Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars

Tim Duggan: Crown. Apr. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9780451497796. $28.99. lit
White Review editor Wade here delves into the lives of five revolutionary women and wordsmiths in the years between the two world wars—H.D., Dorothy L. Sayers, Jane Harrison, Eileen Power, and Virginia Woolf—connected by Mecklenburgh Square in London, a location known for its progressive spirit and famous residents. While Woolf is the most widely recognizable of those featured, Wade devotes equal attention to her subjects, highlighting the ways in which each of them worked to fight against society’s expectations and bring her dreams to fruition. The square also becomes a character in its own right, proving to be a lasting influence on the lives of these women and others throughout history. Thoroughly researched and brimming with titillating anecdotes, this unique blend of literary history and biography provides a richer understanding of this period in England and the influence of those who broke the molds set upon them.
VERDICT Literary historians, as well as general readers up on the major events in recent British history, will be well served by this valiant debut about bold women whose struggles continue to resonate today.
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