A report on D. H. Lawrence and Obscenity

D. H. Lawrence, 1929
Cover of an undated American edition of Fanny Hill, c. 1910
Lawrence at age 21 in 1906
The 18th century book Fanny Hill has been subject to obscenity trials at various times (image: plate XI: The bathing party; La baignade)
Photograph of Lawrence by Lady Ottoline Morrell, 29 November 1915
D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire

Many historically important works have been described as obscene or prosecuted under obscenity laws, including the works of Charles Baudelaire, Lenny Bruce, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and the Marquis de Sade.

- Obscenity

Both novels were highly controversial and were banned on publication in the UK for obscenity, although Women in Love was banned only temporarily.

- D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence, 1929

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1932 UK authorised edition

Lady Chatterley's Lover

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1932 UK authorised edition
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Translator Sei Itō (left) and his publisher Hisajirō Oyama (right) at the first Chatterley trial in Japan.

Lady Chatterley's Lover is the last novel by English author D. H. Lawrence, which was first published privately in 1928, in Italy, and in 1929, in France.

The book was also banned for obscenity in the United States, Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

Penguin Books

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British publishing house.

British publishing house.

Plaque marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Penguin Books by Allen Lane at 8 Vigo Street.
Penguin Crime editions.
Penguin's English edition of Yuri Krimov’s novel The Tanker “Derbent"
Penguin Classics editions
The 80 Little Black Classics published in 2015 marking the 80th anniversary Penguin Books
Four Pelican book covers, showing the gradual shift in the design. From left – 1937 (three bands), 1955 (grid), 1969 (illustrated), and 2007 (a "Penguin Celebrations" throwback edition)
Covers of two Penguin Education titles

Just as Lane well judged the public's appetite for paperbacks in the 1930s, his decision to publish Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence in 1960 boosted Penguin's notoriety.

The novel was at the time unpublished in the United Kingdom and the predicted obscenity trial, R v Penguin Books Ltd, not only marked Penguin as a fearless publisher, it also helped drive the sale of at least 3.5 million copies.