Odour of Chrysanthemums

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"Odour of Chrysanthemums" is a short story by D. H. Lawrence. It was written in the autumn of 1909 and after revision, was published in The English Review in July 1911. Lawrence later included this tale in his collection entitled The Prussian Officer and Other Stories, which Duckworth, his London publisher, bought out on 26 November 1914. An American edition was produced by B W Huebsch in 1916. Lawrence later adapted the story into a play, The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd.


A Nottinghamshire coal miner's wife, a young mother, waits for her abusive husband Walter to come home. She blames his drinking for his absence. It turns out he has been killed in a pit accident. Laying out his corpse, after it is brought home from the mine, makes her realize they never really knew each other. Upon the discovery that her husband has died, the protagonist, Elizabeth, is able to remain calm and collected, especially in front of her children. In contrast, Walter's mother, who lives near the young couple and their children, becomes hysterical, highlighting her overbearing nature.


In 2002 the story was adapted into a short film by Director Mark Patridge, The film won first prize at the Milan Film Festival.

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