London, South Kensington
25 October 2007
THE LADY CHATTERLEY TRIAL -- "Central Criminal Court. Old Bailey, London E.C.4., Thursday, 20th October, 1960 [to] Wednesday, 2nd November, 1960. Before: Mr Justice Byrne. Regina -v- Penguin Books Limited ... Transcript of the Shorthand Notes ... First [to] Sixth Day." [London:] 1960. c.360 pages of a copy of the original typescript in 6 parts. Original fawn printed wrappers secured by metal fasteners.
A VERBATIM RECORD OF THE MOST FAMOUS TRIAL IN LITERARY HISTORY, and one which could be said to have heralded the 'swinging sixties' and a more permissive Britain. Although published privately and in various pirated editions in Europe immediately after its completion in 1928, D. H. Lawrence's most famous novel Lady Chatterley's Lover had to wait until 1960 for publication in Britain by Penguin. This led to a prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959, an act which enabled publishers to escape conviction if they could prove a work was of sufficient literary merit. Witnesses for the defence included E. M. Forster, Helen Gardner, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams and Rebecca West, and the eventual unanimous verdict of 'Not Guilty' may have been swayed by the chief prosecutor's now-infamously anachronistic plea to the jury: 'Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?' (6)
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