HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Lolly Willowes or The Loving Huntsman by…
Loading...

Lolly Willowes or The Loving Huntsman (original 1926; edition 2004)

by Sylvia Townsend Warner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6913013,777 (3.9)1 / 132
Member:tiffin
Title:Lolly Willowes or The Loving Huntsman
Authors:Sylvia Townsend Warner
Info:Kessinger Publishing, LLC (2004), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Modern English Lit., Writing by Women

Work details

Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926)

  1. 00
    The Love-Child by Edith Olivier (Stuck-in-a-Book)
    Stuck-in-a-Book: This is another book which uses the fantastic to combat spinsterhood.
  2. 00
    One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes (GeraniumCat)
  3. 00
    Little, Big by John Crowley (chrisharpe)
  4. 01
    Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker (Stuck-in-a-Book)
    Stuck-in-a-Book: Another great work of the fantastic.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
What a gem. Why be only a useful auntie when you can be a witch? Lovely look into what it means to find yourself. Delightful writing that spirits over a great theme. Where has this been hiding all these years? ( )
  77nanci | Nov 29, 2016 |
A great book to read and re-read and dare I say, profound for its time. Impossible to say much without giving away the plot but let's just say Lolly makes an unexpected and rather wonderful choice. As Alison Lurie points out in her introduction, many of the same themes as Woolf's Orlando and A Room of One's Own, though this Townsend-Warner predates them by several years. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this story of Laura who wants to learn astronomy as a school girl but is never given an opportunity for anything like that. Instead, she takes on the housekeeping duties for her father's household after her mother's death and is pushed into a brother's household once their father passes away. It isn't until she is in her thirties in the 1920s that she finds a way to push away from the conventions and find a space for herself somewhere else. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Jul 19, 2016 |
Sylvia Townsend Warner was a feminist author in England who began publishing with her first novel at about the time that Virginia Wool published her seminal essay, "A Room of One's Own"*. Warner ran in different circles and was friendly with a number of the "Bright young things" of the 1920s that were famously satirized by Evelyn Waugh in his short novel Vile Bodies. Warner's first major success was this novel, Lolly Willowes, published in 1926.

Lolly Willowes is the story of a middle-aged spinster who moves to a country village to escape her controlling relatives and takes up the practice of witchcraft. The novel opens at the turn of the twentieth century, with Laura (Lolly) Willowes moving from Somerset to London to live with her brother, Henry, and his family. Her move comes in the wake of the death of Laura's father, Everard, with whom she lived with at the family home, Lady Place. Laura's other brother, James, moves into Lady Place with his wife and his young son, Titus, with the intention to continue the family's brewing business. However, James dies suddenly of a heart attack and Lady Place is rented out, with the view that Titus, once grown up, will return to the home and run the business.

Laura finds herself feeling increasingly stifled both by the obligations of being a live-in aunt and living in London. When shopping for flowers on the Moscow Road, Laura has an epiphany and realizes she must move to the country. Buying a guide book and map to the area, she decides upon the (fictional) village of Great Mop as her new home. Against the wishes of her extended family, Laura moves to Great Mop and finds herself entranced and overwhelmed by the chalk hills and beech woods. When out walking, she makes a pact with a supernatural force that she takes to be Satan, allowing her to remain in the Chilterns rather than return to her duties as an aunt.

In the meantime, Titus, having visited Laura, has decided he wants to move from his lodgings in Bloomsbury to Great Mop and be a writer, rather than inheriting the family business. Laura is frustrated by this but is able to call upon black magic to discourage Titus to the extent that he decides to get married and retreat to London. The denouement of the story leaves Laura acknowledging that the new freedom she has achieved comes at the expense of knowing that she belongs to the 'satisfied but profound indifferent ownership' of Satan.

Warner's writing style is sublime. She demonstrates a subtle humor leavened with unexpected turns of phrase that delighted this reader. Her take on this satirical comedy of manners incorporates elements of fantasy that represent, metaphorically, the plight of women in the era before they "have a room" of their own. ( )
  jwhenderson | Apr 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sylvia Townsend Warnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Waters, SarahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Bea Isabel Howe
First words
When her father died, Laura Willowes went to live in London with her elder brother and his family.
Quotations
Preference, not prejudice, made them faithful to their past. They slept in beds and sat in chairs whose comfort insensibly persuaded them into respect for the good sense of their forbears. Finding that well-chosen wood and well-chosen wine improved with keeping, they believed that the same law applied to well-chosen ways.
So Laura read undisturbed, and without disturbing anybody, for the conversation at local tea-parties and balls never happened to give her an opportunity of mentioning anything that she had learnt from Locke on the Understanding or Glanvil on Witches. In fact, as she was generally ignorant of the books which their daughters were allowed to read, the neighboring mammas considered her rather ignorant. However they did not like her any the worse for this, for her ignorance, if not so sexually displeasing as learning, was of so unsweetened a quality as to be wholly without attraction.
Being without coquetry she did not feel herself bound to feign a degree of entertainment which she had not experienced, and the same deficiency made her insensible to the duty of every marriageable young woman to be charming, whether her charm be directed towards one special object, or in default of that, universally distributed through a disinterested love of humanity.
She had thought that sorrow would be her companion for many years, and had planned for its entertainment.
After some years in his house she came to the conclusion that Caroline had been very bad for his character. Caroline was a good woman and a good wife. She was slightly self-righteous and fairly rightly so, but she yielded to Henry's judgment in every dispute, she bowed her good sense to his will and blinkered her wider views in obedience to his prejudices. Henry had a high opinion of her merits, but thinking her to be so admirable and finding her to be so acquiescent had encouraged him to have an even higher opinion of his own.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
From the book cover:
"When I think of witches, I seem to see all over England, all over Europe, women living and growing old, as common as blackberries, and as unregarded. . . and they think how they were young once."

Lolly Willowes is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster when her adored father dies, leaving her dependent upon her brothers and their wives. After twenty years of self-effacement as a maiden aunt, she decides to break free and moves to a small Bedfordshire village. Here, happy and unfettered, she enjoys her new existence nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover. That secret--and her vocation--is witchcraft, and with her cat and a pact with the Devil, Lolly Willowes is finally free. An instant and great success on its publication in 1926, Lolly Willowes is Sylvia Townsend Warner's most magical novel. Deliciously wry and inviting, it was her piquant plea that single women find liberty and civility--and her pursuit of the theme Virginia Woolf later explored in A Room of One's Own.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0940322161, Paperback)

Sylvia Townsend Warner began her literary career as a poet, and her first novel is as nimble and precise as poetry and reads as if it might have been composed to a meter. Like some of Jane Austen's fiction, Lolly Willowes is a comedy about the perils, pleasures, and consolations of spinsterhood, and the predicament of its heroine is at first deliberately and deceptively commonplace. "Aunt Lolly, a middle-aging lady, light-footed upon stairs, and indispensable for Christmas Eve and birthday preparations," is nevertheless troubled by vague, indefinable longings, a hankering after the solitude of woods and dark rural places. At last a revelation in a greengrocer's leads her to abandon her outraged London family and take rooms in an obscure hamlet, Great Mop.

Here her neighbors keep curiously late and noisy hours, but otherwise allow her to pass the time "in perfect idleness and contentment." She is eventually pursued into her idyll, however, by her nephew, and Titus's familiar small demands drive her to rage and despair: "No! You shan't get me. I won't go back. I won't.... Oh! Is there no help?" She is promptly visited by a mysterious black kitten, who fastens its claws upon her hand and draws blood. At once she understands. The kitten is her familiar, and has been sent by dark forces. "She, Laura Willowes, in England, in the year 1922, had entered into a compact with the Devil."

She has, in short, become a witch--or, rather, she has rediscovered her own slumbering diabolical potential, in the unlikely setting of a Buckinghamshire hamlet that--as she now realizes--is peopled entirely by witches. Laura soon attends a rollicking but ultimately rather disappointing midnight Sabbath; she is visited by Satan in the shape of a pleasant-faced man in a corduroy coat and gaiters who rids her of Titus and restores her to privacy and peace. She is left with a vision of the women "all over England, all over Europe ... as common as blackberries, and as unregarded" to whom he has offered the promise of adventure, "the dangerous black night to stretch your wings in." It is this vision that lends the novel its subversive edge, that ultimately allies it less with the work of Austen than with that of Virginia Woolf, and with later feminists. They "know they are dynamite," says Laura of Satan's women, "and long for the concussion that may justify them." --Sarah Waters

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Sylvia Townsend Warner's first novel, published in 1926, is magical and subversive, anticipating the ficton of writers like Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson.

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
103 wanted
5 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.9)
0.5
1
1.5
2 8
2.5 2
3 33
3.5 13
4 55
4.5 11
5 37

NYRB Classics

An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,735,289 books! | Top bar: Always visible