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Monday, June 11, 2018

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

Book Review
Lady Chatterley's Lover  (1928)
by D.H. Lawrence

  Lady Chatterley's Lover, famously not published in England until 1960 on the grounds of obscenity, has disappointed generations of readers looking for a "dirty book" experience to rival the reputation.  Truth be told, Lady Chatterley's Love is about as prurient as an R-rated movie and can be considered obscene or pornographic only in the very strictest (not to mention obsolete) meaning of those words, since the erotic content basically boils down to a frank description of the physical and emotional content of sex between a man and woman.  Lady Chatterley is presented as a progressive girl- not a virgin at the time of her marriage- who is saddled with a husband who is sent home disabled (from the waist down) after World War I.

  As one might well expect, she is not thrilled about her situation, and she engages in two affairs: One with a young writer who sounds like a straight Oscar Wilde and the affair central to the book, with her husband's groundskeeper. It tells you all you need to know about English culture in the 1920s and 1930s to say that most of the characters- Chatterley's older sister, her father, are more concerned about the class implications of L.C. leaving her aristocrat husband for a groundskeeper, even one who was an officer in the British Armed Forces.

  For all it's specificity to English culture at that time and place, Lawrence showed great presience anticipating some of the major themes of literature that were enabled by the sexual revolution.  While it might stretch good faith to call Lawrence a feminist, or Lady Chatterley a feminist character, he at least demonstrates an interest in women and their perspective on sex.  

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