This chapter argues that some women needed to take extreme action in order to escape from the life plotted for them, usually by their fathers. It examines the life of the Australian writer Kylie Tennant, who used her novels to critique interwar Australian society, particularly the White Australia Policy and the slum clearances of Depression-era Sydney. Tennant’s first two novels, Tiburon and Foveaux, are examined at length for their important and overlooked social messages; the chapter argues that Tennant was one of the first writers to warn against anthropogenic climate change in Australia. While Tennant’s strategy, which involved walking alone, through the bush, for hundreds of miles, worked, it came with enormous risks that few women would be willing to take.
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.
Feudalism, venality, and revolution is about the political and social order revealed by the monarchy’s most ambitious effort to reform its institutions, the introduction of participatory assemblies at all levels of the government. It should draw the attention of anyone interested in the sort of social and political conditions that predisposed people to make the French Revolution. In particular, according to Alexis de Tocqueville’s influential work on the Old Regime and the French Revolution, royal centralization had so weakened the feudal power of the nobles that their remaining privileges became glaringly intolerable to commoners. Feudalism, venality, and revolution challenges this theory by showing that when Louis XVI convened assemblies of landowners in the late 1770s and 1780s to discuss policies needed to resolve the budgetary crisis, he faced widespread opposition from lords and office holders. These elites regarded the assemblies as a challenge to their hereditary power over commoners. The monarchy incorporated an administration of seigneurial jurisdictions and venal offices. Lordships and offices upheld inequality on behalf of the nobility and bred the discontent evident in the French Revolution. These findings will alter the way scholars think about the Old Regime society and state and should therefore find a large market among graduate students and professors of European history.
This chapter analyses the success of two women, both of whom recognised the power of social networks as a way of multiplying one’s chances of success. Using two case studies – the teacher, MP and humanitarian activist Leah Manning, and the poet and Jamaican feminist activist Una Marson – this chapter suggests that while social networks can help, they can also constrain when individuals within a network come up against the network’s opposing goals. The chapter examines a number of women’s interwar networks including the National Council of Women and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. It describes Manning’s work as a radical teacher in a Cambridge poor school and her involvement in helping 4,000 Basque child refugees escape from Bilbao during the Spanish Civil War. This chapter also examines Marson’s editorship of The Keys paper, when she increased the number of black female voices in this important interwar publication.
This chapter argues that while many women who wanted to become journalists during the interwar years had to accept work on women’s magazines or newspapers’ women’s pages, many of them resented their subjugated positions. They also experienced huge stress in having to promote the idea that women belonged to a separate, domestic sphere. They rebelled by hiding ‘in plain sight’ subversively feminist texts in the publications they wrote for. Using the case studies of Naomi Royde-Smith, who was briefly editor of The Queen magazine, and Stella Martin, who wrote for the women’s page of the Bristol Times and Mirror, the relative success of this strategy is assessed. This chapter argues that although this method can be temporarily successful it also carries risks, usually that of dismissal.
Improvement and the poor during the Great Famine, 1845–50
The advent of the Great Famine had significant impacts on Dublin, especially in the areas of public health and municipal reform. This chapter shows how concerns about the relationship between the Irish poor and animals drove the expansion of public health initiatives and shaped debates around the provision of food relief. The chapter focuses on debates about the rearing of pigs in the urban environment, how to dispose of human and animal wastes and the proper components of soup to provide to the city’s hungry paupers.
The chapter boasts being the first attempt at analysing the role played by
men’s fashion not only at the grand 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et
Industriels Modernes as well as at subsequent French expositions abroad, but
also as a luxury object which actively participated in the efforts of a
post-war civilising mission. The chapter then explores the ways in which
men’s fashion was staged, advertised and discursively constructed at art
deco’s most anticipated and celebrated exposition and the new directions it
quietly promised in establishing a French sense of post-war rational,
industrial luxury in France and abroad. The chapter’s ambition to expand the
cultural history of post-war commodity culture is premised on the shifting
landscape leading up to and as a result of the 1925 Exposition, as well as
what is seen as a pivotal and culminating moment on which all this hangs,
the much neglected Exposition de France à Athènes which took place three
short years later in 1928 and its follow-up Exposition de France au Caire in
This chapter introduces the main argument of the book: that animals have been an important part of urban change during the nineteenth century. The chapter situates the book in the historical literature on human–animal relationships, on cities and on nineteenth-century Dublin. The chapter argues that recapturing animal presence in the city is an important means of writing a new history of ordinary life in Dublin and other cities. A synopsis of each chapter is also provided.
This chapter sets out the latest scholarly thinking on the women’s movement during the interwar years and lays out the conceptual framework for the book, constructing a metaphor for the masculine public sphere and the struggles of the women who tried to access it. It suggests that women who wanted to leave the domestic sphere during this time needed to be possessed of a kind of disruptive energy to enable them to escape from the rigid destiny planned for them. It emphasises, particularly, the indivisibility of women’s activism during the interwar years from their writing, either in public journals or in private letters and diaries. This chapter also discusses the pros and cons of academic study using biography as a method.