Featured images via Biography and The Source Magazine
Featured images via Biography and The Source Magazine
In October 2018, a copy of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover went up for auction and went for £56,000, more than the expected £15,000. The only issue is that this book belonged to a judge, Sir Laurence Byrne.
Lawrence wrote the book just before his death, and it was only published in Italy and France in 1920. the book was seen to be too scandalous to publish in the U.K. That changed in 1960 when Penguin Books decided to go ahead with the publication. The publishing house was then put on trial for obscenity.
Now, a copy of the book has been banned from leaving the U.K.
The paperback contains the original markings by judge Sir Laurence Byrne’s wife Lady Dorothy, highlight sexually explicit content. Lady Dorothy also kept running notes, keeping track of passages and page numbers, where she had added her own comments.
The publisher was eventually found not guilty, which made the trial that much more sensational. The case served as a test of the previously passed 1959 Obscene Publications Act, beginning the divide between the old establishment and a new era.
The book was purchased at auction for £56,250 last year, but the buyer wants to take it abroad. According to the BBC, “those who want to export items of cultural significant from the UK must apply for a licence.” The temporary block on the book’s export means that anyone interested in purchasing the book has until August 9th to make this known, and an additional three months in which to secure the cost.
Featured Image Via Justcollecting News
Madonna and Oscar Wilde have more in common than their status as icons of the LGBT+ community: they’re both authors of ‘obscene’ works. After 136 years of censorship, Oxford University is opening its restricted collection—one of the world’s largest—to the public in a historic exhibition.
Image Via Siriusxm.blogspot.com
Though her pop star persona has somehow eclipsed her literary career, Madonna is the author of controversial coffee-table book Sex. The carefully curated collection of erotic and soft-core photos landed her a spot in the Oxford Bodleian Library’s restricted collection alongside author superstars D.H. Lawrence and Oscar Wilde. Lawrence achieved lasting notoriety for his novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the distinctly not soft-core tale of an unsatisfied paraplegic’s wife… and her trysts with the estate gardener. The novel was famously subject to an intense obscenity trial: the copy from the trial itself recently sold for a record-breaking $72,689.
Wilde never wrote anything so overtly sexual, but at one point, society deemed his work obscene. The Picture of Dorian Gray faced controversy for its homosexual elements. In Oscar Wilde’s own sodomy trial, accusers used his work as evidence to convict him. Wilde’s imprisonment (and his work’s original placement in the restricted collection) is yet another example of how society has historically conflated homosexuality with deviancy.
Image Via En.wikipedia.org
Curator Jennifer Ingleheart acknowledges the censorship and misjudgments of the past, and she has created the exhibit to explore “how ideas about sexuality and suitable reading material have changed over time.” The ideas Victorian librarians had about suitable reading material were, in a word, Victorian (read: prudish). These are the kinds of ideas that cause restricted sections. Somewhat unbelievably, Oxford University students (otherwise known as real adults) had until recently needed a tutor’s approval to access the collection. Starting on November 15, 2018, the Bodleian Library’s ‘obscene works’ will be available to the public for eight weeks.
Featured Image Via News.unl.edu
In 1960, D.H. Lawrence‘s sensual and scandalous Lady Chatterley’s Lover faced one of the most intense obscenity trials of all time. The novel’s plot (a sordid affair between a wealthy paraplegic’s wife and the estate groundskeeper) is no longer the only shocking thing about it. Today, the original copy from the obscenity trial sold for over £56,000 at more than five times the pre-sale estimate, setting a world record for the sale price of any Penguin paperback. This copy is a constant record-breaker: its 1993 sale for £4,370 made it the most expensive paperback in history.
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D.H. Lawrence was no stranger to personal or professional scandal. In 1912, Lawrence began an affair with Frieda Weekley—his coworker’s wife. Shortly after the lovers fled to Weekley’s native Germany, Lawrence published his 1911 novel Sons and Lovers. It’s as (creepily) Oedipal as it sounds, and it became one of the top 100 most challenged books of its century. In 1915, authorities went on to restrict his subsequent novel The Rainbow under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act. The Rainbow frankly discusses protagonist Ursula’s liberated sexuality, even going so far as to include an erotically charged lesbian scene—a detail so impossibly shocking to the chaste public that there wasn’t yet a law against it. The homosexuality wasn’t even the novel’s make-or-break sin—Ursula also has premarital sex with men she doesn’t go on to marry.
Image Via dailymail.co.uk
This particular copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover is particularly special: it contains the actual annotations from the prosecution, including many circled obscene phrases that we cannot include here. The trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover lasted for six full days before the jury acquitted publisher Penguin Books in a brief three hours. As is the natural course of events when something of interest is (nearly) restricted, the novel became an instant bestseller, with reports of individual stores selling over 300 copies in the first half an hour after the ruling. But the true legacy of Lawrence’s work is not financial at all. The trial was the end of government’s monolithic control over public morality; though it didn’t outright obliterate content restrictions, it opened the doorway into the world we now inhabit.
Featured Image Via The Other Angle
Whether you’re a true romantic at heart or the world’s biggest cynic, there are those truly romantic lines in fiction and poetry that we can’t help but smile at every now and then as we sift through the pages of a good read.
Writers know how to pick just the right words and phrases that tug our heart strings.
Here are twelve beautiful romantic lines from poetry and fiction that made us feel things:
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
“Sonnet XVII” by Pablo Neruda
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Submarine by Joe Dunthrone
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
“Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
“Love Song” by Rainer Maria Rilke
Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
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Featured image courtesy of ‘Azrul Aziz’