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The Well of Loneliness

Banned for 20yrs when first published in England, and only seeing the light of day after a court case in America, it was a scandal for featuring a lesbian protagonist - the first time in literature.

Apple of her father's eye, who dotes on her and sees a masculine name no obstacle, the growing girl named Stephen finds her place in the world is met by prejudice and misunderstanding.

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Reviews

  1. Extremely well written romantic tragedy
    /melanie b.

    The first thing I noticed about Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness," was the beautiful descriptive exposition. Before the novel delves too far into modernism, it is apparent that it is hedging out the Victorian. Descriptions of the English countryside, of London and of Paris are some of the finest written in English. Not only this but the painstaking care the Hall takes to describe her characters, though even Stephen remains a bit fuzzy to me, are lovely and purposeful. Her sense of loss, loneliness and love are extremely powerful and extremely well conveyed. That being said, the bravery it took to write the first English- language novel that addressed "invertedness," in Stephen's case butch-lesbian identity and, overall, homosexuality, is incredible. It is hard to be absolutely disappointed with the author for the ending of the novel, particularly since it seems to be semi-authobiographic. Given the time period, the ending was likely collateral in exchange for being published. Without giving it away, I'll simply add that I felt sad for the world and defiant, and these not unexpected emotions after a 500 page journey that included happiness and hope, depseration and anxiety. To be cliche, it reminds one of how far we've come with civil rights and yet how very far we still must go. Like some of fellow modernist writer Fitzgerald's characters, Hall's character is wealthy and priveledged and yet likeable. One is inclined to empathize with her situation at most points, and when not, it is easy to become enraged at the world and not Stephen.