Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence’s last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the 20th century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband’s estate.
“Highbrow porn” – my husband called me out on this one. Perhaps. But I also think it’s much more than that. Yes, there is graphic sex and language but it also provides a frank take on sexuality and relationships. From a woman’s perspective, but interestingly written by a male author.
“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”
Lady Chatterley’s Lover is also a story of its time. Class is a key theme within the social context of post WWI, industrialisation in Britain.
“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
It wasn’t published in the UK until more than 30 years after it was written, when in 1960, it was brought to an obscenity trial – which Penguin won and went on to sell 3 million copies! At the trial, the prosecution was ridiculed for being out of touch with changing social norms when the prosecutor asked if it were the kind of book “you would wish your wife or servants to read”. !