Thursday, July 19, 2012

E-Reading: Book Review of Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H Lawrence

Name of Book: Lady Chatterley's Lover

Author: DH Lawrence

ISBN: 978-1-411-43250-5

Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics

Type of book: World War I, 1900s-1920s, paralyzed, women's desires, adultery, wealth, high class vs working class, sensuality, love, gender differences

Year it was published: 1928


Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras.

The last, and most famous, of D. H. Lawrence’s novels, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in 1928 and banned in England and the United States as pornographic. While sexually tame by today’s standards, the book is memorable for better reasons—Lawrence’s masterful and lyrical prose, and a vibrant story that takes us bodily into the world of its characters.

As the novel opens, Constance Chatterley finds herself trapped in an unfulfilling marriage to a rich aristocrat whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and impotent. After a brief but unsatisfying affair with a playwright, Lady Chatterley enjoys an extremely passionate relationship with the gamekeeper on the family estate, Oliver Mellors. As Lady Chatterley falls in love and conceives a child with Mellors, she moves from the heartless, bloodless world of the intelligentsia and aristocracy into a vital and profound connection rooted in sexual fulfillment.

Through this novel, Lawrence attempted to revive in the human consciousness an awareness of savage sensuality, a sensuality with the power to free men and women from the enslaving sterility of modern technology and intellectualism. Perhaps even more relevant today than when it first appeared, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a triumph of passion and an erotic celebration of life.


While I could sympathize with Lady Chatterley and her position, I had a difficult time feeling sorry for Clifford. (One should feel sorry for him; losing potency at a young age, having a wife that cheated on him and so forth...) The lover, Mellors, although an interesting character, I found him a bit boring and his accent was very frustrating! I also couldn't understand why he became lovers with Lady Chatterley. I am not sure if I missed the scene or if the author neglected to write it in, but what is it he liked about her? Why did he become her lover in the first place? Did he feel sorry for her? The other characters, that of the nurse and Connie's sister Hilda, aren't explored or are attempted to be explored.


Basically, happiness is more important than duty or obligation.


This is written primarily from Connie's point of view, although without a warning there are a few switches to Mellors' point of view as well as Clifford's and Mrs. Bolton's. It's in third person narrative. While it was interesting and fascinating, I wasn't happy with the neglect that Mellors received because I have no idea what or who caused him to fall in love with Connie, and the ending can be determined as an open ending. I also am interested in why DH Lawrence resented Clifford and barely gave the poor guy a voice. All that a reader feels are Connie's miseries caused by Clifford, and not once have I thought or considered how Clifford might have felt.

Author Information:

September 11, 1885 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, The United Kingdom

March 02, 1930


Literature & Fiction, Poetry, Travel

Otto Gross, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville, Lev Shestov...more

About this author
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David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English writer of the 20th century, whose prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, human sexuality and instinct.

Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage." At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical "great tradition" of the English novel. He is now generally valued as a visionary thinker and a significant representative of modernism in English literature, although some feminists object to the attitudes toward women and sexuality found in his works.


I was looking forward to reading the "scandalous" novel of the times, and the only things I knew about it were the scandals that was caused because of it and that it contained sexual scenes. I felt that the beginning, the first few chapters had big potential for becoming a five star novel, but then it quickly drifted downhill. I do appreciate the fact that DH Lawrence has attempted to write from a woman's point of view, as well as tried to get into the female psyche of what it was like for a woman to make love and whatnot. I do applaud him for doing this, considering that its the time women gained or were gaining their voices. I also applaud him for trying to encourage women to be more, ahem, vocal, rather than lying and taking it. Something that is known for us that wasn't known back then is that women tend to come to a crisis through a different stimulation rather than what was believed back then. However, I did have problems with the novel, one being that he's over verbose and tries too hard to create the atmosphere of either tenderness or love, which he doesn't succeed at doing.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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