British Women Writers of World War II: Battlegrounds of by Phyllis Lassner

By Phyllis Lassner

This booklet bargains a difficult research of British women's literature of the Nineteen Thirties and Nineteen Forties during which they debated the "justness" of a fancy variety of pacifist and activist roles and writing, Lassner questions winning ways to the topic of ladies and struggle. As she indicates ladies writers redefining conventional pieties of patriotism and responsibility and different types of hero and sufferer, triumphing political labels as conservative and liberal also are known as into query. Drawing upon fiction, essays, and memoirs, Lassner explores the was once writing of such renowned figures as Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, and Stevie Smith in terms of both robust representations of was once through Naomi Mitchison and Olivia Manning and through many rediscovered ladies writers, together with typhoon Jameson and Phyllis Bottome.

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125). Brittain's critique here, which locates the problem of war in European political ideology, recalls Ethel Mannin. Brittain's solution is not, however, to turn away from history, but to find inspiration in the Sermon on the Mount as a history lesson, to 'neither hate nor condemn the Germans for everything that has passed'; instead, we must find out where we ourselves 'were at fault' (Born, p. 301). The pacifist hue of Brittain's wartime writing drew criticism from other women writers, some of whom used their responses to clarify their support of the war effort.

Bryher, Rose Macaulay, and many others felt that the 'old boys' preferred to placate both their nervous electorate and a committed conquerer 26 British Women Writers of World War II rather than risk Britain's military ego once again. The historic irony of this policy drove Phyllis Bottome to write to Time and Tide in August 1939: 'We have strapped upon our backs today adolescent statesmen, the fathers and sons of those we lost in the War - the generation that might have saved us from the cowardice and irresponsibility that seems to be our doom ...

But that postscript also situates Woolf's identity in the mostly safe and stable space of 1930 as a culturally secure Englishwoman who does not question her stereotypical judgements, even if they replicate the politically destabilizing act of 'shutting out' she rages against eight years later. As danger did draw close, she faced the brutalizing implications of her identity position. When Woolf links English patriarchal oppression to Hitler, the 'monster Tyrant, Dictator', who 'is making distinctions not merely between the sexes, but between the races', she also calls upon women to reject the aggressive feelings towards others that produce a 'subconscious Hitlerism' (TG, pp.

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