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Lady Chatterley's Lover (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Lady Chatterley's Lover (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

3.3 350
by D. H. Lawrence

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Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes &


Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.


The last, and most famous, of D. H. Lawrence’s novels, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in 1928 and banned in England and the United States as pornographic. While sexually tame by today’s standards, the book is memorable for better reasons—Lawrence’s masterful and lyrical prose, and a vibrant story that takes us bodily into the world of its characters.

As the novel opens, Constance Chatterley finds herself trapped in an unfulfilling marriage to a rich aristocrat whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and impotent. After a brief but unsatisfying affair with a playwright, Lady Chatterley enjoys an extremely passionate relationship with the gamekeeper on the family estate, Oliver Mellors. As Lady Chatterley falls in love and conceives a child with Mellors, she moves from the heartless, bloodless world of the intelligentsia and aristocracy into a vital and profound connection rooted in sexual fulfillment.

Through this novel, Lawrence attempted to revive in the human consciousness an awareness of savage sensuality, a sensuality with the power to free men and women from the enslaving sterility of modern technology and intellectualism. Perhaps even more relevant today than when it first appeared, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a triumph of passion and an erotic celebration of life.

Susan Ostrov Weisser is a professor in the English Department at Adelphi University, where she specializes in nineteenth-century literature and women’s studies, and teaches frequently in the Honors College.

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From Susan Ostrov Weisser’s Introduction to Lady Chatterley’s Lover

To some in the reading public, D. H. Lawrence was notorious as a vulgar pornographer; to others, he was an apostle of sexual liberation. It is interesting and ironic to note, therefore, that the early working title of Lady Chatterley’s Lover was “Tenderness.” Lawrence was indignant and disgusted by the public misunderstanding of his intentions, for he loathed casual sex or promiscuity, but he was also not an advocate of what he called “modern” romantic love. “Love is chiefly bunk,” he wrote in 1925 to his friend “Brett,” the Honorable Dorothy Brett, “an over-exaggeration of the spiritual and individualistic and analytic side. . . . If ever you can marry a man feeling kindly towards him, and knowing he feels kindly to you, do it, and throw love after.” Certainly the tentative title suggests that Lawrence meant this, his last novel, to be a story of real tenderness, but he intended to write about a different sort of love affair than can be found in the history of the British novel. Unlike the European novel, which is rich in tales of adultery (as in The Red and the Black, Madame Bovary, and Anna Karenina), romantic love in the nineteenth-century British novel tends either to lead to marriage or is destroyed because of illegitimate sexual activity. But in Lawrence’s last novel something new is going on, a new look at the cultural values by which we live: Lawrence’s characters are healed by their forbidden sexual love, rather than destroyed by it.

The famous love affair between Lady Chatterley and her gamekeeper was provocative also because it crossed class lines; it skipped over the middle class and united aristocracy and working class in an intimacy meant to threaten traditional sanctified hierarchies. This sexual union became so famous that the lady and the gamekeeper have become a kind of joke or cliché in modern literary culture. But in fact Lawrence drew on a tradition in the English novel of love and sex across class lines: Fielding, Dickens, Brontë, Eliot, and Hardy, to name a few, wrote about lower-class men and women hoping to marry “above” them and sometimes succeeding, or otherwise explored the trouble that class differences cause in love. More often the male lover has the class status, as in Samuel Richardson’s Pamela or Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre; frequently this common plot involves the pathos of seduction and the vulnerability of the heroine to male abandonment. The heroines Little Em’ly of Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, Hetty in George Eliot’s Adam Bede, or Tess in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles represent innocent victims of male sexual exploitation, whereas another innovation of Lawrence’s is that the forbidden sexual relationship between his lovers is based on mutual desire.

Lawrence was widely read in European literature and well aware of this history of the British novel, in which sexuality and romantic love served the purposes of moral discourse. In Lady Chatterley’s Lover in particular, he wanted to do something pointedly different. For better or worse, his treatment of the fictional theme of transgressive love and sex thus became fraught with the burden of a new meaning he wanted to place on it, a kind of morality free of tradition and conventional religious prohibitions. But this rebellion is not simply one of individual freedom; Lawrence embedded in Lady Chatterley’s Lover the meanings of sexual love and class conflict in a kind of war against our “civilization” as he had come to understand it. For Lawrence, the novel was a kind of weapon against a peculiarly modern development: He saw the social alienation from our bodies and the pleasures of the senses as the direct result of a soulless industrialism, the spirit of possessiveness and commercialism.

It is not coincidence that the interlinked themes of industrialism, class identity, and division on the one hand, and adulterous love on the other, were also important in Lawrence’s own life. In his partly autobiographical essay, “Nottingham and the Mining Countryside,” Lawrence portrays the area in which he was born and raised as marked by a curious division. He described Eastwood, a mining village near Nottingham, in contrasting terms, “a curious cross between industrialism and the old agricultural England”: “It was still the old England of the forest and agricultural past. . . . The mines were, in a sense, an accident in the landscape, and Robin Hood and his merry men were not very far away” (Phoenix, pp. 133, 135; see “For Further Reading”).

For Lawrence, town and country, industry and nature, old and new, were startlingly close by one another and yet also hopelessly separated. Lawrence felt this conflict deeply. On his father’s side, Lawrence was connected to the mining industry that dominated the town for generations. His grandfather had been company tailor for the local mine, and Arthur Lawrence, his father, was a collier (miner), though he rose to the position of “butty,” a kind of manager of a group of miners, a slightly better-paying job. As readers of Lawrence’s autobiographical novel Sons and Lovers know, Lawrence’s father married a woman, Lydia Beardsall, who considered herself above his class, a conflict that became a seminal fact in Lawrence’s upbringing. Lydia Beardsall’s family had once made (and lost) money in the Nottingham lace industry, and in her own view she was far more cultivated, religious, and shrewd—“superior” (that is, possessing the manners, accent, and culture of the middle class). Bitterly disappointed in her choice of husband and the life he could give her, she turned her full attention to her children and her ambitions for them.

Meet the Author

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 11, 1885
Date of Death:
March 2, 1930
Place of Birth:
Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England
Place of Death:
Vence, France
Nottingham University College, teacher training certificate, 1908

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Lady Chatterley's Lover 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 350 reviews.
BANCHEE_READS More than 1 year ago
D H Lawrence makes some striking observations about the state of the social classes in post WWI England, as well as providing some good insights into tough individual decisions we make in regard to relationships. I had limited knowledge of the post-war subject beforehand, but I felt that I learned a great deal in the process of reading. At times the book seemed repetitive, as if Lawrence were beating me over the head with his message, sacrificing character and plot in the process, but after all was said and done I couldn't say that it was a bad book. It's a very insightful, multi-layered work and I'm very glad I read it. The fact that the book was widely banned from publication in its early days is just another tempting reason to read it although, by today's standards, what was so risqué then borders on the ridiculous for us now. As long as you remind yourself of the time period in which it was written you'll be just fine...the laughs and raised eyebrows in conjunction with more serious themes are a pleasant mix. It is almost unbelievable, how this book could ever have raised a scandal, whereas it deals with love in a most human and indeed loving way. This tells us more about earlier readers than about the author. Everybody who is able to abandon the carthesian beliefs that ruined pleasure in enjoying life in the flesh as well as in the spirit will enjoy this masterpiece of literature.
MommyOfMunch More than 1 year ago
This book originally caught my interest because of it being a "banned" book. I read it for the first time at seventeen in the throes of young love, and I'm pleased to announce that it still delights me! It is the tale of a woman who is married but not physically fulfilled, and the ensuing consequences of her taking up with her invalid husband's gamekeeper. Their conversations are very much like the kind between a man and woman, and it's remarkable Lawrence's ability to write the thoughts from a woman's point of view. His descriptions of Connie examining her own body, and the sex from her point of view are amazing. He was obviously a very empathetic man! This is a very enjoyable romance, and I recommend it highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It so odd, the way people respond to this book. One would think that it was 19th century porn the way they go on. Yes, the few sex scnes are lovely, deliciously written but, come on, what about the social commentary and the psychological onion that unfolds as she realizes the truth about the kind of person her husband is and her own personal awakiening. And what about the world around them, England on the cusp of social and technological evolution? All of this is deliciously written and elegantly explored - so is the sex, but seriously, the good sex is only a couple of torrid pages in the rain. This novel has been sold short by its reputation. Maybe it's because I read it as an adult on a whim and not as a young student in a class that I read into the depth of this novel, I don't know. Anyone who had to read it in school, should read it again because your teacher and your work load sould you short on what's here. I'm repeating myself. but the sex is merely a lovely side street.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was written quite a while ago, however, that doesn't mean it's not good. While the sex in the book is somewhat tame and you have to 'read between the lines', it's the authors wording that make this book so very special. It's beautifully written and easy to read. I also loved his short stories, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A story of love and betrayal laced with evasive sexual encounters. I think this is probably one of the very best books that I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So very many typos. But you can get the jist. No use discussing the book, it is classic literature and I enjoy this story, but there will be others that just don't get it. The actual digital conversion of this classic is poorly done with many typos.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿ll admit it. I picked up D.H. Lawrence¿s Lady Chatterley's Lover hoping to be aroused by early 20th century erotica but I was sourly disappointed. Lawrence¿s prose is bloated and over done and often at odds with the modernist dialogue. The love scenes were vague and at times comical enough to draw comparisons with a modern day bodice ripper. If I had stopped just at the surface of this book--looked at only its disgruntled narrator, bad prose and vague love scenes I can see why it was panned by critics and banned by others at home and abroad as obscene. But looking deeper the parts that were obscene didn¿t have anything to do with sex. The Victorian ideal women was to protect and serve and above all sacrifice her body, her heart and her mind to her children, her husband and society--to deviate from this norm meant tragedy. Lawrence turns this ideal on its head. Connie Chatterley's illicit love and selfishness does not end tragically, but awakens her body and mind like spring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For my English class, we are required to read one classic of our choice. We had been doing research on banned books, and "Lady Chatterley's Lover" caught my eye as one classic I might like to read. Expecting it to be extremely formal in style and diction, I often found myself surprised at what Lawrence wrote. I had never imagined sex being described in detail in such a formal manner. The book proved to be an exciting one to read and I was much impressed by the thoughts the book stimulated, about such things as women's roles and feelings, what love is from both the physical and emotional stadpoints, success, money, and the social classes. While I don't agree with Lady Chatterley's affair, I can see and understand her reasons for engaging in such a relationship. This book is quite a shocker if you think classics are dull or proper.
Takamonee More than 1 year ago
I suppose for the time in which this book was written that it was consider racy. but not by today's standards. Guess I do not care for D. H. Lawrence's writing.
bebwright More than 1 year ago
It's definitely an oldie. Not quite a goodie. I won't read it again. It was written a long time ago and was considered erotic for it's time. It ended a little puzzling and that was the big turn off for me. I read all that crap and didn't really get any closure. It's a book you really want to be finished with! Did I mention how hung up on sex men and women were back in those days.......
Bookworm95AO More than 1 year ago
It is an interesting take on eighteenth century sex, but I found the romantic scenes with Mellors and Connie to be a bit overblown--the love is overexaggerated for a relationship based almost solely on intercourse. The ending was anticlimatic and a bit of a drag...
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Incredible <3
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A book well written and ahead of its time.
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