It would be idle to pretend that D. H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover has not been emasculated by the omissions that have been made in what is called the 'authorized abridged' edition. That the omissions were inevitable so that the book could be placed on sale in this country without rendering its publisher liable to prosecution is equally undeniable. And, without entering into the difficult general question of art and morals of which this book is an instance, it must be agreed both that it is better to have the bulk of this work available than none of it, and that, in its present form, it does not represent its author's intention. Those who ha7e read Mr. Middleton Murry's Son oj Woman wiU remember what he says of this book and of iiS place in the story of Lawrence's development. No novel by this great writer was simply conceived as a work of art: all were expressions of a stage in that incessant and unfulfilled search for a view, or a manner, of life that should purge it of what seemed to him its deadness. In Lady Chatterley's Lover he thought he had found a solution in a mystic of sex-communion which he deliberately expressed in scenes and language which were, literally and intentionally, shameless. Like all Lawrence's solutions, it was imperfect: the very shamelessness was an imperfection, and yet the removal of that imperfection takes half the life out of the work. The asterisks which replace the scenes in question certainly purge these pages of much that might be injurious to immature minds, for which they were never intended; but they sadly weaken the contrast that throughout Lawrence was concerned to draw between the warm fruitfulness of a sexual union in which nothing of
Lady Chatterley's Lover feeling or emotion is held back on either side and the cold, selfish unions between men and women that breed bitterness and death in the soul.