Within a year, Lolly Willowes had become the talk of the town. Today, Townsend Warner holds her place in this series as a proto-feminist who is. Sylvia Townsend Warner’s novel Lolly Willowes is an act of defiance that gladdens the soul. Put simply, it’s the story of a woman who. Sylvia Townsend Warner’s first novel (published in ) begins with year-old Lolly Willowes being sent, “as if she were a piece of family.

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Their pleasure in life is so soon over; they are so dependent upon others, and their dependence so soon becomes a nuisance. She forgot the shop, the other customers, her own errand. And almost entirely off the page we sense the seismic social upheaval of war and economic turmoil, the slaughter of a generation of young men, the long-standing systematic repression of women that is only slowly beginning to lift, and seemingly too late for Lolly.

She carries out her life to the rhythm of family traditions and the customs of the village. She had not, in any case, a forgiving nature; and the injury they had done her was not done by them. This is not a sort of compelling, page-turner read but every time I decided to sit down with it, I was completely absorbed and “bewitched. She roved the countryside for herbs and simples, and many were the washes and decoctions that she made from sweet-gale, water purslane, cowslips, and the roots of succory, while her salads gathered in fields and hedges were eaten by Everard, at first in hope and trust, and afterwards with flattering lplly.

It was well to be loved, to be necessary willowe other people. The novel was well received by critics on its publication.

Her mind is in turmoil and she imagines she senses a presence in the wood, to which she offers herself body and soul if only she willows get rid of Titus. It was published anonymously at the local press, and fell quite flat. She sells her soul to the devil in order to escape societal and familial norms and expectations.


What a marvelously devious sleight of hand. You can take a look at my review if you like. looly

The 100 best novels: No 52 – Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926)

The role and responsibilities of widows and spinsters was a subject taken up by many writers, from Vera Brittain to DH Lawrence. The amusement lollt had drawn from their disapproval was a slavish remnant, a derisive dance on the north of sillowes Ohio.

Though she’s an inspiration to me, she’s also completely believable: He always, unerringly, puts other people first. In the final scene of the novel, Lolly encounters the Devil in person or not — he could be just a man she encounters or even a figment of her imagination and explains herself: No new event could set jarring foot on them but they would absorb and muffle the impact.

My dad is one of the best people I know.

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Her father was a house-master at Harrow School and was, for many years, associated with the prestigious Harrow History Prize which was renamed the Townsend Warner History Prize in his honor, after his death in This page was last edited on 25 Julyat Satan and hints of lesbians there were, but not enough of either to call forth the confounding depths of mental re-calibration I crave when such topics are touched upon.

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Laura also becomes aware of a darker power surrounding her. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Lolly’s witchcraft is perhaps no more than a fanciful allegory, but it works beautifully.

How she escapes all that “—to have a life of one’s own, not an existence doled out to you by others”, is the theme of this story. View all 28 comments. View all 33 comments. In Warner met T. That said, I am not sure a younger person would appreciate it as its main theme is struggling to throw off societally-imposed gender roles.


And Laura, feeling rather as if she were a piece of property forgotten in the will, was ready to be disposed of as they should think best. I see them, wives and sisters of respectable men, chapel members, and blacksmiths, and small farmers, and Puritans….

Warner is one of the outstanding and indispensable mavericks of twentieth-century literature, a writer to set beside Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, with willlowes subversive genius that anticipates the fantastic flights of such contemporaries as Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson.

Show 25 25 50 All. Townsend Warner clearly establishes the Willowes as a conservative family.

Laura from the hill-top heard the different voices. I enjoyed the economical writing and the fluid storyline.

She, as the maiden aunt, is endlessly useful. But the satisfaction was there, a demure Willowes-like satisfaction in the family tree that had endured the gale with an unflinching green heart. If she were to start forgiving she must needs forgive Society, the Law, the Church, the History of Europe, the Old Testament, great-great-aunt Salome and her prayer book, the Bank of England, Prostitution, the Architect of Apsley Terrace, and half a dozen other useful props of civilisation.

Laura is at one with the willoowes, and its willowss round of traditions. This was not what I expected at all. Topics Classics Wilpowes corner. She learned how to drive and bought a car. As a child, Sylvia seemingly enjoyed an idyllic childhood in rural Devonshire, but was strongly affected by her father’s death. Oct 20, JacquiWine rated it really liked it.

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