Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness

Synopsis

The Well of Loneliness -- the Radclyffe Hall novel at times referred to as "the bible of lesbianism" -- was released in Britain in 1928 and was immediately controversial. Pronounced obscene following a sensational trial, the book has become a cultural icon as well as a source of considerable debate, especially among feminists, lesbians, and transgendered persons. Palatable Poison gathers together classic essays on Radclyffe Hall's book -- beginning with Havelock Ellis and early reviews -- as well as pieces by such contemporary critics as Esther Newton, Judith Halberstam, Teresa de Lauretis, and Terry Castle. Providing an understanding of how views of the book have changed over time and covering such topics as race, the nation at war, and melancholy, the collection presents new and provocative ideas about the immense cultural impact of The Well of Loneliness and its unique place in the literature of sexual nonconformity. Palatable Poison gathers together classic essays on Radclyffe Hall's book -- beginning with Havelock Ellis and early reviews -- as well as new pieces by such contemporary critics as Esther Newton, Judith Halberstam, Teresa de Lauretis, and Terry Castle. Providing an understanding of how views of the book have changed over time and covering such topics as fetishism, inversion, and melancholy, the collection presents new and provocative ideas about the immense cultural impact of The Well of Loneliness and its unique place in the literature of sexual nonconformity.

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • Laura Doan
  • Jay Prosser
  • Havelock Ellis
  • James Douglas
  • Sir Chartres Chief Magistrate Biron
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 2001