Lawrence, D.H. Lady Chatterley’s Lover. New York: Signet Classics, 1959.
Reason read: Let’s talk about sex.
You know a book is trouble when it’s published privately in Italy in 1928 and again in France a year later. It wasn’t published openly to the masses until 1960 when it was promptly banned across the world. The United States, Canada, Australia, India, and Japan all found fault with it. Finally, when it was at the center of a 1960 British obscenity trial, things came to a head. No pun intended. Not really.
Who doesn’t know this story? Lady Chatterley is an attractive upper-class woman married to an equally handsome man who happens to be paralyzed from the waist down. Connie is young, spoiled, and has certain…needs. Her husband says he understands, but a man and wife’s varying perceptions of the same marriage are striking. Clifford Chatterley doesn’t really understand the resentments of his wife. A poignant scene is when Connie watches a mother hen protect her eggs and feels empty. She wants a child. She wants a lover. She finds solace in the gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, who lives on the grounds. His cottage is a short distance from the estate…It is the classic tale of class differences. Lawrence goes a bit further by exploring themes of industrialism (Clifford wants to modernize mining with new technology) and mind-body psychology (the struggle between the heart and mind when it involves sexuality, especially when it is illicit in nature). The ending is ambiguous, as typical of Lawrence’s work, but it ends with hope.
As an aside, I would have liked more insight from Connie’s sister, Hilda. Hilda helped Connie have her affair even though she sided with Clifford Chatterley. Another aside, I have often wondered how many people self-pleasured themselves with Lady Chatterley or her lover. Wink.
Lines I liked, “What the eye doesn’t see and the mind doesn’t know doesn’t exist” (p 18) and “If I could sleep with my arms round you, the ink could stay in the bottle” (p 282). Sigh. So romantic.
Author fact: Lawrence went into self-imposed exile because he refused to stop writing about the human condition. His critics couldn’t handle the truth and often banned or censored his work. Lady Chatterley is rumored to be autobiographical in some places.
Book trivia: The genre for Lady Chatterley’s Lover is literary erotica and yet some libraries (including my own) catalog this in the juvenile section. True story. I happen to be reading the Signet Classic edition which is the only complete unexpurgated version authorized by the Lawrence estate. According to the back cover, “no other edition is entitled to make this claim.”
Nancy said: Pearl included Lady Chatterley’s Lover in the list of “stellar” examples of literary erotica.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Sex and the Single Reader” (p 218).
What can I tell you about July? What a crazy effed up month! For my state of mind it was better than the last simply because the Kisa and I ran all over California for a week. I was terribly distracted from the run and the books. Once you see the numbers you’ll understand. For the run I conquered only two runs in sunny CA and totaled 20.5 miles for the entire month. Here are the books:
- Anna and Her Daughters by D.E. Stevenson
- The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
- Pacific Lady by Sharon S. Adams
- Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple
- Moment of War by Laurie Lee
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein
Did Not Finish (still reading):
- Henry James: The Middle Years by Leon Edel -STILL! Since June!
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
Never Started (didn’t arrive in time):
- In Tragic Life by Vandis Fisher
The one good thing about July is that I am starting to train for a half mara in October. I am praying this gets me out of my funk…
Here are the books:
- The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins ~ in honor of Higgins’s birth month
- Anna and Her Daughters by DE Stevenson ~ in honor of July being Ice Cream Month (this is further explained in the book review).
- Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple ~ in honor of Hawthorne’s birth month
- Pacific Lady by Sharon Adams ~ in honor of July being Ocean Month
- Henry James: the Middle Years by Leon Edel (didn’t finish in June) ~ to continue the series started in April in honor of James’s birth month.
- A Moment of War by Laurie Lee ~ to continue the series started in honor of April’s Madrid festival.
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, and the Year That Change Literature by Bill Goldstein