C.W. Smith's Reviews > Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
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's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

Surprisingly addictive for presumably stuffy literature: Lawrence balances out his very English characters and dated prose with compelling analyses of gender and class. Sometimes the ideas border on misogyny, but throwing around a word like that simplifies the grandness of Lawrence's undertaking. Despite its sometimes problematic (that's a euphemism) portraying women, Lady Chatterley's Lover challenges modern ideas regarding sex and gender. Mellors's gloomy prophecies for the fate of industrial human civilization haven't been debunked over time; they were only overdramatic. Within a hundred years, he surmises, we will have destroyed ourselves with our thirst for money and our alienation from our true animal selves. We're almost there and we're still kicking... But we're not exactly thriving. The OWS protests and mounting international tensions make Lawrence's alarmist sensual novel as relevant, or maybe more, than it was in the late 1920s when it was written and 1960s when it finally began to enter the mainstream book market.

Oh--and all I'd ever heard about Lady Chatterley's Lover was that it was considered lurid in its time, but is tame by today's standards. Having now read the novel, I disagree. The literary tone lends the erotic passages some shock value. On a few occasions, I found my eyebrows raised--and I'm subscribed to Hustler! There's also some amusement in Lawrence's awkward, English language when discussing sex between Connie and Mellors. There wasn't as much of a flashy vocabulary for sex in the early 1900s I guess... Lawrence's use of "crisis" for orgasm never ceases to amuse me. And I hope it never does.

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