Tag Archives: D.H. Lawrence

Competition

Readers are invited to submit a sentence (or two) to which the following paragraph is suitable:

I am reminded of the debate among British censors over the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover half a century ago. “Fine for you or me,” one prosecutor is said to have remarked, “but is this the sort of thing you would leave lying about for your wife or servant to read?”­

The most outrageous competitor will win the right to compose a Sketches guest posting on a subject, in a style, or in a language, of his or her choice.

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Don’t Analyze Humour!

A guest posting by Horace Krever

Analyses of humour are, for the most part, themselves devoid of humour and unsatisfying. Often humour shows up in unexpected contexts. A not uncommon place is a newspaper headline. Here are two favourite examples, the first in a report of a medical discipline case: “Columnist Gets Urologist in Trouble with His Peers”.

The second is in a newspaper story about an injunction temporarily preventing the US Navy from dismissing 11 recruits who proved to be HIV-positive: “Judge Bars Discharges of Seamen in AIDS Cases”.

A different example is in one of the most delightful book reviews ever written. It is a review of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and appeared in the magazine Field and Stream. Here it is in its entirety:

“This pictorial account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is full of considerable interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savour those sidelights on the management of a midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer’s opinion the book cannot take the place of J.R. Miller’s Practical Gamekeeping.”

The sources of these quotations are Philip Howard, The State of the Language; English Observed (page 54), an unidentifiable newspaper clipping in my possession, and Richard Kenin & Justin Wintle (Eds.), The Dictionary of Biographical Quotation (page 475), Lawrence, David Herbert.