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.