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The Final Edition
on 15 April 2015
Over time D H Lawrence wrote three slightly different versions of this tale, but this is the third and final edition, the famous one that we all know about. It has been a while since I last read this, but I have read it a few times over the years, and it was lovely to come back to it. Because of the famous trial that surrounded Penguin releasing this in its unexpurgated state this novel has become somewhat tarnished with the impression that it is just a piece of erotica. There is sex here, and strong language, but the story itself has so much more to offer. In some ways Lawrence has managed to tap into the mindset of women with his ideas and explorations of them.
Constance Chatterley is married to Clifford, who during the First World War is injured to such an extent that he is paralysed from the waist down. Thus their marriage becomes something of a partnership of intellects. This starts off one of the underlying themes of the whole book, the question of what makes a complete and fulfilling relationship between two people. The other underlying theme is class structures. Throughout the book class rears its head. Clifford is upper class, Constance herself is originally middle class, and then the gamekeeper, Mellors, is working class. Even when we have described the home of the Chatterley's we can see that industry is not too far away; for instance the colliery that can be seen on the horizon, and the soot that rains down on the land. Clifford seems to be able to ignore this, as if it is all beneath him.
The story analyses how Constance wants more than just an intellectual relationship, and how she becomes dissatisfied with the sex with others that she does have, how once the man has had his jollies, he is not too concerned about the woman having her pleasure. With the yearning for a baby as well we can quite clearly see Constance's wishes and yearnings. With Clifford we can see how he alters and becomes quite attached to the nurse, the widow Mrs Bolton, treating her almost as a motherly figure.
Always an interesting read this can be in places grim and pessimistic, but also feels so real with Lawrence's prose, providing us with something that is both intelligent, thought provoking and fascinating.