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Love, sex, obscene trial: Netflix streaming 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' invokes the novel's eventful past

Love, sex, obscene trial: Netflix streaming Lady Chatterleys Lover invokes the novels eventful past

D H Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's' Lover has no replacement in literary history. It is exuberantly shocking, unpredictable, riveting—for good.

The author pulled no punches in questioning the social and religious mores.

Decades after its publication and accompanying criticisms and court trails, now a cinematic version rekindles interest in the novel.

Thanks to the delectable adaptation by director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre now streaming on Netflix.

When the novel was first published in Italy in 1928, the world was still trapped in deeply ingrained customs and beliefs

The dark shadows of the First World War was lingering while another was in the making to foreshadow the world.

A spiritual crisis steeped in hopelessness, alongside miseries of war and poverty turned the world into a hell.

TS Eliot summed up the agony, hopelessness, and spiritual vacuum of the time in his poem "The Waste Land" in 1922.

That was when a married, aristocratic, Christian woman in England fell for a working-class man.

Yes, D H Lawrence was hitting right on the nail of all social norms.

The central characters in the novel: Lady Constance Chatterley, Sir Clifford Chatterley, and their gamekeeper Oliver Mellors pushed the readers' sensibilities to limit.

Right from its first publication, Lady Chatterley's Lover was put through moral, legal and spiritual scrutiny around the world, India included.

Most of the criticism against the novel finally narrowed down to just one point: 'the obscenity'.

The questions of what constitutes morality became a raging talking point back then.

Lady Constance Chatterley enters into intensely amorous relationship with her husband's gamekeeper Oliver Mellors.

It was happening behind the back of the paralysed, war-veteran Sir Clifford Chatterley.

Novel was exploring how innate human passions come in conflict with moral norms.

That essentially throws up the question why woman's pursuit of pleasure being vehemently censored.

Though it came out in 1928 in Italy and a year later in France, the novel was quickly branded as unfit for publication.

In England its uncensored version was not available until 1960s, with critics calling it as scandalous, corrupt, and more.

However, most fingers were pointed at the depiction of sexual love between a married upper class woman and a working-class man.

When Penguin Books came out with the novel's unabridged version in England, it was sued.

The Obscene Publications Act 1959 wanted publishers to prove the literary merit of works.

Many critics and scholars were summoned to the court to testify the novel's literary merit.

The court finally found Penguin Books not guilty and the publication went on bringing out another edition, according to a report in the News Minute.

In India the novel came into a barrage of criticism after Happy Book Stall in Mumbai sold uncensored copies of the novel in 1964.

Happy Book Stall was sued under Section 292 (punishment for selling obscene materials) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), according to the report.

Thus Ranjit D Udeshi v. State of Maharashtra (1964), (Ranjit Udeshi, a partner of Happy Book Stall in Mumbai) went down in legal history.

The accused argued on the grounds of freedom of expression, asking to evaluate the merit of a literary work in totality, rather than focusing on a few portions of the work.

The Supreme Court of India used well-known 'Hicklin Test' to distinguish between obscenity and art.

The Hicklin Test, established by the English court in 1868, laid down the presumption that all materials tending to corrupt minds from immoral influences are obscene regardless of their artistic merit.

Based on this idea, the supreme court of India held the accused guilty in the case.

In 2014, the Supreme Court overruled the Ranjit Udeshi judgement in Aveek Sarkar v State of West Bengal, the report said.

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TAGS:Netflix Lady Chatterley’s Lover DH Lawrence 
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