The Well of Loneliness

Article excerpt

Radclyffe Hall

VIRAGO BOOKS

(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 1928)

Review by Stacy Kauder

Are you a lesbian? Bi? Transgendered? Or do you just plain love women? Well if you're looking for some answers, start with the feminist classic, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall.

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Some books are better after you've read them, when you can reflect and see the truths of the novel laid bare. I remember being at first frustrated with the main character's passive aggressive-character. Now, however, months after reading The Well of Loneliness, I enjoy the impression it left so much more.

The sadness embodied within Stephen Gordon's inability to communicate, behave, or express desire is something I am reminded of on a daily basis. Marginalization and the inability to fit in is common today, and The Well of Loneliness evokes contemporary issues such as gender identity, sexual preference and what it means to be unfeminine and queer. Hall provides a heroine in Stephen, who struggles to overcome familial pressures, societal expectations and self-imposed choices that become unbearable.

Stephen is an extraordinary character. Brave, enduring and independent, Stephen strives to "conquer conditions" which are imposed upon women. …