A novel by D. H. Lawrence (privately printed, Florence 1928; expurgated version, London 1932 text, London 1960).
Constance Chatterley is married to Sir Clifford, writer, intellectual, and landowner, of Wragby Hall in the Midlands. He is confined to a wheelchair through injuries from the First World War. She has an unsatisfying affair with a successful playwright, Michaelis, followed by a passionate love relationship with gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. She becomes pregnant by him, goes to Venice with her sister Hilda partly to obscure the baby's parentage, but returns and tells her husband the truth, spurred on by the knowledge that Mellors's estranged wife Bertha has been stirring scandal in an effort to reclaim him. The novel ends with the temporary separation of the lovers, as they hopefully await divorce and a new life together.
Lawrence's detailed and poetic descriptions of sexual union, and his uncompromising use of four‐letter words, caused the book to be unpublishable in full in England until 1960 when Penguin Books produced a complete text. They were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, and acquitted after a celebrated trial during which many eminent authors (including E. M. Forster and R. Hoggart) appeared as witnesses for the defence, a victory which had a profound effect on both writing and publishing in subsequent decades.
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D. H. Lawrence (1885—1930) writer