The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall: The Classics Club Spin

Thanks to the Classics Club Spin I can finally take this book off of my TBR shelf and tick my first book off of my Classics list.

The Well of Loneliness was published and subsequently banned in 1928 for ‘obscenity’, but after a legal trial was allowed to be published.

The novel focuses on the life of Steven, a young girl born to a wealthy family who dreamed of having a boy. Her father largely took care of the child and she spent her time playing at being Napoleon, riding horses and fencing. Steven struggles to see herself as a girl at a time in history when gender and gender expectations were sharply defined.

The novel covers the expanse of Steven’s life from a baby until she is in her mid 30s. The novel may be cited as a lesbian classic but it is much more than that, the descriptions of the land around her, her time in the war and her struggles as a writer all play a large part in the novel, as does her relationship with her doting father and the cold mother.

Steven’s relationships with women, even from a young age, are fierce and all consuming. It’s interesting that the novel was banned for obscenity, if you’re expecting a bit of smut this novel is not for you, there are a few kisses and declarations of love.

This was a good read, fast paced but still with vivid descriptions of the British countryside and the war (I wish this section of the book was longer).



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