Lady Chatterley's Lover: A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover
by D. H. Lawrence
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Inspired by the long-standing affair between Frieda, Lawrence’s German wife, and an Italian peasant who eventually became her third husband, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the story of Constance Chatterley, who, while trapped in an unhappy marriage to an aristocratic mine owner whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and impotent, has an affair with Mellors, the gamekeeper. Frank Kermode calls the book Lawrence’s "great achievement" and Anaïs Nin describes it as "artistically . . . his best novel."

This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes the transcript of the judge's decision in the famous 1959 obscenity trial that allowed the novel to be published in the United States.

All Reviews

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Cecilia DarcyCecilia Darcy wrote a review
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Cri1967Cri1967 wrote a review
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This novel is a social critic against the past Victorian Age, its taboo and its false respectabilities, but it also underlines the negative industrialized world and the masses.
Their lives are hopeless, unalterable, they depend on spending money, but they’ve got none to spend.
If you could only tell them that living and spending isn’t the same thing! But it’s no good. If only they were educated to live instead of earn and spend, they could manage very happily on twenty-five shillings.
And that’s the only way to solve the industrial problem: train the people to be able to live and live in handsomeness, without needing to spend.
But you can’t do it. They’re all one-track minds.
Money poisons them when they get it, and
starves them when they haven’t.
Theirs is essentially a tragic age, so they refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, they are among the ruins, they start to build up new little habitats, to have
new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but they go round, or scramble over the obstacles. They’ve got to live, no matter how many
skies have fallen.
This was more or less Constance Chatterley’s position.
The war had brought the roof down over her head. And she had realized that one must live and learn.
Constance had had what might be called an aesthetically unconventional upbringing.
She was at once cosmopolitan and provincial, with the cosmopolitan provincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals. and she was free. Free!
The beautiful pure freedom of a woman was infinitely more wonderful than any sexual love. The only unfortunate thing was that men lagged so far behind women in the matter.
They insisted on the sex thing like dogs.
Her husband was a Chatterley, a young man of twenty-two, who had become a first lieutenant in a smart regiment.
Clifford Chatterley, was at his ease in the narrow ‘great world’, but he was shy and nervous of all that other big world which consists of the vast hordes of the middle and lower classes, and foreigners. Therefore the peculiar soft assurance of a girl like Constance
Reid fascinated him.
He was a man of experience himself, and let life take its course.
In 1918 Clifford was shipped home smashed
and he had been so much hurt that something inside him had perished, some of his feelings had gone.
He was absolutely dependent on Connie, he needed her every moment. Big and strong as he was, he was helpless.
He needed her to be there, to assure him he existed at all. Still he was ambitious. He had taken to writing stories; curious, very personal stories about people he had known.
Connie helped him as much as she could, but it
was as if her whole soul and body and sex had to rouse up and pass into theme stories of his. This thrilled her and absorbed her.
But time went on. Whatever happened, nothing happened, because she was so beautifully out of contact. She and Clifford lived in their ideas and his books.
However Connie was aware of a growing restlessness: she must get away from the house because she had lost touch with the substantial and vital world.
Only Clifford and his books, which did not exist...which had nothing in them! Void to void. Vaguely she knew. But it was like beating her head against a stone.
She was attached to Clifford. He wanted a good deal of her life and she gave it to him. But she wanted a good deal from the life of a man, and this Clifford did not give her; he could not.
Clifford thought that if lack of sex was going to disintegrate Connie, she could have a love-affair and a child with another man.
He was sorry they couldn't have a son, even if he didn't believe very intensely in fatherhood.
He thought they had the habit of each other, little by little, living together, two people fall into a sort of unison, they vibrate so intricately to one another. That’s the real secret of marriage, not sex.
Sex was merely an accident, or an adjunct, one of the curious obsolete, organic processes which persisted in its own clumsiness, but
was not really necessary.
On the contrary, Connie thought that sex was a sort of normal physical conversation between a man and a woman.
She felt it was time to change her life and to go away from Clifford and she was surprised at her own feeling of aversion from him.
What is more, she felt she had always really
disliked him. Not hate: there was no passion in it. But a profound physical dislike. Almost, it seemed to her, she had married him because she disliked him, in a secret, physical sort of way. But of course, she had married him really because in a mental way he attracted her and excited her. He had seemed, in some way, her master, beyond her.
She wished some help would come from outside.
She was so glad to be alone, she breathed freer and a new phase was going to begin.
She realized how lonely she was , and always had been, but when she met Oliver, their game-keeper, she became stronger, she wanted to forget, to forget the world, and all the dreadful, carrion-bodied people.
She must be born again!
She believed in the resurrection of the body, in the life of the body and in the life of their future child.
To Connie, Clifford seemed to be coming out in his true colors: a little vulgar, a little common, and uninspired.
He seemed to have a nervous terror that she should leave him.
She must be there, there at Wragby, a Lady Chatterley, his wife. Otherwise he would be lost like an idiot on a moor.
He worshipped Connie. She was his wife, a higher being, and he worshipped her with a queer, craven idolatry, like a savage, a worship
based on enormous fear, and even hate of the power of the idol, the dread idol.
All he wanted was for Connie to swear, to swear not to leave him, not to give him away.
He lived for her sake and her future.
He was nothing to himself: the world is more or less a fixed thing and, externally, we have to adapt ourselves to it. We can please ourselves, but emotions change, while their village, Wragby, still stands.
_rita vittoria ch__rita vittoria ch_ wrote a review
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Antonio Di LetaAntonio Di Leta wrote a review
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antoniodileta.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/lamante-di-lady-chatterley-david-herbert-lawrence

“La nostra è un’epoca fondamentalmente tragica, anche se ci rifiutiamo di considerarla tale. Il cataclisma c’è stato, siamo tra le rovine, ma cominciamo a ricostruire nuovi piccoli habitat, a riavere nuove speranze. È un compito non facile; la strada verso il futuro è piena di ostacoli che dobbiamo aggirare, scavalcare. Si deve continuare a vivere, anche se il cielo ci è piombato addosso.
Queste erano, più o meno, le sensazioni di Constance Chatterley. La guerra le aveva fatto crollare il mondo in testa. E lei aveva compreso che imparando si sopravvive”.
(David Herbert Lawrence, “L’amante di Lady Chatterley”)

Devo iniziare quest’articolo con un’ammissione di colpevolezza. Avevo pregiudizi molto negativi contro “L’amante di Lady Chatterley”, pensavo potesse essere un romanzo mieloso oppure, al contrario, un’accozzaglia di oscenità gratuite. Il fondamento di questo pregiudizio? L’ignoranza, intesa nel senso che ignoravo il romanzo stesso, che sin dalle prime pagine ha cominciato a vincere il mio pregiudizio. A dirla tutta, a un certo punto, ho cominciato anche a temere che Connie, cioè la Lady Chatterley del titolo, potesse apparirmi in sogno o meglio ancora nella mia stanza. Questo, però, poco ha a che fare con il libro di Lawrence, piuttosto con questioni personali che farei bene a lasciare fuori da questo scritto (intento peraltro già tradito in queste prime righe).
L’intreccio narrativo, di per sé, rientra nel più classico dei triangoli amorosi. Connie, che da ragazza era stata educata in maniera “esteticamente anticonformista” rispetto ai valori predominanti della sua epoca, cosmopolita e provinciale al tempo stesso, ma soprattutto insofferente ai doveri imposti, sposa, dopo qualche flirt giovanile più libertino, Clifford Chamberlain, che ben presto diventa, per eredità, barone. I due vivono nella tenuta di Wragby, luogo di una bruttezza disarmante. Un baratro divide la famiglia dalla classe dei lavoratori che vive nei paesi limitrofi e ben presto Connie si accorge di vivere “nel vuoto”, anche e soprattutto perché il marito, rimasto paralizzato nella parte inferiore del corpo durante la prima guerra mondiale, si dedica con tutte le forze alla scrittura, riuscendo anche nell’intento di diventare famoso, ma trascurando, per forza, i piaceri coniugali. Connie deve accontentarsi di passare le serate come spettatrice delle discussioni tra Clifford e gli altri altolocati, e alla lunga diventa stufa di quel mondo fatto solo di parole, percependo con nettezza di sprecare la propria esistenza.
A farla breve, insomma, la Lady che si sente ingabbiata nel suo ruolo, conosce il guardiacaccia Oliver Mellors, dipendente del marito, appartenente quindi a una classe sociale diversa dalla sua, ma pur sempre uomo, anzi per lei l’uomo che le farà riscoprire il corpo, le pulsioni sessuali represse dalla cerebralità spinta del marito. Il guardiacaccia, che pure inizialmente le appare come un solitario e disperato, si rivelerà l’amante capace di coniugare passionalità e tenerezza, ma più di tutto risveglierà in lei sensi altrimenti destinati a sopirsi. Anche per l’uomo, però, Lady Chatterley rappresenta un ritorno all’esistenza. Più grande di lei, quasi quarantenne, Oliver si è lasciato con la moglie precedente e prima dell’incontro con la sua nuova amante si era tirato fuori da certe dinamiche.
Fin qua, però, siamo ancora nel triangolo sentimentale, sebbene, è da sottolineare, Lawrence ci faccia entrare con abilità nei meandri dell’attrazione, descrivendo anche con maestria gli amplessi della coppia, che costarono al libro diversi sequestri per oscenità, ma che, almeno con lo sguardo di adesso, non scadono mai nella più bieca trivialità. Il guardiacaccia e Connie, con la loro passione, che inizialmente sembra soltanto un fuoco temporaneo ma poi si trasforma in qualcosa di molto più profondo, sono la riaffermazione della naturalità del sesso nei confronti di una società sempre più meccanizzata, qual era quella che Lawrence poteva osservare attorno a sé. Oltre a questo, all’interno del libro ci sono riflessioni sparse sul conflitto di classe tra aristocrazie e lavoratori, sul denaro che corrompe l’uomo e sulla “dea-mignotta” che è il successo.

“La mano di lei lo strinse forte, con un sospiro di meraviglia, che suonò come un gemito di paura, di angoscia. Lui la abbracciò ancora più stretta, ma non disse nulla. Le parole non gli interessavano. La mano di lei scivolò vicino, sempre più vicino a quel mistero sensuale. E sentì quell’immobilità strana, assoluta, fremere; e il lento, intenso, inturgidirsi del fallo. Il cuore le si sciolse in una specie di terrore.
E questa volta, dentro di lei, fu tenero e iridescente, così squisitamente dolce e iridescente che nessuna coscienza sarebbe in grado di comprenderlo. Connie vibrò, come plasma pulsante, vivo, inconscio. Non sapeva cosa le accadesse. Non ricordava di aver mai provato qualcosa del genere. Era solo la sensazione più straordinaria che avesse mai provato. Solo questo. Dopo, restò ferma, immobile, del tutto inconsapevole, del tutto ignara del trascorrere del tempo. Ma lui era lì con lei, sereno, in un silenzio insondabile: con lei. E di questo non avrebbero parlato mai”.
Clara FirrincieliClara Firrincieli wrote a review
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