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Title: 'Shout it so the women’s side can hear' : Clemence Dane’s inter-war fiction and feminist consciousness
Authors: McDonald, Louise Margaret
Supervisors: Stewart, Victoria
Award date: 1-Jan-2014
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The object of this study of the writings of novelist and playwright, Clemence Dane (1888-1965), is to contribute to the growing body of research into the relationship of women’s 1920s and 1930s middlebrow fiction to the ideology and cultural hegemony of the inter-war period. The main purpose is to investigate Dane’s treatment of gender politics, using a broad feminist approach which defines feminist values as necessarily encompassing egalitarian principles. The research also considers Dane’s work in its cultural and historical context. Her work is interpreted with reference to the recently-defined paradigms of conservative modernism, New Woman writing and domestic modernism. The investigation focusses on close critical readings of her novels, short stories and journalistic writings and examines points of connection between her literary form, genres, methods, strategies and perspectives and those of her more well-known female middlebrow writer-contemporaries. In the course of the enquiry, it has been found that Dane’s work is compromised by the normative expectations of publishers and the middlebrow market, and her gender philosophies are consistent with the somewhat fragmented and multifarious feminism which emerged following the First World War. Her writing maps the cultural transition from traditional conceptions of gender values to more modern feminist positions. The study’s interpretations of her texts point to sympathetic representations of marginalised groups and an evolving feminist perspective. This is evidenced in increasingly confident representations of modern womanhood and configurations of models of female essentialist supremacy defined by resilience, imagination and visionary experience. A discourse of alternative domesticity has been uncovered; Dane’s narratives come to promote fulfilment by means of creative and professional endeavour, in place of the traditional rewards of marriage and motherhood. The research concludes that notwithstanding certain ideological anomalies or capitulations to conservative positions, Dane’s fiction is informed by a modern feminist consciousness.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, Dept. of English

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