A Descriptive Bibliography of Lady Chatterley's Lover: With Essays toward a Publishing History of the Novel

A Descriptive Bibliography of Lady Chatterley's Lover: With Essays toward a Publishing History of the Novel

A Descriptive Bibliography of Lady Chatterley's Lover: With Essays toward a Publishing History of the Novel

A Descriptive Bibliography of Lady Chatterley's Lover: With Essays toward a Publishing History of the Novel

Synopsis

This bibliography clarifies the circumstances regarding the publication, marketing, and distribution of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Introductory essays of the editions are designed both to elucidate the novel's long and interesting publication history and indicate the social settings which conditioned its production and reception. Special attention is given to parodies of the novel, exemplifying the borderline between "serious" literature and popular pornography. A valuable practical tool for libraries and booksellers, it will also appeal to those interested in pirated literature, literary censorship, and erotic literature.

Excerpt

"[It] . . . will not only revolt decent minded people on account of its theme, but also because of the filthy words . . . ." (Lewd Book Banned, qtd. inNehls 3: 264- 65); "evil outpouring. . . . diseased mind. He is obsessed with sex" (Famous Novelist's Shameful Book, qtd. inNehls 3: 262-63). Lady Chatterley's Lover provoked outrage because it challenged readers' tolerances in matters central to their social roles and responsibilities, and to their notions of how to conduct themselves in their most intimate moments. In this respect, Lawrence's challenge went far beyond the use of four-letter "obscenities," as Richard Aldington (308) implies in his fulmination against "the morbid degeneracy of British sex hatred." Although few readers in such cases are honest enough with themselves and/or their peers to openly say so, most adults, whether liberal or conservative, find themselves unable to cope with material which deeply ("shockingly") questions basic assumptions governing self-image and conduct. It is easier to allow authorities such as presidential commissions and school boards (in Lawrence's case the publishers George Doran/and Horatio Bottomley, Home Secretary Joynson- Hicks or Senator Smoot of Utah) to articulate their secret confusion as well as to serve as butts for uneasy snickering. "O lecteur hypocrite, mon semblable, mon frère."

In Lady Chatterley's case, Lawrence's characters were disturbing to almost any intelligent reader more or less adjusted to British or American society in the third decade of the twentieth century. There are writers (Michaelis Clifford) who trivialize human relationships, or excite corrupt but "conventionally pure" feelings. The novel presents the educated classes as secretly insecure and morally as well as sexually paralyzed; the targets here are not fox-hunting bullies or snobs but "bright young people" (Hilda,Tommy Dukes,Duncan Forbes) with liberal ideas on . . .

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