This week’s Recommended Read comes from our outgoing Communications Intern Mike Butler (that’s me!). I’ve been spending my daily commute reading about forbidden love in the Midlands…
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The bruise was deep, deep, deep … the bruise of the false inhuman war
D. H. Lawrence’s final novel, like T. S. Eliot’s epic poem The Waste Land, was written between the wars, and shares with Eliot’s work a deep pessimism about the future. The previous social order is crumbling away, soon to be replaced by something terrible and unknown; Lawrence describes the painful bursting forth of an inhumanly mechanised and industrialised society, which is having a damaging effect on human feeling and consciousness.
Against this backdrop, Connie Chatterley begins a sensuous affair with her gamekeeper Mellors, and their need for physical and mental intimacy is described in opposition to the heartless industrial world around them which is hostile to these feelings. Lawrence’s occasional tendency to give precedence to his social and philosophical arguments over the development of story and character can sometimes make his novels feel abstract or dry; he is, however, greatly concerned with the human need to find fulfilment and make ‘connexions’ with others, something in which novels themselves have an important part to play – they can ‘lead into new places the flow of our sympathetic consciousness’ and allows us to ‘hear the most private affairs of other people, but only in a spirit of respect for the struggling, battered thing which any human soul is, and in a spirit of fine, discriminative sympathy.’ How far England’s sympathy extends to Lady Chatterley and Mellors, we shall see.