Ireland was a lover of the works of D H Lawrence, describing him as ‘the only young novelist with real genius’ (letter to Ethel Ireland, 22 April 1925), exhorting his sister to read The White Peacock, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love and Aaron’s Rod, all of which he considered ‘wonderful and arresting’.
What more do we know about Ireland and Lawrence?
- He set nothing by this writer – but that is no real surprise as there is not a single surviving song-setting of Lawrence’s words by any English composer of his generation.
- He may have known the writer either via his friendship with Peter Warlock or through his connections with Harriet Cohen.
- He wrote about Lady Chatterley’s Lover to his friend Kenneth Thompson.
- He and Lawrence were both drawn by Edmond Kapp, the composer in 1932, the writer in 1923.
- There is an interesting link between Gudrun Brangwen of Women and Love and John Ireland, both spending time in Chelsea and Sussex.
- There is a further possible connection between the Meynell family, Ireland and Lawrence. The Meynells lived in Greatham, in Sussex, were known to the composer and housed Lawrence for several months in 1915.