By lucky hap, the Paddington Library Reading Group looked at the (fictitious) sins of the past as described in works of literature.
The group looked at Leo Tolstoy’s epic 800-page novel Anna Karenina. Tolstoy’s literary style is delightful. He paints on a vast canvas to depict the Imperial Russian society of which he was a member.
We also looked at Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, written at about the same time as Tolstoy’s novel.
The main female characters in each novel are bored with their marriages and embark on extra marital affairs, which ultimately lead to their downfall as society judges them more severely than their lovers !
D. H Lawrence’s novel Lady Chattlerley’s Lover was banned for about 30 years until the famous obscenity trial in the 1960’s. The apparently subversive nature of the book (ie: extra-marital relations between different social classes) obscured the fact that the character Lady Chatterley was not condemned by her invalid husband nor by society in general for eloping with the gamekeeper on her husband’s estate.