Female friendship, work and collaboration
in Rebel women between the wars
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Women’s friendships during the interwar period were contested and suspect. The single, professional or bachelor woman, or the woman who chose not to do her ‘biological duty’ and have children, was demonised in the press. However, as women began to gain footholds in the professions and were in a position to help their female friends, they achieved a method of access previously closed to them. This chapter first looks at the most famous example of female literary friendship in the interwar years, that of Winifred Holtby and Vera Brittain, and then examines two further pairs: the novelists Rose Macaulay and Naomi Royde-Smith, and the journalists Edith Shackleton and Alison Settle. This chapter concludes by asserting that there were many forms of professional friendship during the interwar years, and many women benefited both emotionally and professionally from them. It also includes an analysis of Alison Settle’s diary during the years she was editor of Vogue magazine.

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