Ashton, Winnifred - Regiment of Women
Written using the pseudonym Clemence Dane, Regiment of Women was Ashton’s debut novel and a turning point in her career. Deriving its title from an anti-feminist polemic written by 16th century minister John Knox, Ashton’s novel depicts a doomed romance between two intelligent, strong-willed women living in Edwardian England. Recognized as a pioneering work of lesbian literature, Regiment of Women would inspire famed novelist Radclyffe Hall to write her groundbreaking novel The Well of Loneliness (1928). Early on in her days as a teacher at a prestigious private school for girls, Alwynne Durand, a young woman new to the profession, is made aware of the lofty status of Clare Hartill, a popular teacher among the schoolgirls. Primed to take over as headmistress, Hartill has a reputation as a strict instructor who pushes her students to the limit of their abilities, often resulting in their adoration and respect. Soon, Alwynne and Clare become close friends, frequently visiting one another outside of school—much to the dismay of Alwynne’s aunt and legal guardian Elsbeth. As their relationship grows more and more romantic, Alwynne begins spending most of her spare time at Clare’s flat, leading her aunt to devise a scheme to drive them apart. When an unrelated tragedy occurs at the school, a change in Clare’s demeanor threatens her relationship with Alwynne, who finds her companion growing increasingly harsh and distant. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Winifred Ashton’s Regiment of Women is a classic work of British literature reimagined for modern readers.