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From the Past

Films on the to-do list

  • Armageddon Time
  • Black Widow
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Last Christmas
  • Remember Sunday
  • Shazam! 2
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Spy Guys

The Captain’s Doll by DH Lawrence

Novella review: The Captain’s Doll by DH Lawrence (1923) from a Book Club Associates omnibus (1980)

In Germany, after World War I, a Scottish man has a relationship with a German woman. She makes dolls and is very good at doing so. She makes a doll of her Scottish friend, and one day a British lady comes and wishes to buy it. The soldier’s wife. She thinks that it’s the dollmaker’s friend and business partner who has a relationship with her husband, however.

Then he goes away for a bit, the doll gets lost and the dollmaker moves. The wife dies. Soldier and dollmaker reunite, the dollmaker about to be married to a local dignitary. The former couple travel up into the mountains and walk up to a glacier and bicker about this, that and the other and especially about love.

Again, it’s a lot of metaphors and symbolic language and scenery porn. It works if you’re into symbolism. I’m not. To me, it’s a couple of irritating people who argue over silly things and who don’t say what they actually mean and it drives me potty. Just be honest with one another for ONE SECOND! Geez! Either you love each other or you don’t. Get over yourselves.

Well-written and engaging, as usual, although feels a lot like Lawrence is using characters to have a philosophical argument he’d rather have with someone in real life. Which is a recurring theme in his writings, I feel. It’s a bit frustrating. Or I’m just unbelievably shallow. 😛

This is my seventh review for the DH Lawrence Challenge 2010. Better late than never …


An easily distracted and over-excited introvert who never learns to go to bed at a reasonable time. Enjoys traveling (when there's not a plague on), and taking photos of European architecture. Cares for cats, good coffee and Boardwalk Empire. A child of her time, she did media studies in school and still can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

One thought on “The Captain’s Doll by DH Lawrence

  1. I agree with your summation of the novella, The Captain’s Doll. The climbing the glacier (with the “scenery porn,” funny) is annoying. But you have to admit that when the wife invites Hannele to tea, that’s a superb scene, I decided it must have been made into a movie. And sure enough it had with Jeremy Irons as the Captain.But once Lawrence kills off the wife (I kept wondering if Captain Hepburn pushed her out the window), the energy and the focus of the love triangle flags. He also simply avoids showing the scene with the Captain and Hannele with her new fiancé when she invited Hepburn to lunch. Instead we are forced to endure the bickering and BS of the trek to and up the glacier. And she agrees to marry him for obedience and not love??? Whatever. Anyway, the tension of the story, the conflict ends once the clever wife dies. I’m not so sure she truly thought the doll was made by the other woman. It was a wonderfully indirect way of saying to Hannele, “Don’t mess anymore with my man.”

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