Britain imposes export ban on book

LONDON, May 14, (Xinhua/GNA) - The British government on Monday imposed an export ban on a paperback copy of "Lady Chatterley's Lover," a once-scandalous book in British literature, to help keep it in Britain.

The book, written by D.H. Lawrence, is the British writer's final novel before his death in 1930. It tells the story of an affair between a wealthy woman and her husband's gamekeeper, with explicit depictions of sexuality.

The annotated copy of the book was used by the judge who presided over the famous 1960 obscenity trial of British publishing house Penguin Books.

Penguin was prosecuted in 1960 for publishing the uncensored work to test the country's 1959 Obscene Publications Act, which was designed to protect works of literature while strengthening laws against pornography.

Penguin was found not guilty in the trial, and the case was seen as a landmark in British cultural history, which indicated that potentially obscene works could be published if they were of literary merit or contributed to the public good.

The copy used by Judge Laurence Byrne in court contains annotations by his wife Dorothy with a list of page numbers with short content summaries.

Later notes were made by the judge himself during the trial. Dorothy also sewed a blue-grey fabric bag for her husband to carry the book to and from court.

The copy was then sold to an anonymous overseas bidder for around 73,350 U.S. dollars.

The government's Monday decision provides a push to seek out a buyer to keep the copy in Britain.

"The trial of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' ... was a watershed moment in cultural history, when Victorian ideals were overtaken by a more modern attitude," British Arts Minister Michael Ellis said.

"I hope that a buyer can be found to keep this important part of our nation's history in the UK," Ellis said.

"The prosecution of Penguin Books for publishing 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' was one of the most important criminal trials of the 20th century.

Judge Byrne's copy of the novel, annotated by him and his wife, may be the last surviving contemporary 'witness' who took part in the proceedings," said Hayden Phillips, chairman of the official reviewing committee which recommended the export ban.

"It would be more than sad, it would be a misfortune, if this last surviving 'witness' left our shores," Phillips said.


Source: GNA Story (
Published: 2019-05-14 16:21:43
© Ghana News Agency