Hall, Radclyffe

Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943) wrote novels and poetry of characters suffering through life in order to bring them closer to understanding themselves and their paths in life. Hall had a traumatic existence until she turned twenty-one when she inherited a large sum of money from her grandfather and finally got away. Living with her partner, she wrote for pleasure, working out personal and social issues.

She felt as though she was a man trapped in a women’s body and lived as “John” most of the time. Her novel, The Well of Loneliness, was one of the first English lesbian novels and was so controversial at the time that it was fought to be banned, but it never was. It is this book that contained a debate that still goes on today, that those that are homosexual do not choose this life, they are born this way and should be proud of and accepted for who they are.

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Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall Quotes

“Do try to remember this: even the world’s not so black as it is painted.” (The Well of Loneliness, 1928)

“Language is surely too small a vessel to contain these emotions of mind and body that have somehow awakened a response in the spirit.”

“The world hid its head in the sands of convention, so that by seeing nothing it might avoid Truth.” (The Well of Loneliness, 1928)

“I am haunted by the thought of your loneliness, by the knowledge that I am leaving you alone, by my terror that you may fret and get ill, or perhaps do something reckless and most foolish, for to me you seem even younger than your age, and then you have no one for whom you can talk to or go to for advice and help in your need, and this thought makes me feel that I must go mad.” (Your John: The Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall, 1999)

“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.” (The Well of Loneliness, 1928)

“Yes, they were right, that was what she had been, a kind of pioneer, and now she had got left behind. She saw the truth of this all round her, in women of the type that she had once been, that in a way she still was. Active, aggressively intelligent women, not at all self-conscious in their tailor-made clothes, not ashamed of their cropped hair; women who did things well, important things; women who counted and who would go on counting; smart, neatly put together women, looking like young men. They might still be in the minority and yet they sprang up everywhere; one saw them now even at Seabourne during the summer season.” (The Unit Lamp, 1924)

“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.” (The Well of Loneliness, 1928)

 

 

 

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