The Trial of Lady Chatterley

Score one for literary porn! On November 2, 1960 a jury in London found Penguin Books not guilty of obscenity for publishing the full, unedited version of D.H. Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Prior to 1960, the novel was published in a heavily censored version, if it was permitted at all. But by the late 1950’s and early 60’s, notions of concealing potentially offensive materials … Continue reading The Trial of Lady Chatterley

Paradise Lost

Here’s someone who seriously needed a good agent: On April 27, 1667 impoverished writer John Milton sold the copyright for one of the most famous works in all of English literature, Paradise Lost, for £10 (though, to be fair, that was worth quite a bit more back then than it is now—about £15,000). Milton lived in a turbulent time—he was born just at the start … Continue reading Paradise Lost

Pride and Prejudice

This is a good day for literature: on January 28, 1813, one of my all-time favorite books, Pride and Prejudice, was published by Thomas Egerton of Whitehall, who purchased the copyright from Jane Austen for £100. Austen wrote the first draft of the novel—then called First Impressions—between October 1796 and August 1797. Her father asked a London bookseller named Thomas Cadell if he had any … Continue reading Pride and Prejudice