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BOOK REVIEWS his criteria, providing an understanding at a glance of changing editorial policies and market trends. These tables particularly lend themselves well to comparative analysis of content shifts cross-culturally, as well as across time. Readers can quickly identify, for example, that fiction became a lower and lower editorial priority of most general interest magazines in Britain and America by the early to mid-twentieth century , with many popular publications geared toward new audiences completely ignoring it. Reed's work clearly reveals a wealth of conscientious research and insight into a diverse and diffuse subject matter. The Popular Magazine in Britain and the United States, 1880-1960 makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of perhaps the first mass-market media to focus on both entertainment and information and to influence readers accordingly . Mark A. Graves __________________ Michigan State University Radclyffe Hall Diana Souhami. The Trials of Radclyffe Hall. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998. 418 pp. £20.00 SINCE THE PUBLICATION of Lady Una Troubridge's biography of her long-time lover, Marguerite ("John") Radclyffe Hall, in 1961, there have been six books on Hall including Sally Cline's Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John (1997). Diana Souhami has now produced another life and times of Radclyffe Hall (RH) which provides a detailed account of the British government's absurd legal efforts to ban her tepid semiautobiographical lesbian novel, The Well of Loneliness. Where Souhami 's study also differs from Cline's work is in her delineation of the dreadful Una's role in the life and career of RH. Both were irritating eccentrics , self-indulgent, arrogant, racist, anti-semitic, and great admirers of Mussolini's and Hitler's fascism. RH was born in 1880 to wealthy (and bizarre) parents whose marriage was failing. Her mother didn't want the child and not only tried to abort the foetus, but kept reminding her daughter that she was unwanted throughout her childhood and adolescence. Since her parents divorced not long after her birth, RH hardly knew her father and had to endure her philandering step-father who, she claimed, sexually abused her. At the age of eighteen, she achieved independence from her ghastly parents when she inherited over £100,000 from her father and, dressing 463 ELT 42 : 4 1999 as a man and assuming the name "John," began a life of luxury as a "butch" type predatory lesbian. Her first great love was Mrs. Mabel ("Ladye") Batten, a well-endowed married woman old enough to be her mother, who at one time was one of Edward VII's mistresses. But even before her affair with Ladye, RH had become an autocratic and egotistical personality with great literary pretensions. Dyslexic, she was convinced that she was a literary "jeanious" and produced seven volumes of undistinguished verse and four novels of turgid prose before the publication of The Well of Loneliness in 1928. As Souhami and Cline note in their studies, RH's novels rated fairly positive reviews and had benefitted from the literary talents of Una Troubridge. Una (a cousin of Ladye), who became part of RH's ménage à trois—a ménage which continued after Ladye's demise through expensive spiritual mediums—was the wife of Admiral Sir Ernest Troubridge and the mother of a young daughter whom she abandoned almost immediately after birth as an impediment to her relationship with RH. Like her beloved "John," Una was vain, opinionated, ardently Roman Catholic, and reactionary (they had no use for the suffragette cause), but completely besotted with RH, painstakingly copying her manuscripts, correcting RH's atrocious spelling and enlivening her leaden prose. Together they enjoyed the "high life" in expensive accommodations in London, Paris, the French and Italian Rivieras, and Rome, purchasing and discarding pet dogs. Una was indeed a pillar of support for her partner, particularly during the British government's attempts to ban The Well of Loneliness following its publication by Jonathan Cape. The book (now a cult classic) might have been ignored were it not for the intervention of James Douglas, the managing editor of the Express, in an effort to boost the paper's circulation with some salacious sensationalism by making The Well of Loneliness...


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pp. 463-468
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Will Be Archived 2021
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