Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover What everybody knows about Lady Chatterley’s Lover, whether they have read it or not, is that it is full of ‘explicit descriptions of sexual intercourse’ and uses words that do not belong in polite society. Although it was published in 1928, it was banned in Britain until 1960, where the publisher Penguin had to prove its literary value in the famous obscenity trial.

After reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I have to say that by modern standards, it is less shocking and scandalous than one might think. The love scenes were well written and pretty reasonable; not too blatant or graphic at all. The four letter words were not over-the-top either; and certainly not too vulgar. No doubt the people who tried to ban this book would be horrified if they ever read a single piece of N-17 rated fan fiction.

Explicit descriptions of sexual intercourse aren’t the only things in this novel that are worth commenting on. When I picked up this book I expected the setting to be a big country mansion and lots of 1920s aristocracy and decadence. How wrong I was. I think that Wragby, the Chatterley estate, sounds like the most depressing place in England. There was definitely evidence of class antagonism between the aristocracy and the neighbouring miners and certainly a sense of the oppression of the proletariat. At some points, Lady Chatterley’s attitude towards the miners irritated me, as did Clifford’s; “The Masses have been ruled since time began, and till time ends, ruled they will have to be”. So as much as the documentation of a love affair, Lady Chatterley’s Lover also contains some interesting social commentary.

In many places, this was a wholly depressing novel, which in part highlighted the slow death of the British Aristocracy. So Lady Chatterley’s actual love affair was the only source of happiness. In many ways it is also bittersweet, and this has been accused of being an antifeminist novel, but the ending was as close to a happy one as possible.

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