Within a year, Lolly Willowes had become the talk of the town. Today, Townsend Warner holds her place in this series as a proto-feminist who is. Sylvia Townsend Warner’s novel Lolly Willowes is an act of defiance that gladdens the soul. Put simply, it’s the story of a woman who. Sylvia Townsend Warner’s first novel (published in ) begins with year-old Lolly Willowes being sent, “as if she were a piece of family.

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It has been described as an early feminist classic.

Lolly Willowes

She comes to dislike being called “Aunt Lolly” and to see the name as a symbol of her lack of independence. Lolly Willowes is a satirical comedy of manners incorporating elements of fantasy. It is the story of a middle-aged spinster who moves to a country village to escape her controlling relatives and takes up the practice of witchcraft.

The move comes in the wake willowwes the death of Laura’s father, Everard, with whom she lived with at the family lolky, Lady Place.

Lolly Willowes – Wikipedia

Laura’s other brother, James, moves into Lady Place with his wife and his young son, Titus, with the intention to continue the family’s brewing business. However, James dies suddenly of a heart attack and Lady Place is rented out, with the view that Titus, once grown willoaes, will return to the home and run the business.


After twenty years of being a live-in aunt Laura finds herself feeling increasingly stifled both by her obligations to the family and by living in London. When shopping for flowers on the Moscow Road, Laura decides she wishes to move to the Chiltern Hills and, buying a guide book and map to the area, she willlowes the village of Great Mop as her new home.

Against the wishes of her extended family, Laura moves to Great Mop and finds herself entranced and overwhelmed by the chalk hills and beech woods. Though sometimes disturbed by strange noises at night, she settles in and befriends her landlady and a poultry farmer.

After a while, Titus decides to move from his lodgings in Bloomsbury to Great Mop and be a writer, rather than managing the family business. Titus’s renewed social and domestic lollly on Laura make her feel frustrated that even living in the Chilterns she cannot escape the duties expected of women.

When out walking, she makes a pact with a force that she takes to be Satan, to be free from such duties. On returning to her lodgings, she discovers a kitten, whom she takes to be Satan’s emissary, and names him Vinegar, in reference to an old picture of witches’ familiars.

Subsequently, her landlady takes her to a Witches’ Sabbath attended by many of the villagers. Titus is plagued with misadventures, such willowss having his milk constantly curdle and falling into a nest of wasps. Finally, he willlwes marriage to a London visitor, Pandora Williams, who has treated his wasp stings, and the two retreat to London.


Laura, relieved, meets Satan at Mulgrave Folly and tells him that women are like ‘sticks of dynamite’ waiting to explode and that all women are witches even ‘if they never do anything with their witchcraft, they know it’s there — ready! The novel was well received by critics polly its publication. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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