Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lady Chatterley's Lover

As part of my commitment to read more classics, I read Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Having read Sons and Lovers by Lawrence earlier this year, I was really looking forward to the prose and character development that I had enjoyed so much in Sons and Lovers. I had no idea what to expect when I picked this book up, which is usually the case when I read something - I don't do much research before hand. I was a bit shocked, I must admit, but this was one of the best books I have ever read.

After I had finished reading Lady Chatterley's Lover, I did a bit of research. I didn't know the controversy that surrounded the publishing of this novel. I hindsight, though, I can see why some stuffy people got their nickers in a knot over this book.
   Lawrence wrote it in the 1920s, which shows how progressive he was. It was only printed privately in Italy, until it was finally published openly in the UK in the 1960s. Penguin Publishing was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, but the verdict was "not guilty". Australian banned the book, and as recently as 2009, the Australia Post refused to sell the book in its store or outlets!
   This novel is not smut or obscene, despite some of the uses of the "f-work" and the "c-word". There are very descriptive sex scenes, but overall the book is about intimacy. It was extremely progressive for Lawrence to have been writing about the female orgasim or about menopause. It is the character development and emotion in this novel that saves it. You take the journey that Lady Chatterley takes during her affair. The ending is also magnificently done - it leaves you to meet your own expectations of 'happily ever after'.
   As well as the sex, there is a lot of exploration about the decline of the social fabric of society - about what industrialism is turning the working class into, and also about the lowering of the upper class. It is very much about the class system, and Lady Chatterley's battle against it and struggle to accept her position. It touches on the dissatisfaction of the lower and middle classes, the strikes, and has references to socialism and anarchism.
   I think my own self awareness and sexuality has benefitted from reading this book - I think we should all live with awareness in the moment, and appreciation for what we have, rather than just pretending to live.

1 comment:

  1. My deepest, darkest literary secret is that I have never read this book.