Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

April Books 31) Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

One of those famous books which I had never actually read - I did leaf through Hunt Emerson's graphic novel adaptation a few years back but wasn't really engaged, and actually my memory is that he gets one very important part of the story completely wrong, which is that Sir Clifford Chatterley is only a few years older than the young Lady Chatterley.

It is a good book - Constance, stuck in a hasty marriage with a man who has been disabled in the war, finds lust and then love with Mellors, the gamekeeper; she basically grows out of the role that society (embodied in her sister rather then her father, who is somewhat subversive for a knight of the realm) and heads for what is practically a happy ending. The world has moved on from the 1920s, of course, and it's largely a social parable of its time, but memorable for all that. I was impressed that Constance had had a number of lovers before Mellors came along; I was also struck by Lawrence's rather negative portrayal of the Irish characters (all Trinity graduates, no doubt).

It seems a bit weird from the viewpoint of 2011 to think that this book was once considered too obscene to publish in the United Kingdom and various other jurisdictions. The jarring use of language for today's reader is actually not the explicit sex but Mellors' conscious affectation of Derbyshire dialect; I think attitudes towards speech patterns have now changed to the extent that this would seem patronising both from the author and from the character in a book published today. The obscenities can be found in any bookshop, or many corners of the internet, and are not really shocking at all.

Anyway, glad I finally read this at last.
Tags: bookblog 2011
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