Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1928)

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Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1928)


Lawrence, David Herbert. Lady Chatterley’s Lover. [Florence:] Privately Printed, 1928. Lilly Library: PR6023.A9 L13 1928a


One of most famous and controversial twentieth-century English erotic novels, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) revolves around Constance, the eponymous character, whose husband, Sir Clifford Chatterley, became paralyzed from the waist down while fighting in World War I. Feeling neglected by her husband, Constance engages in an extramarital affair, the subject of sexually explicit scenes and language, with their gamekeeper. Probably completed in 1917, the novel was first privately printed in Florence in 1928. In 1931, two years after Lawrence’s death, Seeker produced a bowdlerized edition of the book in England. After publishing the first U.S. uncensored edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1959, Grove Press of New York went to court following the seizure of the book by the U.S. Post Office on the basis of obscenity. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found in Grove’s favor, with Judge Frederick van Pelt Bryan concluding that “if a work is found to be of literary stature, and not ‘hard core’ pornography, it is a fortiori within the protections of the First Amendment” (Grove Press, Inc. v. Christenberry, 175 F. Supp. 488 [S.D.N.Y. 1959]). Also in 1959, Penguin issued the first unexpurgated edition of the novel in England and was taken to court under the Obscene Publications Act. The jury concluded that the book was not pornography, as it did not deprave its readership. Lady Chatterley’s Lover was also banned and/or legally challenged in Australia, Canada, Japan, and India.

Full text:

Text of Grove Press, Inc. v. Christenberry, 175 F. Supp. 488 (S.D.N.Y. 1959):

UK National Archive on “The Chatterley Trial 1960”:


“Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1928),” Banned Books, accessed July 13, 2024,

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