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Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) - D. H. Lawrence

Related: British literature - erotic fiction - D.H. Lawrence


Lady Chatterley's Lover is a sexually explicit novel by D. H. Lawrence. The publication of the book caused a scandal due to its explicit sex scenes, including previously banned four-letter words, and perhaps particularly because the male lover was working-class.

The story concerns a young married woman whose upper-class husband has been paralysed and rendered impotent. Her sexual frustration leads her into an affair with the gamekeeper, Mellors, eventually culminating in their marriage. The story is said to have originated from events in Lawrence's own unhappy domestic life, and he made significant alterations to the original manuscript in order to make it palatable to readers. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Chatterley%27s_Lover [Oct 2004]

Obscenity trial (UK)

An obscenity trial followed its publication in Britain in 1960 (having been rejected when Lawrence originally took it to publishers in 1930, and eventually published in France). The Obscene Publications Act of 1959, introduced by Roy Jenkins, had made it possible for publishers to escape conviction if they could show that a work was of literary merit.

On November 2, 1960 the British publisher, Penguin Books, won the court case that ensued. A string of expert witnesses, including E. M. Forster, Helen Gardner and Raymond Williams, testified on behalf of the defence.

The outcome of the trial is thought to have been influenced by the famous remark by the prosecuting counsel, Mervyn Griffiths-Jones: "Would you want your wife or servants to read this book?" which reinforced the image of an out-of-touch judiciary.

In chapter 15 there is a passage in which the gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, approaches Lady Constance Chatterley from behind "and short and sharp, he took her, short and sharp and finished, like an animal." Even the normally explicit Lawrence does not spell out whether this was vaginal or anal sex, but some events and language in the scene that follows suggests the latter. At the time, even the mention of anal sex was so highly taboo that the very existence of the practice was unknown to many people. There is no way to know how the prosecution interpreted that passage, and or whether the outcome might have been different had Lawrence been explicit. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Chatterley%27s_Lover [Oct 2004]

Banned in Australia

In Australia, not only was the book itself banned, but a book describing the British trial, "The Trial of Lady Chatterley", was also banned. A copy was smuggled into the country, and then published widely. The fallout from this event eventually led to the virtual abandonment of censorship of books in the country. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Chatterley%27s_Lover [Oct 2004]

Trial (USA)

In the United States, Lady Chatterley's Lover was one of a trio of books (the others being Tropic of Cancer (novel) and Fanny Hill), the ban on which was fought and overturned in court by lawyer Charles Rembar. The free publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover was a significant event in the "sexual revolution." At the time the book was a topic of widespread discussion and a byword of sorts. In 1965, Tom Lehrer recorded a satirical song entitled Smut, in which the speaker in the song lyrics cheerfully acknowledges his enjoyment of such material; "Who needs a hobby like tennis or philately?/I've got a hobby: rereading Lady Chatterley. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Chatterley%27s_Lover [Oct 2004]

Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) - D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) - D. H. Lawrence [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Perhaps the most famous of Lawrence's novels, the 1928 Lady Chatterley's Lover is no longer distinguished for the once-shockingly explicit treatment of its subject matter--the adulterous affair between a sexually unfulfilled upper-class married woman and the game keeper who works for the estate owned by her wheelchaired husband. Now that we're used to reading about sex, and seeing it in the movies, it's apparent that the novel is memorable for better reasons: namely, that Lawrence was a masterful and lyrical writer, whose story takes us bodily into the world of its characters.--Amazon.com review

Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981) - Just Jaeckin

Lady Chattley's Lover was filmed in 1981. Directed by Just Jaeckin, the film starred Sylvia Kristel, Shane Briant and Nicholas Clay and portrayed the sexuality of the novel in a more graphic manner than could ever have been possible in earlier decades. The film attracted widespread publicity due to its explicit nature, but generally poor reviews and was only a moderate commercial success. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Chatterley%27s_Lover [Oct 2004]

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