Radclyffe Hall - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about Radclyffe Hall

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

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Picture of Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness; landmark first Lesbian novel; twentieth century British Literature / English Literature
Radclyffe Hall   (1880 - 1943)
Category:  English Literature
Born:  August 12, 1880
Bournemouth, Hampshire, England
Died:  October 7, 1943
Dolphin Square, London, England
Related authors:
E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf
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Radclyffe Hall - LIFE STORIES
11/16/1928     Defending the First Lesbian Novel
On this day in 1928, Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, regarded by most as the first lesbian novel, was judged by the British courts to be obscene. Many of the notable writers asked to defend the book excused themselves -- "for reasons you might guess," Virginia Woolf wrote, though "they generally put it down to the weak heart of a father or a cousin who is about to have twins."
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A Saturday Life
Adam's Breed
The Well of Loneliness
Unlit Lamp
Your John: The Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall
by Radclyffe Hall, Joanne Glasgow (Editor)
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Palatable Poison
by Laura L. Doan (Editor), Jay Prosser (Editor)
criticism and analysis
Sex, Gender, and Social Change in Britain Since 1880
by Lesley A. Hall
Trials of Radclyffe Hall
by Diana Souhami
Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History : From World War II to the Present Day
by Robert Aldrich (Editor), Garry Wotherspoon (Editor)
Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II
by Robert Aldrich (Editor), Garry Wotherspoon (Editor)
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Radclyffe Hall: A Classified Bibliography
Find a short biography and a well-organized extended bibliography featuring manuscripts and letters, published prose, translations of novels, poetry collections, published music with words or lyrics by Radclyffe Hall, articles, contemporary commentary and criticism (including satires and parodies), biographies, and critical commentary on censorship, gay and lesbian theory, The Unlit Lamp, Adam's Breed, The Well of Loneliness, The Sixth Beatitude, and other topics.

"Radclyffe Hall's novel The Well of Loneliness has inspired three lawsuits, four parodies, and at least one magazine's slogan. Published in 1928, this novel is remarkable for one thematic trait: it deals openly with female homosexuality (Sapphism, in the language of the time) and 'inversion' -- the theory that certain genetic traits, rather than any 'environmental' influences, lead an individual to be homosexual. The Well of Loneliness was banned in England, printed in the U.S., and eventually translated into over eight languages. It has become a touchstone for lesbian and feminist literary critics, who find it pivotal in the history of women writers, lesbian characters, and the twentieth-century development of the novel."
Review: Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John
Read a review of Sally Cline's biography of Radclyffe Hall, published in the autumn 1997 issue of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist.

"We are told more than we knew and indeed more than we want to know about Radclyffe Hall, and the result is at least twice as long as necessary. Sally Cline is an Anglo-American academic who has written ambitious feminist books, and there is the flavour of propaganda about this book too. Like so much writing about writers, it is badly written. Like so much academic writing, it has little connection with real life. All credit to an attempt to put together in one place as much information as possible about a writer who was once important. But all power to the most important message - what is important is not writing, but living."
Review: The Trials of Radclyffe Hall
Read a review of Diana Souhami's biography of Radclyffe Hall, published in the autumn 1998 issue of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist.

"Perhaps the most interesting new information relates to the banning of The Well of Loneliness in 1928. The seventieth anniversary of that ludicrous event was marked by the release of many relevant official papers in the Public Record Office, but some were withheld on account of 'public interest' and even 'national security'. It was only at the last moment that the author was allowed to inspect them and was therefore enabled to document more fully the extent of the conspiracy by the authorities to suppress the book...."
The Sexton's Tales
A short biography reviews Hall's early years, the chance meeting with Mabel Veronica Batten (her "John") which changed her life, and literary accomplishments.

"At the age of twenty-one, Marguerite spread her wings and flew the nest. She first went travelling, spending a year touring the Southern States of America with a cousin Jane Randolph. They travelled in an old single-pistoned jalopy with, for protection, a fierce one-eyed bulldog named Charlie and a couple of six-shooters. Marguerite stopped using her Christian name, asking everyone to call her Radclyffe, and she started to smoke, cigars as well as cigarettes -- a habit which she continued for the rest of her life. She also began to dress in men's clothing. In the process of finding her real self, she was also discovering her true sexuality...."
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February 22, 2018
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