Book Look - Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence
Am choking down my respect for D.H. Lawrence and my fear of being flamed by fellow English majors everywhere in order to go public with my honest but politically incorrect impression of this work: If you actually read the parts before, in between, and after the sex scenes, Lady Chatterly's Lover turns out to be a rather pompous, tedious tirade on how industrialism, socialism, feminism, intellectualism, modernism, and the class system are sucking all the tenderness from the world.
Goodness knows I wanted to be more impressed - I've enjoyed Lawrence in the past- but in this instance I found the author's prose style annoyingly repetitive, his characters unsympathetic, and his "evidences" of society's decline strident, hyperbolic, and unconvincing.
I understand that in a post-WWI society, Lawrence might justly have been upset about industrialization destroying pretty rural towns, about "smart young things" embracing a sort of pretentious intellectualism over common sense, about artists embracing modernity over tradition, etc., but this overly-pedantic volume seems more misanthropic than anthropologic. Can Lawrence really believe the world would be a better place if only humans would eschew money, intellectualism, politics and technology in order to revert to a minimalist, naturalistic, essentially animalistic existence? Or is he trying to say that since this is as unrealistic an option as the alternative, there really is no hope for humanity? Either way, this reads as a the bitter rant of a misanthrope rather than what I hoped/expected it to be: an innovative and daring exploration of the nature of love, passion, compassion, honor, duty and society.
Admit I can't help wondering: if it weren't for the book's notorious reputation, would anyone still be reading this? Or would it have slipped into place among the ranks of "lesser" works by otherwise great authors?