The famed publishing company Penguin Books has donated the sum of £10,000 to a crowdfunding campaign which seeks to prevent a historic copy of the book Lady Chatterley’s Lover from being taken outside of the UK. The copy in question played an important role in the 1960 obscenity case which saw its popularity soar. It was recently auctioned to an overseas bidder for the tune of £56,250, but many feel such an important piece of history should remain in the UK.
The UK Government placed a temporary export ban on the book, which originally belonged to Sir Laurence Byrne, who presided as judge over the landmark obscenity case. The book was sold last year at auction in October, but arts minister Michael Ellis feels the book should remain in the UK and was able to place the temporary ban on the book’s exportation.
English PEN then launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to essentially buy back the book and prevent it from leaving the UK. The goal is to raise £56,250 and Penguin has just donated £10,000. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised over £7,00, and so Penguin’s donation will bring it up to £17,000.
A statement from Penguin read: “Our decision to publish D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960 (in the face of a UK-wide ban of the book, sparking a subsequent court case) represents a cornerstone of our commitment to these values. We are delighted to be donating £10,000 to the crowdfunding campaign launched by English PEN – the worldwide writers’ association which promotes freedom of expression – to keep in the UK the original hand-annotated copy of the book which was used by the judge during the trial in 1960.”
English PEN has said: “this historic artefact is of unique value and should remain in the UK, allowing the British public access to understand what is lost without freedom of expression.”