Lady Chatterley’s trial verdict remembered (or not)
This week marked the 50th anniversary of the not guilty verdict in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial, where Penguin took on Britain’s Obscenity Law. Penguin were richly rewarded for taking on the establishment as all 200,000 copies of the 1960 edition of the novel sold on the day of the verdict.
Three million more copies were sold in the next 90 days. The odd thing is that the bookish media and the book world in general have made little fuss about this anniversary. The trial opened the way for free expression in British publishing. Remember DH Lawrence had first privately published Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Italy in 1928.
Let’s remember some words from a glorious librarian, Philip Larkin:
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me).
Between the end of the
“Chatterley” ban and
The Beatles’ first LP.