Lady Chatterley’s Lover


Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the famous erotic novel, written by D.H Lawrence and first published in Italy in 1928.

Because of its controversial and explicit description of sex, it became the subject of the infamous trial of Penguin Books under Britain’s ‘Obscene Publications Act’. The trial revolved around the question of whether the novel possessed any literary merit, or whether it was pure pornography. After many experts were called as witnesses, a verdict of ‘not guilty’ was passed and the book was allowed to be published in 1960. This trial paved the way for widespread dialogue about the freedom of writers to publish explicit material. There were conflicting attitudes about the novel throughout the world with some countries using it as an example of sexual revolution, while most countries banned it on the basis of its ‘obscene’ nature.

(picture taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lady_Chatterleys_Lover.jpg)

The novel follows the story of a sexual affair between an aristocratic woman and a working class man. Their sexual acts are described explicitly, using words that were unprintable at the time. The novel itself encapsulates the debate over the thin line between art and pornography. Given the time that it was written, the novel received far greater legal and cultural backlash than it would today, however it remains an example of how humanistic themes can easily be overrun by conservative attitudes towards sex.

The argument for Lady Chatterly’s Lover as a valuable piece of literature is based on various themes explored throughout the novel. Through the explicit sexual relationship we can see a search for integrity and wholeness, as well as the interrelation between mind and body. Elements of the British social context at the time are also alluded to through the relationship between Oliver and Constance. Despite the novel’s strong use of sexual content, these themes hold a great deal of significance and cannot be ignored as central to the story. Furthermore, the novel contains many political implications, mostly centered on the woman’s position in society. 


(picture taken from http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780141192178/lady-chatterley-s-lover-50th-anniversary-edition)


Lady Chatterley’s Lover became an inspiration to both men and women upon its legal publication in the 1960s. It encouraged sexual expression and it also became an example of the power of literature in shaping societal attitudes.

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