Sep 26, 2018
By Michael Kramer
A paperback copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover – used by the judge in the U.K. obscenity trial of the novel’s publisher – is expected to sell at a Sothebys auction for up to $20,000.
In 1960 Penguin Books was prosecuted for publishing D.H. Lawrence’s novel about an affair between a wealthy woman and her husband’s gamekeeper – a literary landmark in the frank depiction of sexuality.
Jurors deliberated for just three hours and found Penguin not guilty – and the case came to be seen as a landmark victory for freedom of speech – as well as a sign of changing social behaviors.
The Sotheby’s auction copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover being offered in London on October 30th comes with a damask bag which was hand-stitched by Dorothy Byrne, the wife of judge Lawrence Byrne – so press photographers couldn’t snap the judge carrying the scandalous book.
It also includes a sheet of paper with Dorothy Byrne’s handwritten notes detailing the book’s explicit passages.