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Literature / Lady Chatterley's Lover

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Lady Chatterley's Lover is a 1928 novel by D. H. Lawrence, about a young married woman, Constance (Lady Chatterley) whose upper-class husband has been paralyzed and rendered impotent during World War I. With his blessing, she starts an affair with the gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors.

Due to its graphic sexual content, the novel created a great deal of controversy. In several countries, it was banned or heavily censored. The free release of Lady Chatterley's Lover was considered to be an important milestone of the sexual revolution of The '60s.

The book has been adapted several times for film and television, most recently in 2015. Danielle Darrieux played Connie in the 1955 version, Sylvia Kristel in 1981, Joely Richardson in 1993 (opposite Sean Bean as Oliver Mellors), Marina Hands in a 2006 French production, and Holliday Grainger (opposite Richard Madden) in 2015. Another adaptation is in the works, starring Emma Corrin as Connie and Jack O'Connell as Mellors.


Lady Chatterley's Lover provides examples of:

  • Allegory: In one passage, the interaction among Sir Clifford, Connie, and Oliver is an allegory for the class system in a changing Britain.
  • Ass Shove: Mellors gives an initially reluctant Connie one of these, although it's couched in such psychological language that the jury at the book's 1960 obscenity trial didn't realise it until the counsel for the prosecution pointed it out to them. (At the time, even consensual anal sex was illegal in the United Kingdom.)
  • Blue Blood: The Chatterley family.
  • Casting Gag: The casting director of the 2015 adaptation shows his sense of humour by casting Richard Madden as Oliver Mellors while his "dad" Sean Bean already played him in the 1993 BBC adaptation.
  • Cheating With The Milk Man: Or, in this case, the gamekeeper.
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  • Forgotten Trope: Mellors the gamekeeper was an officer in the war. The British army commissioned a lot of officers from outside the traditional officer class in World War I; but when the war ended, most of these men had to return to their former stations in life. The former officer was a common character in post-war fiction, but most of the novels which feature such a character have since been forgotten.
  • Funetik Aksent: Mellors's Derbyshire accent is rendered phonetically; some readers find it difficult to understand, and others find it can detract from the drama.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": John Thomas.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted; Lady Chatterley shares her first name with Oliver Mellors's daughter, also named Connie.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: One reason Lady Chatterley seeks a new lover: her husband is impotent due to an injury sustained in World War I. He gives her his blessing to find another lover, although he doesn't want to hear about it.
  • Tsundere: Bertha Coutts. The reason why Oliver is cheating on her with Connie.
  • Uptown Girl: This is the major source of dramatic conflict, where the well-bred lady of the gentry takes up with the gamekeeper.