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Books Unbound – Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Part 2

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Born in 1885, David Herbert Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, and painter. His collective works are classified as a reflection of the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. His marriage in 1914 to Frieda Weekly, a woman who left her husband and three children for Lawrence, provided inspiration and emotional support for his literary career. Lawrence died in 1930, reaching his peak of fame posthumously.

Banned by U.S. Customs (1929). Banned in Ireland (1932), Poland (1932), Australia (1959), Japan (1959), India (1959). Banned in Canada (1960) until 1962. Dissemination of Lawrence’s novel has been stopped in China (1987) because the book “will corrupt the minds of young people and is also against the Chinese tradition.” Lady Chatterley’s Lover was the object of numerous obscenity trials in both the UK and the United States up into the 1960s.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, first published privately in 1928, was not published openly in Britain until 1960. It tells the story of the love affair between Constance (Lady Chatterley) and her husband Clifford’s gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, while exploring the nature of relationships between men and women. Besides the evident sexual content of the book, “Chatterley” spurred controversy for its discussion of the British social class system and social conflict. Penguin, the publisher of the unexpurgated text in 1960, was unsuccessfully tried for violation of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. The prosecutor was ridiculed for asking, “Is this the kind of book you would wish your wife or servants to read?”

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