The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

The Well of Loneliness is a lesbian novel by British author Radclyffe Hall that was first published in 1928 by Jonathan Cape. It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman from an upper-class family whose "sexual inversion" (homosexuality) is apparent from an early age. She finds love with Mary Llewellyn, whom she meets while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I, but their happiness together is marred by social isolation and rejection, which Hall depicts as typically suffered by "inverts", with predictably debilitating effects. The novel portrays "inversion" as a natural, God-given state and makes an explicit plea: "Give us also the right to our existence".The novel became the target of a campaign by James Douglas, editor of the Sunday Express, who wrote, "I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel." Although its only sexual reference consists of the words “she kissed her full on the lips, as a lover” and "and that night, they were not divided", a British court judged it obscene because it defended "unnatural practices between women". In the United States the book survived legal challenges in New York state and in Customs Court.Publicity over The Well of Loneliness's legal battles increased the visibility of lesbians in British and American culture. For decades it was the best-known lesbian novel in English, and often the first source of information about lesbianism that young people could find. Some readers have valued it, while others have criticised it for Stephen's expressions of self-hatred, and viewed it as inspiring shame. Its role in promoting images of lesbians as "mannish" or cross-dressed women has also been controversial. Although critics differ as to the value of The Well of Loneliness as a work of literature, its treatment of sexuality and gender continues to inspire study and debate.

The 1128th greatest fiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Well of Loneliness Mass Market Paperback 3877852 $164.42 $3.75
The Well of Loneliness With an Appreciation by Havelock Ellis Hardcover 4613720
The Well of Loneliness Hardcover 5803034 $4.31 1998
The Well of Loneliness Paperback 1081411 $7.85 $1.49 1990
The Well of Loneliness Kindle Edition 266513 $0.99 2021
The Well of Loneliness Audible Audiobook 172955 $18.99 2020
Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness Paperback 663178 $28.72 $15.60 2002
Stressed Depressed, But Well Dressed: 160 Inspirational quotes of positivity notebook composition Support for Adults & Teens With Depression & Anxiety ... Gift For Divorce Separation & Loneliness Loss Paperback 8471163 $7.90 $19.18 2019
Palatable Poison Hardcover 15256818 $85.94 $77.57 2002
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall | Summary & Study Guide Kindle Edition 194337 $9.99 2010
The Well of Loneliness: A seminal banned classic Paperback 1919887 $14.99 2019
Reflecting on the Well of Loneliness (Heroines?) Paperback 7451473 $3.29 1989
Alone Alive and Well: How to Fight Loneliness and Win Hardcover 6644948 $2.99 1985
The Master of the House: By the author of the classic The Well of Loneliness Kindle Edition 1732546 $0.99 2019
The Well of Loneliness Kindle Edition 576891 $2.99 2020
The Sixth Beatitude: By the author of the classic The Well of Loneliness Kindle Edition 2512150 $0.99 2019
The Well Of Loneliness Hardcover 2583665 $4.33
The Well of Loneliness (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback 46625 $3.88 $2.96 2014