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The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

The Well of Loneliness (original 1928; edition 1990)

by Radclyffe Hall (Author), Havelock Ellis (Commentary)

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Title:The Well of Loneliness
Authors:Radclyffe Hall (Author)
Other authors:Havelock Ellis (Commentary)
Info:Anchor Books (1990), Paperback, 437 pages
Collections:Your library, Illinois library

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The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (1928)


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» See also 160 mentions

English (25)  French (2)  Finnish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
In short, Judy the Obscure - that is to say, Radclyffe Hall eloquently excruciatingly explicates the sorrows of Stephen Gordon, a gender dysphoric Edwardian woman, with an ultimate spin as inevitable and crushing a downer as what Thomas Hardy did for his sad and unlucky in love stone mason. ( )
1 vote Ganeshaka | Nov 18, 2013 |
I read this and Rubyfruit Jungle the same weekend. I was 14 and I'd bought them sleathily from the "feminist" bookstore on Chapel Street in New Haven. (I wish I could remember the name of that bookstore. The Golden Something.) And Rubyfruit Jungle seemed like the world that was possible but The Well of Loneliness was a world I could only dream about. I guess I'm due to re-read it. I re-read it as an undergraduate and thought clever queer-studies thoughts about it, but I've forgotten all that now and I just remember being a teenager dreaming about changing my name to Stephen and being British. ( )
  anderlawlor | Apr 9, 2013 |
I don't know what to think of The Well of Loneliness. I read it because it's a lesbian classic, and someone said that it was one of the first novels where horrible things don't have to happen to its lesbian protagonists. I can't actually imagine anything more agonising than what the protagonist, Stephen, does -- voluntarily giving up her lover to a male close friend to give her safety and security, acting as a martyr for her... And Barbara and Jamie: both of them die because of the life they lead, the way they have to live to be together. No, I can't say it's true that terrible things don't happen to the protagonists because of their sexualities.

On the other hand, their sexualities are presented as a part of them: not a choice, but something irrevocably stamped into them from birth. The last lines are a plea to God to allow 'inverts' their existence. So there is that hope in it.

It's sentimental, overwritten, melodramatic. It's stereotypical. But yet I'm glad I read it, and yes, it made me feel -- feel for the lives of those such as Radclyffe Hall and her characters, who couldn't imagine the kind of life I and others lead today. Yes, it's worth a read, and yes, I'm going to keep my copy. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
i wanted to like this book more than i did. but i also wanted the main character to be stronger than she was, and have a better understanding of women and homosexuality. (while attracted to women she followed the times and relegated them to weak and meaningless roles, didn't believe in their power as beings.) probably too much to ask for her time period and class. an interesting read that i liked on the surface but liked less and less the more i thought/talked about it. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
i didn't expect to like this as much as i did. stephen is an odd character but interesting. i felt for her. she doesn't understand the world very well. we are all lonely really. i don't think modern lesbians should be offended. perhaps they were offended because there wasn't enough sex to be "true". ( )
  mahallett | Mar 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Radclyffe Hallprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gluckstein, HannahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hennegan, AlisonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Im, Ok-hŭiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Journel, Vera deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lack, LéoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lami, AnnieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ōkubo, YasuoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pattynama, PamelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petit de Murat, UlysesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quintella, AryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Renner, LouisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schumann, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vendyš, VladimírTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yan, YunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zody, BepForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Not very far from Upton-on-Severn - between it, in fact, and the Malvern Hills - stands the country seat of the Gordons of Bramley; well-timbered, well-cottaged, well-fenced and well-watered, having, in this latter respect, a stream that forks in exactly the right position to feed two large lakes in the grounds.
There is an illuminating and entertaining monograph to be written on the sub-literature which has grown up around The Well of Loneliness. (Introduction)
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Living in the baronial splendour of Morton Hall, at the foot of the Malvern Hills, Sir Philip and Lady Gordon long to complete their happiness with a son and heir. But their only child is born a girl -- and they baptise her Stephen. As she grows up -- tall, broad-shouldered, handsome -- it becomes apparent that Stephen is not like other girls. She learns to ride, fence and hunt, she wears breeches and longs to crop her hair. Instinctively the people of Great Malvern draw away from her, aware of something -- some indefinable thing -- that sets her apart. From a difficult, lonely childhood, through a tormented adolescence, Stephen Gordon reaches maturity and falls passionately in love -- with another woman.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385416091, Paperback)

First published in 1928, this timeless portrayal of lesbian love is now a classic. The thinly disguised story of Hall's own life, it was banned outright upon publication and almost ruined her literary career.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Originally published in 1928, Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness is the timeless story of a lesbian couple's struggle to be accepted by "polite" society. Shockingly candid for its time, this novel was the very first to condemn homophobic society for its unfair treatment of gays and lesbians.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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