Friday, 6 October 2017

TNA podcast - the court case that banned a lesbian novel

The latest podcast from the National Archives in England is entitled Unfolding the court case that banned a 1920s lesbian novel, a 16 minute talk by Caroline Whitworth about the novel The Well of Loneliness. Here's the blurb:

In 1928 Radclyffe Hall wrote ‘The Well of Loneliness’, a novel that featured female characters in same-sex relationships. Shortly after it was published, the Sunday Express called for the book to be suppressed and urged the Home Office to censor it. Despite attempts by writers including Vera Brittain, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf to defend the novel as a book of literary, sociological and psychological significance, it was banned later that year.

In this podcast, we look at files from the obscenity trial to find out why a lesbian novel that lacked any lewd imagery or language was classed as obscene. Hear what the novel meant to sexologists such as Henry Havelock Ellis; which side of the trial Rudyard Kipling offered to stand on; and the alternate plot lines that the magistrate believed would spare a novel with gay characters from censorship.

To listen to the podcast visit


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