Sunday, May 11, 2008

Literary Loving

Yesterday I watched "The Chatterley Affair," a BBC film starring my new secret boyfriend, 25-year-old British actor Rafe Spall. (He became my secret boyfriend after I watched the recent Masterpiece version of A Room With a View, one of my favorite all-time novels and love stories. He made a wonderful, passionate George, if less eloquent than the George in the novel or Julian Sands in the 1986 film version; he made George a real person, a young man, a desperate lover.)

I have to admit I've never read Lady Chatterley's Lover, though I probably will now after watching this film, which is about the 1961 trial of Penguin Books for publishing an unexpurgated version of the novel. The film centers around two of the (fictional) jurors on the trial, who (fictionally) strike up a passionate affair, mirroring the sexual relationship and emotional connection between Lady Chatterley and her gamekeeper lover. The film is much more open than an American film would have been; the sex scenes were surprising for me as an American viewer. As the prosecutor in the film said, "The curtains are not drawn; we follow the characters not only into the bedroom, but into bed."

The film drives home the point that Lawrence intended the novel to redeem sexual love and relations as an integral part of the human experience, the human connection. That it shouldn't be marginalized as our animal or low nature, but be celebrated as part of our essential human nature.

It reminded me of this poem by Maxine Kumin:

After Love

Afterwards, the compromise.
Bodies resume their boundaries.

These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms take you back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.

The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane
singsongs, coming down.

Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

No comments: