Women's Fiction and the Great War

Women's Fiction and the Great War

Women's Fiction and the Great War

Women's Fiction and the Great War


The Great War stimulated a sudden growth in the novel industry, and the trauma of the war continued to reverberate through much of the fiction published in the years that followed its inglorious end. The essays in this volume, by a number of leading critics in the field, considers some of the best-known, and some of the least-known, women writers on whose work the war left its shadow. Ranging from Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, and H.D. to Vernon Lee, Frances Bellerby, and Mary Butts, the contributors challenge current thinking about women's responses to the First World War and explore the differences between women writers of the period, thus questioning the very categorization of "women's writing."


Helen Small

As he sat there thinking, he began in an absent-minded way to look at his evening paper. He read the news on the front page, then turned to the inner sheets. His eye fell on these words printed at the head of the column next to the leading article:

'To the Women of the Empire. Thoughts in War-Time. By Pearl Bellairs.' Underneath in brackets: 'The first of a series of inspiring and patriotic articles by Miss Bellairs, the well-known novelist.'

Dick groaned in agony . . . 'Inspiring and patriotic': those were feeble words in which to describe Pearl's shrilly raucous chauvinism. and the style! Christ! . . . She was a public danger. It was all too frightful.

(Aldous Huxley, 'Farcical History of Richard Greenow')

Aldous Huxley 'Farcical History of Richard Greenow' (1920) is a satirical account of the life and death of a young Englishman in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Dick Greenow's outstanding academic promise first becomes evident at preparatory school when he devours all three volumes of MrsHumphry Ward's Robert Elsmere ('No length or incomprehensibility could put him off'). After studying at Aesop College (Eton), Dick goes on to read Classics at Canteloup College, Oxford, where he becomes a leading light of the Fabian Society. But at Oxford, a strange psychological disorder, first apparent at Aesop, begins to take over his life. Dick develops a split personality: by day he remains an uncompromising left-wing intellectual, labouring painstakingly at a New Synthetic Philosophy; but by night he metamorphoses into 'Pearl Bellairs', doyenne of Hildebrand's Home Weekly . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.