Constance, the young Lady Chatterly, is married to a handsome,
well-built man. Clifford, her husband, was wounded in the war, and
is paralyzed from the waist down. His physical limitations lead him
to emotionally neglect Constance, and for comfort, she turns to the
gamekeeper, Oliver. In his arms, she finds the passion she needs,
even as she struggles with the class differences between the
intellectuals and the working class. She realizes that she cannot
with the mind alone, but that she also needs her body to be
Told in a blunt style, with explicit descriptions of sex, "Lady
Chatterly's Lover" used language largely unseen in print at that
time, which resulted in its banning and the author's censorship.
Indeed, the book is perhaps most famous for its publication
history. First published in 1928, it was printed privately in
Italy. It was immediately banned in both the author's home of
England and in the USA. Expurgated, abridged editions were
published in the 1930s in the English-speaking world. In 1960, the
case R v Penguin Books Ltd prosecuted Penguin Books for publishing
the novel under the Obscene Publications Act. The jury found for
the defendant, usher in the liberalization of British
In the USA, the book was part of a three-book test case (along
with "Tropic of Cancer" and "Fanny Hill"), to overturn the ban on
obscene imported books first enacted in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act
of 1930. The US Court of Appeals found in favor of the books in
1959, overturning the ban on the grounds that the books had
"redeeming social or literary value."
Thus, the original, unexpurgated edition (presented here)
finally appeared in English for the first time more than thirty
years after it was written.
About the author:
David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930) was a prolific writer working
in a wide range of styles and forms. A major theme in his work is
discussion of the dehumanizing effects of modernity and
industrialization, confronting issues relating to emotional health
and vitality, spontaneity, sexuality, and instinctive behavior. By
the time of his death from tuberculosis, he was considered a
pornographer who had wasted his talents. Some however, challenged
that view. E.M. Forster, writing an obituary of Lawrence, described
him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation."
Later, critics championed his reputation, noting his artistic
integrity and moral seriousness, and assigning his fiction to the
"great tradition" of the English novel. He is now considered a
visionary thinker and a significant representative of modernism in
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