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Title: Mrianne's Chroniclers: The Political Journalism of Selected French Female Writers of the First World War
Author: Shearer, Joanna Marian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3401 7562
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis analyses the political journalism of a number of early twentieth-century French female writers, namely Colette, Marcelle Capy, Jane Misme, Madeleine Pelletier, Nelly Roussel, and Madeleine Vernet. The aim of the study is to examine how these female journalists shaped media representations of women throughout the First World War in France. Their journalism did this by moving away from the established two-dimensional helpless and/or negative female 'characters'· (such as the victim of rape, the self-sacrificing baby-maker, the profiteer, the spy or the defeatist) so prevalent in wartime print culture, and, instead, encouraged powerful alternative female roles. This work's ultimate aim, and most innovative contribution, is to propose a more complex understanding of women's roles and opinions in First \Vorld \Var France and ·how these were represented, constructed and codified by a number of female journalists in reaction to the mainstream discourse of the national press. This thesis begins with a historical examination of women's entry into the journalistic medium in France. Then, using textual analysis and consideration of the historical context, I demonstrate how this selected First \Vorld \Var women's journalism developed from its initial focus on the female body to examine other political wartime propagandist female images. Though these writers often constructed their arguments by borrowing from and building on ideas originating in the pacifist and minority press, I argue that their privileged position as women (and therefore so-called moral guardians of the nation) gave their value-laden and eloquent arguments added influence in a time ofwar. This thesis evaluates a number of sources, ranging from archived newspapers, published collections of journalism, special archival collections concerning particular journalists (including autobiographical and biographical texts) and, in the case of the Helene Brion trial, legal documents and transcripts. In aggregate, these texts are indicative ofwomen's representation at a key moment in history: the 'golden age' of the French press. In drawing together and reading across such diverse source materials, a qualitative analysis is proposed, firstly, of the persuasive counter-arguments utilised and counter-icons created by women in reaction to national press in selected journalistic pieces, and secondly, of the manner in which these writers encouraged a particularised space of dialogue that facilitated the growth of an 'imagined community' of female readers, writers and correspondents. Though women's roles in the Great War have regained popularity as a subject of research, there still remains a dearth of study on women's journalism of the period. Despite the large number ofwomen who were involved in newspaper writing, there are no studies that focus solely on French women's First World War journalism as an important field of study. This thesis therefore adds another important dimension to the growing area of research concerning women's writing of the First World War.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available