Introduction Daughters of War
Gender modernity and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry
in Women of war
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Textual narratives and visual images of this period were positively saturated with notions of the modern. The ‘New Woman’, a powerful cultural icon constantly linked to modernity, was the archetypal female figure at the fin de siècle, most frequently a fictional character drawn in the minds of journalists and novelists, both celebrated and despised. She was a discursive response to changes to women’s lives in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, often regarded as imperilling the status quo. The opening chapter examines the construction of the ‘New Woman’ and explores more broadly discourses of modernity, which are always diverse and multifaceted. It reveals the myriad ways that the Corps can be considered modern. The chapter also analyses contemporaneous and retrospective sources drawn upon in the book. The FANY’s unprecedented trespassing on male terrain and members’ status as witnesses to and co-participants in war gave members narrative authority, enabling them to chronicle their experiences in memoirs, novels, diaries, letters and poetry, as well as interesting journalists enough to write about them.

Women of war

Gender, modernity and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

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