Friday 22 October 2010

Lady Chatterley’s 50th Anniversary

Lady Chatterley’s LoverNov 2nd, 2010, marks the 50th anniversary of the acquittal of Penguin Books by an Old Bailey jury on the charges of obscenity for publishing an uncensored version of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Though privately published in Italy in 1928, only a censored version of the book was legally available in Britain and the United States until the 1960s. Only a year before the trial, Roy Jenkins had secured the passage of a new Obscene Publications Act, leaving a crucial loophole – the question of literary merit – through which works might escape prohibition. And in May 1960, Penguin saw its chance, announcing its plans to publish 200,000 paperback copies of the complete work at just 3s 6d each. On November 2, after just three hours’ deliberation, the jury acquitted Penguin Books of all charges. Almost immediately, the book became a best-seller. Penguin will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the trial with a new edition of the notorious novel.

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