Tuesday, 28 December 2010

When the 1960's began

As the final days of 2010 tick away, Fantasy Bob wishes to remind all 3 of his readers that it was the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of one of the most celebrated trials in British legal history - that of Penguin Books who were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act for the publication of DH Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover.   Penguin were acquitted and, according to many commentators, the 1960s began, leading directly to the world of gangsta-rap, Babestation and T20.   Such is progress.

DH Lawrence - body line
wasn't enough 
But Fantasy Bob's researches tell him that it was never DH Lawrence's intention to produce the present text.  It was far from his mind to write the story of the passion between the aristocratic wife and her earthy gamekeeper replete with graphic descriptions of the sex act, rendered in Anglo-Saxon rather than appropriately medical terminology.  FB reminds us that the book was written in 1928, the year of the Test debuts of both Wally Hammond and Don Bradman.   FB invites us also to take account of the fact that Lawrence came from a similar Nottingham background to Harold Larwood who was making his first impact at that time. This context means that Lawrence's original intention was more ambitious than conventionally understood.  Cricket was central, as this previously unpublished letter to his wife Frieda Weekley suggests.

Dearest Freida,

I am working on a new novel that I fear will shock all our enemies, although that is not my purpose.  You know how deep burns my belief that the close relations between man and woman have been capriciously misunderstood and misrepresented by writers.  At last after years of painful and wasted labour I believe I have found the way to correct this and shine the light of truth into that conspiracy of darkness.  I can have no truck with the nonsense that is conventionally spouted that a woman can have no conception of fast bowling.  No - fast bowling can be the making of her womanhood.  I will therefore show, with all the loving tenderness at my disposal, how, with appropriate introduction and encouragement, with careful coaching in the hands of one experienced and direct in his demands, a woman, even one with that carefully cultivated aristocratic langour that normally signifies a top order batter, can get the ball up round the batter's ears.  Her first over will be strange but she will soon find herself possessed by an unmistakable physical thrill as her lower limbs spread naturally into the delivery stride.   She will work on her seam position as she hits the track hard.  She will master length. 

My dearest, in rendering this truth I fear I will have to use a large number of cricketing terms - I cannot see that I have choice on this matter.  I know that the prudes who stand in judgement over us will attempt to suppress my work.  Let them - eternity will be my only judge.  If they cannot stand to see in print words like off cutter, leg cutter, seam up, reverse swing - terms that they hear on every street corner, then I pity them.  These words may seem crude to the beau monde but to my characters they are life itself. 

I haven't decided on a title.  What do you think of Lady Chatterley's Yorker?


No comments:

Post a Comment