However, by August 1960, prosecution of Penguin had become inevitable.'I don’t think this novel is one of Lawrence’s best, or a great work of art,’ wrote Doris Lessing when approached by the defence as a possible witness.'I’m sorry, if there is to be a test case, that it will be fought over this particular book.’ What becomes clear from the comprehensive archive of letters, notes and documents now held at Bristol University Library, is an initial sense of near panic at Penguin; the publishers simply had no experience of media frenzy.Having journalists gatecrash a quiet Sunday lunch was a complete shock for publicity manager John Curtis.She will implement it with the help of the beautiful Giusy, who tries to seduce Nino not without difficulty. The latest edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover has been published with little fanfare, no salacious press reports and no questions raised in Parliament.Indeed, Penguin editors could not have countenanced the various expurgated versions, where 'penis’ was rendered as 'liver’ and 'purple’ passages deleted, to the undoubted confusion and disappointment of readers.The Act was designed to make it easier for the police to root out exploitative pornography, while protecting works of literary merit.
Rubinstein must have been delighted to read the Bishop of Woolwich’s response: 'Archbishop William Temple once said that Christians do not make jokes about sex for the same reason that they do not make jokes about Holy Communion – not because it is dirty, but because it is sacred.
'Lawrence did not share the Christian valuation of sex, but he was always straining to portray it as something sacred, in a real sense as an act of Holy Communion.
I believe that Christians in particular should read this book, if only because Lawrence believed passionately, and with much justification, that they have killed and denied the natural goodness of creation at this point.’ He eventually – and bravely – gave evidence to the same effect, producing stunned headlines and a small barrage of hate mail.
This mood soon changed, however, and Penguin’s lawyer, Michael Rubinstein, accomplished a phenomenal amount in the eight weeks they had to prepare the case.
The new Act allowed testimony of expert witnesses, but left the definition of 'expert’ conveniently vague. Thirty-five witnesses would be called, with as many in reserve – those reserves including Iris Murdoch, T S Eliot and Aldous Huxley.