Lady chatterleys lover sex scene photo
Even today, we continue to find the obscene language and images found in Rochester’s poetry shocking.
Take, for example, his A Satyr on Charles II a critique of the monarch as a man governed by his penis: ‘Tis sure the sauciest prick that e'er did swive, The proudest, peremptoriest prick alive.
The answer lies in the recognition of Rochester’s poetry as literature rather than obscenity.
Just as with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, we need to read past the obscene language and images of the work to understand what Rochester is really saying. He strips man down to his barest drives and desires to see the animal lurking underneath.
And the use of obscene language is key to that project.
On this day in history, Judge Frederick Bryan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of Grove Press and ordered the Post Office to lift all restrictions on sending copies of through the mail. 476, 1957) — a case involving a bookseller who sent erotic literature through the mail — that the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech did not apply to obscenity.
This, in effect, marked the end of the Post Office’s authority — which, until then, it held absolutely — to declare a work of literature “obscene” or to impound copies of those works or prosecute their publishers. [As an aside, it should be noted that this was not the Supreme Court case memorable for the phrase regarding obscenity “I know it when I see it.” That case was decision. Brennan, claimed that the purpose of the First Amendment was “to assure unfettered interchange of ideas” and that “all ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance — unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion — have the full protection of the guarantees.” But, Brennan went on, “implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance.” Rembar posed a question that Brennan apparently hadn’t considered: What if a book met the standards of obscenity yet was a novel of ideas that actually advocated sexual fulfillment in marriage, rather than sex without love, as well as inveighing against hypocrisy and the mechanization of industrial life.
Rochester strips away all sense of love and romance from his depicted sexual encounters. His images are those of the mechanics of sex, its failures, disappointments and disease.
Take his notorious poem, The Imperfect Enjoyment, a work that opens with a scene indicating the sexual promise to come: But whilst her busy hand would guide that part Which should convey my soul up to her heart, In liquid raptures I dissolve all o’er, Melt into sperm, and spend at every pore.