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Would you let your wife read this book?

A book in the dock

Many of you will have read D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and even those who haven’t might be familiar with the controversy around the book. The story, written in 1928, is about an adulterous relationship between an upper-class woman and a gamekeeper. The description of sex was so raunchy that the book wasn’t even published.

Underground copies circulated for years until 1960 when Penguin decided to publish an unabridged version of the book, balls and all. The British authorities would have nothing of it and promptly brought a criminal prosecution against the publishing company. Significantly, the charge was against the company, not its directors. ‘ Possibly the prosecution thought that the jury might come to a verdict of Guilty rather more readily if the dock were empty than if they had someone sitting there.’ Author Sybille Bedford attended the trial and this short essay is her fascinating account of one of the most bizarre trials in British legal history.

Would you let your wife read this book? is published by Daunt Books, 78 pages.

The Guardian: Geoffrey Robinson QC looks at the trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover

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