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Copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover Could Fetch Obscene Cash

The paperback was used by the judge in a landmark obscenity trial against the publisher
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2018 9:50 AM CDT
In this Oct. 27, 1960, file photo, a line forms outside Old Bailey in London for admission to the public gallery for the "Lady Chatterley's Lover" case.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – A paperback copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover used by the judge in the UK obscenity trial of the novel's publisher is expected to sell at auction for up to $20,000, auctioneer Sotheby's said Wednesday. Penguin Books was prosecuted in 1960 for publishing DH Lawrence's book about an affair between a wealthy woman and her husband's gamekeeper, a landmark in the frank literary depiction of sexuality. A prosecution lawyer infamously asked in court whether it was "a book that you would ... wish your wife or your servants to read?" It took jurors just three hours of deliberation to find Penguin not guilty, and the case came to be seen as a landmark victory for freedom of speech and a sign of changing social mores.

The copy being sold by Sotheby's in London on Oct. 30 comes with a damask bag hand-stitched by Dorothy Byrne, the wife of judge Lawrence Byrne, so that photographers could not snap the judge with the scandalous tome. It also includes a sheet of paper with Dorothy Byrne's handwritten notes detailing the book's explicit passages, reports the AP, with descriptions—"love making," ''coarse"—and page numbers. (Read the book's Twitter lit version.)


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