Square Haunting

Square Haunting coverSquare Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars
Francesca Wade
Tim Duggan Books (April 7, 2020), 383 pages
Kindle edition $13.99, Amazon hardcover $19.23

This is a lively account of five women who lived in the Mecklenburgh Square area of London, at the edge of the Bloomsbury district.

The poet Hilda Doolittle, who published her work under the moniker H.D. lived there. Dorothy L. Sayers of Lord Peter Whimsey fame lived there, as did the classicist Jane Harrison. The other two Mecklenburgh Square residents discussed in the book are economic historian Eileen Power and Virginia Wolf with her husband Leonard.

Some of these writers lived in the district for only a brief time. Jane Harrison lived there for a long while at the end of her life. The Woolf’s brief time there was marred by the second world war and they spent what time they could in their country home until Virginia’s suicide in the middle of the war.

None of these women ever really encountered the other, although Sayers occupied the same boarding house room in which H.D. once lived.

Square Haunting provides some valuable insight into the contributions these women made to literature and academia of the first half of the twentieth century.

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