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Aaron's Rod (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – March 1, 1996

3.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Lawrence's 1921 novel of protagonist Aaron Sisson also depicts the decline of civilization following World War I. The original manuscript was heavily edited to meet the morals of the time, but this edition restores the text to its pristine condition. It also includes a scholarly introduction and notes by Scottish lecturer Steven Vine.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Novel by D.H. Lawrence, published in 1922. Lawrence constructed a parallel between the power that was miraculously manifested in the blossoming rod wielded by the biblical figure Aaron and the effect of the flute played by the protagonist of the novel, Aaron Sisson. Sisson is an amateur flutist who works in a coal mine. He abandons his wife and the life he has known to travel and seek new adventures, making his living as a flutist. While he is in Florence, Italy, his flute is shattered during political riots. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140188142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140188141
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,937,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Aaron Sisson, a coal miner and amateur flutist in the Midlands, abandons his wife and two children and escapes to Italy in the hope of throwing off the trammels of his environment and realising his individual potentials. His dream is to become recognised as a master flutist. In Florence, he mixes in intellectual and artistic circles and has an affair with an aristocratic lady who redeems him in his own eyes. Like the majority of Lawrence's novels, the central theme is the relations between men and women, though this time, it is given a twist owing to Lawrence nourishing his mind on a reading of Nietzsche, who was then gradually becoming recognised in England. In his analysis of the concept of "love" between the sexes, Lawrence perceives it as a function of the will to power, a cycle of reciprocal domination and surrender, in which the man must conquer and the woman must submit. Elements of the rejection of the "herd morality" on Aaron's part and his endeavour at self-development are both ideas of peculiarly Nietzschean provenance. The fact that Aaron realises himself through music is another echo of Nietzsche, who regarded music as the purest and most supreme of the arts, in which the passions achieve immense gratification. The title refers to the rod of Aaron in the Old Testament, one of Moses's renegade priests who built the golden calf in the desert for the worship of the Israelites. The rod, his symbol of authority and independence, finds its echo in Aaron's flute, which is broken later in the novel during an anarchist riot. There is a price to pay, Lawrence seems to imply, for daring to oppose orthodoxy and to try to create a new life for oneself.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not going to waste anyone's time by spouting the virtues of this book, other than it is one of those that gets better with each successive read and only makes you want to know more about Lawrence, since a lot of it is autobiographical. It's a very philisophical, thoughtful, reflective book, not heavy on plot. It might really be insubstantial if not for the quality of Lawrence's prose.

Now, for this Public Domain edition (at a not so bargain price). Mmmmmm, let's see...about 12 missing pages (that's right, completely missing), pages that look like they were copied by a 3 year old, or an 87 year old lush librarian --- smudgy, misshapen words, etc. Hey, I know this work is in the public domain....that's no excuse to grab some piece of deteriorating crap off the shelf, copy it and then attempt to profit by duping people that what they're getting is a quality product.

It's not like there aren't better, complete versions out there...THEY'RE ON THE WEB!!!

This edition is lazy, a travesty, and should be banned from being sold by Amazon as fradulent advertising.
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Format: Paperback
Strangely, this was my first full-length D.H. Lawrence novel. Thankfully, I'd read enough of his short stories and essays to know that Aaron's Rod isn't indicative of his artistic capabilities. I was more impressed by the concept behind the novel than its execution. Essentially, Aaron Sisson's abandonment of his family and job in order to join a travelling orchestra is meant to symbolize the power and passion of "individual freedom," "personal friendship", "masculinity" and "art". I think he only half-succeeds. Just as Aaron comes across as an "incomplete" man searching for meaning in post World War I Europe, I think the novel is too loosely constructed, and Lawrence's characters, too thinly drawn. But on a symbolic level, they are full of Lawrentian psychology. The characters of Rawden Lilly, Struthers, the Bricknells, and others all overtly represent various aspects of male and female polarities; however, they are un-memorable and sometimes difficult to relate to.
I was hoping this would be more of an "artist's novel" containing interesting descriptions of Aaron's life in Florence with his bohemian friends, and to a certain extent it is, but Lawrence seemed more interested in symbolism than in telling a good story. Though scattered as a story, the concepts of individuality and society are clearly portrayed throughout "Aaron's Rod", and towards the end, when the anarchist's bomb goes off, we sense a "breaking" (the blue ball/ornament at the beginning, and the flute/rod at the end) of an outdated mode of thinking (i.e. patriarchy, male dominance, etc.) in favor not necessarily of feminity, but an integration of the two.
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