Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D. H. Lawrence

Set in post WWI England, this is a story that examines the twin roles of sensuality and intellectualism in relationships. Lady Chatterley has a husband that is crippled from the waist down and unable to to sexually perform. Because they have a strong cerebral relationship at first the lack of physical intimacy isn’t an issue, but over time Lady Chatterley becomes less and less satisfied, eventually starting an affair. There are more than a few fairly explicit erotic sections which explains why this novel was banned in many countries for many years. More interesting though, is the message that Lawrence conveys: as important as an emotional and intellectual connection is in a relationship, a physical, sexual component is required for true happiness.

Written in the early part of the twentieth century, the style is stodgy but readable except when a speaker drops into the local, uneducated dialect. “Tha mun come one naight ter th’ cottage, afore tha goos; sholl ter?” And this isn’t the most obtuse passage! Lawrence has a sly sense of humor I liked, too. “Sex and a cocktail: they both lasted about as long, had the same effect, and amounted to about the same thing.” Overall I can’t say I loved the book, but I’m not sorry I read it either.

First Sentence:
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.

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