Friday, February 24, 2006

Minutes 1/10/06


BOOK CLUB MEETING: Tuesday, January 10th, 2006
PRESENT: Amin Smith, Ruth Flannery, Craig Harris, Willow Pearce

The meeting began at 6:10PM and was held in the meeting room at the Bermuda College library. The book under discussion was ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, by D.H. Lawrence
An initial comment made by Ruth was that she didn’t like any of the characters. She held that there was, in fact, little about them that was likeable. The other members were generally in agreement with this view. Chatterley was seen as rather pompous, arrogant and bittered by his handicap. Mellor’s was viewed as a rather typical, unemotional man, more interested in his sexual pleasure perhaps than anything else. Ruth saw Connie, as being too intelligent for her husband. While the other members agreed she was educated it was difficult to suggest she was too intelligent for her husband. In retrospect it was felt perhaps she deserved him.
There was agreement, however, that both Connie and her sister’s education and upbringing were atypical for women of the era.
There was some discussion on Connie’s interaction with her husband’s friends. Willow believed her relationship with them, being seen but largely unheard, was typical of the time. Ruth questioned why she had no female friends?
"Lady Chatterley" was published in 1928 and faced legendary censorship. There was much discussion on how the book came to be published at all and what form the censorship at that time took. Comparing it to Lawrence’s other books, which those who were familiar with them believed to be better than this one, it was thought that ‘Lady Chatterley’ probably enjoyed its higher profile today thanks largely to the sexual theme and its lengthy period of censorship.
Craig questioned whether Lawrence had understood the attention his theme and choice of words would garner and the publicity and sales this would ultimately generate, while he was writing the book. The other club members did not share this view, believing Lawrence to be more influenced by his desire to write a great novel than to be well remunerated and famous.
Although this book was now over 75 years old it was felt that the themes were still relevant today – loneliness, misery, infidelity and bad marriages.
Lastly, just how this book would have been received by society at the time was reviewed. Would it be a titillating thrill? A book to be hidden and ashamed of? Was it more a woman’s book rather than a book to be enjoyed by both sexes?
In the ‘Page Turner/Page Burner’ segment of the meeting Amin reiterated his endorsement of books like 'Freakonomics’, ‘Bullshit’ and ‘The Millionaire Next Door’. Craig suggested Tanizaki’s ‘The Key’, a book which examined another unfulfilling marriage. Interestingly, this book had been compared to ‘Lady Chatterley’.
The next meeting was set for February 21st. Ruth agreed to select the next book to be read.
The meeting concluded at 7:45PM

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