[Milton-L] Censorship, Lady Chatterley and Price

Alan Rudrum rudrum at shaw.ca
Fri Nov 16 21:45:47 EST 2007

J. W. Creaser wrote:
> If a UK example would be of interest, it would be worth looking into 
> the epoch-making 1961 trial of Penguin Books for publishing an 
> unexpurgated edition of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'.  The court 
> transcript is available, and is a bizarre confrontation of illiberal 
> and liberal sensibilities.  Notoriously, the prosecuting counsel asked 
> one witness if he would approve of his wife or servants reading the book.
> A famous verse by Larkin springs to mind...
> John Creaser
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> John Creaser's letter took me back, since I "covered" (if that is the word) the Lady Chatterley trial for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.  I had lived 18 miles from Eastwood as a WW2 evacuee, had a degree from the U. of Nottingham, which had become a centre of DHL studies, after years of having no truck with his work because he had run away with a professor's wife,  and, alas, was a Lawrentian to a degree which is embarrassing to remember. But that memory took me to another; my graduate supervisor, Vivian Pinto, also a DHL fan, published an anthology called The Common Muse (I think - if I had a few thousand fewer books in my house I might be able to lay my hands on it). Here is where censorship by price comes in: it came out in two versions, one at a guinea and the other at three guineas.   The three guinea vesion had some really, really naughty poems in it.  So the assumption appeared to be that if you had that much money to lay out on a book,then you had an incorruptible mind...or perhaps a mind so far gone in corruption that it didn't matter.


Alan Rudrum

www.sfu.ca/~rudrum <http://www.sfu.ca/%7Erudrum>


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