Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature

By Kathy J. Whitson | Go to book overview

H

HALL, RADCLYFFE

Radclyffe Hall was born in England in 1886 to Radclyffe Radclyffe-Hall and Mary Jane Diehl Radclyffe-Hall. She was raised by her mother and an Italian stepfather. She started writing quite early and produced several volumes of poetry and a number of novels including 'Twixt Earth and Stars (1906), A Sheaf of Verses (1908), Poems of the Past and Present (1910), Songs of Three Counties, and Other Poems (1913), The Forgotten Island (1915), The Forge (1924), The Unlit Lamp (1924), A Saturday Life (1925), Adam's Breed (1926), The Well of Loneliness (1928), The Master of the House (1932), Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself (1934), and The Sixth Beatitude (1936).

Her 1928 The Well of Loneliness is a frank account of the situation of the “invert” or homosexual in the early decades of the twentieth century. The book garnered popularity and notoriety when it was the subject of an obscenity trial. The book has always had an uneasy welcome, however, even in the feminist canon when it was reclaimed in the early 1970s. As Esther Newton suggests, “Heterosexual conservatives condemn The Well for defending the lesbian's right to exist. Lesbian feminists condemn it for presenting lesbians as different from women in general” (282).

The book opens with the arrival at Morton Hall of Lady Anna Gordon as a young bride. She and her husband, Sir Philip, have an affectionate relationship that does not bear children for ten years. They so longed for a son that they named their infant daughter Stephen Mary Olivia Gertrude. Lady Gordon has a distaste for her own daughter and is afraid to be affectionate with her; she “hated the way Stephen moved or stood still, hated a certain largeness about her, a certain crude lack of grace in her movements, a certain unconscious defiance” (16). At seven, Stephen is aware of her own differences and develops a crush on the servant girl,

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Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • List of Entries vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A 1
  • References and Suggested Readings 3
  • References and Suggested Readings 7
  • References and Suggested Readings 13
  • References and Suggested Readings 17
  • References and Suggested Readings 20
  • References and Suggested Readings 24
  • B 33
  • References and Suggested Readings 35
  • References and Suggested Readings 44
  • References and Suggested Readings 48
  • C 56
  • D 72
  • References and Suggested Readings 78
  • E 80
  • F 82
  • References and Suggested Readings 91
  • References and Suggested Readings 95
  • G 96
  • References and Suggested Readings 105
  • H 106
  • References and Suggested Readings 116
  • References and Suggested Readings 123
  • I 124
  • J 125
  • K 132
  • L 140
  • References and Suggested Readings 144
  • References and Suggested Readings 146
  • M 150
  • References and Suggested Readings 176
  • N 177
  • References and Suggested Readings 186
  • O 187
  • P 193
  • References and Suggested Readings 201
  • References and Suggested Readings 205
  • R 206
  • References and Suggested Readings 207
  • References and Suggested Readings 212
  • S 213
  • References and Suggested Readings 220
  • References and Suggested Readings 221
  • References and Suggested Readings 226
  • References and Suggested Readings 232
  • References and Suggested Readings 243
  • Y 244
  • References and Suggested Readings 249
  • References and Suggested Readings 250
  • W 251
  • References and Suggested Readings 256
  • References and Suggested Readings 284
  • Y 285
  • Index 293
  • About the Author 301
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