Lot 25
Sold for £1,560 (US$ 2,622) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("D.H.L."), to Juliette Huxley, discussing at some length the ethics of publishing Lady Chatterley's Lover for general circulation, and the difficulties he is having getting it published; he also informs her that he sent his paintings to be exhibited by Dorothy Warren at her Maddox Street gallery, and expresses relief at the improved relations between her and her husband Julian, while regretting that he confided in her mother on the subject: "After talking to you & your mother that evening in such a burst, I said to Frieda: I wish to God I'd kept my mouth still. Now they'll say I've been making mischief again. – That has been the almost invariable result so far. But it's the people's fault. If they were decent enough, they'd come freer, like you. But they aren't honest, most folks", 2 pages, 4to, Villa Mirenda, Scandicci, Florence, 17 April 1928


  • "HOLDING UP HANDS OF PIOUS HORROR": D.H. LAWRENCE ON HIS STRUGGLES TO PUBLISH LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, AND ITS SUPPOSED IMMORALITY. He responds to Juliette Huxley's worries lest her son, Anthony (the future botanist, then aged eight) were to read it: "Why do you say I laugh at you? I may laugh at some things about you. I laugh at you when you say 'What if Anthony were sixteen, & read this novel!' He'd be too bored at 16: but at twenty of course he should read it. Was your mind a sexual blank at sixteen? is anybody's? and what ails the mind in that respect is that it has nothing to go on, it grinds away in abstraction. So I laugh at you & shall go on laughing when you say: What if Anthony were 16, and read the novel!' – What indeed! But of course I don't laugh at you, nor at your mother either. For absurdities I laugh at everybody, including myself: & why not? But at the essential person I don't laugh. And of course, you ought to know it, and not have these silly misgivings" (a curious pre-echo of the question, one albeit directed at wives and servants, to be asked by the judge at the book's trial thirty-two years later). As regards its publication, Lawrence tells her: "I've been having a tussle with my novel: publishers, agent etc in London holding up hands of pious horror (because it may affect their pockets) & trying to make me feel disastrously in the wrong. Now the Knopfs write from New York they like it very much, & hope to be able to get it into shape to offer to the public. I doubt they can't. But it's nice of them. I'm in the midst of the proofs – hope to finish them this week. But I still haven't chosen the cover paper. The orders came in very nicely from England. Are you risking a copy, or not?" He was to opt for mulberry-coloured boards.

    Juliette and her family had read the book early in 1928 and, shocked, she caustically suggested it be called John Thomas and Lady Jane. Lawrence, noting that many a true word was spoken in spite, promptly changed the title accordingly, although later restoring the original (Ronald W. Clark, The Huxleys). Penguin were to appropriate her title when they published the second version of the book in 1972. See illustration overleaf.
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