Journal of Romance Studies

Lesbian existence

‘Nature’, ‘human nature’, and ‘God’ in Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and Olga Moraes Sarmento’s As Minhas Memórias (Tempo Passato, Tempo Amato)

Journal of Romance Studies (2022), 22, (1), 163–177.

Abstract

A close examination of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (1928) and Olga Moraes Sarmento’s As Minhas Memórias (1948) reveals interesting intersections. Hall’s epic novel is a long, plangent plea for an understanding of ‘the Invert’, whereas Moraes Sarmento’s memoir, dedicated to her female lover, offers thinly disguised clues as to her own sexuality. Moraes Sarmento settled in Paris, for she did not care for the Portuguese mindset of her time. An intriguing aspect of her memoir is when she indulges in a lengthy meditation, similar, though not as maudlin as Hall’s, on her possible ‘missteps’ in life and, like Hall, goes over the head of ecclesiastical authority to address God’s merciful judgment. My article seeks to tease out the subtle implications of the themes ‘nature’, ‘human nature’, and ‘God’ in Sarmento’s memoir and contrast them with Hall’s more heightened arguments.

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Author details

Varese, Monica