Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
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)