The Well of Loneliness

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Wordsworth Editions, 2005 - Fiction - 414 pages
17 Reviews

‘As a man loved a woman, that was how I loved…It was good, good, good…’

Stephen is an ideal child of aristocratic parents – a fencer, a horse rider and a keen scholar. Stephen grows to be a war hero, a bestselling writer and a loyal, protective lover. But Stephen is a woman, and her lovers are women. As her ambitions drive her, and society confines her, Stephen is forced into desperate actions. "The Well of Loneliness" was banned for obscenity when published in 1928. It became an international bestseller, and for decades was the single most famous lesbian novel. It has influenced how love between women is understood, for the twentieth century and beyond.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - atreic - LibraryThing

There are lots of reasons not to like 'the first lesbian novel'. The take home message of 'she knew her girlfriend would be better with a Real Man, who could marry her and give her babies, so she lied ... Read full review

The Well of Loneliness

User Review  - Molly McArdle - Book Verdict

Famously sparking an obscenity trial, this 1928 book—which the Times Literary Supplement called "the archetypal lesbian novel"—follows Stephen, a woman who wears pants and short hair and realizes she's attracted to women. Read full review


Preface v
Introduction viii
The Sign of the Cross 1
The Gathering 4
Standing Together 8
Kneeling Together 12
Genuflecting 15
Being Seated 19
Proclaiming 27
Listening 31
Striking Ones Breast 35
Walking in Procession 39
Observing 42
Singing 46
Baptismal Bathing 50

Being Silent 23

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About the author (2005)

Marguerite Antonia Radclyffe-Hall was an English poet and author best known for her moving novel, The Well of Loneliness, which was an earnest appeal for sexual tolerance. The financial security provided by an inheritance from her grandfather allowed Hall the freedom to pursue writing full-time, and she went on to pen fifteen novels and poetry collections during her career. She was a member of the PEN club and a recipient of Gold Medal of the Eichelbergher Humane Award. Hall died in 1943 from colon cancer.

Esther Saxey received her D.Phil, in English literature from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She has published on the interconnection of sexuality and narrative in various texts, including Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (Reading The Lord of the Rings, 2006), the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Reading the Vampire Slayer, 2002) and the Love and Rockets comics series by Jaime Hernandez (2006). She has also provided a critical introduction and notes for the Wordsworth editions of The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, and Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

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