1959 June 11

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” Banned From the Mails


Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield banned D. H. Lawrence’s famous novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, from the U.S. mails on this day. First published in a private edition in 1928 in Florence, Italy, the novel was censored in the U.S. and the U.K. for 30 years because of its sexual content (which is pretty tame by today’s standards). Soon after this decision, however, a federal District Court in New York, on July 21, 1959, declared Lady Chatterley’s Lover not obscene and opened the way for its publication and distribution.

The book was published in the U.S. by Barney Rosset’s Grove Press. Rosset, who died on February 21, 2012, was a crusading publisher who also challenged the censorship of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and other controversial works.

Read the famous novel: D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928)

Learn more about D. H. Lawrence: http://www.online-literature.com/dh_lawrence/

Read Barney Rosset’s autobiography: Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship (2016)

Learn more about the anti-censorship campaign in the 1950s and 1960s: Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer, and Fanny Hill (1968)

Watch the trailer for the 2006 film version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv6jiU6XWWY

Watch an interview with publisher Barney Rosset: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdweTspU_7A

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