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Censoring Lady Chatterley’s Lover: a case study and bibliographic guide

Grove Koger (Grove Koger ( is a Reference Librarian at Boise Public Library, Boise, Idaho, USA.)
Larry Kincaid (Larry Kincaid ( is a Reference Librarian and Associate Professor of Library Science at Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA.)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



D.H. Lawrence thought Lady Chatterley’s Lover was his best and most important novel. Yet he had to pay to have it privately printed. His publishers thought his sexual descriptions and language were obscene under the censorship laws of the UK and the USA, and they were right. From 1928 until 1959 no‐one could legally publish or sell the unexpurgated novel, and copies were subject to confiscation. All this changed in 1959 when Charles Rembar successfully defended Grove Press’s right to publish the novel. His defense, which rested on a unique interpretation of Justice Brennan’s opinion in Roth v. United States, introduced the redeeming‐social‐value test for obscenity. Within six years it revolutionized American obscenity laws, ensuring that sexual material with even a small measure of social value would enjoy First Amendment protection.



Koger, G. and Kincaid, L. (2000), "Censoring Lady Chatterley’s Lover: a case study and bibliographic guide", Reference Services Review, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 188-199.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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