So, now that D.H. Lawrence is on the Leaving Cert syllabus, to understand the man better, I’ve decided to read his most famous and controversial Lady Chatterly’s Lover.
My first impression was that there must be something really different about those times and now.
I thought: I can honestly say that my millennial brain didn’t detect anything remotely scandalous in it. The publisher was taken to court, you know, under the Obscene Publications Act in the UK… Fair enough, the subject is a little racy, but no racier than, say, Anna Karenina.
Apparently the man who led the prosecution of the trial in 1960 asked if it were the kind of book “you would wish your wife or servants to read”… Hard to believe that that was said not even 60 years ago!
My other impression was that it was bland. What is this book about at all? Why is it famous? Just by virtue of the trial?
Something wasn’t right.
Well… it turns out that I read a censored version without being aware of it.
I’ve looked over the full text now, and I can see how much I missed out on. Whoever insists on publishing abridged and censored versions has no soul.
Up until this point I never believed that swearing adds anything, but this has made me change my mind. And want to swear, too.
Here is the full version if you need it.