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Title: The new women writers : creating feminist literary voices and identities
Author: McGrath, Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 4719
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the work of a group of prolific New Woman writers of the fin-de-siecle. Mona Caird, George Egerton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Grand, Menie Muriel Dowie and Netta Syrett made a dramatic impact on their Anglo-American reading publics, both for their daring fiction and for their non-fiction prose, which rased issues of eugenics, education, employment, gender roles, marriage and female sexuality. Yet these prominent women were all but forgotten by the early decades of the twentieth century. Such rapid demise of New Woman fiction is often taken as evidence of its aesthetic limitations: for some critics this writing, while important for breaking a literary silence, is ultimately didactic andmonological, with only one story to tell - female oppression. A closer reading of these texts, however, reveals a number of complex narrative strategies at work, some of which participate in the non-verbal or pre-verbal aspects of communication. Specifically, the semiotic theory of Julia Kristeva can help to deepen the critical conversation about these writers and illuminate the tensions involved in identity formation. In the Introduction I pay attention to the notion of Language as a gendered construct, highlighting the difficulty facing women writers in the construction o f a female literary identity and voice. Chapters One to Four examine the musicality of language; the hysterical mother’s voice; fashion as language; gardens and wild spaces as discourse. Chapter Five analyses how collective female experiences and speech manifest in New Woman narratives as a dialogic semi-autobiographical voice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available