Lady Chatterley’s Lover October Discussion

The October Pageturners discussion was about the classic D.H. Lawrence book Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

The book was first published privately in 1928 in Italy and in 1929 in France. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books, which won the case and quickly sold 3 million copies. The book was also banned for obscenity in the United States, Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

Pageturners had mixed feelings about the book. Comments included: “there were long-winded discussions, the first 3 chapters were mind-numbing, there was a lot of details, things were compressed at the end, I enjoyed most of the novel, so many letters were sent and received, Connie and Mellors experienced true love, it is more of a political essay about power and social systems, why was it banned?, it is a different writing style to contemporary writing, it is an interesting take on society of the time, it is a social novel on the 1920s, it is a satire of the intellectual life of the mind, not the body, men came back from the war and searched for relationships, class was important at the time, it gave fresh eyes to PTSD, It was not plot driven but and opportunity to express views, I like the cover of this new edition, and the novel is in ways anti-capitalist, anti-industrial, and anti-war.”

The Penguin edition read by Pageturners includes an introduction by Doris Lessing and explanatory notes to add to the reading experience.

Voting ranged from a low 1 to a high 4, out of 5.

A novel link

One of the working titles for the book was  Tenderness. And recently a book called Tenderness by Alison Macleod was published.

Alison MacLeod’s Tenderness blends fact and fiction to produce an account, almost a cultural history, of Lawrence’s final novel. It’s a complex, non-linear piece opening in 1930 with a dying Lawrence, in exile from England where seized copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover have made him a wanted man.

It is the spellbinding story of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and the society that put it on trial; the story of a novel and its ripple effects across half a century, and about the transformative and triumphant power of fiction itself.

Article about Tenderness author:

Love writers who capture the pulse of life, says Booker Prize longlisted author Alison MacLeod- The New Indian Express

The Guardian Review for Tenderness

The Guardian article about the trial:

Lady Chatterley’s legal case: how the book changed the meaning of obscene | Studying law | The Guardian

The Guardian article on historical copy of the book:

UK Halts Export of ‘Lady Chatterley’ Copy From Famous Trial | Courthouse News Service

Next month

Join us at the Daytime Pageturners for a chat about The Magician by Colm Toibin or the Evening Pageturners talk about Corporal Hitler’s Pistol by Tom Keneally on Wednesday 10 November at Orange City Library. See you there!

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