ABSTRACT – D. H. LAWRENCE - LADT CHATTERLEY’S LOVER 1928 PENGUIN CLASSICS. One of literature’s most notorious and controversial erotic novels, and also one of the most tedious and dull reads imaginable. The plot is very straightforward. Wealthy Clifford Chatterley is crippled in the trenches in World War One. His wife, Constance, unable to gain sexual satisfaction from him, establishes an affair with the working class gamekeeper, Mellors, who works on their estates. The neighbours, especially Mrs. Bolton, who respects Clifford, begin to get suspicious. Constance plans to have a surrogate baby to Mellors. She is due to go on a holiday in Venice with her sister, *** and hopes to make out that she was impregnated during the break, but her pregnancy has too obviously begun before she travels. Gossip breaks out in her absence when Mellors’s estranged wife turns up making trouble for him in Constance’s absence, creating quite a scandal in the town. Though he had vaguely promised to stand by his wife if she got with child from another, the scandal of her affair with the uncouth, working class gamekeeper is too much for him, and Clifford decides to leave her. The first half of the book deals with Lawrence’s condescending views on the working classes and the characters do little more than have lengthy conversations about socialism and wealth. There are some interesting comments on the decline of the colliery industry, but of course, the book mainly attracts people who want to read the sexual content.
When the sex comes, it is poetic and powerful, but the long wait for it makes the book interminably difficult to read. The lovers begin to discuss their private parts as separate entities, and give them their own personalities, Lady Jane and John Thomas. Mellors is described in fairly unsinkable terms, and often proves to be just plain downright rude to everyone needlessly, but he stands by Constance when all others, except her own father, abandon her. At one point, Constance tries to get a former admirer to take responsibility for her love child to be, but he just tries to blackmail Constance into posing for his paintings in the nude, which she declines to do. Unconvincing characters, dull political sermonising and precious little of the sex and bad language that was to get the book banned for so long and create one of the greatest court cases in British literary history. Anyone reading Lady Chatterley for pure titillation is going to be extremely disappointed.