Women, the First World War and the Dramatic Imagination International Essays (1914-1999)

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Part of the significance of this collection of essays comes from its geographical and historical spread: it ranges globally across drama from France, Germany and Australia as well as UK and USA, and it demonstrates the continuing effects of the war o the cultural memories of the disparate nations involved, including Ireland, Germany, Canada and Scotland at the end of the 20th century. It not only makes available original historical research, the results of delving in the police censorship archives in Paris and in the Birmingham Reference Library’s Great War collection, it also demonstrates the fruitfulness of carious critical approaches.


“… has much to recommend it to students of the Transition era, both as it deals with works from the period and with imaginative responses to the Great War…. The fifteen essays or papers in the text have many important and insightful reflections, syntheses, and suggestions for additional research…. The variety of works and their varied strengths make this a book that has many rewards. In all, it is a volume of very strong essays, strongly written, for the most part, with solid scholarship and clear appeal.” – English Literature in Transition

“This is an arresting and original collection which constitutes a major contribution to scholarship in this area…. particularly valuable in its focus on drama, an almost untouched but crucial area. Women’s work in the theatre, as writers, directors and performers, has an inherently political dimension: it constitutes a direct intervention in the public sphere and is often tied to explicitly political agenda. This collection exposes as myth the notion that women’s drama simply ceased during the war, and also explores the social and political significance of women writers’ re-staging the war at critical points throughout the twentieth century.” – Clare Hanson

“International as regards both topic and authors, this book makes an important contribution to the field of women’s studies. As a whole the collection develops a strong challenge to the canon of male war-drama/tists, being thematically linked by reference to World War I, but attention to issues of gender, and by the use of female cultural theorists…. This significantly alters existing conceptions of the ways in which that war was imaginatively recreated both by those who lived through it and by later generations.” – J. S. Kleinberg

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface (Margaret Higonnet)
Introduction (Claire M. Tylee)
Section One: 1914-1939
1. The Shape of Things to Come: the Remarkable Modernity of Vernon Lee’s Satan the Waster (1915-20) (Gill Plain)
2. Friede Kraze’s Erfüllungen ‘Fulfilment’” a play of today for tomorrow (1915) (Hilde Klein)
3. ‘In singing we say how do you do how do you like the war’: Gertrude Stein’s Irresponsive Wartime ‘Play’ (1916) (Simon Featherstone
4. Women in the Paris Theatre, 1914-1919: ‘plus ça change. . . ‘ (Odile Krakovitch)
5. Alice Dunbar Nelson’s Mine Eyes Have Seen and Black Feminist War-Drama of the Harlem Renaissance (1918-1930) (Clair M. Tylee)
6. Hidden Drama by British Women: Pageants and Sketches from the Great War 1914-1921) (Jane Potter)
7. Berta Lask’s Die Befreiung (‘Liberation’): a Dramatic Experiment (1926) (Agnès Cardinal)
8. Pacificism, Pugilism and Proxemics: Irishwomen and World War I – plays by Sean O’Casey and Eva Gore-Booth (1916-30) (Margaret Llewellyn-Jones)
Section Two: 1974-1999
9. The First World War and Australian national Identity in Dorothy Hewett’s play: The Man from Mukinupin (1979) (Angela Woollacott)
10. Pot Shots to Parting Shots: Wendy Lill’s Fighting Days (1985) (Donna Coates)
11. Theatres of Resistance: Gender, Class and the First World War in Plays by Sheila Rowbotham (9186) and Chris Hannan (1990) (John Fordham)
12. War and Other Unrealities: Christina Reid’s My Name, Shall I Tell you My Name? (1987) and Anne Devlin’s After Easter (1994) (Linden Peach)
13. Visualisation of the Abject in Film Dramatisation of women’s Great War Novels: Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon? (1974/81) and Pat Barker’s Regeneration (1992/97) (J. Rose Atfield)
14. The Feminisation of the Nation at War in Elaine Morgan’s television adaptation of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth (1933/79) (Mary Joannou)
15. ‘Lost Objects of Desire’: Melodrama and Political Idealism in Margarethe von Trott’s Rosa Luxemburg (1985) (Tanya Krzywinska)
Bibliography; Index

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