"And if tonight my soul may find her peace

in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,

and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower

then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created."

(DHL, "Shadows," Poems 726)

 

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Carl E. Baron (1943-1997)

Dr Carl Baron, who has died tragically young, is perhaps best known to Lawrentians--together with his wife Dr Helen Baron--as the editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Sons and Lovers and of the subsequent Penguin edition of that text. But he played an enormously significant role in the early days of modern Lawrentian biographical and textual scholarship. Not only was he responsible for discovering two previously unknown short pieces of journalism, one of which was Lawrence's first published piece of literary criticism, and the other--"With the Guns"--a crucial early text (both were printed in Encounter in August 1969), Carl was also one of the people responsible, at the very beginning, for helping to set up the Cambridge edition of Lawrence's works and letters; he served on the editorial board for many years. We are, too, all indebted to him for his pioneering work on the genealogy of the Lawrence family, which appeared in the first volume of the Letters, and which cleared the way for all subsequent scholars; but that was true of all his work on Lawrence. His edition of A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence: The Betrayal, by George Henry Neville, drew closer to Lawrence's young life than any previous biographer had ever come; and his contribution as assistant and writer for the marvelous Nottingham 1972 exhibition Young Bert (for which he provided a treasure trove of scholarship on Lawrence's activities as a painter when young) is supplemented by his own essay for the D.H. Lawrence Review on the exhibition, where he explained in detail how the work on the exhibition formed "a stage along the way towards . . . the good editing of Lawrence's works" (vii, Spring 1974, 20).

But Carl will always be remembered most for the heroic labours which he and his wife devoted to the edition of Sons and Lovers; an extraordinary piece of scholarship, in the course of which they examined every piece of evidence (including the provenance, size, thickness and history of hundreds of different sheets of paper) in one of the great modern scholarly enterprises: they successfully established the chronology of the writing of every stage of Lawrence's novel. His early death has come with shattering suddenness; but he will be remembered as one of the great pioneers of modem Lawrence scholarship.

--John Worthen

 

 

 

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D.H. Lawrence Review