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Sarah Lonsdale

Winifred Holtby and Vera Brittain, the most famous example of mutually beneficial literary female friendship of the interwar years. 15 Friendship and the single woman Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby’s friendship, combined with their talent, was a key element of their success as writers. During the early 1920s they shared the cost of London ‘digs’: they avoided the cleaning together, huddled round the feeble gas stove for warmth, worked over each other’s manuscripts and swapped introductions with publishers and editors. 16 Despite the drawbacks of the chilly and

in Rebel women between the wars
Helen Hackett

Chapter 7 Sisterhood and female friendship in Constance Aston Fowler’s verse miscellany Helen Hackett C urrent work on early modern women and poetry – including the present volume – is illuminating the relations between poetry and its social contexts. We are discovering that women’s poems were frequently produced in the family, the friendship group, the neighbourhood, or communities defined by shared political or religious affiliation, and that creative interactions within such communities took diverse and complex forms. We are also learning that early modern

in Early modern women and the poem
Editor: Susan Wiseman

In examining early modern women and the poem, this book explores how women use poetry, and how poems use women, in England and Scotland in the period 1550–1680. Several decades of critical writing on 'women's poetry', 'gender and poetry', and the representation of women, or gender, in poetry have produced a rich and complex critical and scholarly field. The book looks at the primary and secondary evidence concerning two key elements in the analysis of early modern women's writing, namely, women and the poem. It first explores the way women understood the poem in terms of the reception, influence and adaptation of past models and examples, working from the reception of classical texts. It focuses on the resources women writing poetry knew and encountered in chapters on classical inheritance, the religious sonnet sequence and the secular sonnet sequence. The book then examines the world of reading and readers, and looks at poems in terms of friendships, quarrels, competitions, coteries, networks and critical reception, both then and later. It also emphasises the tales that poems tell, and how those stories both register and shape the understanding of women and the poem in the world of potential readers. In examining women and the poem, the use of women as signifiers and bearers of meaning in poetry is as significant as women's literary production.

Emma Liggins

be seen as ‘sexually abnormal (or anomalous) rather than perverted . . .  the abnormal is not necessarily the diseased’.28 Dissociating abnormality from a more threatening perversion, she reiterated that ‘really affectionate friendship offers indeed the best of all solutions and compensations to the unmarried woman’, though this was again countered by the disclaimer that ‘where the true invert is concerned . . . the management of sex in friendship may offer a serious problem’.29 Female friendship then became strained or excessive, a poor substitute for women

in Odd women?
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Blending the Selves
Patsy Stoneman

solitary fires And hear the nations praising them far off!’ Female friendship was an important counterweight to domesticity, but very few even of the avowed feminists of the period wanted to remove women from the home (cf Banks: 48–9; W: 70). Many sympathised with Elizabeth Gaskell’s dislike of ‘speech-making. . . and such noisy obtrusive ways of “doing good”’ (L 123). Florence Nightingale, whom she admired to adulation (e.g. L 211), posed a problem for Elizabeth Gaskell because of her lack of human ties; ‘she has no friend – and she wants none . . . . She and I had a

in Elizabeth Gaskell
Fearless writers and adventurers
Author: Sarah Lonsdale

The interwar years were a challenge to the women’s movement, which was somewhat becalmed and lacking direction after the suffrage victories of 1918 and 1928. While legislation aimed at removing sex discrimination from the workplace was enacted after the First World War, other laws, attitudes and traditions pressurised women to return to traditional gender roles that some had escaped from during the war. Nevertheless, by the outbreak of the Second World War women from all walks of life and in most professions had made steady progress in their search for equality, and the position of women in 1939 was unrecognisable from that in 1919. This book aims to establish how certain women were able to break through the obstacles ranged against them and achieve personal, professional and political fulfilment, and in so doing it formulates a framework for participation for other subjugated and marginalised groups. Taking the structure of a group biography of thirteen understudied and very different women, and using previously unpublished archival material, the book uncovers, on a granular level, the dispositions, skills and personal relationships that these women were endowed with that helped them achieve participation in the public world of work and politics. Each chapter examines a different participation strategy, from direct action to the use of formal networks, which different women employed to gain access to a range of areas barred to them, from politics, to engineering, to mountaineering, to foreign correspondence and humanitarian activism.

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Author: Patsy Stoneman

This study portrays Elizabeth Gaskell as an important social analyst who deliberately challenged the Victorian disjunction between public and private ethical values, maintaining a steady resistance to aggressive authority and advocating female friendship, rational motherhood and the power of speech as forces for social change. Since 1987, Gaskell's work has risen from minor to major status. Despite a wealth of subsequent gender-oriented criticism, however, this book's combination of psychoanalytic and political analysis is challenging in its use of modern motherhood theories. It presents the original text unchanged (except for bibliographical updating), together with a new critical Afterword. The Afterword offers detailed evaluation of all the Gaskell criticism published between 1985 and 2004 that has a bearing on the book's subject, and thus provides both a wide-ranging debate on the social implications of motherhood and a survey of Gaskell criticism over the last twenty years. This edition, with an updated bibliography and index, will bring the book to a new audience, while also offering a comprehensive overview of current Gaskell studies.

Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author: Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

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The material and visual culture of the Stuart Courts, 1589–1619
Author: Jemma Field

This book analyses Anna of Denmark’s material and visual patronage at the Stuart courts, examining her engagement with a wide array of expressive media including architecture, garden design, painting, music, dress, and jewellery. Encompassing Anna’s time in Denmark, England, and Scotland, it establishes patterns of interest and influence in her agency, while furthering our knowledge of Baltic-British transfer in the early modern period. Substantial archival work has facilitated a formative re-conceptualisation of James and Anna’s relationship, extended our knowledge of the constituents of consortship in the period, and has uncovered evidence to challenge the view that Anna followed the cultural accomplishments of her son, Prince Henry. This book reclaims Anna of Denmark as the influential and culturally active royal woman that her contemporaries knew. Combining politics, culture, and religion across the courts of Denmark, Scotland, and England, it enriches our understanding of royal women’s roles in early modern patriarchal societies and their impact on the development of cultural modes and fashions. This book will be of interest to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on early modern Europe in the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, English Literature, Theatre Studies, History, and Gender Studies. It will also attract a wide range of academics working on early modern material and visual culture, and female patronage, while members of the public who enjoy the history of courts and the British royals will also find it distinctively appealing.

Emma Liggins

challenged the view that mother­ hood was woman’s primary duty: Cobbe, amongst others, reiterated the duties of old maids and argued for the richness of their lives alongside ‘the proudest of mothers’ in her article ‘Celibacy v. Marriage’, which both reinforced the values of female friendship and fulfilling work and reminded readers of the ‘risks of an unhappy marriage’ destined for the divorce courts.12 The articles of Mary Taylor, a friend of Charlotte Brontë’s, for the feminist Victoria Magazine in the late 1860s questioned whether all middle-class women were actually

in Odd women?