Engl 328's Reviews > The Well of Loneliness

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
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Mar 03, 11


Marguerite Antonia Radclyffe-Hall was born August 12th, 1880 in Bournemouth, Hampshire. Her parents, Radclyffe Radclyffe-Hall and Mary Jane Sager were divorced by the time she was three years old (Glasgow). She essentially had no relationship with her father and a very strained relationship with her mother. At the age of 21 she claimed her inheritance and became very independent from her mother and her life (Simkin). At this time, she wanted people to call her Radclyffe or John. She fell in love with a married woman, Mabel Veronica Batten, who was 25 years older than Radclyffe (Simkin). They had an affair until Mabel’s husband died, then Radclyffe moved in with her. Then were together until Mabel’s death in 1916. However, during the last year of Mabel’s life she introduced Radclyffe to her cousin Una Troubridge (Glasgow). It was like love at first sight. This relationship went on from 1915 until Radclyffe’s death in 1943. However, there was another woman in Radclyffe’s live, Evguenia Souline. Souline was her nurse while she was receiving treatment for a leg injury. Radclyffe fell hard for Souline, she wrote her hundreds of letters to Souline until her death (Glasgow).


Radclyffe began her writing before and after World War II. In 1935 France signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union (Glasgow). She was surrounded by the war and its results or consequences. She wanted Souline to come and live with them in England, but she could cross the border from France without consequences.


Una was a very big supporter of Radclyffe. She loved Radclyffe faithfully. Una always believed in her and sacrificed her own dreams to help Radclyffe pursue hers. I believe her writing and courage to stand up for herself and be proud of who she was encouraged others. it encouraged them to either be proud of who they were as well or to know that it was okay to write about lesbianism or whatever they wanted to. Radclyffe defied the social norm and wrote about something that was close to her heart, and apart of her. She didn’t care what others thought. She endured the criticism but had love and support from fellow writers and her lover. her writings paved the way for others to write about sexuality.


The novel, The Well of Loneliness is a story about a girl named Stephen Gordon. Her parents were really wanting a boy. I think that this aspect sets the tone for the rest of the story. At a young age she realizes she isn’t like most girls. She is a lesbian in times when that is not socially acceptable. On top of that, her family doesn’t really understand her or her choices. She is slightly socially awkward because of this. She ends up being a nurse in World War I and falling in love with a woman. This novel was important because it started a lot of controversy about writing about sexuality, especially sexuality that is not normal. This book paved the way for other authors, or even people, to come out of their shell and show the world who they really were. However, Radclyffe was in a way hiding behind her shell writing under a pseudonym. Radyclffe Hall and her writings definitely made a huge impact on her society and allowing others to pursue their writing about lesbianism as well.

Timeline:

In August 12th, 1880 Marguerite Antonia Radclyffe-Hall was born in Bournemouth, Hampshire.
In 1920 she was accused of breaking up a marriage between Admiral Ernest Troubridge and Una Troubridge.
•1924—The Forge.
•1924—The Unlit Lamp.
•1925—A Saturday Life.
•1926—Adam’s Breed.
•1926—Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself.
•1928—The Well of Loneliness, a lesbian novel, was published
The Well of Loneliness was banned in 1928 due to its controversial subject. Forty authors signed a protest in The Times newspaper.
•1932—The Master of the House.
In 1934 she fell deeply in love with Souline, hurting Una tremendously.
•1936—The Sixth Beatitude.
•October 7th, 1943 died at the age of 63.


Work Cited:

Hall, Radclyffe. The Well of Loneliness . New York: Anchor Books, 1990. Print.

Hall, Radclyffe, and Joanne Glasgow. "Introduction." Your John: the love letters of Radclyffe Hall. New York: New York University Press, 1997. 1-18. Print.

Simkin, John. "Radclyffe Hall : Biography." Spartacus Educational. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.
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message 1: by Engl (new) - added it

Engl 328 Interesting biographical facts and selection. Good job on your anthology entry!


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