In 1959, Grove Press won a landmark court case in the U.S. declaring that D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover did not constitute obscenity and was therefore able to be sold and shipped in the country. The following year, Mr. Justice Byrne of the Central Court of the Old Bailey in London found that the work was not obscene and thus overturned the ban in the U.K.
According to The Guardian, a copy of the novel marked up by the judge’s wife will remain in the U.K. after a crowdfunding campaign, spearheaded by English PEN and supported by the novelist Neil Gaiman, raised sufficient funds to convince the University of Bristol to acquire the volume.
The book, which bears notes from Mr. Justice Byrne’s wife, Lady Dorothy Byrne, to show where D.H. Lawrence strays into “coarse” territory and “love making,” was sold at auction last year to an overseas buyer for £56,250. But an export bar was placed on it by the government in the hope a U.K. buyer would match the price to keep in the country.
Byrne’s copy has been described as “the last surviving contemporary ‘witness’ ” to the 1960 trial of Penguin Books, which was a test case for the Obscene Publications Act. The jury took three hours to return a not guilty verdict for Penguin, with Lady Chatterley’s Lover going on to sell 2m copies in just two years.
The Guardian quotes Gaiman as saying that the money raised to keep the book in the U.K. proves “that the internet is actually good for something.”