Chase of the Wild Goose by Mary Gordon
The story of Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, known as the Ladies of Llangollen...
Late 18th century Ireland. Two women from noble families – Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby – meet and form an intense romantic friendship.
Against the will of their families – and overcoming the many obstacles placed before them – they leave Ireland and finally settle at Plas Newydd, North Wales. It is here they achieve fame and notoriety; it is here they become the Ladies of Llangollen.
Chase of the Wild Goose is the forgotten queer novel of the inter-war era – an amiable companion to Woolf’s time-travelling Orlando and joyful antidote to the misery of The Well of Loneliness.
A historical fiction dedicated to the Ladies of Llangollen, first published by the Hogarth Press in 1936, Gordon’s Chase of the Wild Goose celebrates the search – and psychic need – for queer foremothers, and delights in finding them.
“They made a noise in the world which has never since died out, and which we, their spiritual descendants, continue to echo.”
New afterword by Nicola Wilson
“Gordon’s spirited, romantic account of the lives of the Ladies of Llangollen is a fascinating piece of queer literary history in its own right. A claiming of kinship, across time, with two remarkable women, it’s a deeply feminist work, a celebration of courage and nonconformity. It’s also endearingly odd! Part biography, part novel, part spiritual memoir, it’s wholly bold and eccentric and I’m delighted to see it reprinted.” - Sarah Waters, author of Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet
“Chase of the Wild Goose is an exquisite reimagining of the life shared between two women, beloved to one another. It is a tale told with such tenderness; that affirms although we may be haunted by queer trauma, but we can also be haunted by queer joy.” - Sarah-Joy Ford, artist and creator of 'Beloved: Crafting Intimacies with the Ladies of Llangollen' exhibition
Mary Louisa Gordon (1861-1941) lived a pioneering late nineteenth century feminist life. Chase of the Wild Goose (1936) is inspired, in part, by Gordon’s experience of studying analytical psychology with Carl and Emma Jung.
Imprint: Lurid Editions
Publication Date: 1 February 2023