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chesilbeach

Nottinghamshire - Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

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NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
 
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
 
Synopsis:
Banned and vindicated, condemned and lauded, Lady Chatterley's Lover is D.H. Lawrence's seminal novel of illicit passion and forbidden desire. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with notes by Michael Squires and an introduction by Doris Lessing.
 
Lady Constance Chatterley feels trapped in her sexless marriage to the Sir Clifford. Paralysed in the First World War, Sir Clifford is unable to fulfil his wife emotionally or physically, and encourages her instead to have a liaison with a man of their own class. But Connie is attracted instead to Oliver Mellors, her husband's gamekeeper, with whom she embarks on a passionate affair that brings new life to her stifled existence. Can she find true love with Mellors, despite the vast gulf between their positions in society? One of the most controversial novels in English literature, Lady Chatterley's Lover is an erotically charged and psychologically powerful depiction of adult relationships.
 
Other Nottinghamshire books:
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire by Howard Pyle
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe

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When Lady Constance Chatterley’s husband returns from the First World War he has been injured and as a result is now impotent. The couple had only had a short time together before he went away to fight and now, because of Clifford’s inability to satisfy Connie sexually the couple grow apart. A nurse is hired to take care of Clifford and Connie becomes increasingly isolated. One day whilst out walking in the estate she meets the gamekeeper, Mellors, and whilst he is socially her inferior the couple embark on an affair…

Well, this was a slog! I didn’t know much about it before I started it, although one would have to have lived under a rock not to have heard of it! I knew it was essentially about an affair between an upper-class woman and a gamekeeper, but that was about it. It was infamous in the 60s when Penguin were sued for obscenity in publishing – it is hard to believe that it was first published in 1928!

The trouble is that I felt nothing but indifference towards the characters – where I should perhaps have felt sympathy for Clifford for losing the sexual part of himself, and therefore his wife – and for Connie for losing the man she married, I didn’t really care for either of them.

There are liberal scatterings of the F and C words throughout this novel, and whilst they may seem fairly tame to today’s audience it is easy to see why this novel caused such offence at the time. This notoriety however did not make it an enjoyable read for me – it was too slow. If it hadn’t been a Counties Challenge book then I would have given up on it long before the end!

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I read this book last year as part of an on-line book challenge and found it surprisingly good. I loved the characters and the writing so much that I forgot about the terrible story. It's too bad that most people associate the book with sex and controversy instead of social commentary, difference between classes or just good writing in general. 

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Although it is a very famous novel, I knew very little about the story itself before coming to it for the English Counties Challenge. 

 

It is essentially a sad story. Clifford survives World War I, but injuries leave him impotent and unable to enjoy the same relationship with his young wife, Connie. They stop communicating, grow apart, Connie becomes isolated and then meets the estate's gamekeeper. They begin an affair, and throw some swear words around, which led to the book being banned. 

 

I have to wonder whether this book would have survived down the decades in the same way were it not for the infamy, because it was a terribly long, dull slog to get through. The pace was too slow and the characters too unlikeable to sustain that. The constant asides so Lawrence could have a moan about industrialisation and progress took something away from the story as well.

 

Perhaps the 1920s and 30s needed someone to write a book like this, with some honest discussion - and frank descriptions of - sex, and perhaps we have benefited from this in the years since. However, given that isn't an issue now, it's just a very tedious read. Goodreads describes this as a 'masterpiece'. I certainly beg to differ.  

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I have to wonder whether this book would have survived down the decades in the same way were it not for the infamy, because it was a terribly long, dull slog to get through.

Have to agree. I read this quite a few years ago and couldn't bring myself to reread it - I've got Sons and Lovers down as an alternative, so hoping it's an improvement.

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