Lady Chatterley’s Lover (First Edition) by D. H. Lawrence
Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a by D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930). The first edition of this work was published privately in 1928 by Tipografia Giuntina, Florence. Background
It is generally acknowledged that the subject matter for the novel came out of unhappy events in Lawrence’s personal life. The novel was considered overly sexual, shocking, vulgar, profane and was the source of extreme controversy. The novel could not be published openly and without expurgation in America until 1946, and Britain until 1960. Even then, the 1960 publication resulted in publishers Penguin being tried for obscenity. The jury found them not guilty, but numerous other publishing houses in other countries were also put on trial for the publication of this book. For some, the novel became a by-word for all that was unsavoury improper. For others its publication constituted a whole event in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Lady Chatterley’s Lover remains one of the most notorious literary works ever written.
Plot, Characters, Themes
The story involves a young married woman whose husband is paralysed in war. He becomes emotionally neglectful to his wife, and her sexual frustration results in her beginning an affair with her gamekeeper. The theme of class difference is highlighted throughout, as well as an examination of the mental vs the physical, and the need for satisfaction of both mind and body.
D. H. Lawrence was a singular writer and artist. He wrote about the effects of modernity and industrialisation, about emotional health, and morality. His works were controversial and rejected by many as mere pornography – today they are mostly recognised as impressive representations of an age fearful of change and unwilling to look itself in the eye.
Notable auction sales and collecting tips
Copies of this privately printed first edition are worth much more with Lawrence’s signature. The book is very collectible, greatly due to its suppression and the controversy surrounding it.
The privately printed first edition copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928, Tipografia Giuntina, Florence) have been sold for $19,200 by Sothebys New York in April 2004, $10,158 by Sothebys New York in December 2002, and $31,070 by Christie’s New York in October 2002.
It is not recommended to restore these first editions, as they are much more valuable in their original publisher's cloth binding with embossed front board and paper spine label.