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Lady Chatterley's Lover
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New School Classics- 1900-1999 > Lady Chatterley's Lover - SPOILERS

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message 1: by Melanti (last edited Feb 05, 2017 02:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melanti | 2386 comments This thread is for discussion of our March 2017 New School Group Read selection, Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence.

Feel free to post and discuss spoilers in this thread.


Myst | 173 comments There's more than 1 book? My copy is 317 pages with 19 chapters


Pink | 6556 comments There's just one, that warning was probably for last month's group read!


Piyumi I joined the group hoping to start some discussions on books and then saw that some of the books I still haven't read.
:o) excited to finally get on with a discussion of a book I have read.


Pink | 6556 comments Looking forward to hearing you thoughts Piyumi. I've previously read and enjoyed this one too. I can't wait to see what everyone else thinks of it :)


Piyumi Thanks. Great, then with everyone's permission, I'll make the start? :D


Myst | 173 comments I'm about 1/3 through and while it's well written, it's kinda dry.

And I fail to see what's so scandalous other than (view spoiler) and observing her body in the mirror.


Loretta | 2668 comments Myst wrote: "I'm about 1/3 through and while it's well written, it's kinda dry.

And I fail to see what's so scandalous other than [spoilers removed] and observing her body in the mirror."


I agree Myst. It's kind of boring and silly to me. Maybe for the time it was scandalous but certainly not for today's world!


Melanti | 2386 comments I'm about 1/3 of the way myself and am really liking it so far.

I wasn't expecting there to be as much about class issues in there, or all the things about nature, etc. It's been a pleasant surprise.

I've barely gotten to the main romance, (I think), so it might get a bit more graphic soon - but the first 1/3 or so wasn't as scandalous as I was expecting - but still quite scandalous by 1920s standards.

Piyumi wrote: "Thanks. Great, then with everyone's permission, I'll make the start? :D"

Of course!


Piyangie | 397 comments I've finished my reading. Simply loved it. Waiting for the discussion to start.


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 03, 2017 08:31AM) (new)

Call me a prude, and I am by today's standards, but only after a few chapters in and I'm starting to blush from the brief liaisons with her first lover. lol.

Though I'll admit I'm loving the read though. More than I thought I would.


Piyangie | 397 comments I agree with Melanti. I was expecting a lot more graphic (by what I have heard of its background) but found it was not so much as I expected. But yes by early 1900 standards it is quite scandalous.


Piyumi Pam wrote: "Call me a prude, and I am by today's standards, but only after a few chapters in and I'm starting to blush from the brief liaisons with her first lover. lol.

Though I'll admit I'm loving the read ..."


Brilliant, looks like everyone's made a start :D.

Pam, I'm with you in this :), and I think for me maybe it had more to do with the way Lawrence had portrayed Chatterley's liaisons. The kind of awe she experienced in discovering herself. I agree with everyone it is not 50 shades of gray ;) and because of such novels we would be expecting a lot more when it is framed with such words as scandalous or graphic. Still I look Lawrence work and see the roots for such novels as the Gray serious or other romances.
Yes, I too was surprised by the amount of class discussion within the narrative.
What could have made Lawrence pick that theme as well for this novel?


Susan O (sozmore) I'm not really enjoying the writing style, although I've adjusted somewhat. (I've read 90%.) It seems somewhat "scattershot" like a lot of fragmentary thoughts at times. I'm wondering if this is the same in other books by Lawrence.


Simone Martel | 45 comments I like Lawrence a lot, but I think it's fascinating that sometimes he takes a woman's point of view so well and other times veers toward misogyny. I'm reading this book again (3rd time) and enjoying it. I also have a censored version from the 50s and it's fun going back and forth, noting the differences. ("we loved a flame into being" instead of "we f***d a flame into being.")


Piyangie | 397 comments Since everyone has started putting their views forward, I would like to say few things.
The language used was definitely not what could be accepted by 1920 standard. It was much too vulgar. Even for the modern time I was not comfortable at all (this just could be me)
And I agree with Simone. The book supports both the woman's point of view and then the man's, the author not being partial to any point of view. I think Lawrence may have left it for individual reader interpretation; the individual view of what is right and wrong, what is moral and immoral.
However the main and the most beautiful part of the story was, as Piyumi aptly stated, a woman's walk on the path of self discovery casting off the accepted social norms and boundaries of class.


Melanti | 2386 comments N. J. wrote: "But I find D. H. Lawrence easier to read than say James Joyce and to an extend Virginia Woolf, because he still maintains a fairly straightforward plot. ..."

I agree. I've yet to make it through one of Woolf's books, but I'm not having much problem making it through this one. It won't be my favorite book ever, but I'm enjoying it.

Though, I am on at 63% and wondering when the actual romance is going to start as opposed to mere sleeping together.


Piyangie | 397 comments Melanti wrote: "N. J. wrote: "But I find D. H. Lawrence easier to read than say James Joyce and to an extend Virginia Woolf, because he still maintains a fairly straightforward plot. ..."

I agree. I've yet to mak..."


Since spoilers are allowed I will say this. The romance (if you can call it so) is actually comes at the last two or so chapters. Most of the part it is rather the enjoyment of physical passion.

And since Virginia Woolf was mentioned, I want to say sadly she is the only classic author I have come across so far that I could not make through. I started on her To the Lighthouse and had to give up. :(


Loretta | 2668 comments Piyangie wrote: "Melanti wrote: "N. J. wrote: "But I find D. H. Lawrence easier to read than say James Joyce and to an extend Virginia Woolf, because he still maintains a fairly straightforward plot. ..."

I agree...."


Don't feel bad Piyangie, I couldn't finish it either! :)


Melanti | 2386 comments N. J. wrote: "Melanti ...

Isn't the relationship between Connie and Mellors sort of romantic?"


Not really - though I still have the few chapters left that Piyangie says are the most romantic.

They're having sex, sure, so there's passion there. But romance? I'm not seeing any. The first few times they never said a thing. But later on, nearly every time Mellors says anything important to him - anything REAL - Connie more or less ignores it and him until he gives up and starts talking in dialect again.

I kind of feel sorry for Mellors, actually, since he seems more invested in it than Connie is at this point, and he also realizes that she's not that invested. He divorces his wife so he can be with her and instead of being happy, her response is more like "Oh! Right! I forgot we were going to do that! I need to divorce my husband some day."


Piyangie | 397 comments Loretta wrote: "Piyangie wrote: "Melanti wrote: "N. J. wrote: "But I find D. H. Lawrence easier to read than say James Joyce and to an extend Virginia Woolf, because he still maintains a fairly straightforward plo..."

Thanks Loretta. Happy to know I'm not the only one. :)


message 22: by Susan O (last edited Feb 05, 2017 09:38AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Susan O (sozmore) N. J. wrote: "You can blame that on the 'stream of consciousness' method"

Ah, so now I can put that literary term with a style and author. I've heard of it, but I do read more older lit. Thanks NJ!! I did adjust and finished the book, which overall was OK for me. I do like a good story rather than just being in characters heads. I've never read Joyce or Wolfe.


Melanti | 2386 comments I just finished this and I agree that the last couple of chapters do get more romantic.

But I'm still not convinced that Connie is still going to be interested in 6 months to a year.
Or that she ever would gone through with leaving her husband if it hadn't been for the scandal coming out.


Emily Dybdahl | 147 comments I'm amused by this quote in chapter 9: "For this reason, the gossip was humiliating. And for the same reason, most novels, especially popular ones, are humiliating too. The public responds now only to an appeal to its vices. "
so...this logic must be why he chose to write this novel? :)


message 25: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin Green | 145 comments Emily - I've just read that quote. I had to read it twice and yes, it made me wonder who or which novels Lawrence was slating.


Emily Dybdahl | 147 comments Odwyer wrote: "Emily - I've just read that quote. I had to read it twice and yes, it made me wonder who or which novels Lawrence was slating."

He did reference Gaskell and George Eliot and another author on one of the preceding pages and I bet Jane Austen would fall in that category too. It's just funny to me when authors write into their stories why their idea of a novel is superior to other novels.


message 27: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Eckert | 113 comments I felt like the scandal was from the first chapter, that Connie and her sister were raised in such a liberal way and not virgins. I've read this before, and it's good, but I didn't like this nearly as much as Sons and Lovers, or even the short story The Rockinghorse Winner.


Robin P | 65 comments There is a commentary on this book, that besides being frankly about sex, it is also about the decline of the class system. The impotent upperclass husband is opposed by the virile workingman.


Charlotte (charlottecph) | 8 comments Yes, I am reading this book more for the description of the declining upperclass society in England after the First World War. The description of sex doesn't move me. I can not relate to any of the persons. Even though we do get close to them, Lawrence describes them in an impersonal, distanced (frustrated) way.

I found some interesting facts in Doris Lessing's introduction, which comes very close to how he and his wife were. Lawrence had tuberculosis, which heightens sexuality and feverish imaginings, and it makes impotent.

Cliffors is actually Lawrence. His wife, Frieda, openly had several lovers. I can feel Lawrence's personal frustrations through Clifford.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments Charlotte wrote: "Yes, I am reading this book more for the description of the declining upperclass society in England after the First World War. The description of sex doesn't move me. I can not relate to any of the..."

One hundred percent agree that the description of societal change is the most important aspect of this book.


message 31: by Pink (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 6556 comments I always felt that Lawrence put himself in both characters of the husband and the lover, one representing the flawed body he was stuck with, the other showing his true desires.

This is my favourite period to read about, showing how society was changing for the upper and lower classes in England.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments That is really an interesting point Pink. What a torment.


Piyangie | 397 comments Charlotte wrote: "Yes, I am reading this book more for the description of the declining upperclass society in England after the First World War. The description of sex doesn't move me. I can not relate to any of the..."

This is interesting. I didn't know the personal background of Lawrence. Now that I know, it makes the story all the more real. I can now relax on my certain critical views on Clifford.


Piyangie | 397 comments Pink wrote: "I always felt that Lawrence put himself in both characters of the husband and the lover, one representing the flawed body he was stuck with, the other showing his true desires.

This is my favouri..."


An interesting observation Pink. Now I want to re read the book in that light.


message 35: by Jerilyn (new) - added it

Jerilyn | 14 comments I preferred Women In Love. It seemed more thoughtful and inspired empathy with the characters. Chatterly by comparison seems cold. The"graphic" language about sexual matters feels out of place and disconnected. Do you think the author is using this to underline the separation of sex from love for these people?


message 36: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin Green | 145 comments Just finished reading. It was my first Lawrence novel and I enjoyed his writing. The sex and affair was soon lost to the interest and intrigue of social class, industry and philosophy. I'll be adding Lawrence's other work to my TRB.


message 37: by Jerilyn (new) - added it

Jerilyn | 14 comments Uh oh, I posted too soon. Charles 10 gets better. Do others read metaphors for the industrial revolution here? I appreciate the way Mrs. Braxton is able to get Clifford to come alive again, and sadly ironic that the keeper and Connie help each other in this way. It seems significant that these intricacies are related with sensitivity, not cold and graphic.


message 38: by Jerilyn (new) - added it

Jerilyn | 14 comments Sorry, Mrs. Bolton.


Josue | 9 comments I just finished it. it's funny cause this is a novel that i thought i'd never read it(due the title)it worth it though!! That last Mellors's letter got inside me. Such a great ending


message 40: by Pink (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Jerliyn, yes I think there are comparisons to be made with the industrial revolution and the change in roles for different classes.

Josue, I'm glad you found it a worthwhile read. I was surprised to like it too!


Piyangie | 397 comments Josue wrote: "I just finished it. it's funny cause this is a novel that i thought i'd never read it(due the title)it worth it though!! That last Mellors's letter got inside me. Such a great ending"

Agree with you Josue. It was a beautiful ending with their hopes for a future. The letter well establishes Mellor's feelings towards Constantly which were rapidly making progress.
I had the same thought you entertained and I wouldn't have ever read it if it was not chosen for this group discussion. And I'm glad I did because this book simply bowled me over!


Jen from Quebec :0) (muppetbaby99) | 215 comments MAN, I think the NICEST thing Connie has said about the working class was that they were 'half dead corpses'. She continuously calls them ugly, hopeless, terrible creatures! -Jen from Quebec :0)


Melanti | 2386 comments She's pretty down on civilization as a whole, I think.

To me, it seemed she's more into the primal side of things,


message 44: by Leni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1182 comments I just finished the book and I'll try to sum up my impressions.

1. This is the "Lost Generation" of post WW1, and Lawrence has little sympathy for them. (Or does he?) The men are not manly enough, the women not womanly enough, the rulers can't rule and the masses don't know their place because they have no fixed place anymore. Nothing is genuine, noting has meaning. People are so desperately trying to enjoy themselves, they can find no true enjoyment. Connie and Mellor are trying to find meaning again, through a genuine connection with each other.

2. Sir Clifford is somewhat remarkable for his notion that the classes are opposite poles and eternally apart, yet he believes it is all due to nurture, not nature. Take any baby and raise it in any way, and the baby will fit the role. Once the child grows up, on the other hand, social mobility becomes impossible or at least frighteningly improper and undesirable.

3. Connie takes a more democratic attitude. She thinks all should be equal, but she also despises everybody equally. The lower classes are dirty and the vernacular is awful. The upper classes are cold and their prattle is self-absorbed and insignificant.

4. Lawrence is much too fond of the word "loins".

5. It was brave and unusual of Lawrence to write so passionately and detailed about a woman actually having sexuality and getting enjoyment from sex.

6. All the men in the book are really lousy lovers, emotionally and physically (although Mellor's letter at the end shows some promise for the emotional side, and somehow he and Connie are a good match physically.) The men appear to be of the opinion that all sex should be in the missionary position, the woman should keep as still as possible and let the man do the work, and if she isn't able to reach orgasm at the same time as the man she is somehow deficient as a woman, selfish, and possibly a lesbian.

7. Holy casual racism, Batman! Not that there are any people of colour in this book, but there are offhand comments about Jews and black women are more sensual than white women, but they are also like mud. Lovely. (Ok, I know this was long ago, and it's not a prevalent topic or anything, but I had to mention it.)

8. This is a BDSM story! Connie wants to be objectified, to be seen as body, not mind. She gets off on a man taking what he wants from her body and then showing her some tenderness as aftercare. Clifford becomes a better and more assured man once he engages in age play with Mrs. Braxton as a maternity figure. The way Lawrence describes it, however, I get the sense that he approves of male dominance and not of female dominance. That when this works for Clifford it is because he is defective. Mrs. Braxton both likes it and despises Clifford. Throughout the story there is the sense that men and women find genuine connections with each other if there is an equality based on male dominance.

Uh, I think that's it. Didn't mean to write a term paper draft. :-/


message 45: by Leni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1182 comments Oh, no, I have to add. Crude talk and sex scenes inclusive, the only thing that made me uncomfortable was that stuff about John Thomas and Lady Jane. And the way Connies father talked to Mellor about "setting her haystack on fire" and how she took after her father, sexually. *shudder*


message 46: by Pink (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Haha, I love, love, love all of your comments Leni! So does this mean you don't want to read John Thomas and Lady Jane: The Second Version of Lady Chatterley's Lover?!?!


message 47: by Leni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1182 comments Pink wrote: "Haha, I love, love, love all of your comments Leni! So does this mean you don't want to read John Thomas and Lady Jane: The Second Version of Lady Chatterley's Lover?!?!"

LOL! I'm floored that this even exists! Oh my...
Well... looking at the reviews, I am actually somewhat tempted... "sharper social commentary". It's not in my Complete Works edition though. Published after his death... hm...


message 48: by Pink (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Actually, I have a vague memory of a third version as well. I'll have to do some more digging about it!


message 49: by Pink (last edited Feb 26, 2017 03:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 6556 comments Yep, I had a quick look and there were 3. Here's a couple of short articles about them
https://newrepublic.com/article/11954...

http://emanuellevy.com/pop-culture/d-...


message 50: by Leni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1182 comments Interesting. The first article is somewhat confusing as to which version is which, but the second article clears that up. (The French title is kind of funny and Disneyesque - Lady Chatterly et l'homme des bois. Lady Chatterly and the woodsman. It's like a sequel to Snow White that follows the huntsman who has withdrawn from society. Erm okay, digression.)

The first version doesn't appear to have been published. It might be interesting to read the final chapters of the second version, since that's a part that's been left out of the third. But I'm not sure I'm up for the whole thing. Less talk and philosophizing, and more sensation and vegetation? lol No thank you.


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