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It is a passage which I have not – and I do not think anybody has – referred to during the course of cross-examination, or indeed at any time during this trial. describes what is called the ‘night of sensual passion’.” He read out the whole passage remarking: “Not very easy, sometimes, not very easy, you know, to know what in fact he is driving at in that passage.” It’s not clear how many jurors understood the passage; some were said to be visibly shocked.
Certainly Griffith-Jones had missed the significance entirely, having referenced it only to underline the book’s general depravity.
Each declared the book had sufficient literary merit to deserve publication for the public good.
(Those less convinced of Lawrence’s genius begged off – Enid Blyton declared she had never read the book and “my husband said no at once”.) Lead prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones cross-examined only 14 of the 35.
The jury returned in three hours and found Penguin not guilty.
Neither the clergy nor any of the other experts had been examined on anal sex and it is not clear whether they realised they were implicitly defending it or not.
The excuse was the 30th anniversary of Lawrence’s death from tuberculosis at the age of 45.
had only ever been legally published in abridged versions in the UK, starting in 1932.
Though by 1960 the unexpurgated edition was sold in Europe and America and could be obtained under the counter in London if you knew where to go, Penguin co-founder Allen Lane wanted to publish a cheap paperback of the full thing.
Mr Justice Byrne summed up with no reference to anal sex either.
The issues were, he said, promiscuity and adultery described in words that were “normally obscene”.