Sir: In support of Michael Lipton's letter (21 July) criticising Nigel Williams' review of Ian MacKillop's recent biography of F. R. Leavis, I write as Penguin Books' solicitor preparing for the trial of Lady Chatterley. One afternoon, I sat with Leavis in Cambridge, where Queenie brought us tea in the garden. I went there to inquire whether Leavis would be willing to appear as a witness in Penguin's defence. He said he did not agree to do so, primarily because he regarded Lady Chatterley's Lover as a poor novel in the canon of Lawrence's work.
Others gave evidence though they shared that opinion. They may thus have contributed to the successful defence to the criminal charge of publication of an obscene article.
Whether the jury found the novel not obscene, or obscene with such literary or other merit as to justify its publication, their verdict of, simply, not guilty left the question of such merit, as a possibly relevant factor, unanswered.
22 JulyReuse content