Name: Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence

Date:  1951 - 1975

Location:  North America

SubjectExplicit Sexuality , Other


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Artist: D.H. Lawrence

Confronting Bodies: Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield

Date of Action: 1959

Specific Location: United States

Description of Artwork:  "Between October 1926 and January 1928 D.H. Lawrence wrote three versions of a novel in which he described the affair of the fictional Lady Constance Chatterly, wife of Sir Clifford Chatterly -an intellectual, writer and Midlands landowner who has been confined to a wheelchair by war wounds- with the estate game-keeper, one Oliver Mellors, the son of a minor. While the book itself, which ends with the lovers each awaiting divorce and looking forward to their new life life together, does not stray conspicuously from Lawrence's general moral and philosophical attitudes, his use of taboo language far exceed anything acceptable in contemporary fiction." The Encyclopedia of Censorship, Jonathon Green, Facts on File, N.Y. C. Pg. 166

Description of Incident:  The work is deemed "an obscene and filthy work" that cannot be sent through the mail by Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield.

Results of Incident:  The ban, lifted after two lower courts disagreed with Summerfield, is not reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1960. The novel went on to sell two million copies in a year.

Source: New York Public Library, New York City

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