Book//mark - The Well of Loneliness | Radclyffe Hall, 1928

Radclyffe Hall, 1930                             The Well of Loneliness, 1928

“The world hid its head in the sands of convention, so that by seeing nothing it might avoid Truth. ”

“What a terrible thing could be freedom. Trees were free when they were uprooted by the wind; 
ships were free when they were torn from their moorings; men were free when they were cast 
out of their homes—free to starve, free to perish of cold and hunger.”

“If our love is a sin, then heaven must be full of such tender and selfless sinning as ours.”

“You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call 
nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet--you've not got your niche in creation. 
But some day that will come, and meanwhile don't shrink from yourself, but face yourself 
calmly and bravely. Have courage; do the best you can with your burden. But above all be
 honourable. Cling to your honour for the sake of those others who share the same burden. 
For their sakes show the world that people like you and they can be quite as selfless and fine 
as the rest of mankind. Let your life go to prove this--it would be a really great life-work, 
Stephen.”

“For the sake of all the others who are like you, but less strong and less gifted perhaps,
 many of them, it's up to you to have the courage to make good.”

“I want you to be wise for your own sake, Stephen, because at the best life requires great 
wisdom. I want you to learn to make friends of your books; someday you may need them,
 because – ’ He hesitated, ‘because you mayn’t find life at all easy, we none of us do, 
and books are good friends.”

“And her eyes filled with heavy, regretful tears, yet she did not quite know for what she was
 weeping. She only knew that some great sense of loss, some great sense of incompleteness
 possessed her, and she let the tears trickle down her face, wiping them off one 
by one with her finger.”

"Writing, it was like a heavenly balm, it was like the flowing out of deep waters, it was like
 the lifting of a load from the spirit; it brought with it a sense of relief, of assuagement. 
One could say things in writing without feeling self-conscious, without feeling shy 
and ashamed and foolish..." 

“The eye of youth is very observant. Youth has its moments of keen intuition, even normal 
youth -- but the intuition of those who stand mi-way between the sexes is so ruthless, 
so poignant, so deadly, as to be in the nature of an added scourge...”

“Too late, too late, your love gave me life. Here am I the creature you made through 
your loving; by your passion you created the thing that I am. Who are you to deny me 
the right to love? But for you I need never have known existence.”

"No birds were singing in the trees by the roadside, but a silence prevailed, more lovely
 than bird song; the thoughtful and holy silence of winter, the silence of trustfully waiting 
furrows. For the soil is the greatest saint of all ages, knowing neither impatience, nor fear,
 nor doubting; knowing only faith, from which spring all blessings that are needful 
to nurture man." 

Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness, 1928

Portait of Radclyffe Hall by Charles Buchel, 1918

"Radclyffe Hall was a revolutionary writer and extraordinary character who paved the 
way for lesbians and homosexuals through her passionate writing and liberal lifestyle. 
In 1928 Hall’s fame turned to notoriety when she published a book called 
‘The Well of Loneliness’ the novel for which she is best known. The book deals with
 the life of Stephen Gordon, a masculine lesbian who, like Hall herself, identifies 
as an invert. However, the Sunday express campaigned to have the book banned in 
Britain suggesting it corrupted the minds of the young; they were successful and
 the book was not reprinted in Britain until 1949."

On display a the National Portrait Gallery, London


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