Lady Chatterly’s Lover

by Pericles Lewis

Like E.M. Forster’s Maurice, Lawrence’s most controversial novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, could not be published as written in England during his lifetime. Privately printed in Italy in 1928, the novel revolves like Maurice around the relationship between an upper-class figure and a game-keeper. Here, the upper-class lover is a woman, Lady Chatterley, married to an effete aristocrat who has been made impotent by war wounds. Lawrence described her sexual relations with the game-keeper Mellors in explicit detail. When Penguin finally published an unexpurgated version in 1960, the firm was charged with obscenity but acquitted in a famous trial, in which E. M. Forster appeared as a witness for the defense. This victory finally led to the abandonment of British attempts to censor major literary works, although censorship of the stage persisted for several years. The trial of Lady Chatterley opened the way for the more sexually explicit literature of the 1960s and afterwards.[1]

  1. ↑ This page has been adapted from Pericles Lewis’s Cambridge Introduction to Modernism (Cambridge UP, 2007), pp. 78-79.