Pointed Roofs
  • Publication Date: September 11, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781551117997 / 1551117991
  • 280 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Pointed Roofs

  • Publication Date: September 11, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781551117997 / 1551117991
  • 280 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The first chapter-volume of Dorothy Richardson’s thirteen-volume novel series
Pilgrimage, Pointed Roofs is a coming of age story. The protagonist is Miriam Henderson, seventeen years old. Pointed Roofs tells the tale of Miriam’s first adventure as an adult, teaching English at a finishing school in Hanover, Germany. Though the tale is simple, it is not simply told; to capture the intensity of Miriam’s seemingly mundane experiences, Richardson developed a new narrative technique labelled “stream of consciousness” by the author May Sinclair.
Pointed Roofs is a compelling account of a young woman’s dawning consciousness of what it means to be independent, an individual, and a woman in the early twentieth century.

This Broadview Edition places Richardson’s inventive narrative technique in the context of early twentieth-century literary modernism, showing the “startling newness,” in May Sinclair’s words, of Richardson’s writing. Letters from Richardson to friends, publishers, and critics show the complex relationships between her work and life.


“At last! An accessible, affordable, expertly edited and annotated version of Pointed Roofs. Stephen Ross and Tara Thomson guide readers through the most beloved volume of Pilgrimage, which takes us from the girlish intimacies of heroine Miriam Henderson’s late Victorian home, through her experience of familial bankruptcy and disgrace, to her self-imposed exile and employment as an English teacher among Germany’s pointed roofs. Thanks to Broadview Press, all students of modernism can now discover England’s answer to James Joyce: Richardson’s first chapter-volume in her ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman.’” — Kristin Bluemel, Monmouth University

“This Broadview edition of Dorothy Richardson’s Pointed Roofs is something of a landmark in contemporary modernist studies. It offers an attentively edited text, with the explanatory notes that one would expect of a Broadview Edition, opening up to students an understanding of Richardson’s writing without taking away from its seductive ambiguity. The appendix material is extremely well judged, and is particularly successful in demonstrating what an important figure Richardson was, and from just what heights her reputation had fallen. Now a new generation of Richardson readers will have access to a readable, affordable, and well-contextualized edition of this first chapter-volume of Pilgrimage. I have no doubt that this edition will inspire many of its readers to seek out more of this extraordinary modernist innovator’s work.” — Bryony Randall, University of Glasgow

Introduction by Stephen Ross
Dorothy Richardson: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Pointed Roofs

Appendix A: Intellectual Contexts

  1. From William James, “Stream of Consciousness” (1890)
  2. From Henri Bergson, “Duration” (1907)

Appendix B: Literary Debates

  1. From John Middleton Murry, “The Break-Up of the Novel,” Yale Review (October 1922)
  2. From Hugh Walpole, “Realism and the New English Novel,” Vanity Fair (March 1923)
  3. From May Sinclair, “The Novels of Dorothy Richardson,” The Little Review (April 1918)
  4. Dorothy Richardson, “Novels,” Life and Letters (March 1948)

Appendix C: Letters

  1. To P. Beaumont Wadsworth (30 April 1923)
  2. To Bryher [Annie Winnifred Ellerman] (late 1924)
  3. To Bryher (December 1927)
  4. To Sylvia Beach (December 1934)
  5. To Lita Hornick (1948)

Appendix D: Introductions

  1. J.D. Beresford, Introduction, Pointed Roofs (1915)
  2. Dorothy Richardson, Foreword, Pilgrimage (1938)

Appendix E: Interview

  • From Vincent Brome, “A Last Meeting with Dorothy Richardson,” The London Magazine (June 1959)

Select Bibliography

Stephen Ross is Professor of English at the University of Victoria.

Tara Thomson is a Literature Tutor and Research Assistant in the School of Literature, Languages, and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh.