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In October 1960 at the Old Bailey a jury of nine men and three women prepared for the infamous trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover. The Obscene Publications Act had been introduced the previous year and D. H. Lawrence's notorious novel was the first to be prosecuted under its provisions.
The prosecution argued that the book's language was shocking; indeed, the Court was more shocked than the jury. But as witness after witness testified to the literary excellence and moral purpose of Lawrence's work, the final unequivocal 'Not Guilty' came as no great surprise. It was a triumph for lovers of literature and moral sanity.
This account of the historic trial and acquittal of Penguin Books has been reissued to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary. Derived from the official Old Bailey transcript of the evidence and speeches, The Trial of Lady Chatterley serves both as an account of the most expansive (and expensive) seminar on the works of D. H. Lawrence ever given, and as a timely reminder of the repressive, humourless and class-ridden moral orthodoxies of an era when, as Geoffrey Robertson, QC, recalls in his new foreword, 'homosexuality and abortion were criminal offences and divorced men were not allowed to read the news on the BBC'