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Lady Chatterley's Trial (Pocket Penguins 70's) Paperback – 6 May 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (6 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141022329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141022321
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 715,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

This book is taken from C H Rolf's account of the D H Lawrence obscenity trial, The Trial of Lady Chatterley: Regina V. Penguin Books Limited.


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Format: Paperback
This book published soon after the trial itself provides the most complete account of an extraordinary and ridiculous case in which obsolete obscenity laws were brought to bare on a twentieth century classic.

In May 1960, heartened by the new Obscene Publications Act, Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Books, announced that he would publish in Britain 200,000 copies of an unexpurgated and cheap paperback edition of a twentieth century classic, Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence. Throughout his career Lawrence's works - novels, poetry, paintings - had been subjected to almost unprecedented hostility and condemnation. Lady Chatterley's Lover, long banned in this country, was seen as the best test case. In the opinion of prosecution counsel, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, `if no action is taken in respect of this publication it will make proceedings against any other novel very difficult.' The fact that suppressing such a novel seems absurd to us shows how rapidly mores change. The obvious of yesterday is the inconceivable of today.

Penguin Books Ltd were duly charged with publishing an obscene article. They were tried at the Old Bailey before Mr Justice Byrne and a jury. Under the new law the defence could call expert witnesses as to the literary merits of the book and of the `public good.' This they would do by battalions, from Roy Jenkins to the Bishop of Woolwich. In contrast the Crown called no one. This was not for lack of trying, but none could be found to assist. In a delicious irony they even considered asking F.R.Leavis who, having eventually read a copy of Lady Chatterley, declared that Lawrence's `use of obscenity is an offence against taste.' To disparage the book as literature, however, is not to encourage its prosecution and support its suppression.
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Format: Paperback
This book published soon after the trial itself provides the most complete account of an extraordinary and ridiculous case in which obsolete obscenity laws were brought to bare on a twentieth century classic.

In May 1960, heartened by the new Obscene Publications Act, Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Books, announced that he would publish in Britain 200,000 copies of an unexpurgated and cheap paperback edition of a twentieth century classic, Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence. Throughout his career Lawrence's works - novels, poetry, paintings - had been subjected to almost unprecedented hostility and condemnation. Lady Chatterley's Lover, long banned in this country, was seen as the best test case. In the opinion of prosecution counsel, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, `if no action is taken in respect of this publication it will make proceedings against any other novel very difficult.' The fact that suppressing such a novel seems absurd to us shows how rapidly mores change. The obvious of yesterday is the inconceivable of today.

Penguin Books Ltd were duly charged with publishing an obscene article. They were tried at the Old Bailey before Mr Justice Byrne and a jury. Under the new law the defence could call expert witnesses as to the literary merits of the book and of the `public good.' This they would do by battalions, from Roy Jenkins to the Bishop of Woolwich. In contrast the Crown called no one. This was not for lack of trying, but none could be found to assist. In a delicious irony they even considered asking F.R.Leavis who, having eventually read a copy of Lady Chatterley, declared that Lawrence's `use of obscenity is an offence against taste.' To disparage the book as literature, however, is not to encourage its prosecution and support its suppression.
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Format: Paperback
This copy of Lady Chatterley's Trial is one of the recently published Penguin 70's. It is a small edition containing the abridged version of 'Regina v Penguin', the original book now being out of print.
Having read Lady Chatterley's Lover and having heard all the fuss surrounding the book it was great to be able to read about the trial itself.
This is the second of the Penguin 70's series that I have read and I have not been disappointed. I look forward to reading more of them.
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Format: Paperback
This quick read made up of extracts from the trial of the Crown Vs Penguin, is a fascinating glimpse into the times during the trial and an inspiring assertion of the importance and integrity of art. It's almost fantastic to imagine this trial happening today where swear words litter every other novel and sex scenes are laughed at rather than gasped at. The other thing that probably wouldn't happen today is that the clergy were involved in the defence; for once the church was involved in allowing the publication of an "obscene" novel rather than trying to ban it.

Just the idea that a novel was in the dock was amazing. Both sides talking about the merits of a novel and talking about the nature of love and relationships - in a courtroom! Absolutely amazing stuff. A great rousing affirmation of art and anti-censorship as well as a turning point in society when we became more modern and less prudish. Fantastic read, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Another lovely little Pocket Penguin. This one is a highly abridged version of The Trial of Lady Chatterley by C.H. Rolph, published in 1990 and now out of print. It's quite fascinating, presenting transcripts of some of the evidence in the case, including the now famous "Is this a book you would wish your wives or servants to read?" question put to the jury by Counsel for the Prosecution, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, who must have rued those ill-chosen words for the rest of his life.
The introduction to this mini-edition says that it hopes (in its brevity) to be fair to all sides. This, I thought, was highly unlikely given that they only quote evidence from witnesses for the defence, and none from witnesses for the prosecution. But then, reading around the subject and in particular an extract from Alan Travis's superb Bound and Gagged, a history of British obscenity censorship, I found out they were being both fair and representative: there *were* no witnesses for the prosecution. And they did search: even literary experts who had criticised the book wanted no part in supporting the prosecution to gag it. Talk about a case that's lost before it's begun. It even made me want to read that boring old rambler Lawrence...
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