A roomful of old echoes

Fillyjonk offers a D. H. Lawrence poem I hadn’t seen before, and if you were expecting some sort of emotional tumult — I think perhaps I was — you’re in for something of a surprise, especially if all you know of Lawrence is That Book:

[L]ike, I suspect, most Americans, I know of Lawrence mostly because of the (in)famous “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (which I have never read) which was known as a “bad” book because it contained sex scenes. (and I suspect they may be more tame than the scenes commonly available in ‘strong romance’ novels of today. But then again — never have read it.)

She suspects correctly. But Lawrence wasn’t out to write a book about screwing. He was out to reverse what he saw as an alarming trend: an overemphasis on the mental at the expense of the physical.

Still, there’s enough in the book to allow for multiple interpretations, of which perhaps the most amusing was the 1959 review by Ed Zern of Field & Stream:

Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley’s Lover has just been reissued by Grove Press, and this fictional account of the day-by-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of considerable interest to outdoor-minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper.

Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savor these sidelights on the management of a Midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer’s opinion the book cannot take the place of J. R. Miller’s Practical Gamekeeper.

Zern was kidding. I think.





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