When Penguin released a new, unexpurgated edition of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960 they were charged with the crime of publishing obscene material. Penguin was forced to defend the book’s literary merit in a court of law – thus beginning one of the most famous trials of the 20th century.
There to take it all in, armed with her pencil and paper, was Sybille Bedford – who wastes no time complaining about the claustrophobia of Courtroom 1 at the Old Bailey. With her trademark wit and flair, Bedford presents us with a play-by-play of the trial: from the prosecution’s questioning of the novel’s thirteen sexual encounters and their listing of all 66 instances of swear words, to the dozens of witnesses who testified – including the Bishop of Woolwich and E. M. Forster.
Bedford gives us a timeless and dramatic account that captures one of the most fascinating and absurd moments in both legal and publishing history, when attitudes and morals shifted forever.
‘An excellent stylist and a splendid narrator’ The New Yorker
A Bath with a View
I once met Sybille Bedford. ‘Met’ is perhaps the wrong word; I pounced on her at a crowded Time-Life party and began raving about her novel A Legacy which I had just read. She looked at me...Read more
Bruised, Shocked, but Elated
I first met Sybille Bedford in London in the early 1980s when an old friend of mine, Patrick Woodcock, who at the time was Sybille’s doctor, invited us both to dinner. As a keen admirer of...Read more