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Despised And Rejected

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In July 1914 a family gathers at a holiday hotel in Devon. There is a dominant father and a socially ambitious mother who adores her son Dennis. When he arrives it is at once clear to the reader why he does not fit in with his smugly conventional family.

Then, with the outbreak of war, the tone of the book changes: it focuses on Dennis’s refusal to fight, indeed on his abh
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Paperback, 200 pages
Published 1989 by Carrier Pigeon (first published September 1918)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Quirkyreader
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this very moving story. My complete review is on my blog: https://quirkyreader.livejournal.com/...

Make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand and someone to hug after you finish it.
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Mela
"Isn't this worth fighting for?"
Dennis smiled as he answered the question: "It's worth more than that; it's worth—not fighting for!"


This book was (and in many ways still is, sadly) a priceless message/manifesto.

We want more light, more breathing-space, more tolerance and understanding: not this narrow-minded wholesale condemnation and covering-up; this instinctive shuddering and turning away from a side of nature that, like every other side, has its right to a hearing, its right to open discussi
...more
Kirsty
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may-2018, favourites
Rose Allatini's 1918 novel, Despised and Rejected, is one of Persephone's new titles for Spring 2018. Allatini was an highly prolific author, publishing books under several pseudonyms; Despised and Rejected was first released under the name of A.T. Fitzroy. Rereleased in Persephone's distinctive dove grey covers a century after its original publication, Despised and Rejected is set during the First World War, and is described as a 'gay pacifist novel'. Persephone have highlighted its importance, ...more
Lauren
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I loved this so much. Beautiful, honest and still relevant today.
Faith
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wept in public. 4.5 stars (more to come when I recover)
Ok I am back and ready to quote my favourite passages. This will be spoilery because my favourite bits came at the end, so watch out!
"The spectacled, highly strung young man had appeared on socialistic grounds. His speech was both virile and vehement, and he quoted Tolstoy and Wells and Karl Marx and Phillip Gibbs in a breathless Cockney voice that told of self-education and night-school. When he had finished, he still stood tense and rigid,
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anna marie
I'm amazed this exists ...more
Jennifer Birmingham
We learn the most about history by reading the texts that were actually written during the time we are studying. This book covers the period from right before WWI to about two years in, and occupies the lives of individuals in upper middle class England.

It involves LGBTQ topics, pacifism at the time of war, socialism, pro-semitism (is this a word -I mean the opposite of anti-semitism), bohemian lifestyle, suffragette, pro—Irish, etc. all the outcasts and misfits of the time.

One of the most inte
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Jim Jones
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Quite an astonishing novel for its day. First publishing (and quickly banned) in 1918, it's the story of a gay composer who tries to repress his instincts by dating a lesbian who is equally confused about her sexuality and place in society. It turns into an anti-war novel as they join a loose group of pacifists who congregate in London tea-shop. The group slowly falls apart as conscientious objectors are imprisoned or give in and join up. Great piece of historical and cultural writing, and not b ...more
Rosemary
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: persephone
A remarkable book for its day (1918) in that it is quite open about love between two men. Dennis Blackwood stands out in his family as the musical one who is closer to his mother than any of the others - and then, as war approaches, he becomes generally "despised and rejected" by society for his pacifist views. But he finds friends among the conscientious objectors in London, while he tries to go against his nature by forming a relationship with a young woman.

This book was published, but then pr
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VG
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Moving and powerful. Thoroughly recommend.
Jesi
Nov 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer-lit
As a novel, this wasn't great, but as a historical document it was absolutely fascinating. The book follows a group of conscientious objectors during WWI, many of whom are gay artists and musicians. The author, Rose Allatini, draws some really interesting parallels between heterosexuality and militarism (kinda reminded me of Woolf's linking of patriarchy and war in Three Guineas). Definitely worth checking out if you are interested in pacifism, queer female modernists, WWI, or British gay and le ...more
Eavan
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the gays™, pacifists, people into wwi, literally EVERYONE
Natassa
3.5/5 stars

I wanted to love this. I love the mere concept. The plot. The fact that it's so explicitly queer but published in 1918. From the very first page a handful of characters captivated me, and I thought I would adore it. After all, it reminded me of BOTH Maurice and A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. It had to be amazing, right?

Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. For me, I don't think the execution was that good. It wasn't bad writing at all, but I was rather bored more often than no
...more
Connor Stompanato
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt-classics
Despised And Rejected follows a gay man and bisexual(?) woman who attempt to fall in love whilst also being and supporting the conscientious objector movement during World War 1.

I loved the parallels that were made between how society viewed gay people at the time and how they viewed conscientious objectors. Told they were wrong, shamed, shunned from society. Having our main male character be both gay + a conscientious objector highlighted them in a really interesting way. The book shows that th
...more
Wendy Greenberg
Hard to * this book. I found the themes/issues brilliant...pacificism, being gay and the fight for women's suffrage in First World War England.

What, for me, was less brilliant, was the slow pace and length of the novel. I realise it is a period novel but given the content, the pace did not seem to match. That said the themes of equality and understanding for all bubbles under, as the book moves between different social situations and the carefully crafted characters of the piece.

It was a fascina
...more
Scott
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homo-lit
I walked into Persephone Books while on an 18-hour layover in London. The books are beautifully designed with a simple grey cover and a designed inside cover. I was a little overwhelmed with which book I was going to buy and asked the staff for advice.

Despised and Rejected is a 1918 book about a queer man and woman trying to figure out what they don't have words for. The book is a little uneven and you hear about characters who come and go but Dennis and Antoinette make a compelling story, and
...more
Ellie
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I liked this a LOT. Not least because I read a very good academic article about it (by Laura Doan) whilst at uni lol. My memories of said article helped illuminate some of the period nuances of the depiction of and relationship between homosexuality, pacifism and the First World War, and enriched the experience as I progressed in the book. Dennis and Antoinette are great characters, both sympathetic and real and unusual, and the supporting cast is vivid too. It's got an incredibly 'modern' feel ...more
Lamees
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So beautiful for so many reasons. Every aspect just weaves together so perfectly into a touching scene.
"locked up because we're a danger to humanity... almost humorous isn't it? "
" Let her recognise Ireland as an equal and raise her up from the thraldom of a vassal before she takes Belgium's name in vain to hide her desire for gain."
...more
Crystal
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
I'm so thoroughly pleased this book exists. ...more
Jessica
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, lgbt
Abnormal - perverted - against nature - he could hear the epithets that would be hurled against him, and that he would deserve. Yes, but what had nature been about, in giving him the soul of a woman in the body of a man?

2.5 stars

I've wanted to read a Persephone Book for the longest time and am so happy that I've finally been able to. Despised And Rejected got my attention as soon as I read the synopsis. A book written in the middle of World War I centered on a lesbian and a gay conscientious o
...more
Vance Woods
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
Written by a pacifict, Rose Allatini (for whom Fitzroy served as nom-de-plume), this book was quickly banned by the British censors, both for its pacifist tone and for its sympathetic portrayal of the homosexual lifestyle.

It is, sadly, out of print, but still a work everyone should read, if only to get a glimpse into a startlingly prescient outlook on the Great War, an outlook shared by many writers of the WWI and interwar periods. Allatini mixes a sharp sense of humor with a strong sense of pat
...more
Dale
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1918 and quickly banned, it is a remarkable achievement for its time. A sympathetic portrait of “social deviants” (homosexuals and pacifists) and the brutal treatment they had to endure. At times melodramatic, but this can be forgiven when considering the courage and passion of the subject matter. Needs to be better known.
millie
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book a lot! It really changed me as a person....I loved the discussion of pacifism and same sex love in WWI England. It's very emotional and complex and I truly felt for every character. I can not recommend this book more! I ended up writing my thesis on it. ...more
Amber
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
At the time I read it I found it difficult to read (complex sentences) but it was required for a class. All in all a great story.
Austin
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
great book, under the circumstances that one does a close read. it doesn't offer too much at face value, but it is entertaining regardless. good read. read it. ...more
Niobe Danezis
rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2018
Margaret
rated it really liked it
Mar 27, 2020
Tristan Burke
rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2015
Emily Dawe
rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2021
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A.T. Fitzroy was a pseudonym of Rose Allatini. ...more

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“Isn't this worth fighting for?"
Dennis smiled as he answered the question: "It's worth more than that; it's worth—not fighting for!”
0 likes
“We want more light, more breathing-space, more tolerance and understanding: not this narrow-minded wholesale condemnation and covering-up; this instinctive shuddering and turning away from a side of nature that, like every other side, has its right to a hearing, its right to open discussion.” 0 likes
More quotes…