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Crowdfunding plea to keep Lady Chatterley's Lover in UK

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By Lauren Chadwick
Screen capture of go fund me campaign for Lady Chatterley's Lover
Screen capture of go fund me campaign for Lady Chatterley's Lover

Literature lovers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to keep a symbolic copy of DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover in the United Kingdom.

The copy in question was previously owned by Sir Laurence Bryne, the judge who presided over the famous 1960 obscenity trial.

But the book is set to leave the country unless the 'crowdfunders' from the writers' association English PEN can raise £56,250 (roughly €63,819).

That was the bidding price for the hand-annotated and historic copy of the book when it was sold to an overseas buyer at Sotheby's last year.

Last week, UK arts minister Michael Ellis placed an export ban on the novel in order to keep the book in the United Kingdom.

The 1960 obscenity trial "was a watershed moment in cultural history, when Victorian ideals were overtaken by a more modern attitude", Ellis said in a press statement on May 13. "I hope that a buyer can be found to keep this important part of our nation’s history in the UK."

The book recounts a Victorian woman's sexual awakening after she becomes distant from her husband. The judge's copy includes annotations made by his wife, highlighting significant sections such as "lovemaking".

Though first published in Florence in 1928, the book was not released in Britain until 1960 in an effort to test a new law designed to protect works of literature.

"Would you approve of your young sons, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book?" lead prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones, said during the trial which is seen as a landmark moment in cultural history.

It ended with the publisher, Penguin's, acquittal. The publisher donated £10,000 (€11,345) to the campaign to keep the historic copy.