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Lady Chatterley's Lover
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message 1: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments Start discussion here for Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence.


message 2: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments From LitLovers.com:

Summary
Lawrence's frank portrayal of an extramarital affair and the explicit sexual explorations of the central characters caused this controversial book to be banned as pornography until 1960. Eventually, the subject of a landmark obscenity trial, Lawrence's lyric and sensual last novel is now regarded as "our time's most significant romance." — 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. (From the publishers and Barnes & Noble.)

Discussion Questions
1. The critic Julian Moynahan argues that Lady Chatterley’s Lover dramatizes two opposed orientations toward life, two distinct modes of human awareness, the one abstract, cerebral, and unvital; the other concrete, physical, and organic.” Discuss.

2. What is the role of the manor house, the industrial village, and the wood in the novel?

3. Many critics have argued that while Lady Chatterley’s Lover presents a daring treatment of sexuality, it is an inferior work of art, though other critics have called it a novel of the first rank. (“Lady Chatterley’s Lover, ” F. R. Leavis writes, “is a bad novel, ” while Anaïs Nin, on the other hand, describes it as “artistically...[Lawrence’s] best novel.”) What do you think?

4. In “Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (a defense of the book that he published in 1930), Lawrence wrote that “the greatest need of man is the renewal forever of the complete rhythm of life and death, the rhythm of the sun’s year, the body’s year of a lifetime, and the greater year of the stars, the soul’s year of immortality.” How is the theme of resurrection played out in the novel?

5. From the time it was banned from unexpurgated publication in the United States and Britain until the trials in the late 1950s and early 1960s that resulted in the lifting of the ban, and even more recently, critics have argued over whether Lady Chatterley’s Loveris obscene and vulgar. Lawrence argues in “Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover” that “we shall never free the phallic reality [i. e., sex]...till we give it its own phallic language and use the obscene words”; his goal was to purify these words. Critics have disagreed as to whether he succeeded in this goal; Richard Aldington notes, for example, that the words are “incrusted with nastiness” and “cannot regain their purity” and Graham Hough argues that “the fact remains that the connotations of the obscene physical words are either facetious or vulgar.” Do you think the novel is obscene or vulgar, or do you think Lawrence succeeds in his mission?

6. “The essential function of art is moral, ” Lawrence once wrote. “Not aesthetic, not decorative, not pastime and recreation. But moral.” Do you think this proposition informs the shape, structure, and meaning of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and if so, how?

7. Critics have often complained that one of Lawrence’s weaknesses as a novelist is his characterization. So John Middleton Murry writes of Sons and Lovers that “we can discern no individuality whatever in the denizens of Mr. Lawrence’s world. We should have thought that we should have been able to distinguish between male and female at least. But no! Remove the names, remove the sedulous catalogues of unnecessary clothing...and man and woman are as indistinguishable as octopods in an aquarium tank.” And Edwin Muir comments generally that “we remember the scenes in his novels; we forget the names of his men and women. We should not know any of them if we met them in the street.” Do you think this applies in the case of Lady Chatterley’s Lover? If so, do you think it is a fault or a virtue?

8. How does nature imagery function in the novel?
(Questions issued by Random House—cover image, top-right.)


message 3: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments This wasn't my favorite, but was certainly worth the read. I can see how this book was considered to be so scandalous back in its day. I admire Lawrence's boldness in producing this. I don't, however, consider this to be a very well written book. It didn't flow very well for me, and seemed more amateurish than other classics from that era (i.e. The Painted Veil).


Allyson I was disappointed in this book and it's probably put me off reading any more D.H. Lawrence. I know there is the story line about the English class system, but there were a lot more books published around the same time (The Painted Veil is a brilliant example) that I felt were better written. Is it scandalous to think this book has the reputation it does because of the sexual content and the attempts at censorship? Not having read other D.H. Lawrence books, maybe I don't have a broad enough perspective, so I would love to hear any other opinions.


message 5: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah | 662 comments O.k. I am so not getting excited about this one.


message 6: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah | 662 comments Yeah, I don't know what to do. I nominated this and I did for another group for our classic read in October - both groups voted for it and it won. I now wish my other group had chosen something else - like I would read The Painted Veil instead - if I could get my hands on a copy that is.


Kristel (kristelh) I actually think this one is worth sticking with it.


message 8: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments Allyson wrote: "I was disappointed in this book and it's probably put me off reading any more D.H. Lawrence. I know there is the story line about the English class system, but there were a lot more books publishe..."

I totally feel the same way. I think that the content made this book so popular. The writing is otherwise unmemorable and mediocre.


message 9: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah | 662 comments RitaSkeeter wrote: "If you still wanted to give it a go it isn't very long, and it's a pretty fast read so it won't take up much reading time. But if you can get hold of The Painted Veil it is a superb book - one of ..."

I will read Lady with my group in October - glad it will be quick - and I defenitely want to read The Painted Veil someday.


Allyson Rita-thanks for the info on Sons and Lovers. I'll keep it on my wish list and wait until I've forgotten this one. :-)


Kirsten  (kmcripn) Huh. Good Reads is recommending me to read My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath because I'm reading Lady Chatterley's Lover. Connection?


message 12: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments Kirsten wrote: "Huh. Good Reads is recommending me to read My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath because I'm reading Lady Chatterley's Lover. Connection?"

Some of their recommendations are really out there. I don't see the connection, either.


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