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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Well of Loneliness: A 1920s Classic of Lesbian Fiction


The Well of Loneliness: A 1920s Classic of Lesbian Fiction Cover

ISBN13: 9780385416092
ISBN10: 0385416091
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The extraordinary life of a great English eccentric whose novel, The Well of Loneliness — the timeless story of a lesbian couple's struggle to be accepted by "polite society" — is a classic of lesbian literature that has been in print continuously for more than sixty-five years.

"I have written a long and very serious novel entirely upon the subject of sexual inversion. So far as I know nothing of the kind has ever been attempted before in fiction". So wrote Radclyffe Hall, in 1928, in a letter to her literary agent. A prizewinning novelist, she turned the literary establishment of England upside down when The Well of Loneliness was published. Put on trial under the Obscene Publications Act, she was spurned by the Bloomsbury set, including Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, both of whom once had lesbian relationships themselves.

Radclyffe Hall, however, was always a controversial figure. Born in 1880, she was an unwanted child who, upon her father's death — when she was fifteen — inherited more than three hundred thousand dollars. She immediately liberated herself from her family and began to affect the manners and demeanor of a young man. She was a political reactionary, a reformed Catholic, a member of the Society for Psychical Research, and despite a frequently unpleasant personality, an aggressive and successful conqueror of a series of women as her lovers.

Brilliantly written, witty, and satirical, this major new biography conceived and executed by Diana Souhami, the highly acclaimed author of several previous biographies, will stand for decades to come as the definitive look at one of the twentieth century's most intriguing characters.




First published in 1928, this timeless portrayal of lesbian love is now a classic. The thinly disguised story of Hall's own life, it was banned outright upon publication and almost ruined her literary career.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

emmejo, May 2, 2013 (view all comments by emmejo)
I've held off on writing a review for this book because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. It is a fascinating, captivation portrait of a young woman out of step with her societies' picture of who she should be. It starts with her as the admittedly spoiled child of wealthy parents and continues on through the numerous trails she ends up facing due to her stubborn unwillingness to give up and pretend to conform. Stephen isn't always a likable character, she has too many sharp edges and too much pride and inflexibility which are as likely to hurt those she loves as it is to harm her, but she is compelling and interesting.

Hall's writing is as straight-shooting and passionate as her main character, ignoring the expectation that classic woman's book about a woman with romantic complications should be clever or light. This is the opposite of a Jane Austen-style book. It may be too harsh and desolate, with too few laughs or happy interludes for some readers, but if you like your classics with some grit to them, I would highly recommend this tale.

It might also appeal to Downton Abbey fans who are looking for a more somber rendition of the same time period.
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dawn betts-green, December 12, 2011 (view all comments by dawn betts-green)
A classic of lesbian fiction that often gets left off lists. I read this not too long after coming out, and I loved it.
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Product Details

Hall, Radclyffe
Anchor Books
New York :
Lesbians -- Fiction.
Gay and Lesbian-Lesbian Fiction
fiction;lesbian;novel;classic;queer;20th century;gay;women;glbt;virago;homosexuality;lgbt;1920s;sexuality;literature;lesbians;british;gender;classics;england;lesbianism;lgbtq;lesbian fiction;love;british literature;english;english literature;history;franc
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.06x5.20x.99 in. .72 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Lesbian Fiction

The Well of Loneliness: A 1920s Classic of Lesbian Fiction Used Trade Paper
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Product details 448 pages Anchor Books - English 9780385416092 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , First published in 1928, this timeless portrayal of lesbian love is now a classic. The thinly disguised story of Hall's own life, it was banned outright upon publication and almost ruined her literary career.
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