By Lily Rothman
November 2, 2015

When D.H. Lawrence published his salacious 1928 novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, English officials declared it “forever banned” in that country. More than three decades later, on Nov. 2, 1960, a court proved the declaration false by removing the ban.

By then, however, the book had by then lost much of its oomph. The socio-economic and sexual taboos it had broken were no longer so titillating. And when an unexpurgated American version was published about a year earlier, TIME’s critics took its explicit scenes in stride:

The critical panning did little to deter readers. When the ban was lifted in 1960, Brits flooded into bookstores. “A Leicester Square book vendor peddled 1,300 copies in an hour after setting out a window placard reading ‘Lady C.—12 Sharp!’ By evening of C-day, the paperback edition, priced at 50¢, was being hawked and sold by Soho scalpers for $2.80,” TIME reported.

Though Lady Chatterley might not have had much to teach audiences of the 1960s about love, she did have something to remind the publishers of the era: sex, as ever, sells.

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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