A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War

By Jonathan Atkin | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Women and the war

The Great War, most people would have agreed at the time, was a male creation. Politicians, statesmen and kings bred it and soldiers fought and fed it. Thus far, this study has regarded those women within Bloomsbury whose aesthetic reactions to the conflict provide such a good starting point when examining the war in this context. What of other women, existing independently from that hot-house of creativity, but who felt similarly? Due to their status in society as a whole, women necessarily operated within a different cultural milieu to that of men even when sharing an enlightened, liberal background with them, as within Bloomsbury and its circle. But women emerged from a range of backgrounds and contexts including that of political agitation linked to specific political aims whose motivation towards protest, when confronted by the specifics of war, became more individualistic in character and less a part of an organised 'movement' or liable to be led by the propaganda of the war-state.

Many women in the period leading up to the outbreak of the conflict could lay claim to a history of opposition; during the pre-war period one of the principal focal points of public dissent against the existing political structure had been the women's suffrage movement. This cause, by the nature of its specific political goals, had also been largely political in organisation, character and aspiration, though precepts of greater equality for women outside the political sphere once they had achieved the vote were meshed to hopes for the ultimate cultural emancipation of the female sex. It is interesting, then, to observe and comment upon the course taken by this swelling tide of political protest as it crashed violently against the rock of war; namely, that though the strength of dissent was dissipated to some extent, it by no means ran dry. Indeed, a modern commentator has stated that, 'Half the leading women in the British suffrage movement opposed the war'. 1

Some women were able to formulate their opposition to the conflict on a personal level over and above the political framework of women's suffrage through direct experience of nursing or simple observance from the Home Front as the casualties mounted. This 'truth' of the conflict led some women to question their position; not in their decision, in some cases, to nurse, but in stark terms of human suffering. The creation of maimed bodies and minds on an

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 250

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?