Research Output
Banned Books and Publishers’ Ploys: The Well of Loneliness as Exemplar
  Archival sources provide much of the basis for a consideration of the myriad methods that UK publishers employed to avoid prosecution for obscenity. In turn, the UK legal authorities took a collusive (and cosy) approach to the issue, moving only to prosecute if the book in question generated publicity or achieved wide sales. The Well of Loneliness (1928) by Radclyffe Hall may have passed unseen, except by the intelligentsia, were it not for a fiery denunciation in a popular newspaper. Jonathan Cape, its publisher, equivocated over the novel’s withdrawal, leading both to a trial and ban and to his undertaking the method of last resort of publishing it in Paris. Constant comparisons are made between the case of The Well of Loneliness and the treatment of other canonical novels of the interwar period, particularly Ulysses (1922) and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928).

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    002 The book

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


McCleery, A. (2019). Banned Books and Publishers’ Ploys: The Well of Loneliness as Exemplar. Journal of Modern Literature, 43(1), 34-52.



UK Obscenity practice, Jonathan Cape, Radclyffe Hall, Paris publications, interwar novels,

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