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Marguerite Radclyffe Hall
(August 12, 1880 - October 7, 1943) U.K.

Hall Radclyffe

Novelist

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Born at Bournemouth, Hampshire, her parents' marriage was unhappy and brief, and her mother, whom her father left some months before Hall was born, brought up Hall. As a woman of independent means due to her inheritance at the age of 21, Hall ws able to pay for the publication of her first volume of poetry, Twixst Earth and Stars, in 1906.

In 1908 she began to live with Mabel Veronica Batten ("Ladye") and published a second volume, A Sheaf of Verses , that inaugurated her thematization of lesbianism. Hall published four volumes of verse and eight novels. From 1915 she had a relationship with Una Vincent Troubridge, who became her companion and lover after Mabel's death in 1916, for about thirty years.

Hall is best remembered for her classic novel The Well of Loneliness (1928), whose lesbian theme brought it considerable notoriety. Its open treatement of lesbianism occasioned a trial for obscenity; it was banned and an appeal refused, despiete the support of many eminent writers including E. M. Forster, L. and V. Woolf, and Arnold Bennett. It was republished in 1949.

Hall Radclyffe
Radclyffe Hall, U.K., 1920s

In 1934 Hall, also known as "John", met Evguenia Souline, a 30-year-old White Russian émigrée without citizenship. She and Evguenia became lovers, and a troubled triangular relationship between John, Evguenia, and Una began, that stifled John's creativity. Having first decided to live permanently in Florence, Italy, The Second World War necessitated to return to England where the three women retired to Devon.

Hall developed colon cancer and died in London. She is buried with Ladye in Highgate Cemetry, London. After her death, Una Troubridge published the bigraphy The Life and Death of Radclyffe Hall (1945)

Hall's book of poems A Sheaf of Verses included "Ode to Sappho," the last verse of which read:

"Beloved Lesbian! we would not dare claim
By that same tear fond union with thy lot;
Yet "tis enough, if when we breathe thy name
Thy soul but listens, and forgets us not."

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Sources: excerpts from: Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002 - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/

Work:

  • The Unlit Lamp (1924)
  • Adam's Breed (1926)
  • The Well of Loneliness (1928)
  • The Master of the House (1932)
  • The Sixth Beatitude (1936)
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