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Descripción de editorial
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE • “A beautiful and deeply moving book.”—Sally Rooney, author of Normal People
An engrossing group portrait of five women writers, including Virginia Woolf, who moved to London’s Mecklenburgh Square in search of new freedom in their lives and work.
“I like this London life . . . the street-sauntering and square-haunting.”—Virginia Woolf, diary, 1925
In the early twentieth century, Mecklenburgh Square—a hidden architectural gem in the heart of London—was a radical address. On the outskirts of Bloomsbury known for the eponymous group who “lived in squares, painted in circles, and loved in triangles,” the square was home to students, struggling artists, and revolutionaries.
In the pivotal era between the two world wars, the lives of five remarkable women intertwined at this one address: modernist poet H. D., detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power, and author and publisher Virginia Woolf. In an era when women’s freedoms were fast expanding, they each sought a space where they could live, love, and—above all—work independently.
With sparkling insight and a novelistic style, Francesca Wade sheds new light on a group of artists and thinkers whose pioneering work would enrich the possibilities of women’s lives for generations to come.
Praise for Square Haunting
“A fascinating voyage through the lives of five remarkable women . . . moving and immersive.”—Edmund Gordon, author of The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography
“Elegant, erudite, and absorbing, Square Haunting is a startlingly original debut, and Francesca Wade is an author to watch.”—Frances Wilson, author of Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey
“Outstanding . . . I’ll be recommending this all year.”—Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café
“I much enjoyed Francesca Wade's book. It almost made me wish I belonged to the pioneering generation of women spoiling eggs on the gas ring and breaking taboos.”—Sue Prideaux, author of I Am Dynamite! A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche
Wade, editor of White Review magazine, makes an excellent debut with a gripping account of the lives of five women who lived at various times in the same square in London's Bloomsbury district between 1916 and 1940. These women poet H.D., mystery writer Dorothy Sayers, medievalist and economic historian Eileen Power, classicist Jane Harrison, and novelist Virginia Woolf all drew sustenance from living in Mecklenburgh Square, which offered an artistically and politically radical milieu, as well as affordable and readily available housing for single women, then a relatively rare commodity. Wade evinces a strong grasp of what drove these women to place work ahead of love, and fluidly traces their various interrelationships. Woolf, for example, was deeply influenced by the newly female-centered histories written by Harrison and Power, both of whom she knew well, while Sayers and H.D. endured tumultuous affairs with the same man, John Cournos, who callously turned both relationships into fiction. Wade also illuminates her protagonists' political advocacy, for egalitarian and peaceful values against hierarchical and militarist ones. By showing how these women confronted an ideological divide still existing today, this superbly written and researched work will make them highly relevant for, and accessible to, contemporary audiences.