D.H. Lawrence Society of North America

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History, MLA & Past Presidents

History of the DHLSNA

Society Origins:  The D. H. Lawrence Society was officially inaugurated in December of 1975 at the Modern Language Association (MLA) in San Francisco.  (The MLA is the premier organization of literature teachers of America.)  At that meeting, James Cowan was elected the first president and George Zytaruk the vice president or president-elect. The Society grew out of a series of MLA seminars Cowan convened, and Zytaruk wrote and presented the initial charter for The D.H. Lawrence Society (See DHLR, Spring vol. 9.1 of 1976, 167-68).  The first annual meeting occurred in December of the following year at the MLA in New York.  To avoid confusion with other Lawrence societies around the world, the name quickly changed to D.H. Lawrence Society of America; and then, at the December 1980 MLA in Houston, the name officially became the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America (DHLSNA), although current society members live and work all over the world.  The DHLSNA officially became a non-profit organization in May of 2011 and so enjoys tax exempt status.  Lawrence sessions at the annual MLA Convention from 1980 on (listed below) have been organized by DHLSNA and recorded in issues of its Newsletter.

Conferences:  Besides holding the annual MLA sessions, the Society has actively participated in all of the thirteen International D.H. Lawrence Conferences to date (as well as taken the lead in organizing several).  Lawrence societies around the world have collaborated to hold conferences in the following locations: Tufts, Boston (1985); Shanghai, China (1988); Montpellier, France (1990); Paris, France (1992); Ottawa, Canada (1993); Nottingham, England (1996); Taos, NM (1998); Naples, Italy (2001); Kyoto, Japan 2003; Santa Fe, New Mexico (2005); Eastwood, England (2007); Sydney, Australia (2011); and Gargnano, Italy (2014); London, England (2017), and Taos, NM (2022).  These International Conferences are authorized by the Co-ordinating Committee for International D.H. Lawrence Conferences (CCILC).  The Society also periodically sponsors awards.

Newsletter:  The Society's Newsletter was first published as a biannual supplement to the D.H. Lawrence Review (Spring vol. 10.1 and Fall vol. 10.3 of 1977 and Summer vol. 11.2 of 1978) until it became a self-sustaining separate publication in Fleda Brown Jackson's term as editor--and continued so under the editorship of Eleanor Green, Nancy Paxton, Julianne Newmark, and now Pamela Wright.  The Newsletter went electronic in 2011 and an online archive of back-issues became available in 2012.

Sister Societies:  D. H. Lawrence Societies also exist in England, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Italy; and significant Lawrence scholarship comes from more than a dozen other countries, as well.  The Reception of D. H. Lawrence Around the World, ed. Takeo Iida (Fukuoka: Kyushu University Press, 1999), surveys such scholarship in Britain, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Finland, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, and India (see review).  The Reception of D. H. Lawrence in Europe, ed. Christa Jansohn and Dieter Mehl (London: Continuum, 2007), furthers the comprehensive look at the reception in Europe.  A rich tradition of Lawrence scholarship in Africa is also traced in D. H. Lawrence Around the World:  South African Perspectives, ed. Jim Phelps and Nigel Bell (Empangeni: Echoing Green, 2007).  Another book of general interest is one published by the MLA: Approaches to Teaching the Works of D. H. Lawrence, ed. Elizabeth Sargent and Garry Watson (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2001), with essays and teaching approaches by more than 30 scholars/teachers.

C.U.P.:  A number of our members have worked on the massive Cambridge Edition of the Works of D.H. Lawrence published by the Cambridge University Press.  Its 45-plus volumes is completing the scholarly publication of Lawrence's works in 2013 and is considered the definitive texts for reference.  According to the DHLR, Pollnitz is working on a third volume of The Poems to include uncollected and unpublished poems and other notes.  (Now completed!)

Please feel free to visit our Memorial page, set up to honor deceased DHLSNA members and other noteworthy Lawrentians.  Past MLA Lawrence Session topics/papers are listed below. 


Past Presidents of the DHLSNA

Name:Jan. - Dec.
James C. Cowan1975 - 1978
George Zytaruk    1979 - 1980
L. D. Clark1981 - 1982
Michael Squires1983 - 1984
Dennis Jackson1985 - 1986
Keith Cushman1987 - 1988
Judith Ruderman1989 - 1990
Paul Delany1991 - 1992
Lydia Blanchard1993 - 1994
Ian MacNiven1995 - 1996
Lawrence B. Gamache1997 - 1998
Earl Ingersoll1999 - 2000
Jack Stewart2001 - 2002
Virginia Hyde2003 - 2004
Eleanor Green2005 - 2006
Betsy Fox2007 - 2008
Jill Franks2009 - 2010
Betsy Sargent2011 - 2012
Holly Laird2013 - 2014
Nancy Paxton2015 - 2016
Joyce Wexler2017 - 2018
Nanette Norris2018 - 2020
Adam Parkes2021 - 2022
Ronald Granofsky2023 -

Selected MLA Session Topics on D.H. Lawrence

(Detailed listing of Papers provided in Archive)

1980:  D.H. Lawrence Studies After Fifty Years  (Houston, TX)  See Details

1981:  Lady Chatterley's Lover:  Reappraisals of Context  (New York)  See Details

1982:  From the Miner's Kitchen to the Court of Israel:  The Plays of D.H. Lawrence (LA)  See Details

1983:  Lawrence's Short Fiction  (New York)

1984:  Lawrence and Criticism  (Washington, DC)

1985:  The Influence of D.H. Lawrence (Chicago)  See Details

1986:  Mr Noon  See Details

1987:  D.H. Lawrence Among the Moderns (San Francisco)  See Details

1988:  D.H. Lawrence and Politics, Sexual and Otherwise (New Orleans)  See Details

1989 (Washington, DC -- Two sessions):  

  • The Cambridge Edition
  • Lawrence and Psychology  See Details  

1990:  Lawrence and the Body (Chicago)  See Details

1991:  Lawrence and Current Narrative Theory (San Francisco)  See Details

1992:  Lawrence Encountering the Americas (New York)  See Details

1993:  Lawrence and the Ideologies of Change (Toronto, Canada)  See Details

1994:  Women in Love Reconsidered (San Diego)  See Details

1995:  Reconsiderations of the Feminist Case against Lawrence (Chicago)  See Details

1996:  Lawrence's Letters (Washington, DC)  See Details

1997:  The Problem of Lawrence in the Academy (Toronto, Canada)  See Details

1998:  Subverting the Norms (San Francisco)  See Details

1999 (Chicago -- Two sessions):  

  • Modern, Postmodern: D.H. Lawrence and Doris Lessing
  • The Postcolonial Lawrence  See Details

2000:  Lawrence and the Millennium: The Prophetic Vision (Washington, DC)  See Details

2001:  D. H. Lawrence: The Sacred and Profane (New Orleans)  See Details

2002:  Lawrence and Ecology (New York)  See Details

2003 (San Diego -- Two sessions):  

  • Lawrence and the Spirit of Place, I
  • Lawrence and the Spirit of Place, II  See Details

2004 (Philadelphia -- Two sessions): 

  • Lawrence and America: Crosscurrents
  • Lawrence and America: New Perspectives  See Details

2005 (Washington, DC -- Two sessions):  

  • Lawrence as Poet
  • Lawrence's Nonfiction Writings  See Details

2006 (Philadelphia -- Two sessions): 

  • D. H. Lawrence and the Body
  • D. H. Lawrence and His Contemporaries  See Details

2007 (Chicago -- Two sessions): 

  • D. H. Lawrence and Film
  • Eugenics, Fascism, and D. H. Lawrence  See Details

2008 (San Francisco -- Two sessions):  

  • Masculinities in Lawrence
  • D. H. Lawrence and Violence  See Details

2009 (Philadelphia -- Two sessions):  

  • D. H. Lawrence's Short Stories
  • D. H. Lawrence's Circle  See Details

2010:  MLA meetings changed from December to January--see entry for 2011.

2011:  Queering Lawrence (Los Angeles)  See Details

2012:  50 years after the Lady Chatterley Trial:  Lawrence & Censorship/Pornography/Obscenity (Seattle)  Details

2013:  (Boston -- Three sessions): 

  • Beyond Fiction: Other Genres in D. H. Lawrence's Works
  • Modernism and D. H. Lawrence
  • Joyce & Lawrence (Combined panel with the James Joyce Foundation)

2014:  D. H. Lawrence's Poetry (Chicago)

2015:  The Rainbow and War (Vancouver)

2016:  (Austin, Texas--2 Sessions):

  • Lawrence and "Native" Encounters
  • Lawrence, Editions, & Critical Renewal

2017:  Lawrence & the "New Modernisms" (Philadelphia, PA)

2018:  Dangerous Charisma

2019:  Lawrence, Labor, Work

2020:  Crosscurrents in Lawrence Studies (Seattle, WA)

2022:  Lawrence, Disease, and Recovery (Washington, DC)

2023:  Lawrence, Work, and the Working Class (San Francisco, CA--Two Sessions)

  • Joint Session of the Dickens Society and the DHSNA--Topic: "Portrayals of the Working Class in Dickens and Lawrence."


Suggested panel topic ideas under consideration
for future MLA conferences:

Digital Lawrence

Lawrence & Science

Lawrentian Utopias/Dystopias

Eco-critical Readings

Lawrence & Homelessness

Lawrence & the Space In Between

Lawrence At Sea (possibly combined with Conrad)

Lawrence & Affect Theory

Lawrence and Mind


List of papers given at Lawrence sessions

Taos Summer Writers' Conference  -- Initiated in 1998 by Sharon Oard Warner, a published novelist and Director of the Creative Writing Program at UNM, the conference was in the past held annually at the Sagebrush Inn Conference Center in Taos, New Mexico, with tours of the Lawrence Ranch. This program has ended and transitioned into the D.H. Lawrence Ranch Initiatives.  Please see the Official Website for the D.H. Lawrence Ranch for further information.