Erotic Media Throughout History: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence

Erotic Media Throughout History Lady Chatterleys Lover

Prior to photograph and video content of erotic scenes and stories, written literature was a popular avenue for expressing lustful thoughts. Love letters were exchanged between couples, sometimes including graphic descriptions, drawings or photographs. Yet published works often faced scrutiny and censorship by printing companies and publishers. Despite this, D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” shocked the world with its explicit language and graphic descriptions. Lawsuits, book bans and censorship debates ensued and the novel remains one of great controversy.

About The Book

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” is a tale of forbidden love and sexual awakening set in post-World War I England. The story follows beautiful Lady Chatterley, who finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage to an impotent veteran. Seeking satisfaction outside her marriage, she embarks on a passionate affair with the estate’s gamekeeper.

The Response

At the time of its publication, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was outrageously provocative. The language used was enough to make people blush but the detailed descriptions of sex were almost unheard of in published literature. Over the years, several governments banned the book including the UK, the US as well as here in Australia until 1968. 

One of the greatest changes this raunchy read sparked was the 1960 obscenity trial where the publishing house Penguin Books successfully fought for the right to publish the uncensored edition. Censorship was an ongoing social issue; some feared that unregulated publishing could break down all sense of right and wrong. Others believed that published literature was an extension of freedom of speech rights. Lady Chatterley’s Lover was defended because of its explicit nature and how it symbolised freedom of expression for other topics. The publishing of sexually explicit literature awakened a knowledge of and desire for adult material in the public. Authors were able to broaden their skills and cater to a new and growing audience.

From a publishing industry perspective, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” marked a turning point in the way adult content was perceived and handled. Having successfully challenged censorship laws, publishers were able to take risks and defend controversial works. Despite the international backlash Lady Chatterley’s Lover received initially, the years that followed saw a huge increase in the amount and intensity of adult novels.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is among the most influential pieces in publishing history precisely because of its divisive nature. While it remains censored and banned by some countries, its effect on censorship laws paved the way for adult material. Despite its paper-and-ink origins, Lady Chatterley’s Lover remains an important landmark as the sex industry continues to grapple with censorship and social advocacy in the digital age. Without these provocative pages, erotic media in all forms would likely still be subject to even greater censorship laws.

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