In Lady Chatterley's Lover, his most notorious novel, D. H. Lawrence vividly depicts an intense affair between Constance Chatterley, the wife of an English aristocrat, and her gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. Although Lawrence finished the novel in 1928, its detailed descriptions of lovemaking and frequent use of frank language prevented it from being published in an unexpurgated edition until 1959. (Even then, the publisher was arrested when the book was shipped through the mail, and he was only cleared after a lengthy court battle.) Lawrence's characters serve as metaphors for their social classes: Clifford Chatterley, Connie's husband--the product of a dying, aristocratic society--is paralyzed both physically and mentally; while the laborer Mellors has not allowed civilization destroy his spontaneity or his naturalness of expression. The book is notable also for its almost poetic musings on sexual coupling--musings that rise to an unrivaled mythical fullness as the ! lovers pursue their charged relationship.
Perhaps the most famous of Lawrence's novels, the 1928 Lady Chatterley's Lover is no longer distinguished for the once-shockingly explicit treatment of its subject matter--the adulterous affair between a sexually unfulfilled upper-class married woman and the game keeper who works for the estate owned by her wheelchaired husband. Now that we're used to reading about sex, and seeing it in the movies, it's apparent that the novel is memorable for better reasons: namely, that Lawrence was a masterful and lyrical writer, whose story takes us bodily into the world of its characters.