Shawn's Reviews > The Well of Loneliness

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
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's review
Aug 24, 2010

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Read from August 19 to 24, 2010

I would have given this book four stars had Hall ended the book after part 3. The first half of the book was a great story, the author thoroughly connecting the characters to the reader. Unfortunately, Hall continued Stephan's story, allowing the rest of the book to become tiresome to read. An important note about reading the book: The reader must put his/herself in the time period, otherwise one might consider Hall and her characters to seem rather pathetic in the way they respond to the situations surrounding them. Homophobia was rampant/Lesbianism unheard of during this time period and, considering this, the book is remarkable. I must also note, that many situations and encounters of prejudice experienced by Stephen still happen all the time today. The Well of Loneliness is really not dated if you strip it of the excess and just look at the story it tells.


"She would say: 'Do you think that I could be a man, supposing I thought very hard -- or prayed, Father?'" (20).

"...she would fancy that people were laughing at her. So sensitive was she, that a half-heard sentence, a word, a glance, made her inwardly crumble. It might well be that people were not even thinking about her, much less discussing her appearance--no good, she would always imagine that the word, the glance, had some purely personal meaning" (79). My life.

Pages 163-168: Straight Girls- can't live with them can't live without them.

"Must realize more clearly than ever, that love is only permissible to those who are cut in every respect to life's pattern..." (212).

"'In the old days we killed very beautifully,' sighed Buisson, 'now we merely slaughter or else do not kill at all, no matter how gross the insult'...'War is surely a very necessary evil, it thins down the imbecile populations who have murdered their most efficacious microbes. People will not die, very well, here comes war to mow them down in their tens of thousands. At least to those of us who survive, there will be more breathing-space, thanks to the Germans--perhaps they too are a necessary evil'" (305).

"Language is surely too small to contain those emotions of mind and body that have somehow awakened a response in the spirit" (358).
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