Lolly Willowes : Or the Loving Huntsman (New York Review Books Classics)
Sylvia Townsend Warner
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“[The book] I’ll be pressing into people’s hands forever is “Lolly Willowes,” the 1926 novel by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It tells the story of a woman who rejects the life that society has fixed for her in favor of freedom and the most unexpected of alliances. It completely blindsided me: Starting as a straightforward, albeit beautifully written family saga, it tips suddenly into extraordinary, lucid wildness.” - Helen Macdonald in The New York Times Book Review's “By the Book."
In Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner tells of an aging spinster's struggle to break way from her controlling family—a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while adding a dimension of the supernatural and strange. Warner is one of the outstanding and indispensable mavericks of twentieth-century literature, a writer to set beside Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, with a subversive genius that anticipates the fantastic flights of such contemporaries as Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson.
her sister-in-law’s private thoughts. She made no answer, and never again did Caroline open her mind to her upon such matters. Laura never forgot this. Caroline seemed affectionately disposed towards her; she was full of practical good sense, her advice was excellent, and pleasantly bestowed. Laura saw her a good wife, a fond and discreet mother, a kind mistress, a most conscientious sister-in-law. She was also rather gluttonous. But for none of these qualities could Laura feel at ease with her.
pains to be nice to him. Equally to their surprise they saw Mr. Arbuthnot laying aside his special pains to observe a legal manner and stammering away quite enthusiastically about climbing Welsh mountains and gathering parsley fern. They scarcely dared to hope, for they felt the time for hope was gone by. However, they invited him to dinner, and did their best to be on friendly terms with him. Mr. Arbuthnot received their advances without surprise, for he had a very good opinion of himself. He
to marry a Welsh lady, and to settle near Yeovil, where his father bought him a partnership in a brewery. It was natural to expect that upon becoming the head of the family Henry would abandon, if not the Welsh wife and the brewery, at least Somerset, and return to his native people. But this he would not do. He had become attached to the neighborhood where he had spent the first years of his married life; the ill-considered jest of his uncle the Admiral, that Henry was courting a Welsh-woman
write a whole book. She thought of Paradise Lost with a shudder, for it required even more constancy to write some one else’s book. Highly as she rated the sufferings of Milton’s daughters, she rated her own even higher, for she did not suppose that they had to be for ever jumping up and down to light the poet’s cigarette; and blank verse flowed, flowed majestically, she understood, from his lips, whereas Titus dictated in prose, which was far harder to punctuate. Nor did it flow. Titus was not
about seeking to devour me.” “Exactly. I even roared that night. But you were asleep while I roared. Only the hills heard me triumphing over my spoil.” Laura said: “I wish I could really believe that.” “I wish you could, too,” he answered affably; “you would feel so comfortable and important. But you won’t although it is much more probable than you might suppose.” Laura stretched herself out on the turf and pillowed her head on her arm. “Nothing could feel more comfortable than I do, now