This fortnight we are talking about the extremely neglected book Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It’s a gem! Lolly Willowes was pubished in 1926 and is a wonderful portrayal of a woman forging her own path. This book is a treasure trove of feminist ideas, and it features gloriously sensory, sensual, tactile language.
As always, spoilers abound, and you don’t want this wonderful book spoiled. So go read it and come back! We’ll wait.
- Our intro music for this episode is the Third Movement of Sonatina by John Ireland, performed by John McCabe. Ireland was inspired to compose this movement, which he called “Sabbath,” by the witch’s sabbath part of Lolly Willowes. Sylvia Townsend Warner had this to say about it: “This I really liked. It has an excitement of the wild brain, instead of the usual wild body orgy.” Read more about it here.
- Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography by Claire Harman
- Sylvia Townsend Warner’s short stories, including Of Cats and Elfins are published by the wonderful Handheld Press.
- Landscape and Embodiment in Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes and The True Heart by Harriet Baker, published by The Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society.
- The Witch, Please podcast’s episode on Queer Theory.
- BBC A Good Read had an episode featuring Lolly Willowes.
- MI-5’s confusion about Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland
Thanks to Rob Muir for our theme song and all things audio.