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"Impudent scribblers": place and the unlikely heroines of the interwar years

Perriam, Geraldine (2011) "Impudent scribblers": place and the unlikely heroines of the interwar years. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The central focus of this thesis is the storytelling of place and the place of storytelling. These elements comprise the geoliterary terrains of narrative, the cultural matrix in which texts are sited, produced and received, including the lifeworld of the author. The texts under scrutiny in this research have been written by women during the interwar years of the 20th Century in Britain and Australia. One of the primary aims of the thesis is to explore the geoliterary terrains (including the space known as the middlebrow) of these texts in light of their relative neglect by contemporary critics in comparison with the prominence given to works written by men during this period. Analysis of the texts through the lens of locational feminism (Friedman, 1998, p.5) provides the framework for an interdisciplinary inquiry that draws on geography, feminist literary criticism and new historicism. The examination of the first of the texts, Hostages to Fortune (1933), is centred on the politics of the domestic space and the main character, Catherine’s experiences of domestic life. The chapter dealing with the second novel, A Charmed Circle (1929), while still engaging with the politics of domesticity and the everyday, also pursues the more psychological space of individual and family life as well as locating the interior spaces of the author’s lifeworld. The inquiry broadens out into spiritual and regional landscapes in the probing of The Nine Tailors (1934) which is set in the Fens of East Anglia. Expanding still further into empire, nation and identity, the fourth of the novels, The Invaluable Mystery, set in Australia, is explored in terms of the politics of place. More discussion of these sub-themes ensues as the therapeutic landscape of High Rising (1933) located in an imagined setting, is investigated and the links between the author and the writing of the novel are under scrutiny. The substantive themes of domesticity, home and nation are found to be embedded in these works and in the lifeworlds of their authors. The critical neglect of the texts is located within a set of cultural and material practices that marginalised women writers during this period. This marginalisation is in turn located within a longer historical practice of attempting to silence women’s narratives. Operating beside/against these practices are the imperative of storytelling and women’s ‘will to be known’ through narrative.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: women, writing,narrative,place,20th Century, interwar years, geoliterary terrain, domestic, feminist
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Sharp, Dr. Joanne and Philo, Professor Chris
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Dr Geraldine Perriam
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2515
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 May 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2515

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