Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on The Well of Loneliness

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Laura L. Doan, Jay Prosser
Columbia University Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 418 pages
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The Well of Loneliness -- the Radclyffe Hall novel at times referred to as "the bible of lesbianism" -- was released in Britain in 1928 and was immediately controversial. Pronounced obscene following a sensational trial, the book has become a cultural icon as well as a source of considerable debate, especially among feminists, lesbians, and transgendered persons.

Palatable Poison gathers together classic essays on Radclyffe Hall's book -- beginning with Havelock Ellis and early reviews -- as well as pieces by such contemporary critics as Esther Newton, Judith Halberstam, Teresa de Lauretis, and Terry Castle. Providing an understanding of how views of the book have changed over time and covering such topics as race, the nation at war, and melancholy, the collection presents new and provocative ideas about the immense cultural impact of The Well of Loneliness and its unique place in the literature of sexual nonconformity.

Palatable Poison gathers together classic essays on Radclyffe Hall's book -- beginning with Havelock Ellis and early reviews -- as well as new pieces by such contemporary critics as Esther Newton, Judith Halberstam, Teresa de Lauretis, and Terry Castle. Providing an understanding of how views of the book have changed over time and covering such topics as fetishism, inversion, and melancholy, the collection presents new and provocative ideas about the immense cultural impact of The Well of Loneliness and its unique place in the literature of sexual nonconformity.

 

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Contents

Critical Perspectives Past and Present
1
Commentary 1928
35
Radclyffe Hall 1975
77
Some Primitive Thing Conceived in a Turbulent
129
Radclyffe Hall Edward Carpenter and the Intermediate
162
Theorizing Femme Narrative in The Well of Loneliness
179
The Well1s Wounds
199
SUSAN KINGSLEY KENT
216
TREVOR HOPE
255
and Inversion in The Well of Loneliness
277
The Well of Loneliness
316
Radclyffe Hall at the Chicago School
336
Pragmatism Lesbianism
355
Radclyffe Hall
372
Contributors
403
Index
411

and Psychoanalysis in The Well of Loneliness
232

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About the author (2001)

Laura Doan is professor of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo. She is the author of Fashioning Sapphism (Columbia, 2001), editor of The Lesbian Postmodern (Columbia, 1994), and coeditor of Sexology Uncensored, and Sexology in Culture.Jay Prosser is author of Second Skins: Body Narratives of Transsexuality (Columbia, 1998) and is lecturer in American literature at the University of Leeds.

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