In her review of David Lodge’s new work of bio-fiction about H.G. Wells, A Man of Parts, Claire Harman asks if, as Lodge apparently depicts, Wells actually had ‘sex with Dorothy Richardson in the bracken’ ? Well there is certainly no evidence that she did in her semi-autobiographical masterpiece Pilgrimage, where sex with Hypo Wilson, the character widely regarded as representing Wells, is a distinctly underwhelming experience for the heroine, Miriam. There’s nothing in the letters, although what happened to the bulk of the Wells-Richardson correspondence remains a mystery. Gloria Fromm’s biography of Richardson records nothing so racey. She describes the affair as ‘stemming less from sexual passion than from a half-admiring love and a clash of wills’ and their sexual encounters as ‘low-keyed’. But do Wellsians have a different story? And would we believe them if they did?
Dorothy Richardson… on Dorothy Richardson in Abi…