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Title: Novelists and women in WW1: challenging traditional binarisms: a critical essay, and, The half painted war: an original novel
Author: Philo-Gill, Samantha Adele
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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Academic study of women and WW1 literature has taken place since the 1970s, with a focus on female novelists published pre-1939. Despite the variety of studies, questions remain as to whether the breadth of women’s roles in WW1 is accurately represented in fiction. The purpose of this study was to examine female characters in WW1 novels (published in Britain) who challenge traditional war binarisms i.e. war (male)/peace (female), by taking on war work. It specifically compared novels published pre-1939 and historical (post-1939) novels written by both female and male novelists. The methods employed were the critical reading of forty novels, as well as data collection related to the roles of female characters and the language used to describe them. he study found that there is little representation of women’s war work in the forty novels. A key factor is that they are by middle class authors and written from a middle class point of view. Although historical novels are often used to re-imagine the role of women, WW1 is an exception. Key factors here include the perpetuation of stereotype and nervousness around detracting from the horrific experiences of the male soldier. Challenges to binarisms in subsequent wars (e.g. women in the armed services) have not stimulated a re-visioning of women’s roles in WW1. Society will continue to accept and endorse traditional binarisms, if they are not challenged by cultural representations of war. There is no novel based on the female military experience of WW1. In response, I was inspired to write a historical novel: The Half-Painted War. The protagonist is a female artist who enrols in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). It is intended as an act of remembrance but also allows the reader to consider the role of women in the military, both in WW1 and today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Traditional binarishs ; Pre-1939 ; Post-1939 ; Historical novel ; French and Belgian women