With its four-letter words and its explicit deseriptions of sexual intecourse, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the novel with which D. H. Lawrence is most often associated. First published privately in Florance in 1928, it became a world-wide best-seller when Penguin Books successfully resisted an attempt by the British Director of Public Prosecutions to prevent them publishing an unexpurgated edition . The famous ’Lady Chatterley trial’ heralded the sexual reolution of the coming decades and signalled the defeat of Establishment prodery.
Yet Lawrence himself was hardly a liberationist and the conservatism of many aspects of his novel would later lay it open to attacks from the policical avant-garde and from feminists. The story of how the wife of Sir Clifford Chatterley responds when her husband returns from the war paralysed from the waist down, and of the tender love which then develops between her and her husband’s gamekeeper, is complex and open to a vraiety of conflicting interpretations .
This edition of the novel offers an occasion for a newz generation of readers to discover what all the fuss was about: to appraise Lawrence’s bitter indietment of modern industrial society, and to ask themselves what lessons there might be for the 21st century in his intense exploration of the complicated relations between love and sex.