Share for friends:

Lady Chatterley's Lover (1983)

Lady Chatterley's Lover (1983)

Book Info

3.46 of 5 Votes: 4
Your rating
039460430X (ISBN13: 9780394604305)
modern library

About book Lady Chatterley's Lover (1983)

I think that Lady Chatterley's Lover is a book a lot of people have heard about, but perhaps not so many have read - at least, not since its heyday in the 60's as a bohemian cult novel, free-love manifesto, and object lesson in the sordid appeal of banned books.And to this day, it has a certain reputation. At least it did for me, something along the lines of, "Oh, that one that got banned for saying 'cunt' so many times". I had this vague notion it was about a steamy affair between a fancy countess or whatever, and some virile, uncouth manly man. All smut and no plot and plenty of descriptive four-letter words. You know -- literature!But while it definitely is all of that, it's also really not. Instead of wallowing in the allure of tawdry, meaningless fucking, the book is a passionate argument for the power of genuine, meaningful fucking. Not even fucking - lovemaking. Connecting. The book is really kind of disgustingly sentimental. Sort of.It follows Connie Reid, an artist's daughter who marries into the gentry as personified by Clifford Chatterley, who's insipid and impotent even before a WWI injury leaves him completely paralyzed below the waist. Clifford loves Connie for her mind, but without any physical component, for her the relationship is stifling and sterile. Enter Oliver Mellors, the gamekeeper on the estate, with his crude accent and his big broad shoulders and his proudly-brandished "cod atween my legs". Bow chicka wow wow, etc.For all that, the book has definitely lost its power to shock. Especially in these days of the internet, where the most graphic hard-core pornography is only a seemingly-innocuous google search away, this book is relatively tame. And all the 1930's hullabaloo over "unprintable" words is pretty quaint, too, in this age where my sister and I regularly, endearingly tell each other "don't be such a cunt". The sex scenes in Chatterley are profane, sure, but they're also pretty vague and bland (the famous sodomy scene, for instance, is so floridly euphemistic you hardly know what the fuck is going on. "Burning out the shames, the deepest, oldest shames, in the most secret places." Huh.)And here's the thing: Connie & Mellors's relationship, though explicitly described, is in fact being held up as this sacred ideal. Their vigorous, bodily carnality is the only true, meaningful connection in this whole damn book. All these prosperous, intellectual, impotent milquetoasts connecting solely on a cerebral level fall flat and stale. Empty! Confining! Repulsive! And all this meaninglessness of art and literature, fancy houses and jazz music, money, money, money, and every other offering to the "bitch-goddess Success" -- all in the service of pushing away the horrors of the recent war, the industrialized destruction of nature, the cavernous class divide. "Ours is essentially a tragic age," the novel begins, "so we refuse to take it tragically."And, as the introduction to my edition points out, it's not even really about a cross-class love affair. Connie's not really a Lady, and Mellors is an educated army officer - hardly the illiterate boor he seems to be. They're both just playing the roles they were forced into, and when they are together, all of that falls away. It's a book about naked humanity - in every sense of that phrase - and it's a book about what matters, or what should matter anyway, in Lawrence's view. Sex is a part of it. But it's really authenticity, seeing the world as it really is and our fellow men as they truly are.I read this as part of my "50 Cult Novels" project, and one thing many cult books have in common (besides being iconoclastic and often censored) is their very specific idealism. This is the way to fix society. This one thing. Which is, I think, why book cults tend to be made up of teenagers and young adults - people for whom simple, categorical, and ostensibly radical ideas have massive, mind-blowing appeal.So it's no surprise that Lady Chatterley's Lover was so popular in the 60's, despite being a somewhat boring, overwritten book. Any book that had been banned for 30 years, which made the tendentious claim that sex is the answer to all our problems, was basically destined for cult appeal. Nowadays, that appeal has somewhat lessened - though maybe had I read it in my early 20's I'd feel differently (cult novels are often not just of their time, but of the time in your life when you first read them). Still, I was surprised at how much I kind of liked the book. The characters are complex, the social commentary still relevant, the sex scenes quaintly steamy. It's worth a read.

This book was a bizarre experience for me. It reads much like a traditional, classic English novel, except with loads of descriptive sex and vulgar words mixed in for shock value. Instead of being shocked, though, I just found it all a bit tiresome and rather silly. Maybe it was the fact that Lawrence sometimes used words like "thee" and "thy" and "dost" mixed in with modern day vulgarities that added to the overall unintentional humor of it for me, or perhaps it was that the vulgarities were simply used so darned often. In any event, I found myself laughing out loud often. I also found myself cringing. C and F words aside, did anyone tell Lawrence the word "bowels" is not particularly appealing? Anyway, I can see why some people felt at the time this was quite simply a trashy romance disguised as literature. It kind of is. Well-written and intelligent, for the most part, but still a bit trashy nonetheless.The story is essentially this: Lady Chatterley's young husband is paralyzed from an injury at war, and is rendered impotent. This leaves the question: can Lady Chatterley be happy in her new marriage without sexual intimacy, or is she excused for seeking physical satisfaction elsewhere with another man? This may have made for a somewhat interesting story (whether you sympathized with her or not) had Lady Chatterley and her husband had a loving friendship or an otherwise soulful or intellectual connection of some kind. But, they didn't. They seemed to have little in common at all. And as such, the book became (for me) merely a story about a woman generally unhappy in her marriage who chooses to have an affair. The fact that her husband is paralyzed becomes almost irrelevant, as it appeared their marriage would have lacked love and passion (physical or emotional) regardless. While I understand Lawrence was trying to argue that both mind and body must be equally satisfied, particularly in a society Lawrence felt was growing more industrialized and thus emotionally and physically stilted (as was Lady Chatterley's husband), I don't think he did so in the most effective or impressive of ways.I think I had been hoping to read a book about the complexities of what truly defines intimacy, and how a sudden illness or disability can alter a relationship. But that was definitely not this book.That being said, there are somewhat interesting (and yet also at times rather dull) discussions on the state of the social classes and industrialization in post-WWI England, as well as some rather open (if not extremely overly stereotypical) dialogues about the differences in which men and women viewed sex at the time. Vulgar words excluded, the prose is quite lovely in places, and there's no doubt Lawrence can write. But in the end, it felt much to me like nothing more than a book trying way too hard to be provocative. I just could not take it seriously.

Do You like book Lady Chatterley's Lover (1983)?

It's my impression that D.H. Lawrence is rather out of fashion these days, and it's not particularly hard to see why: the "priest of love" shtick comes off now as dated in the extreme, the almost mystical pantheism is heavy-handed, and of course there's the blatant essentializing of gender and the bizarre views of human sexuality (and female sexuality in particular) that are problematic in the extreme. On a more personal level, I can't say I cared for the prose style much—a bit overblown and a little wordy, even if the occasional beautiful phrase manages to surface throughout. And yet, all considered, I still ended up kind of liking Lady Chatterley's Lover. I think it's maybe because I kind of admire the attempt even though the final results often fall far short of what I would consider successful. Robin Wood kind of gets at this when he writes, regarding The Rainbow, that "the very ambitiousness of the undertaking—the intensive exploration of areas of experience previously untouched in literature—entails problems of articulacy and organization that Lawrence doesn't always solve." Exactly. The main characters are often emotionally incoherent, acting and reacting in often illogical ways—but that seems to me to be exactly the point: it's the inevitable fallout of characters lacking a means of expression, searching for means to articulate the previously unarticulated (be it socially, sexually, literarily). It was striking to me how the three main characters are all stranded in "half" states: Connie is half modern liberated woman and half devoted helpmate, Clifford is considered "half a man" due to the paralysis of the lower half of his body, Mellors stranded between classes (his constant shifting between "proper English" and the local vernacular was fascinating, if sometimes made for difficult reading). That all three end up essentially destroying each other trying to crawl out of these emotionally deadened half states was often poignant, even when intellectually I was revolted by their (expressed) rationalizations for doing so. "The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal circumstances."

Lawrence has in recent times fallen out of fashion in the literary world, which is a shame because despite his reputation (often well-deserved) as a misogynist, the themes he explores in this novel go well beyond its sexual reputation. This is a novel about living versus existing. The conversations between the upper class friends proves witty, but ultimately dry, lifeless, as is shown by Tommy Dukes' reasoning as to why he is asexual. Moreso, the novel is about class restrictions, about a dying breed of aristocratic dinosaurs; it's about the call of money and the lifelessness that becoming a slave to the wage creates. Lawrence broke not only sexual boundaries (after all, to give the man his due, he did offer Connie sexual fulfillment, while managing to not make her a wanton whore), but also those of class, and he did so in a provocative, entertaining, and lush read.

this book disgusts me. what a terrible example of genre romance! oh, but, wait; caroliiiime, (you might say) this book is an important example of literary transgression! it contains several graphic sex scenes and was published way before explicit sex was common in fiction! the publishing was quite a scandal and boldly challenged the line between free speech and obscenity! and, i will still tell you that this novel is bollocks.far from producing passion in me, the reader, it made me ashamed that people might read the plight of misguided connie and connect her to me, as we are both women. she's a horrid, boring sort, possessing only the most tame and insipid of emotions. and worse yet, her actions are undeniably lacking in tenacity, conflict, earnestness, shame or any other quality that lends depth to a character. constance is quite ordinary, but it is d.h. lawrence that i really abhor. it upsets me so much that he attempts a novel from the viewpoint of a woman without bothering to consider whether or not his character had any womanishness to her. i consider it an insult.then there's the excessive word-play. i can't tell if they are merely quaint anachronisms or if the piteous author thought the language needed more romance to accompany "the summation of d.h. lawrence's achievement". (signet's phrasing, not mine). lady chatterley's lover is rife with phrases as "the bitch-goddess of Success;" where lawrence panders to the writer within us all, appealing to our sympathy for the starving artist and his hunger for fame. i'm not fooled. and to guise it all under the curtain of a torrid love affair is truly awful- how moralistic and judgemental it is, all while professing "freedom" from sexual and social mores! no, dear friends, do not believe such duplicitous cunning. he lies! he preaches the importance of freedom for all-- and yet he seeks to imprison each of us within his novel, championing tired victorian sexual and social stereotypes. for example, connie's insane desire to have a child fuels her desperate extramarital love-fire. this does not free anyone who lives within the confines of a cold marriage, it only sanctifies those who seek to travel down the traditional avenues of escapism. meanwhile, lawrence pushes traditional imprisoning social values of classism, sexism and marriage yet glazes his suckerpunches in the absymal glow of nauseating sex-language. it's true that i chortled over his lumbering descriptions with my own mate, but only insasmuch as we felt truly sorry that anyone might conceive of a sexual experience from such a phallocratic vantage conclusion, allow me to leave you with these choice quotes. first is a compliment that the lover pays to lady chatterley, a compliment that she treasures in her heart and ponders over in her own mousy and boring way. it is his objectificatory admiration of her, where he denies her the right to be anything other than his construction. she remembers this prison fondly in the second quote. fini."Tha's got such a nice tail on thee," he said, in the throaty caressive dialect. "Tha's got the nicest arse of anybody. It's the nicest, nicest woman's arse as is! An ivry bit of it is woman, woman sure as nuts...Tha's got a real soft sloping bottom on thee, as a man loves in 'is guts. It's a bottom as could hold the world up, it is! An' if tha shits an' pisses, I'm glad, I don't want a woman as couldna shit nor piss.". . ."And she heard his voice again: Tha's got the nicest arse woman's arse of anybody! And she felt his hand warmly and softly closing over her tail again, over her secret places, like a benediction. And the warmth ran through her womb, and the little flames flickered in her knees, and she said: Oh no! I mustn't go back on it! I must not go back on him! I must stick to him and to what I had of him, through everything. I had no warm, flamy life till he gave it me. And I won't go back on it."

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author D.H. Lawrence

Other books in category Mystery & Thriller