Sunday, September 22, 2013

Banned Books Week - Day 1

Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence
I hate that we even have a Banned Books Week [September 22-28, 2013], but since we do have such a week, we shouldn't hide from it ... let's talk about it and do something.

Today I read an article on NPR Books about Romance as a genre in this week and it reminded me of something I heard from my mother-in-law.

While the book had been partially released in 1928, it was in 1960 the full unexpurgated Lady Chatterley's Lover was published and the publisher sued for obscenity.  During the trial, a local newspaper obtained a bunch of copies and sent them to the North of England to a group of ladies who worked everyday.  They were told to read it and offer their opinions of whether it was obscene or not.

My mother-in-law lived her entire life in the North, but wasn't one of the select few to get the book.  She read it though because the book made the rounds.  As soon as one woman finished, she passed it on to a friend to read.  The outcome of the unscientific experiment was that the book was entertaining, not in the least bit obscene.  Thankfully a jury also found it not obscene and the book was once again published.

Back in 1930, the US wrote a law to help keep banned books from being imported.  It wasn't until 1959 that the Supreme Court considered the practice to withhold books a violation of the First Amendment and it's protection of free speech.

I'm still surprised that a book can be considered obscene because of adultery.

So, in response to those who prefer to ban, might I suggest you go out and get a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence at Amazon, BN or OmniLit, read it, and enjoy being able to read the book!

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