Monday, 09 August 2010

Lady Chatterley's Lover

I just finished this in the bath and find myself both disappointed and enchanted.

Why am I disappointed? This book has been called pornographic and a great many other insulting and unpleasant things. Perhaps it says something about the world we live in that words like 'fuck' and 'penis' simply aren't that shocking. The sex scenes were not graphic and there was nothing pornographic and, as far as I can tell, nothing that came close. Of course, I'm not exactly an expert in such things, all I can say is that fanfic (of any genre) is generally far more graphic.

Why then am I enchanted? For a multitude of reasons. There's something distinctly Tolkienish about the world in the book. The slow steady creep of industrialisation and the loss of trees and fields. Every second passage brought Tolkien to my mind. Also, this is a well-written love story that also manages to encapsulate all the uncertainty there was between the two world wars, particularly as regards the English class system. Already the system was breaking down, as industrialisation spread and filthy trade became more important than the landed gentry.

In short, this is a wonderfully written romance that covers series topics as well. Also, there are one or two intimate scenes that are heart-warming (there are others that make you wonder whether or not the protagonists are actually having sex or not, which is not how I understand pornography to work). It's worth reading because it's a classic and because of the impact it had on literature in general. It's also worth reading because it's a good story, if somewhat slow and detached from the world in which we live now.

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