Dorothy Strachey


Dorothy Strachey (1865-1960) was the sister of novelist Lytton Strachey and a prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group. She was André Gide’s main English translator. Olivia, originally published under a pseudonym, is her only novel.


"The story of first love at a French boarding school, Olivia is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young girl’s romantic obsession with her headmistress, Mlle. Julie. This infatuation causes conflict between the two headmistresses — and lovers — Mlle. Julie and Mlle. Cara. Dedicated to Virginia Woolf and published through her company, Hogarth Press, this novel is not one to miss.


“Dorothy Strachey’s Olivia, a masterpiece of modern homoerotic fiction, is a work of such swooning, acute, and intoxicating feeling one marvels it is not better known. Yes, it has long been a lesbian 'cult' book, but one free of the emotional limitation — or banality — such a niche-term might suggest. I can think of no coming-of-age novel more delicately sensual, no story of 'sentimental education' more shattering. In the portrait of the teenaged Olivia, seduced and deceived by Mademoiselle Julie, her charismatic schoolmistress, Strachey offers a study of adolescence in extremis — and a timeless reverie on ecstasy, eros, and the tragicomedy of youth.”
— Terry Castle, author of The Literature of Lesbianism and Boss Ladies, Watch Out