Posted in Banned Book

Banned Book 1: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Why was it banned? For the sex, foul language, and the fact that the lovers were an aristocratic female and a working-class male. When it was published in 1928 it was banned in Britain and the U.S. as being pornographic. In 1960, Penguin books was tried under the Obscene Publications Act for publishing this book. In order for the publishers to escape conviction it had to be shown that the work had literary merit. The publishers were found not guilty, and this single trial loosened censorship in Britain. Although racy by that days standards I have a feeling that this book would be considered a tame romance novel by today’s standards.

Constance, Lady Chatterley is trapped in a intellectual and unfilling marriage to a aristocrat who was paralyzed in World War I. She begins a series of affairs. First with a play-wright. Second with Oliver Mellors, the game keeper, of the estate. Lady Chatterley and Mellors eventually fall in love. At the end of the novel they are expecting and both are trying to obtain divorces from their prospective spouses.

This book is rated
D

The only reason I read it was because it was on the Banned Book list. On a positive note, it was a story well told. The author did an excellent job of describing the mental process of people in that day. You could truly understand where Constance was coming from. It did evoke emotion. And you could sort of feel the emotional wakening the characters were experiencing. But I personally do not find romance novels to have any literary merit. I think one of the biggest reasons that it was banned was because of its frank consideration of sexuality. After World War I social mores changed dramatically. Gone was the Victorian notion that sex was strictly for procreation and that passion was to be down played to the point of non-existence. Also I think the reverse affair probably disgusted most people. In many works of literature as well as history, it was acceptable for aristocratic men to have dalliances with women who were beneath them. But for it to happen the other way around was something completely different. Finally I think the ending was different than most people felt it should be. As was typical with literature during this time, those who engaged in extra-marital affairs got their comeuppance at the end of the book. To have two characters be better off for their sin was not to be heard of. It’s definitely not for children. But as far as subject matter is concerned I think it’s tamer than either Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives. Heck I think the average person on the street really holds this sort of ideal when it comes to sex. It’s not really worth buying as far as I am concerned. If you really feel the need to read it, use the library copy.

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