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Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley's Lover

by D. H. Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,224174402 (3.49)1 / 470
Banned, burned, and the subject of a landmark obscenity trial, Lawrence's lyric and sensual last novel is now regarded as "our time's most significant romance." -- "The New York Times. "This classic tale of love and discovery pits the paralyzed and callous Clifford Chatterley against his indecisive wife and her persuasive lover.… (more)

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English (156)  Spanish (4)  Italian (3)  Swedish (3)  Dutch (2)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (173)
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Lady Chatterley's Lover is Lawrence's final novel before his untimely death from tuberculosis at the age of 44, and like every one of his works it follows these same familiar themes: the renunciation of the body in favor of the intellect, epitomized by the wheelchair-bound Clifford (Lord Chatterley) and his unconsummated marriage to Connie. Predictably, then, the novel unfolds Connie's physical flowering, awoken by an initial affair with the populist Irish playwright Michaelis, who fails to satisfy her, and eventually by Oliver Mellors, the local gamekeeper, the lover of the title.

It startles me that I have to give this book such a low rating, since I have at least liked, if not loved, almost everything else I have read by Lawrence. Women in Love, in particular, I consider to be one of the greatest novels of the English canon. But Lady Chatterley's Lover pales in comparison to that earlier work. The central reason is that Lawrence provides a cast that is too didactic and one-sided for its own good. The reader is never in any doubt that our sympathies are supposed to lie with Connie and Mellors, with Clifford presented as a fairly straightforward petty tyrant whose sterile emotional and intellectual life cannot make up for his obvious physical limitations. Sorely missing is a character like Gerald Crich (from Women in Love) who, despite repeatedly being in the "wrong" in terms of Lawrence's philosophy, nonetheless possesses a robust physical presence and energy that lends nuance and ambiguity to his character, making him a worthy counterbalance to Rupert Birkin's role as Lawrence's mouthpiece. In Lady Chatterley's Lover, by contrast, Lawrence fails to give voice to the kind of self-criticism that adds depth and credibility to his other works of fiction.

It was because of this lopsidedness in the narrative perspective that I constantly felt in a rebellious mood against the novel's point of view. Connie is supposed to be the sympathetic core of the book, but while I understood her reservations well enough, I couldn't identify with many of her actions. Unlike her Victorian predecessors, this adulteress was not stuck in her marriage to Clifford: she could have walked away at any time, having both the financial means and the legal ability to do so. Instead, she prefers sanctimoniously to torture Clifford from a sense of revenge that completely undermined any sympathy I might have had for her. Sure, Clifford was a mistake and a boor, but Connie's cruelty to him is selfish, immature, and ultimately unwarranted. Her sadistic fantasy of passing off another man's child for him to raise is probably the nadir of her character.

Ultimately, Lady Chatterley's Lover is a failure not only for its shrill one-sidedness, but because it fails to extend Lawrence's philosophy in any meaningful way. Certainly the language and sex scenes are more explicit, overlaid as they are with the usual Lawrentian jargon that makes them sound strange and outdated to readers not used to his metaphors, but the whole story is haunted by a sense that we have seen it all before: Mellors, in particular, might be Paul Morel, the protagonist of Sons and Lovers, some twenty years later. The philosophical discussions, similarly, feature an array of forgettable characters who pop up and then disappear without adding anything new to what Lawrence has said before. But what irked me the most was Connie's newfound desire for a child as the symbol of her hope for a better world. This conclusion I found to be the worst kind of emotional blackmail, one that implies that the decision not to have children is an indicator of despair and a renunciation of life.

There are times when I have thought, like a young Nicholas Urfe in John Fowles's novel The Magus, that Lawrence was the greatest, most splendid human being of the twentieth century. There is certainly plenty of wisdom and insight in his diagnosis of the underlying problems of modern humanity. But then there are other times, such as when reading Lady Chatterley's Lover, that I find myself unable to follow him any further, not because I have come to a fundamental disagreement with his ideas, but because the terms on which they are offered are no longer acceptable. ( )
  vernaye | May 23, 2020 |
An indispensable stepping stone in our cultural reformulation of the sexual relationship, if a little limited for its male perspective. ( )
  jostie13 | May 14, 2020 |
State of text uncertain. Contains 1933 preface by Frieda Lawrence claiming to present 'the standard edition of the final third version of [the] manuscript, unexpurgated and carefully revised from the first privately printed issue. Difficult words glossed in back, in Japanese. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
Book orig. publ. 1928 ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
Read this way back in 2010. It is a story of an illicit love affair. This book was censored for many years and was first published in Italy and not England and was a subject of an obscenity trial. The affair is between Lady Chatterley and a working man (games keeper) which is one of the themes; unfair rule of intellects over working class. Lady Chatterley discovers she must love with her body as well as her mind. Love and personal relationships are the threads of the novel. A variety of relationships are explored including; bullying and perverse maternal.
industrialization/nature ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 9, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence, D. H.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aas, NilsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alopaeus, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andréen, OmarIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Archibald, SandraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Armando, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barstad, KariIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonds, LauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch, AndrésTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bryan, Frederick vanPeltAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Busby, BrianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cushman, KeithContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahl, ChrixIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daly, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Simone, VanniIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dench, JudiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Durrell, LawrencePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dyer, GeoffIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emerson, HuntIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleutiaux, PierretteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forsström, IngmarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, EmiliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Friedland, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fryn, Haydee N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gart, RolandContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gåsøy, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Göktürk, AkşitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gopegui, BelénIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graff, FinnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hare, SteveAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, KathrynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helmut, WernerContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilton, MargaretNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoggart, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnsen, EinarIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kamm, JürgenContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kippenbroeck, Johan H. F.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolstad, JanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kristofori, JanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, Friedasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lessing, DorisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundkvist, ArturForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyon, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macleish, ArchibaldPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malignon, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malraux, AndréForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín, SilviaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monte, AxelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, Harry T.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordon, PierreTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsen, Poul AsgerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Partanen, JormaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peake, MaxineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkins, MorelandForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pirè, LucianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rademacher, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, TomTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, GeoffreyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roger-Cornaz, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandfort, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schorer, MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, SarahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shi, YuanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
South, AnnaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Squires, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tabak, JosipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toming, Hans JørgenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Topia, AndréAuteursecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vernière, LaureTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vrba, FrantišekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weisser, Susan OstrovIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Worthen, JohnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yelin, JulietaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Publisher's dedication : "......to the twelve jurors who returned a verdict of 'Not Guilty' [on 2 November, 1960] and thus made D.H. Lawrence's last novel available for the first time to the public in the United Kindom"
First words
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new litle habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble ver the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
The beautiful pure freedom of a woman was infnitely more wonderful than any sexual love. The only unfortunate thing was that men lagged so far behind women in the matter. They insisted on the sex thing like dogs.
"No, I don't hate you," she said. "I think you're nice." - "Ah!" he said to her fiercely, "I'd rather you said that to me than said you love me! It means such a lot more..."
The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal experience. There's lots of good fish in the sea... maybe... but the vast masses seem to be mackerel or herring, and if you're not mackerel or herring yourself, you are likely to find very few good fish in the sea.
"I can't see I do a woman any more harm by sleeping with her than by dancing with her... or even talking to her about the weather. It's just an interchange of sensations instead of ideas, so why not?"
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Average: (3.49)
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2.5 42
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441496, 0141192178, 0241951542

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1907832122, 1907832203

Tantor Media

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Gray Rabbit Publications

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