Reading Questions for Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness

1.  The novel heavily reflects 19th-century theories of “inversion” and the attached views of gender and sexuality, and Hall tries to use them to her advantage in creating empathy for her protagonist. Which passages or features in the physical descriptions (i.e. descriptions of people) remind you of ideas and opinions in the sexological theories we’ve briefly studied  (Ellis, Carpenter and the Sexology handout)?  Find at least one textual passage to point to.
 
2. Representation of Stephen’s childhood in Book 1—characterize and analyze.  
 
3. Presence of religious elements/imagery in the book—what may be their role?  
 
4.  Rather traditional writing style and plot development, influenced by sentimental romance and melodrama—why?
 
5.  What information or contextualization of this book or its author in J. Jack Halberstam’s chapter from Female Masculinity do you find useful or important for understanding the base lines of this novel or Radclyffe Hall’s historical context?  (Make sure you can point to a few specific passages–we’ll do a lot of textual work with this).

 

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Filed under Reading questions, Week 5: Kuzmin, Radclyffe Hall

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