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Introduction by Kathryn Harrison
 
Inspired by the long-standing affair between D. H. Lawrence’s German wife and an Italian peasant, Lady Chatterley’s Lover follows the intense passions of Constance Chatterley. Trapped in an unhappy marriage to an aristocratic mine owner whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and impotent, Constance enters into a liaison with the gamekeeper Mellors. Frank Kermode called the book D. H. Lawrence’s “great achievement,” Anaïs Nin described it as “his best novel,” and Archibald MacLeish hailed it as “one of the most important works of fiction of the century.” Along with an incisive Introduction by Kathryn Harrison, this Modern Library edition includes the transcript of the judge’s decision in the famous 1959 obscenity trial that allowed Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be published in the United States.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780553903386
List price: $1.99
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Still making my mind up about this, might change it to 3 stars later.more
 This wasn't quite what I expected. It is certainly difficult to see what made it quite so controversial when first published; the sex is by no means explicit and is dealt with briefly. Maybe the fact the lady of the house had an affair with the gamekeeper worried the solid men who argued against it...



I thought it was a good read, as the characters evolve throughout the book. Connie grows as Clifford withdraws from her and life. The whole thing balances on several axes.more
Oh boy. More sex and mildly interesting musings on society. I've read fanfiction with better sex in it. I kept chuckling at the penis nicknaming.more
**WARNING: This review contains a discussion of the c-word, and I plan to use it. Please don't read this if you do not want to see the word spelled out. Thanks.**This is less a review than an homage to my crazy mother (now I have you really intrigued, don't I?)It was 1983, and I was in my first Catholic school. I'd spent my first six years of school in a public school, but my "behavioral issues" coupled with my lack of growth made me a target for bullies, so my parents were advised to move me to another school where no one knew me.So off I went to the home room of a fallen nun, who'd given up her habit for a family. She wasn't much of a teacher. She was an old school Catholic educator who practiced punitive teaching, which included kicks to the shins, yanking of ears, pulling of hair, and screaming from close range.I kept my head down and tried to blend in with my new surroundings, but my Mother made that difficult from the get go. I was a voracious reader, and she passed on the disease to me. From grade two on she had been recommending great books to me. I was reading everything before most everyone else, but my Mom's recommendation of Lady Chatterly's Lover in my first month of Catholic school was probably her most outrageous and unforgettable recommendation. She bought me a copy at the book store in the mall, and that's where I met one of my favourite words of all time -- cunt. Back in 1983, cunt was not a word in your average child's vocabulary. Sure we'd heard it, and maybe even seen it, but it was not something that was regularly used by kids, and its usage was pretty vague to every 13 year old I knew.But there it was in Lady Chatterly's Lover. It was all over the place. So as I read the story and absorbed the way Lawrence used cunt, his usage became my usage. Lawrence used cunt beautifully; it was not a term of denigration; it was not used to belittle; it was not an insult nor something to be ashamed of; cunt was lyrical, romantic, caring, intimate. And I came to believe that cunt was meant to be used in all these ways. That the poetic use of cunt was the accepted use of cunt, the correct use of cunt, and suddenly cunt was part of my vocabulary. I was thirteen.Now I didn't just start running around using cunt at every opportunity. I did what I always did with new words that I came to know and love. I added them to my vocabulary and used them when I thought it was appropriate.And when I whispered it to Tammy, the girl I had a crush on, a few weeks later, thinking that it was the sort of romantic, poetic language that made women fall in love with their men (I can't remember what I said with it, but I know it was something very much like what Mellors would have said to Constance), she turned around with a deep blush, a raised eyebrow and a "That's disgusting" that rang through the class (I can still see the red of autumn leaves that colored her perfectly alabaster skin under a shock of curly black hair, aaaah...Tammy. Apparently she had a better sense of cunt's societal taboos than I did). Mrs. C--- was on her feet and standing parallel to the two of us in a second, demanding to know what was going on.To her credit, Tammy tried to save me -- sort of. She said "Nothing." Then Mrs. C--- turned on me; I was completely mortified (I'd obviously blown it with the first girl I loved in junior high school), and while I was in this shrinking state, Mrs. C--- demanded to know what was happening and what I had said. I tried to avoid repeating what I had said. I admitted I shouldn't have been talking. I admitted that I should have been working. I tried to divert her attention. But she was a scary lady, and I couldn't help myself. I repeated what I had said -- as quietly as I could -- but as soon as Mrs. C--- heard "cunt" I was finished. That was the moment I knew "cunt" was the catalyst for the whole debacle. Now...I'd known before that the word was taboo, but I didn't think it would generate the response it did. I really thought that Tammy would be flattered. And I certainly didn't expect that I would be dragged to the office by an angry ex-nun. Silly me. I got the strap. It was the first time (although there would be another). Three lashes to the palm of the hand.I didn't use "cunt" in public or private for a long time after that, but my punishment couldn't diminish my love for the word. Lawrence made such and impression on my young mind that neither humiliation nor physical pain could overcome my appreciation of cunt's poetic qualities. To me the word is and always will be a beautiful and, yes, gentle thing.Every time that event was recounted at the dinner table over the years, whether it was amongst family, or with my girlfriends or my future wife, my Mom always got this sly little grin on her face and indulged in a mischievous giggle before refusing to take the blame for me getting the strap. After all, "Who was the one who was stupid enough to use the word, Brad? Not me."I love her response as much as I love the word. And in case you were wondering, my Mom never stopped recommending books to me. She was an absolute kook. I miss her. I can't wait to pass on Lady Chatterly's Lover to my kids...but I think it's going to have to be in grade three if it's going to have the same effect it had on me...hmmm...I wonder how that will go over.more
When I began reading Lady Chatterley's Lover---the first complete, unexpurgated version published in the United States (in 1959)---I thought it was going to be like Peyton Place: I would be able to see how it might have been shocking at the time, but compared to modern works, it would seem quite tame. Instead, the sex scenes were written incredibly explicitly, and I find them fairly edgy even from a modern perspective. But the thing that saves the sex from being gratuitous and merely pornographic is that it serves a higher narrative purpose than mere titillation (but barely. Which is not intended as a pun. I think it might be impossible to write about this book without a number of unintentional puns).

Lawrence uses sex to illustrate the central conflict between the intellectual and the physical. Connie initially is described in very physical terms. She's a sturdy Scottish lass, a womanly creature unlike the thin, boyish figures popular for women at that time (the 1920's). She's "full of unused energy," Lawrence tells us. She's not inexperienced in sexual matters, but she sidelines their importance in favor of intellectual intimacy. She goes so far as to marry Clifford, a man for whom sex is also a small matter.

"No, the intimacy was deeper, more personal than that. And sex was merely an accident, or an adjunct, one of the curious obsolete, organic processes which persisted in its own clumsiness, but was not really necessary."

When her new husband returns home from the war paralyzed, their relationship turns almost entirely to the intellectual, with the exception of the everyday care-taking of Clifford's physical self, which he insists that Connie---and only Connie---provide for him.

For a period, Connie is satisfied by the intimacy of their intellectual connection, but after a while, she begins to grow restless. There's this "unused energy" that she's tried to deny, this draw to the physical that she tries to reason herself out of, to no avail. Gradually, she comes to dislike Clifford and seeks to withdraw from him.

"Between him and Connie there was a tension that each pretended not to notice, but there it was. Suddenly, with all the force of her female instinct, she was shoving him off. She wanted to be clear of him, and especially of his consciousness, his words, his obsession with himself, his endless treadmill obsession with himself, and his own words."

She outsources Clifford's physical care to a hired servant and distances herself from their intellectual connection, eventually leaving nothing at all between them. Then Mellors enters the story. He is a man who is not unintelligent but who chooses to live and connect more through the body than through the intellect. With him, Connie is drawn into a deeper intimacy than she's ever experienced through intellectual connection.

In this book, the denial of the physical is evident not just in the bedroom. Everywhere we see the pursuit of profit and intellectual innovation trumping the physical. Lawrence shows us the coal mine, in which the miners toil for three shifts a day, trudging home physically lopsided, deformed by the unnatural work they do underground. He shows us the unnaturally stark light in the bald patch of the forest where a stand of old-growth trees was chopped down to support the war effort. He shows us the ugliness of the town, erected in haste and without care to support the labor needs of the mines. We smell the choking fumes of the mills, so incongruous but so intractable in the otherwise idyllic English countryside.

The blame for this dangerous and lopsided shift to the intellectual over the physical is borne by both the individual and the culture. The individual is carried away by the prejudices of the culture and the pressures of class, and he feels impotent to effect change. But Lawrence shows us that this is a willing impotence. The individual knows inwardly that there is something missing, something awry, but he refuses to confront it head-on, preferring to sublimate it. When it becomes so apparent that it he can no longer deny it, this missing bit breaks him.

I can see that Lawrence has shown us this process using sex as the centerpiece. I can see that it's fitting. It's an act and a drive that is so basic and so commonly denied and tabooed by the culture even nearly 100 years after Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover that it makes sense to use it to illustrate the denial of the physical in favor of the intellectual. But some of it didn't ring true to me when it came down to a one-man-one-woman level. The initial sexual encounter between Connie and Mellors seemed like it came almost out of nowhere. There was a build-up to it, the tension between the two parties, but it was subtle in contrast to the stark description of the consummation. When it happened, I was like, "Really? Just like that?"

I didn't really see what drew Connie and Mellors to one another. Once they were together, once I as a reader accepted their closeness to one another, the progression and the deepening intimacy made sense, but the initial couple of encounters seemed unlikely to me. In addition, the language around sex was kind of awkward. If I ever go back and read this book again, I'm going to underline every occurrence of the words "loins" and "womb." I swear they must appear five times on each page. And while I won't go into details, there are really a lot of assumptions that I find distasteful about just what's acceptable and "valid" when it comes to sex---and this is among the participants in the explicit sex scenes, not those trying to deny it.

For me, the saving grace of the book and what makes it unique among the books that I've read is that the sex really is a vehicle for addressing a broader theme. Even in all its explicitness and all of its assumptions, the sex in this book can really just be looked at as another way of experiencing the physical and making a connection with another person. In the end, I find the book to be about balance and about the danger---to ourselves, to others, to nature and the world at large---of denying an aspect of ourselves.

It's an interesting read, but definitely not one I want my seven-year-old to open up and say, "What are you reading, Mommy?"more
I found this an interesting piece of social history, more than anything else: the conditions of the miners of the East Midlands and their uneasy relationship with the owners of the mines as the countryside got increasingly taken over by industry. It really was a time when the landed gentry were losing their grip over the government of the country; a time of great social and economic change.The book is famous for being the subject of a trial relating to obscenity in 1960 and I was actually expecting it to be more explicit than it is, as a consequence of that. It uses explicit words, to be sure, but not in a particularly titillating way. The focus is on the complexity of the Chatterly's relationship, Connie's confused feelings for Mellors and Mellors' own uncertainty about his place in the world. The style is very literary and as I read, I imagined the reactions of lots of disappointed people who would have bought the book on the strength of the trial and would probably been rather disappointed in its contents.I found the discussions of Clifford and his male friends rather tedious, in the first half of the book, but enjoyed the second half more. Lawrence did a good job of portraying the depth of the various relationships. I did rather wonder about Mellors' relationship with his daughter: he seemed to move on with little thought of her. But I don't think Lawrence had children of his own, so perhaps this wasn't a big deal for him.Mellors' despair over the miners' striving after cash touched a chord with me. My favourite quotations was: "If you could only tell them that living and spending isn't the same thing! But it's no good. If only they were educated to live instead of earn and spend, they could manage very happily...".more
A young woman is torn between the man she married who is disabled by war early after their union and the virile gamekeeper who relieves her from her desperate loneliness. A familar theme, but this version is told impeccably well. Definitely worth the read, but I can't help wondering what happened to the baby.more
Took me a while to get through this one, some chapters faster than others. I wanted to know what happened in the end but wasn't that invested in the characters. Lots of postulating about mean being real men and the working and middle classes after the end of WW1. Pleased I read it so I could see what all the scandal was about. Mainly interesting as a piece of cultural history.more
Started reading this as an e-book from Project Gutenberg but I wanted to make too many notes so I switch to a paper edition and discovered that the e-book was the censored / edited version. Grrrr!*** Kinda / Sorta Spoilers ***There are really two different books to review in the Penguin hardcover -- Lady Chatterley's Lover and then Lawrence's bizarre letter afterward. The novel itself is frustrating, beautiful, a little dry, and passionate. I can see why it was called Lady Chatterley's *Lover* and not "Lady Chatterley". The gamekeeper was a fantastic character - I loved his little speeches, his mixed up dialects, and his stubbornness. Lady Chatterley herself I found pretty boring pretty early. But the gamekeeper kept me reading. And then... you finish the book, and find this defense by D.H. Lawrence written several years after the first edition was published. In some parts, it's brilliant and in other parts, he seems completely, without-a-doubt insane. And then I find myself agreeing with some of the things he wrote and start wondering, "Am I insane, too?"more
This is not the sort of pornographic screed that so many imagine it to be, though I had not expected it to be from having read other works of a similar reputation and finding them to have an altogether different purpose than titillation. Lawrence's goal here is to sound the battle cry of the body against the cold machinery of industry and privileged intellectualism. He makes this evident multiple times in both narration and dialogue. He eventually makes this Connie's cause celebre, but it is not always believable given her upper crust naivete, which moves in and out of her personality like the flicker of a faulty candle. That is to say nothing about Mellors' apparent indifference to Connie throughout much of the work. Despite some thin characterization, Lawrence crafts a lyrical and readable prose and paints a celebration of the body and its passions. All the while, the reality of an increasingly soulless and mechanized world lurks in the background as a phantasmal antagonist.more
Another treat. Thanks Mr. Lawrence... Apart from the abstract world of ideas, Lawrence showed his readers that he can also be strongly physical and down to the fleshy earth. A very erotic novel.more
I can see why this was so controversial in the past, but the language and images are definitely mild by today's standards. A lyrical story of sexual awakening. I would recommend reading this back-to-back with [Their Eyes Were Watching God] by [[Zora Neale Hurston]], another excellent story of sexual awakening.more
I can't say I was particularly enamoured with this, although I am glad I have read it. Perhaps it just wasn't what I expected it to be. I found the political/class war aspect rather dull and all of the characters pretty unsympathetic. Both Clifford and Connie both seemed rather caught up in their own misery and self-loathing and I often wondered whether Mellors actually even liked Connie let alone loved her. To be honest I felt like giving them all a good kick up the backside. I thought the sex scenes, for which the book was banned for so many years, were neither tame nor overly offensive , just provocative, as if Lawerence had incuded them deliberately for the shock value at the time.more
I enjoyed the story for its depiction of Connie's journey and, to a lesser extent, Mellors's as well. I also thought Lawrence's depiction of Sir Clifford "Life of the Mind" Chatterley was masterful. The author allowed Sir Clifford to reveal his blind spots and psychoses without being preachy or patronizing. I might have titled the book "Lady Chatterley's Cuckold".more
"Lady Chatterly's Lover" caught my attention as soon as I began reading it. The characters were very realistic, and I liked the elegant, drama-filled writing.The storyline is about an affair. Connie Chatterly is married to a man who has been paralyzed from the waist down. Not only is her husband incapable of performing sexually, but the main character does not love him. So when Connie meets Mellors, a mysterious gamekeeper who works on her husband's estate, she is drawn to him both romantically and sexually. They begin a heated affair, prompting Connie to think about her life, and what she wants from it. For Lawrence's time, this book was shocking. Even today, it is obvious that the author's intention was to surprise the less open minded. This book contains a lot of sex - and I loved the old fashioned descriptions and words used. They simply felt out of place with the X-rated scenes, a combination that I liked.I loved the characters in this book, especially the three main persons of Connie, her husband, and Mellors. They were remarkably realistic. The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it was so long winded. Much of the book was, though not painful, certainly tedious reading. But, overall, I enjoyed reading my first D.H. Lawrence.more
A shocking affair between a frustrated wife and the gamekeeper on her estate is explicitly explored in this beautiful novel. Originally banned as pornography, this novel lives up to the hype surrounding it. You must read it!more
Wow...D.H. Lawrence's descriptive talent is alive in this novel. The sexual content, that was so controversial shortly after it's publication, is woven within the story with good taste and is, by no means, smutty or offensive. Like John Travolta said in "Phenomenon"...it is a guide to a woman's heart and emotions.more
Translation by Martin Claret. There are some translation errors that should be revised asap.more
This book has a sordid US legal history and the content lives up to its reputation. It’s much filthier and sexier than I expected it to be, and Lawrence’s interpretation of sex and love and the English social classes is very interesting. Absolutely recommended.more
Lady Chatterley's Lover was originally published in 1928, and was banned in many places. Now it is a classic, readily available to all and sundry and - like many classics - it isn't worth bothering with. The language and style of writing are fine - the problem lies in content. I found this novel to be bleak, depressing and pessimistic and, if this is truly Lawrence's view of life and love, then I pity him. Even given the era this was written, with it's increased industrialisation, collier strikes, the aftermath of one war and the spectre of another, surely there was still room for hope? Many people enjoy this work, but it is not for me.more
D.H. Lawrence is such an interesting writer that even his failures are worth reading, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a bit of a failure. Today, with virulent pornography always a click away, I expected the famous sexy bits of this book to lose their shock, but I did not expect them to be comic. Yet they were, unless you do not find tropes such as “mound of Venus” rather funny. Still, these howlers came as a relief, because Lady Chatterley’s Lover is starkly humorless. Whether describing the miasma of industrialization or the rapacious drive of the clitoris, D.H. Lawrence is in deadly earnest. He shouts from the pulpit, and righteousness can never afford much laughter. So why read it? First and least, the text is an historical landmark in development of the English novel, both for it’s famous sexual content and the even more famous censorship battles it inspired. But historical landmarks are often bores to read, and Lady Chatterley Lover, for all it’s flaws, still engages. Much of it’s allure stems from the profound and maverick strangeness of the author’s mind. By the time Lady was written, decrying the evils of industrialization was common practice. But Lawrence surpassed all his peers in pure rage. Unlike the well-to-do members of the Bloomsbury group, Lawrence was a coalminer’s son who personally witnessed the mines physically and mentally cripple the community of his childhood. Add to this fact his atavistic love of nature, rarely shared by his modernist colleagues, and imagine him watching factories level the forests and pollute the air. It was a shock to me to discover that a seemingly erotic novel turned out so unconditionally angry. And this anger explains in part why Lady still has an edge; the sex may seem silly and tame, but the molten rage beneath it continues to unnerve. Much to his credit, Lawrence did not merely condemn industrial society, he proposed an alternative. Now, his solution, taken in the extreme manner in which he believed in it, is where the book shows its age. “Organic Fucking” is the best summary I can give his vision of redemption. It is the fierce ancestor of the milk toast “Make Love Not War” ethos of the 1960s. “Mound of Venus” references aside, I believe Lawrence would ultimately reject the willed naiveté of the hippy movement; he was too discerning, too acquainted with struggle and sacrifice, to merely hold up the flower and bliss out. But both Lawrence and the flower children drew on adolescent fantasies in order to overthrow grim realities. Like all utopian visions, it ultimately failed. Lawrence shares this fate with another articulate and outraged enemy of industrialization, John Ruskin. Yet while their respective solutions failed, Lawrence and Ruskin’s fiery salvos against modernity cannot be easily dismissed, nor can their willingness, at great personal sacrifice, to try and build a better world than the one they saw around them. But Lawrence’s fighting spirit does not mark the beginning and end of his appeal. While even in his more successful works his writing is uneven, with clods of purple pose choking the flow of the page, at is best it is nigh perfect: sensuous yet limpid, reaching depths of emotion that seldom surface on the cool waters of English prose. At times he manages to combine dazzling complexity of language with a irresistible primitivism of feeling, like a frightening ancient and barbaric statue wrapped in exquisite lace. Once more, his insight into the relationships of men and women are unsurpassed in all of English literature. No one has written on that ancient subject with such honesty, observation, and intelligence. And this is the real reason that I still enjoy Lawrence, for all of his flaws. As I write this I have been married to a woman for five years, and I hope for many years to come. Lawrence helps me make sense, and ultimately helps me better appreciate, this wonderful, frightening, protean, beloved, despairing, baffling, joyous, mercurial bond that is a cornerstone of my life.more
Sir Clifford Chatterley (partially a self-portrait of author D.H. Lawrence) is a frustrated writer who thinks he knows Everything about Everything, but he is actually an embittered and impotent World War I veteran suffering from PTSD. His wife Connie finds solace in his gamekeeper's hut and in the gamekeeper's bed, discovering The Joy of Sex decades before Alex Comfort coined the term.Here, the prose of Lawrence is occasionally purple, it is occasionally profane, it is occasionally full of nearly incomprehensible dialect. But it's never dull. However, if you laugh whenever you see the words "loins" or "bowels" in connection with human intercourse, you might want to avoid this book!!!more
I really loved this book, although it's been years since I read it. I loved the romance and the setting. Risky for it's time, the subject of sexual incompatibility was addressed and the need for a healthy marital realtionship, something polite society did not "talk about" when if first published. I'm glad it survived being banned in so many places and can be read with better thought and tolerance today. This aside, it's a lovely story and a beautiful read....very romantic.more
I'm a babe in the world of D.H. Lawrence. I was assigned Lady Chatterley's Lover as a college assignment in Brit Lit 203. I read the Cliff Notes. I got a B-minus in the course. And that was forty years ago.Yes, I was the guy who never showed for morning classes, and closed the student pub. And at times, I was even the night watchman. So it should come as no surprise that when I finally got around to reading the book, last week, it was already the next century . A bit late. But better than never. Maybe even a form of a haute snobisme, my preferring to read dead authors AND be taught by dead professors?But now at least I have an authentic and passionate opinion on the novel. D.H.Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover is punk rock, in the finest sense. Sex pistols indeed. Anarchy in the UK - turn it up!. The book had me, using just three power chords: the conflict between classes, the barriers to sexual honesty, and the profound exploitation of the environment by capitalism.These were issues, for Lawrence, in England after the Great War of 1914. They remain issues world-wide to this day. Lawrence, speaking sometimes through the character of Mellors, and sometimes through Lady Chatterley, is prophetic in his pessimism. The gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, has not been addressed by a rise in the overall standard of living in the West. Global consumerism is laying waste to the Arctic, Africa and the Amazon. And, ironically, enormous technical advances in communications media, have only added barriers to honest conversation. Like OMG how much of yourself should you reveal if it might be texted, myspaced, youtubed and there for all, on Google, in perpetuity?It's hard not to love this novel for its underlying courage and outrage. And, its wit. I'm glad I never read it until 2008. In 1968, all my peers were rebelling, each to his or her own banner. Lawrence would have elicited a "So?" from me then. Now, many of my peers drive SUVs, live in McMansions, vote Republican, and kow-tow to evangelicals. Now I understand better, what a rare and brave cri de coeur this novel is.more
I read this book when I was still a kid. It was raining out, and I was bored. I didn't think I'd like it, since classics can be boring. To my surprise, I enjoyed it, and I still think back on it to this day. DH Lawrence is, of course, a really amazing writer and there were some passages that have stayed with me all this time. The bit about there being plenty of fish in the sea, but if you aren't the right sort of fish (herring, mackeral?) then really there weren't that many fish in the sea. He said it better of course!I also really appreciated the depiction of intimacy. Sex as something imperfect and flawed yet still moving and meaningful. The focus on intimacy through imperfection was so new to me. I understand it more now than I did then, and I'm kind of amazed at how well Lawrence wrote the female character's experience so well.I'm really glad I read this book. I wonder if it isn't about time for a re-read!more
The quintessential banned book and more brilliant, warm, tragic and beautiful for being so. A landmark in English literature.more
At the end of the first page, you already have an appreciation for Lawrence's talent as a writer. This work is a classic because he applies that talent to convey both the stark reality and the subtle nuances of human relationships - even our human state in modern times (e.g, "And that is how we are. By strength of will we cut off our inner intuitive knowledge from our admitted consciousness. This causes a state of dread, or apprehension, which makes the blow ten times worse when it does fall."). Lawrence wrote a propos that explains his intent and expands on his points. He believed that modern man and woman had lost touch with their real emotions, especially about love. They were instead getting by on counterfeit feelings, almost to the point of completely obliterating the real human sense. And this played out in marriage more significantly because of the role of marriage in society.more
The least execrable of Lawrence's work but still the most easily parodied. At least it's short, which is more than one can say for 'The Rainbow'.more
Read all 44 reviews

Reviews

Still making my mind up about this, might change it to 3 stars later.more
 This wasn't quite what I expected. It is certainly difficult to see what made it quite so controversial when first published; the sex is by no means explicit and is dealt with briefly. Maybe the fact the lady of the house had an affair with the gamekeeper worried the solid men who argued against it...



I thought it was a good read, as the characters evolve throughout the book. Connie grows as Clifford withdraws from her and life. The whole thing balances on several axes.more
Oh boy. More sex and mildly interesting musings on society. I've read fanfiction with better sex in it. I kept chuckling at the penis nicknaming.more
**WARNING: This review contains a discussion of the c-word, and I plan to use it. Please don't read this if you do not want to see the word spelled out. Thanks.**This is less a review than an homage to my crazy mother (now I have you really intrigued, don't I?)It was 1983, and I was in my first Catholic school. I'd spent my first six years of school in a public school, but my "behavioral issues" coupled with my lack of growth made me a target for bullies, so my parents were advised to move me to another school where no one knew me.So off I went to the home room of a fallen nun, who'd given up her habit for a family. She wasn't much of a teacher. She was an old school Catholic educator who practiced punitive teaching, which included kicks to the shins, yanking of ears, pulling of hair, and screaming from close range.I kept my head down and tried to blend in with my new surroundings, but my Mother made that difficult from the get go. I was a voracious reader, and she passed on the disease to me. From grade two on she had been recommending great books to me. I was reading everything before most everyone else, but my Mom's recommendation of Lady Chatterly's Lover in my first month of Catholic school was probably her most outrageous and unforgettable recommendation. She bought me a copy at the book store in the mall, and that's where I met one of my favourite words of all time -- cunt. Back in 1983, cunt was not a word in your average child's vocabulary. Sure we'd heard it, and maybe even seen it, but it was not something that was regularly used by kids, and its usage was pretty vague to every 13 year old I knew.But there it was in Lady Chatterly's Lover. It was all over the place. So as I read the story and absorbed the way Lawrence used cunt, his usage became my usage. Lawrence used cunt beautifully; it was not a term of denigration; it was not used to belittle; it was not an insult nor something to be ashamed of; cunt was lyrical, romantic, caring, intimate. And I came to believe that cunt was meant to be used in all these ways. That the poetic use of cunt was the accepted use of cunt, the correct use of cunt, and suddenly cunt was part of my vocabulary. I was thirteen.Now I didn't just start running around using cunt at every opportunity. I did what I always did with new words that I came to know and love. I added them to my vocabulary and used them when I thought it was appropriate.And when I whispered it to Tammy, the girl I had a crush on, a few weeks later, thinking that it was the sort of romantic, poetic language that made women fall in love with their men (I can't remember what I said with it, but I know it was something very much like what Mellors would have said to Constance), she turned around with a deep blush, a raised eyebrow and a "That's disgusting" that rang through the class (I can still see the red of autumn leaves that colored her perfectly alabaster skin under a shock of curly black hair, aaaah...Tammy. Apparently she had a better sense of cunt's societal taboos than I did). Mrs. C--- was on her feet and standing parallel to the two of us in a second, demanding to know what was going on.To her credit, Tammy tried to save me -- sort of. She said "Nothing." Then Mrs. C--- turned on me; I was completely mortified (I'd obviously blown it with the first girl I loved in junior high school), and while I was in this shrinking state, Mrs. C--- demanded to know what was happening and what I had said. I tried to avoid repeating what I had said. I admitted I shouldn't have been talking. I admitted that I should have been working. I tried to divert her attention. But she was a scary lady, and I couldn't help myself. I repeated what I had said -- as quietly as I could -- but as soon as Mrs. C--- heard "cunt" I was finished. That was the moment I knew "cunt" was the catalyst for the whole debacle. Now...I'd known before that the word was taboo, but I didn't think it would generate the response it did. I really thought that Tammy would be flattered. And I certainly didn't expect that I would be dragged to the office by an angry ex-nun. Silly me. I got the strap. It was the first time (although there would be another). Three lashes to the palm of the hand.I didn't use "cunt" in public or private for a long time after that, but my punishment couldn't diminish my love for the word. Lawrence made such and impression on my young mind that neither humiliation nor physical pain could overcome my appreciation of cunt's poetic qualities. To me the word is and always will be a beautiful and, yes, gentle thing.Every time that event was recounted at the dinner table over the years, whether it was amongst family, or with my girlfriends or my future wife, my Mom always got this sly little grin on her face and indulged in a mischievous giggle before refusing to take the blame for me getting the strap. After all, "Who was the one who was stupid enough to use the word, Brad? Not me."I love her response as much as I love the word. And in case you were wondering, my Mom never stopped recommending books to me. She was an absolute kook. I miss her. I can't wait to pass on Lady Chatterly's Lover to my kids...but I think it's going to have to be in grade three if it's going to have the same effect it had on me...hmmm...I wonder how that will go over.more
When I began reading Lady Chatterley's Lover---the first complete, unexpurgated version published in the United States (in 1959)---I thought it was going to be like Peyton Place: I would be able to see how it might have been shocking at the time, but compared to modern works, it would seem quite tame. Instead, the sex scenes were written incredibly explicitly, and I find them fairly edgy even from a modern perspective. But the thing that saves the sex from being gratuitous and merely pornographic is that it serves a higher narrative purpose than mere titillation (but barely. Which is not intended as a pun. I think it might be impossible to write about this book without a number of unintentional puns).

Lawrence uses sex to illustrate the central conflict between the intellectual and the physical. Connie initially is described in very physical terms. She's a sturdy Scottish lass, a womanly creature unlike the thin, boyish figures popular for women at that time (the 1920's). She's "full of unused energy," Lawrence tells us. She's not inexperienced in sexual matters, but she sidelines their importance in favor of intellectual intimacy. She goes so far as to marry Clifford, a man for whom sex is also a small matter.

"No, the intimacy was deeper, more personal than that. And sex was merely an accident, or an adjunct, one of the curious obsolete, organic processes which persisted in its own clumsiness, but was not really necessary."

When her new husband returns home from the war paralyzed, their relationship turns almost entirely to the intellectual, with the exception of the everyday care-taking of Clifford's physical self, which he insists that Connie---and only Connie---provide for him.

For a period, Connie is satisfied by the intimacy of their intellectual connection, but after a while, she begins to grow restless. There's this "unused energy" that she's tried to deny, this draw to the physical that she tries to reason herself out of, to no avail. Gradually, she comes to dislike Clifford and seeks to withdraw from him.

"Between him and Connie there was a tension that each pretended not to notice, but there it was. Suddenly, with all the force of her female instinct, she was shoving him off. She wanted to be clear of him, and especially of his consciousness, his words, his obsession with himself, his endless treadmill obsession with himself, and his own words."

She outsources Clifford's physical care to a hired servant and distances herself from their intellectual connection, eventually leaving nothing at all between them. Then Mellors enters the story. He is a man who is not unintelligent but who chooses to live and connect more through the body than through the intellect. With him, Connie is drawn into a deeper intimacy than she's ever experienced through intellectual connection.

In this book, the denial of the physical is evident not just in the bedroom. Everywhere we see the pursuit of profit and intellectual innovation trumping the physical. Lawrence shows us the coal mine, in which the miners toil for three shifts a day, trudging home physically lopsided, deformed by the unnatural work they do underground. He shows us the unnaturally stark light in the bald patch of the forest where a stand of old-growth trees was chopped down to support the war effort. He shows us the ugliness of the town, erected in haste and without care to support the labor needs of the mines. We smell the choking fumes of the mills, so incongruous but so intractable in the otherwise idyllic English countryside.

The blame for this dangerous and lopsided shift to the intellectual over the physical is borne by both the individual and the culture. The individual is carried away by the prejudices of the culture and the pressures of class, and he feels impotent to effect change. But Lawrence shows us that this is a willing impotence. The individual knows inwardly that there is something missing, something awry, but he refuses to confront it head-on, preferring to sublimate it. When it becomes so apparent that it he can no longer deny it, this missing bit breaks him.

I can see that Lawrence has shown us this process using sex as the centerpiece. I can see that it's fitting. It's an act and a drive that is so basic and so commonly denied and tabooed by the culture even nearly 100 years after Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover that it makes sense to use it to illustrate the denial of the physical in favor of the intellectual. But some of it didn't ring true to me when it came down to a one-man-one-woman level. The initial sexual encounter between Connie and Mellors seemed like it came almost out of nowhere. There was a build-up to it, the tension between the two parties, but it was subtle in contrast to the stark description of the consummation. When it happened, I was like, "Really? Just like that?"

I didn't really see what drew Connie and Mellors to one another. Once they were together, once I as a reader accepted their closeness to one another, the progression and the deepening intimacy made sense, but the initial couple of encounters seemed unlikely to me. In addition, the language around sex was kind of awkward. If I ever go back and read this book again, I'm going to underline every occurrence of the words "loins" and "womb." I swear they must appear five times on each page. And while I won't go into details, there are really a lot of assumptions that I find distasteful about just what's acceptable and "valid" when it comes to sex---and this is among the participants in the explicit sex scenes, not those trying to deny it.

For me, the saving grace of the book and what makes it unique among the books that I've read is that the sex really is a vehicle for addressing a broader theme. Even in all its explicitness and all of its assumptions, the sex in this book can really just be looked at as another way of experiencing the physical and making a connection with another person. In the end, I find the book to be about balance and about the danger---to ourselves, to others, to nature and the world at large---of denying an aspect of ourselves.

It's an interesting read, but definitely not one I want my seven-year-old to open up and say, "What are you reading, Mommy?"more
I found this an interesting piece of social history, more than anything else: the conditions of the miners of the East Midlands and their uneasy relationship with the owners of the mines as the countryside got increasingly taken over by industry. It really was a time when the landed gentry were losing their grip over the government of the country; a time of great social and economic change.The book is famous for being the subject of a trial relating to obscenity in 1960 and I was actually expecting it to be more explicit than it is, as a consequence of that. It uses explicit words, to be sure, but not in a particularly titillating way. The focus is on the complexity of the Chatterly's relationship, Connie's confused feelings for Mellors and Mellors' own uncertainty about his place in the world. The style is very literary and as I read, I imagined the reactions of lots of disappointed people who would have bought the book on the strength of the trial and would probably been rather disappointed in its contents.I found the discussions of Clifford and his male friends rather tedious, in the first half of the book, but enjoyed the second half more. Lawrence did a good job of portraying the depth of the various relationships. I did rather wonder about Mellors' relationship with his daughter: he seemed to move on with little thought of her. But I don't think Lawrence had children of his own, so perhaps this wasn't a big deal for him.Mellors' despair over the miners' striving after cash touched a chord with me. My favourite quotations was: "If you could only tell them that living and spending isn't the same thing! But it's no good. If only they were educated to live instead of earn and spend, they could manage very happily...".more
A young woman is torn between the man she married who is disabled by war early after their union and the virile gamekeeper who relieves her from her desperate loneliness. A familar theme, but this version is told impeccably well. Definitely worth the read, but I can't help wondering what happened to the baby.more
Took me a while to get through this one, some chapters faster than others. I wanted to know what happened in the end but wasn't that invested in the characters. Lots of postulating about mean being real men and the working and middle classes after the end of WW1. Pleased I read it so I could see what all the scandal was about. Mainly interesting as a piece of cultural history.more
Started reading this as an e-book from Project Gutenberg but I wanted to make too many notes so I switch to a paper edition and discovered that the e-book was the censored / edited version. Grrrr!*** Kinda / Sorta Spoilers ***There are really two different books to review in the Penguin hardcover -- Lady Chatterley's Lover and then Lawrence's bizarre letter afterward. The novel itself is frustrating, beautiful, a little dry, and passionate. I can see why it was called Lady Chatterley's *Lover* and not "Lady Chatterley". The gamekeeper was a fantastic character - I loved his little speeches, his mixed up dialects, and his stubbornness. Lady Chatterley herself I found pretty boring pretty early. But the gamekeeper kept me reading. And then... you finish the book, and find this defense by D.H. Lawrence written several years after the first edition was published. In some parts, it's brilliant and in other parts, he seems completely, without-a-doubt insane. And then I find myself agreeing with some of the things he wrote and start wondering, "Am I insane, too?"more
This is not the sort of pornographic screed that so many imagine it to be, though I had not expected it to be from having read other works of a similar reputation and finding them to have an altogether different purpose than titillation. Lawrence's goal here is to sound the battle cry of the body against the cold machinery of industry and privileged intellectualism. He makes this evident multiple times in both narration and dialogue. He eventually makes this Connie's cause celebre, but it is not always believable given her upper crust naivete, which moves in and out of her personality like the flicker of a faulty candle. That is to say nothing about Mellors' apparent indifference to Connie throughout much of the work. Despite some thin characterization, Lawrence crafts a lyrical and readable prose and paints a celebration of the body and its passions. All the while, the reality of an increasingly soulless and mechanized world lurks in the background as a phantasmal antagonist.more
Another treat. Thanks Mr. Lawrence... Apart from the abstract world of ideas, Lawrence showed his readers that he can also be strongly physical and down to the fleshy earth. A very erotic novel.more
I can see why this was so controversial in the past, but the language and images are definitely mild by today's standards. A lyrical story of sexual awakening. I would recommend reading this back-to-back with [Their Eyes Were Watching God] by [[Zora Neale Hurston]], another excellent story of sexual awakening.more
I can't say I was particularly enamoured with this, although I am glad I have read it. Perhaps it just wasn't what I expected it to be. I found the political/class war aspect rather dull and all of the characters pretty unsympathetic. Both Clifford and Connie both seemed rather caught up in their own misery and self-loathing and I often wondered whether Mellors actually even liked Connie let alone loved her. To be honest I felt like giving them all a good kick up the backside. I thought the sex scenes, for which the book was banned for so many years, were neither tame nor overly offensive , just provocative, as if Lawerence had incuded them deliberately for the shock value at the time.more
I enjoyed the story for its depiction of Connie's journey and, to a lesser extent, Mellors's as well. I also thought Lawrence's depiction of Sir Clifford "Life of the Mind" Chatterley was masterful. The author allowed Sir Clifford to reveal his blind spots and psychoses without being preachy or patronizing. I might have titled the book "Lady Chatterley's Cuckold".more
"Lady Chatterly's Lover" caught my attention as soon as I began reading it. The characters were very realistic, and I liked the elegant, drama-filled writing.The storyline is about an affair. Connie Chatterly is married to a man who has been paralyzed from the waist down. Not only is her husband incapable of performing sexually, but the main character does not love him. So when Connie meets Mellors, a mysterious gamekeeper who works on her husband's estate, she is drawn to him both romantically and sexually. They begin a heated affair, prompting Connie to think about her life, and what she wants from it. For Lawrence's time, this book was shocking. Even today, it is obvious that the author's intention was to surprise the less open minded. This book contains a lot of sex - and I loved the old fashioned descriptions and words used. They simply felt out of place with the X-rated scenes, a combination that I liked.I loved the characters in this book, especially the three main persons of Connie, her husband, and Mellors. They were remarkably realistic. The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it was so long winded. Much of the book was, though not painful, certainly tedious reading. But, overall, I enjoyed reading my first D.H. Lawrence.more
A shocking affair between a frustrated wife and the gamekeeper on her estate is explicitly explored in this beautiful novel. Originally banned as pornography, this novel lives up to the hype surrounding it. You must read it!more
Wow...D.H. Lawrence's descriptive talent is alive in this novel. The sexual content, that was so controversial shortly after it's publication, is woven within the story with good taste and is, by no means, smutty or offensive. Like John Travolta said in "Phenomenon"...it is a guide to a woman's heart and emotions.more
Translation by Martin Claret. There are some translation errors that should be revised asap.more
This book has a sordid US legal history and the content lives up to its reputation. It’s much filthier and sexier than I expected it to be, and Lawrence’s interpretation of sex and love and the English social classes is very interesting. Absolutely recommended.more
Lady Chatterley's Lover was originally published in 1928, and was banned in many places. Now it is a classic, readily available to all and sundry and - like many classics - it isn't worth bothering with. The language and style of writing are fine - the problem lies in content. I found this novel to be bleak, depressing and pessimistic and, if this is truly Lawrence's view of life and love, then I pity him. Even given the era this was written, with it's increased industrialisation, collier strikes, the aftermath of one war and the spectre of another, surely there was still room for hope? Many people enjoy this work, but it is not for me.more
D.H. Lawrence is such an interesting writer that even his failures are worth reading, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a bit of a failure. Today, with virulent pornography always a click away, I expected the famous sexy bits of this book to lose their shock, but I did not expect them to be comic. Yet they were, unless you do not find tropes such as “mound of Venus” rather funny. Still, these howlers came as a relief, because Lady Chatterley’s Lover is starkly humorless. Whether describing the miasma of industrialization or the rapacious drive of the clitoris, D.H. Lawrence is in deadly earnest. He shouts from the pulpit, and righteousness can never afford much laughter. So why read it? First and least, the text is an historical landmark in development of the English novel, both for it’s famous sexual content and the even more famous censorship battles it inspired. But historical landmarks are often bores to read, and Lady Chatterley Lover, for all it’s flaws, still engages. Much of it’s allure stems from the profound and maverick strangeness of the author’s mind. By the time Lady was written, decrying the evils of industrialization was common practice. But Lawrence surpassed all his peers in pure rage. Unlike the well-to-do members of the Bloomsbury group, Lawrence was a coalminer’s son who personally witnessed the mines physically and mentally cripple the community of his childhood. Add to this fact his atavistic love of nature, rarely shared by his modernist colleagues, and imagine him watching factories level the forests and pollute the air. It was a shock to me to discover that a seemingly erotic novel turned out so unconditionally angry. And this anger explains in part why Lady still has an edge; the sex may seem silly and tame, but the molten rage beneath it continues to unnerve. Much to his credit, Lawrence did not merely condemn industrial society, he proposed an alternative. Now, his solution, taken in the extreme manner in which he believed in it, is where the book shows its age. “Organic Fucking” is the best summary I can give his vision of redemption. It is the fierce ancestor of the milk toast “Make Love Not War” ethos of the 1960s. “Mound of Venus” references aside, I believe Lawrence would ultimately reject the willed naiveté of the hippy movement; he was too discerning, too acquainted with struggle and sacrifice, to merely hold up the flower and bliss out. But both Lawrence and the flower children drew on adolescent fantasies in order to overthrow grim realities. Like all utopian visions, it ultimately failed. Lawrence shares this fate with another articulate and outraged enemy of industrialization, John Ruskin. Yet while their respective solutions failed, Lawrence and Ruskin’s fiery salvos against modernity cannot be easily dismissed, nor can their willingness, at great personal sacrifice, to try and build a better world than the one they saw around them. But Lawrence’s fighting spirit does not mark the beginning and end of his appeal. While even in his more successful works his writing is uneven, with clods of purple pose choking the flow of the page, at is best it is nigh perfect: sensuous yet limpid, reaching depths of emotion that seldom surface on the cool waters of English prose. At times he manages to combine dazzling complexity of language with a irresistible primitivism of feeling, like a frightening ancient and barbaric statue wrapped in exquisite lace. Once more, his insight into the relationships of men and women are unsurpassed in all of English literature. No one has written on that ancient subject with such honesty, observation, and intelligence. And this is the real reason that I still enjoy Lawrence, for all of his flaws. As I write this I have been married to a woman for five years, and I hope for many years to come. Lawrence helps me make sense, and ultimately helps me better appreciate, this wonderful, frightening, protean, beloved, despairing, baffling, joyous, mercurial bond that is a cornerstone of my life.more
Sir Clifford Chatterley (partially a self-portrait of author D.H. Lawrence) is a frustrated writer who thinks he knows Everything about Everything, but he is actually an embittered and impotent World War I veteran suffering from PTSD. His wife Connie finds solace in his gamekeeper's hut and in the gamekeeper's bed, discovering The Joy of Sex decades before Alex Comfort coined the term.Here, the prose of Lawrence is occasionally purple, it is occasionally profane, it is occasionally full of nearly incomprehensible dialect. But it's never dull. However, if you laugh whenever you see the words "loins" or "bowels" in connection with human intercourse, you might want to avoid this book!!!more
I really loved this book, although it's been years since I read it. I loved the romance and the setting. Risky for it's time, the subject of sexual incompatibility was addressed and the need for a healthy marital realtionship, something polite society did not "talk about" when if first published. I'm glad it survived being banned in so many places and can be read with better thought and tolerance today. This aside, it's a lovely story and a beautiful read....very romantic.more
I'm a babe in the world of D.H. Lawrence. I was assigned Lady Chatterley's Lover as a college assignment in Brit Lit 203. I read the Cliff Notes. I got a B-minus in the course. And that was forty years ago.Yes, I was the guy who never showed for morning classes, and closed the student pub. And at times, I was even the night watchman. So it should come as no surprise that when I finally got around to reading the book, last week, it was already the next century . A bit late. But better than never. Maybe even a form of a haute snobisme, my preferring to read dead authors AND be taught by dead professors?But now at least I have an authentic and passionate opinion on the novel. D.H.Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover is punk rock, in the finest sense. Sex pistols indeed. Anarchy in the UK - turn it up!. The book had me, using just three power chords: the conflict between classes, the barriers to sexual honesty, and the profound exploitation of the environment by capitalism.These were issues, for Lawrence, in England after the Great War of 1914. They remain issues world-wide to this day. Lawrence, speaking sometimes through the character of Mellors, and sometimes through Lady Chatterley, is prophetic in his pessimism. The gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, has not been addressed by a rise in the overall standard of living in the West. Global consumerism is laying waste to the Arctic, Africa and the Amazon. And, ironically, enormous technical advances in communications media, have only added barriers to honest conversation. Like OMG how much of yourself should you reveal if it might be texted, myspaced, youtubed and there for all, on Google, in perpetuity?It's hard not to love this novel for its underlying courage and outrage. And, its wit. I'm glad I never read it until 2008. In 1968, all my peers were rebelling, each to his or her own banner. Lawrence would have elicited a "So?" from me then. Now, many of my peers drive SUVs, live in McMansions, vote Republican, and kow-tow to evangelicals. Now I understand better, what a rare and brave cri de coeur this novel is.more
I read this book when I was still a kid. It was raining out, and I was bored. I didn't think I'd like it, since classics can be boring. To my surprise, I enjoyed it, and I still think back on it to this day. DH Lawrence is, of course, a really amazing writer and there were some passages that have stayed with me all this time. The bit about there being plenty of fish in the sea, but if you aren't the right sort of fish (herring, mackeral?) then really there weren't that many fish in the sea. He said it better of course!I also really appreciated the depiction of intimacy. Sex as something imperfect and flawed yet still moving and meaningful. The focus on intimacy through imperfection was so new to me. I understand it more now than I did then, and I'm kind of amazed at how well Lawrence wrote the female character's experience so well.I'm really glad I read this book. I wonder if it isn't about time for a re-read!more
The quintessential banned book and more brilliant, warm, tragic and beautiful for being so. A landmark in English literature.more
At the end of the first page, you already have an appreciation for Lawrence's talent as a writer. This work is a classic because he applies that talent to convey both the stark reality and the subtle nuances of human relationships - even our human state in modern times (e.g, "And that is how we are. By strength of will we cut off our inner intuitive knowledge from our admitted consciousness. This causes a state of dread, or apprehension, which makes the blow ten times worse when it does fall."). Lawrence wrote a propos that explains his intent and expands on his points. He believed that modern man and woman had lost touch with their real emotions, especially about love. They were instead getting by on counterfeit feelings, almost to the point of completely obliterating the real human sense. And this played out in marriage more significantly because of the role of marriage in society.more
The least execrable of Lawrence's work but still the most easily parodied. At least it's short, which is more than one can say for 'The Rainbow'.more
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