The first chapter-volume of Dorothy Richardson’s thirteen-volume novel series Pilgrimage, Pointed Roofs is a coming of age story. The protagonist is Miriam Henderson, seventeen years old. Pointed Roofs tells the tale of Miriam’s first adventure as an adult, teaching English at a finishing school in Hanover, Germany. Though the tale is simple, it is not simply told; to capture the intensity of Miriam’s seemingly mundane experiences, Richardson developed a new narrative technique labelled “stream of consciousness” by the author May Sinclair. Pointed Roofs is a compelling account of a young woman’s dawning consciousness of what it means to be independent, an individual, and a woman in the early twentieth century.
This Broadview Edition places Richardson’s inventive narrative technique in the context of early twentieth-century literary modernism, showing the “startling newness,” in May Sinclair’s words, of Richardson’s writing. Letters from Richardson to friends, publishers, and critics show the complex relationships between her work and life.