The Well of Loneliness

The Well of Loneliness

Book - 2005
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The Well of Loneliness was banned for obscenity when published in 1928. It became an international bestseller, and for decades was the single most famous lesbian novel.
Publisher: Ware, Hertforshire :, Wordsworth Editions,, 2005.
ISBN: 9781840224559
Branch Call Number: FIC HALL
Characteristics: xxv, 414 pages ; 20 cm.


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Aug 21, 2020

"Acknowledge us, oh God, before the whole world. Give us also the right to our existence!"
Dated, but classic and groundbreaking work of lesbian literature.

Nov 13, 2018

I found this a very moving story and appreciated being brought into the realities, for some people anyway, of the times before, during and after the 1st WW. Getting to know the main character in such intimate detail made me realize once again how challenging life can be if one is perceived as being different. The length of the story and how it unfolds slowly frustrated me at first but then I got into the rhythm of it all. I highly recommend reading this book.

This book is currently available as an ebook from Gutenberg Australia ( and will soon be available for the Canadian publisher of free ebook Gutenberg Canada and Faded Page (

Sep 09, 2018

Comments below, with all due respect, don't respect historical context. We are barely 30 years out from the trial of Oscar Wilde. This is a gut-wrenching, tormented dramatization of the price of being unrecognizable to oneself because there is no support system (the Human Rights Campaign did not exist!!), the very language of "lesbian" hardly existed (men's homosexuality, e.g. at Oxford and Cambridge, was far more accepted as the norm than women's same-sex attraction, and the struggle for an "invert" to find a COMMUNITY of gays/lesbians was fraught with anxiety (as it still is). Forget the upper-class clothing of this book and read for the churning and struggle = a map for us all, to one degree or another.
Tolerate the sometimes baggy, leftover late-Victorian prose, and heed the crushing weight of being outsided, condemned by the Church as well as the straight world. Whether you are gay or straight, you will be rewarded by the candid map of being "other" that Radclyffe Hall had the courage to generate. The book should motivate all of us to DO BETTER for human rights.

Apr 06, 2018

Depressing for a lot of reasons, including the fact that the words "homosexual" and "lesbian" never appear. The heroine is born into wealth -- neither she nor her parents have ever worked a lick -- so her misery is less understandable. She is gallivanting around Europe, buying snazzy autos, going to clubs in 1920s Paris, eating in restaurants, buying a Left Bank house with garden -- and miserable. The author also uses irritating stereotypes for Irish, French, Spanish, German, Negroes in Paris (with no mention of jazz), peasants, inclinations of "normal" women and even animals -- plus her badly rendered Yorkshire accents and constant overcompensating for the "sensitive nerves of the invert." Well, it's 1928. She tried. The section on World War I ambulance drivers is a worthy re-creation.

Nov 24, 2014

jeez this is a depressing book! everyone feels so bad about being a lesbian; it's kind of hard to read because of that.
i'd say it has merits based on the fact that it was groundbreaking, and as an historical lesson for modern day lesbians who don't have to be feel quite as shameful as their predecessors did. but it's not a particularly fun novel.

Sep 09, 2014

It's a wonderfully written book, sad (and depressing, for some) but so true. I love the use of the language.

teacupfaerie Aug 16, 2010

At one point all lesbian novels had to end badly in order to show the folly of having this orientation. This is one of those. It was alright up to the end.


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