Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Herein lie spoilers!

Whooo boy. The censors of the day must have had fun with this one. I can just picture them sweating into their starched suits at the scandalous vulgarity of it all as they slashed and burned whole paragraphs with their red pens . . . all in the name of public decency, you understand. Perhaps a few copies of the manuscript were available for them to take home for, you know, closer scrutiny? *snort* I kid. I'm sure they took their jobs very seriously. Oh those poor poor fellows -I'm assuming the censors were all men- one can't help but feel sorry for them. Coarse language and explicit sexual encounters abound in this novel of a bored society wife looking for love. Connie's husband is a paraplegic who cannot physically satisfy her, so what does she do? She flirts with and then beds one of his colleagues, grows  bored as he turns out to be a cad, and then moves on to the gamekeeper of the manor whom she spies naked and washing at his cottage in the woods. She finds endless excuses to be with him, they get closer, kiss, and then engage in *ahem* an acrobatic array of carnal activity, over and over and over again. Golly. Hey kids, how about coming up for air once in a while?

The story exposes how shallow and scandal averse members of high society can be, and we are supposed to feel for Connie as she tries to shake the stifling conformity of it all, but really, she becomes more and more whiny and needy as the story progresses. "Say you love me! Oh do say you love me! Say you love our child! Oh do say you love our child!" Oh my god, she sounds like she's twelve years old. If this is supposed to be 'liberating' I don't see it. In contrast, though, this book does bring up a rather modern, ethical question of just how another man would feel being used as a stud to father an heir when Lord Chatterley cannot do so himself. Lord Chatterley is actually quite open to his wife taking a lover for this very purpose. Assuming, of course, the lover is of the same station. The fact that she has taken up with a working class employee from the village is unconscionable! Which, I guess, brings us back to the classist notion of some people being more equal than others. Good grief. This book is considered a classic, and I suppose it does portray the life and mores of early 1900s, but it reads more like an episode of Desperate Housewives, or, even worse, a cheesy Penthouse 'letter'. *rolling eyes*

Lyric and sensual, D. H. Lawrence's last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lovely woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband's estate. The most controversial of Lawrence's books, Lady Chatterley's lover joyously affirms the author's vision of individual regeneration through sexual love. The book's power, complexity, and psychological intimacy make this a completely original work - a triumph of passion, an erotic celebration of life. (shelfari)

13 comments:

Anne said...

I read this book and I did not like it at all. I agree with you, Connie was whiny and I found the whole book boring.

Beth said...

I first read this book when I was far too young (it was recommended for the sex scenes...). Later read it in High School - appreciated it much more.

Trish said...

Anne - Boring, yes, and farcical. The whole thing was hard to take seriously.

Beth - Ha! Young adult is about where I'd place it, genre-wise. I don't think that would go over too well with parents, though lol

Tracy said...

This book was a present from my first boyfriend, at Uni, and whilst I gave him back or destroyed all of the other mementoes of our relationship when it ended, I kept the book (and the dedication he wrote inside it)

But I've never re-read it since, so I really do need to revisit it sometime. A real trip down memory lane!

Oh those poor poor fellows -I'm assuming the censors were all men-
Women shouldn't be allowed to read such filth! It might give them ideas about demanding a satisfying sex life!

Trish said...

Good point! There's no telling what kind of mischief women will get up to if their virtue is not carefully guarded. *horrors* With books like this, I'm sure the old guys felt they had their work cut out for them.

It would be interesting to see what you think about the story now as compared to then.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I know it's supposed to be liberating and all, but I get a nasty vibe from it (although I've never actually read it myself). For me, it's all "look what women can get up to when we turn our backs".

Trish said...

Don't worry, you're not missing much. I wondered about the 'liberating' aspect of it, too, but it's far from it, I found. It reads more like an Edwardian man's fantasy of a liberated woman.

Tony Storm said...

my brother have this book, but i never got around reading it, not really my kind of stuff

Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) said...

Great review. I haven't read this book yet because I find it intimidating, but the Desperate Housewives comparison totally cracked me up. Looking forward to this book now. :)

Trish said...

Yeah, I would say just have fun with it.

Robyn said...

I haven't read this book in ages, but just your quotes from Lady Chatterly make me think I won't be reading it again. She sounds like Bella from Twilight.

Trish said...

Good call. Lady Chatterley best belongs in the young adult section.

Cozy in Texas said...

I have never read this but it was the talk of my teenage years. It always struck me as a book without substance. Good review.
Ann