book and will be reading more of his work.


In a very famous context, D. H. Lawrence is himself famous for using a word beginning with ‘f’, a word that is infamous rather than famous. Mentioning this word and then repeating it got the author into some serious trouble that was not resolved until decades after his death. In this book, The Lost Girl, Lawrence is clearly preoccupied with the word and the novel is very much focused on it and its associated act. Its anticipation, achievement, consequences and perceived implications seem to be the very stuff of the heroine’s life, but in this book the word never actually appears. So, like Lawrence, let’s use a euphemism, but let’s also be more direct than the writer. Let’s use ‘fabrication’, an activity that is central to the work of any author.The Lost Girl is Alvina Houghton. The surname is pronounced with an ‘f’ sound in the middle, not an ‘o’, so its first syllable rhymes with ‘fluff’, not ‘now’. She is the daughter of James, a shopkeeper in a small Derbyshire town called Woodhouse, in the north English midlands. James has a shop selling Manchester goods, the mass produced textiles of the late nineteenth century. He is not the best businessman, however, and his activities shrink over time. His daughter, Alvina - that’s with a ‘y’ sound in the middle, not an ‘e’ - is rather plain-looking and apparently not too interesting either. She thinks quite a lot about fabrication from quite an early age, but she is a determined spectator when it comes to relationships. Her counsel, especially after her mother dies, is from older women, some of them determined spinsters.After some prevarication, Alvina eventually trains as a midwife. The skill offers her a chance of independence, but she chooses to revert to her preferred state of familial dependence. After all, Alvina will probably inherit her father’s business. Thus she continues her arm’s length relation with life.There is a short affair with a local man, a rather goofy figure who goes on to Oxford University and probably lives long enough to make a packet. But clearly the safe option is not for Alvina, who equally seems utterly afraid of risk in any form. She clearly cannot bring herself to the fabrication she privately craves and so the affair, surely destined for marriage in the eyes of the locals, comes to nought.Women close to The Lost Girl die. Others remain like perched birds watching over events. And, when James decides to leave the shop and sell off the little coal mine he also owns there is much consternation. There is even more to chirp about when he announces he is going into the entertainment business by opening up a little music hall, especially when Alvina declares that she will play the piano. Until this point, she had not mentioned being a musician. It is worthwhile remembering that we are in age when playing the instrument was almost part of any single woman’s trousseau.And so the music hall presents its act, a motley crew of Red Indian impersonators, including a German called Max and an Italian called Cicio. Initially, the show packs them in, but the passing of time sees interest start to dwindle. But suddenly new opportunities arise for Alvina to think of fabrication, and fabrication with foreigners involved to boot!And so the story of Lawrence’s The Lost Girl eventually fabricates its way from Derbyshire, and we leave Alvina in what looks like a new - though very old fashioned - life in changed circumstances. She seems now completely enslaved in her chosen womanly role, but we are at the start of the First World War and surely the role of women in society is about to change for ever.The Lost Girl deals with many of Lawrence’s recurring themes, but its fabrication is often rather clumsy and its style often less than comfortable. It is, however, worth seeing through, if only to realise just how much both Lawrence and his fabricated characters - especially the women - are still locked in a soon to be changed mind-set about gender roles and social class.


It was ok


This book was a slow in my opinion. Also, I never really felt close to any of the characters. It was also a bit repetitive.

David Freeland

A fascinating, lesser-known Lawrence novel that uses vaudeville as its backdrop and features a really terrific female protagonist. Well worth reading!


So far its pretty interesting. I will give a full report when I am done


Considerat cel mai accesibil roman al lui Lawrence, Fata pierdută este o excelentă ilustrare a teoriilor autorului cu privire la întâietatea simţurilor asupra raţiunii, la dragostea ca element primordial al naturii, la distrugerea miturilor filistine şi rigide de constrângere a iubirii libere. Povestea Alvinei Houghton, o tânără onorabilă, dintr-un orăşel de provincie englez, este un exemplu de răsturnare, împotriva tuturor piedicilor, a tiparelor unei vieţi conformiste. Acţiunea romanului se ţese în jurul deciziei Alvinei de a-şi urma iubitul, un tânăr actor italian dintr-o trupă ambulantă, refuzând câteva propuneri profitabile de căsă la sursă: Fata pierdută de D.H. Lawrence – SemneBune

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