This book is the first full-scale exploration of the fiction of one of the most influential women writing in English in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While Lee's work was well-admired in her own day, her fiction and her writings on aesthetics, `The Woman in Question' and psychology appeared anachronistic to later twentieth-century audiences. The recent upsurge of interest in the culture of the fin de siecle and lesbian Modernist writing has assured Lee a well-deserved critical resurrection and this book explores her ground-breaking literary work in light of the turbulent friendships that she had with figures such as Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells and Virginia Woolf. A belle-lettriste, a self-consciously Continental intellectual and a pacifist, Lee's changing authorial masks doubly participate and anticipate the wider shift from Victorian earnestness to Modernist play marking British letters over the course of fifty years. Ultimately, however, Lee emerges as an increasingly isolated figure harried both by her attraction to other women and the incipient destruction of her beloved Europe in the `Great Game' of Empire.
Sondeep Kandola is Lecturer in Victorian Literature, University of Leeds. She has also taught at Birkbeck, University of London. She has previously published journal articles on Vernon Lee and the literary culture of the fin de siecle.