LONDON (AP) — A paperback copy of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” used by the judge in the U.K. obscenity trial of the novel’s publisher is expected to sell at auction for up to 15,000 pounds ($20,000), auctioneer Sotheby’s said Wednesday.
Penguin Books was prosecuted in 1960 for publishing D.H. 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 press 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, with descriptions — “love making,” ”coarse” — and page numbers.