Written in 1926... and published posthumously [without the authors customary revision] in 1930, The Virgin and the Gypsy is a minor masterpiece in short story writing. It provides an excellent introduction to Lawrence’s work, being a succinct distillation of his ideas about sexuality and its ability to transcend class barriers. Yvette and her sister Lucille come back from finishing school in Lausanne with a much broader outlook on life than the inhabitants of the cloistered world to which they return. Their mother left their father for another man leaving a pall of sterility in his newly gathered family: Uncle Fred, Aunt Cissie and Granny – the ‘Mater’ Stifled by the rigidity of life in the rectory in this small village in the East Midlands - a microcosm of established Christian belief, the type of which Lawrence despised - Yvette finds herself drawn to a passing gypsy and her ‘budding flower’ is awakened by his interest. In a torrential climax which symbolically sweeps away her old life she comes to fully realise and accept her sexual identity.
What members say
Nice, short story
What did you love best about The Virgin and The Gypsy?
The story was short and got to the point rather quickly.
What did you like best about this story?
The narration, and the fact that the story was short. I would have gotten bored if it was any longer.
What does Peter Joyce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He gave the characters life by the tones he used for each characters. And the pace at which he presented made it feel like the story was moving along smoothly.