Alex's Reviews > Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
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's review
Jan 02, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, reading-through-history, smut, top-100, rth-lifetime
Read from May 28 to June 03, 2012

Here's what I think happens with this book: I think people think it's Victorian. The title sounds Victorian, right? And it's about...I think we call them the landed gentry*? and their dissolution, which is a major theme of the late Victorians. Lawrence even puts sort of a Victorian feel into his writing, which I believe (and hope) he's doing on purpose. (Does he do that in his other books?)

* which I always thought meant, you know, they had landed somewhere. Like Iceland? I always pictured well-dressed ladies and gentlemen stepping off boats. So that's a confusing thing to call them.

So I think two things happen when people read this book, or decide not to read it:
a) They think it's stuffy, because on the surface it sortof is;
b) The sex bits are totally incongruous - again, I think, on purpose - and people either don't realize what's happening or they do realize it and are confused by it.

Seriously, I've heard people disliking this book and I think they thought they were reading a stuffy old Victorian thing with bizarrely out of place smut shoved into it. And if you think that's what this is, then...well, that sounds great to me, but your mileage may vary.

Anyway, it's not that. It's set in the aftermath of WWI. There's a Brave New World reference.* Lawrence is a contemporary of Hemingway and Steinbeck and Faulkner; this is a modern novel. And he's talking abotu the death of the aristocracy, most obviously through the obvious metaphor of Chatterley's impotence. Lawrence has serious things to say about the nature of relationships between men and women, and how they're changing, and how women are taking control of their sexuality, and I think he's put it in this anachronistic setting to help make his point. He's talking about the death of the Victorian world. It's sharper than people think it is, is what I'm saying.

* Astute people might note that Lady Chatterley's Lover was published in 1928 and Brave New World wasn't even written until 1931, so wtf? Lawrence and Huxley were apparently friends, so my best guess is that Lawrence saw an early draft. It is not a We reference; the quote is, "Olive was reading a book about the future, when babies would be bred in bottles, and women would be 'immunized.'" That can only be Brave New World.

Also, Lady Chatterley feels a lot of things in her womb. Every time she sees a hot guy her womb, like, twitches. I didn't realize wombs were this jumpy.
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Reading Progress

05/29/2012 page 130
33.0% ""I thought I'd done with it all. Now I've begun it again."

"Begun what?"


"Life!" she re-echoed, with a queer thrill.

"It's life," he said. "There's no keeping clear. And if you do keep clear you might as well die. So if I've got to be broken open again, I have."

She did not see it that way, bit still. "It's just love," she said cheerfully."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer D maybe steven tyler can read lawrence and figure out the placenta thing via chatterly's twitchy womb.

Alex Ha...good idea.

Alex And (personal note) I'm not gonna examine this too much until I'm done with the book, but that anachronism is the whole point, isn't it? In a lot of ways WWI was the death blow for the old, stuffy English way of life; Chatterley's impotence is a none-too-subtle metaphor for that.

message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer D right?!

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