Lady Chatterley's Lover

D. H. Lawrence
(First Penguin Books Edition,
September, 1946)
Editor's Note: Many critics have struggled with Lawrence's most famous and probably worst novel (compare, for example, with the profound Sons and Lovers.)

Perhaps the most sage review came from the pen of Ed Zern, who said that Lady Chatterley's Lover had some generally useful descriptions of wildlife, botany, and hunting practices at a typical Edwardian English estate, but --- unfortunately --- the noisome activities of a certain gamekeeper and the lady of the house kept getting in the way of these otherwise excellent passages.

Here is a more recent treatment by one of RALPH's star reviewers:

Lawrence wrote no less than three versions of this book....Unfortunately the final version contains too many of the forbidden four-letter words to be publishable in the Anglo-Saxon countries, for some time at least.

It was published privately in Florence and later in France, and thousands of copies were smuggled into this country.

The first version was published here in 1944 by Dial Press as The First Lady Chatterley and, although a completely innocuous book, received the ubiquitous attention of Mr. John Sumner, head of the Society for the Suppression of Vice.

It was acquitted of all charges of obscenity shortly afterward.

--- Introduction to the Penguin Edition

I got my copy at a garage sale. It smells deliciously musty --- that "old book smell." And I'm still looking for that page that everyone in high school turned down to smirk about. I can't find it. She (Lady Chatterley) has already done it with the gamekeeper but I find no smut, no graphic details, no dirty words, nada. But I'm only on page 135 of 260 so perhaps it's yet to come. And so am I.
---jane anne shannon

Go Home     Subscribe to RALPH     Go Up