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Lady Chatterley's Lover
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Buddy Reads > Lady Chatterley's Lover or your choice by D.H. Lawrence (September/October 2019)

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Lady Chatterley's Lover Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence by D.H. Lawrence is one of the most famous novels of the 20th century and will be a buddy read in September/October. We will also have some more general discussion of Lawrence and you are welcome to read another of his books if you prefer.

A bit of background from a Goodreads blurb...

The novel was first published privately in 1928 in Italy. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books. Penguin won the case, and quickly sold 3 million copies.

The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working class man and an upper class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words.


message 2: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8419 comments Mod
This discussion is now open. Let the discource commence....


Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
It's a shame, in a way, that this is Lawrence's best known book as it's my least favourite of those I've read. It veers far too much towards polemic in places, and in working out Lawrence's philosophies (anti-industrialisation, a kind of spirituality of the body).

But it does have some lovely scenes of tenderness and intimacy.


message 4: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian | 387 comments Yep, I would agree with that last comment as when I read it a few years ago I was left feeling a little disappointed. All seemed a bit silly at times to me.


Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
Haha, yes - all those 'quivering loins' did make me giggle!


Elizabeth (Alaska) I am just over halfway. Elsewhere I have read this isn't Lawrence's best work, to sort of confirm what you've said RC.

Constance is the daughter of an R.A. What is an R.A.?


message 7: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 209 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I am just over halfway. Elsewhere I have read this isn't Lawrence's best work, to sort of confirm what you've said RC.

Constance is the daughter of an R.A. What is an R.A.?"


I am not reading the books (I read it in 1960, but have forgotten most of it). But it may be a Royal Academician - a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and very prestigious.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Thank you. I suppose that is why Clifford thought that although she was beneath him in class, she was an acceptable wife.

I don't often get symbolism and maybe I'm reading more into this than Lawrence intended. It seems to me this is a story of the conflict of the classes. He posits that the upper class is impotent, while showing that members of the working class could rise to be the most potent.


message 9: by Roman Clodia (last edited Sep 13, 2019 07:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
I'd say you're definitely right about the impotence of the aristocracy (the symbolism of Clifford and his electric wheelchair is a bit heavy handed, no?) but Lawrence was no fan of the working classes: for example, he didn't believe in democracy as he thought it did too much social levelling.

Mellors is interesting as he's educated and was an army officer but his rejection of that status and deliberate embrace of a vernacular accent is more about rejecting what Lawrence sees as the emasculating condition of industrialization - (view spoiler)

I think it's very much a book about masculinity - Lawrence's gender essentialism is quite disconcerting today.


message 10: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Sep 13, 2019 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Elizabeth (Alaska) Well, yes. Working class people can rise to become potent. I have passed the part where Mellors says they can emigrate, but I'm still early in the relationship.

And, I have just passed a part where I was thinking Lawrence was using Connie's voice almost exclusively and not doing an especially good job of it. As soon as I thought that, he began having other points of view.

I was also thinking that his writing style doesn't flow as much as I like. And again, as soon as I thought that, I felt it fits what he has to say and I expect to read more of him, though not immediately.


Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
I liked The Rainbow and Women in Love a lot. Also Sons and Lovers but read that as a teenager and don't know how it would stand up now.


Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
What do we think about the obscenity trial and this book? I can see how the rawness of the language in places could have been shocking but it didn't seem to me that Lawrence was trying to arouse his readers with the sex scenes so the 'pornography' accusation doesn't stand up for me (ooh, pun not intended!)


Elizabeth (Alaska) Roman Clodia wrote: "I liked The Rainbow and Women in Love a lot. Also Sons and Lovers but read that as a teenager and don't know how it would stand up now."

I have those on my over-burdened wish list.

I'm sure it seems odd, but the only other of Lawrence's work I have read is is Studies in Classic American Literature. I note in my review, "Much of this book is more about Lawrence's views than about the authors and books he was discussing" and I didn't elucidate, so I'm not clear now on what those were.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Roman Clodia wrote: "What do we think about the obscenity trial and this book? I can see how the rawness of the language in places could have been shocking but it didn't seem to me that Lawrence was trying to arouse hi..."

As I've said, I'm just past halfway. What was pornographic then is relatively mild now. Given the time of original publication, this was very raw.


message 15: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8419 comments Mod
Roman Clodia wrote: "What do we think about the obscenity trial and this book?"


All I know is that I wouldn't want my wife or my servants reading it


message 16: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Roman Clodia wrote: "I'd say you're definitely right about the impotence of the aristocracy (the symbolism of Clifford and his electric wheelchair is a bit heavy handed, no?) but Lawrence was no fan of the working clas..."

I haven't decided whether to reread or try a different Lawrence, but I know this novel well after reading it several times over the years (I had to study it for exams at school). I agree about the symbolism of the impotent aristocracy here being rather heavy-handed - also, while Clifford is not an appealing character, I wish his character flaws were not identified with his disability.


Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
Nigeyb wrote: "All I know is that I wouldn't want my wife or my servants reading it"

Hahahaha :))


message 18: by Judy (last edited Sep 13, 2019 01:12PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
I just remembered a poem by Lawrence which seems to begin with a memory of being impotent himself, First Morning - I can only find garbled versions of the text online, so here is a link to the poem in Google Books:

https://bit.ly/2lUOWss

Not at all relevant to Clifford, but as I like the poem, just thought I would share it.


Roman Clodia | 3990 comments Mod
There's a whole 'Western tradition' of impotence poems that stretches from Catullus via Propertius, Horace and Ovid (Amores 3.7) through to Thomas Nashe's 'The Choice of Valentines' in the C16th to Aphra Behn ('The Disappointment') and Rochester ('The Imperfect Enjoyment') in the Restoration.

I didn't know the Lawrence poem, Judy, so thanks for that.


Pages | 112 comments I haven’t reread this book recently so can’t quite join in the conversation but I did read it way back when I was 21 or so. At that time, I couldn’t get into it at all. I found the writing and style really difficult and never picked up another DH Lawerence since. I don’t remember liking any of the characters which isn’t always a must but there was nothing in it that made me want to read on.
Interesting that many of you are saying this wasn’t his best book.

Maybe I can try one you all recommend.

I have watched a few tv adaptations. I will watch the one with Richard Madden which is now on Netflix.


Elizabeth (Alaska) With about 75 pages to go, I'm starting to roll my eyes.


message 22: by Ella (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ella (ellamc) I just got the email from the library that I can pick this up - and I won't be able to do that until tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully I can join in before the discussion ends. (I know - I should own a copy, but I don't.)


Elizabeth (Alaska) Ella wrote: "I just got the email from the library that I can pick this up - and I won't be able to do that until tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully I can join in before the discussion ends. (I know - I should ow..."

My library had a digital edition I was able to borrow. And the discussion doesn't really end - this thread will remain open. We'll look forward to your thoughts.


message 24: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
I've started rereading Lady Chatterley's Lover (can't find my old Penguin so I've borrowed another edition from Scribd.) I'd forgotten some of the material at the start - the fact that both Connie and her sister have German lovers who die in WW1 surprised me, as did the fact that Clifford has been working in Germany.

I have always felt we don't glimpse much of what brought Connie and Clifford together in the first place, and this reread is bearing that out again.


message 25: by Ella (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ella (ellamc) Judy wrote: "I have always felt we don't glimpse much of what brought Connie and Clifford together in the first place, and this reread is bearing that out again."

Shared grief? I just started this myself, for the first time, so I don't know at all. That was just a guess.


message 26: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Sep 20, 2019 09:12AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Elizabeth (Alaska) In my review I said I was glad I read this, but not because I like it. It is probably one of those books one ought to have read and those are not always the books one likes.

My eye-rolling got into full swing when they wove forget-me-nots into each others' pubic hair. Forget-me-nots are the Alaska state flower and they are lovely. There is no doubt they both saw (or thought they saw) the symbolism of the flower's name. But the act was simply ridiculous.

I became annoyed with Mellors thinking people shouldn't work for money. Did he want to barter? There is a value on everything, so the barter system only avoids taxes. A laudable effort, but doesn't do what he thinks it would do.

The prose at the end was much better than at the beginning. That might have been my own adjustment to it, but I really did think the language in the last third flowed more smoothly. Perhaps it was both my adjustment and Lawrence's finally feeling comfortable with where his story was going. It is the prose that I remember from my earlier nonfiction read of him. It is for this, and this only, that I will be tempted to read another.


message 27: by Judy (last edited Sep 21, 2019 01:13AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "Judy wrote: "I have always felt we don't glimpse much of what brought Connie and Clifford together in the first place, and this reread is bearing that out again."

Shared grief?I just started this myself, for the first time, so I don't know at all. That was just a guess."


I think this might be a reason in real life, but I don't see this suggested in the book - I don't think Lawrence gives much idea what attracted Connie to Clifford. I get the impression he liked her looks. Are you enjoying the book, Ella?


message 28: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
I've got a bit further into my reread and am realising I'd forgotten a fair bit - I hadn't remembered the other characters who come in early on, including Connie's previous lover. I am finding Lawrence's prose style irritating at times, especially the dialogue between Clifford's friends, where everyone sounds the same and it's just not like real conversations at all.

I do love his descriptions of the landscapes, though, which reminds me that I like his poetry.


message 29: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Interesting article here about a biography which claims that Lawrence based the novel's central relationship on his wife, Frieda, and her relationship with an Italian soldier, when Lawrence himself could no longer have a sexual relationship because he was so ill with TB.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...

This makes it slightly puzzling that he is so unsympathetic to Clifford - I had also forgotten that Clifford is also a writer, though his short stories sound very different from Lawrence's.


message 30: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
I was a bit surprised by that article about Frieda, because I vaguely remembered hearing that Lady Ottoline Morrell's affair with an estate worker was the inspiration for Connie - I have just found articles which claim that. Possibly it's not an either/or, and the reality is that Lawrence drew on his own life and also on other people he knew?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/o...
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news...


message 31: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Is anyone else still reading this? I'm about a third of the way through now. I was shocked by Mellors shooting a cat - I don't think a gamekeeper would do that today.


Elizabeth (Alaska) I finished this about 10 days ago. I didn't realize you were still reading it when I made my last post.


message 33: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Thanks, Elizabeth. I’ve read it several times before (studied it for exams) so I know the plot well, but am noticing minor things I’d forgotten. Just wondering if anyone is still reading?


message 34: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
Has anyone watched any of the TV/film adaptations of this book? I've seen a few over the years and remember liking the BBC version with Joely Richardson and Sean Bean, but I wasn't too impressed by the more recent version with Richard Madden and Holliday Grainger, which was so short that it had to miss an awful lot out, and also seemed rather too sweet!


message 35: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8419 comments Mod
Sadly they've all passed me by Judy, as has the book.


In fact, the only way I can slightly redeem myself is by reminding you that I have read....

The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover by Sybille Bedford

...which we also discussed back in 2018

Here's the thread....

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...



The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover by Sybille Bedford


message 36: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4193 comments Mod
I’ve just read a bit more after being distracted by other books. I’m finding this appeals to me less than it has done in the past - all the stuff about people feeling things in their loins and their wombs doesn’t mean much to me.

And all the ranting about the “bitch-goddess” of success is so repetitive and also unclear to me. I can’t really understand Lawrence’s political views.

The writing about wildlife is lovely though.

I had forgotten that the first sexual encounter between Connie and Mellors is almost 40% into the book.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Judy wrote: "And all the ranting about the “bitch-goddess” of success is so repetitive and also unclear to me. I can’t really understand Lawrence’s political views."

This, more than anything else, is what really turned me negative about his novel.


message 38: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 533 comments I gave it 3 stars as I id like the wildlife writing in it , but I thought the people were awful. Connie was never going to be satisfied with her surroundings, Mellors didn't really like anyone, and Clifford was more concerned with his position in life. I just thought I would really feel sorry for any children any of them were to have.
In my opinion, the book's popularity was purely because it had been banned.


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