Reassessing Women's Writing of the 1900s and 1910s

The ICVWW’s five-year project From Brontë to Bloomsbury: Realism, Sensation and the New in Women’s Writing from the 1840s to the 1930s aims to trace and reassess, decade by decade, how women’s writing develops in the cultural context of the 1840s to the 1930s: a transformative period in women’s private, public and literary lives.

Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Ruth Robbins (Leeds Becket University) A Lost Decade? Explaining and Filling the Gaps in Women's literary History, 1900-1910 
  • Dr Sarah Edwards (University of Strathclyde) The Regiment of Women: Neo-Edwardian Interventions and Women Writers of the 1910s

10-11 July 2017

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Book Conference Dinner

Including the work of canonical authors such as Charlotte Brontë and Virginia Woolf, the project is also significantly concerned with rediscovering and repositioning the lives and work of neglected female authors.

Now in its fourth year, the project aims to build on the success of conferences from 2014 to 2016 on women’s writing from the 1840s to the 1890s, moving into the twentieth century. The Edwardian years are often regarded as a particularly male period of fiction, but women's writing reveals another facet to this period. This cfp therefore seeks proposals for papers that explore the range and vitality of British women’s writing from 1900-1919.

Particularly welcome are papers which encourage new perspectives on literary genre, the critical reception of women writers, or canon formation. The death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and the outbreak of World War One in 1914 have traditionally been seen as defining moments of rupture, while Virginia Woolf claimed that ‘On or about December 1910, human character changed.’ But recent criticism has challenged the assumption that modernism began as a reaction to specific events, seeing it rather as a more progressive shift away from a whole host of earlier concerns. A renewed interest in popular and middlebrow writers has further complicated the status of modernism as the defining feature of literary culture in the early years of the century, shifting focus towards a social context rather than a primarily androcentric political and economic perspective. The diverse pattern of writing by women, including Dorothy Richardson and May Sinclair alongside familiar Victorian names such as Edith Nesbit, raises questions about women’s response to the new century and their allegiance to the old, as controversial New Woman authors confronted the intensified atmosphere of the Suffrage Movement, the Hogarth Press helped to change the face of publishing, and authors of romance fought to sustain their position against the incursions of a new generation.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Suffrage literature
  • Women’s war writing
  • Inter-generational conflict
  • The short story as a feminine mode
  • Journalism and periodical writing
  • Letters, diaries, memoirs and autobiographies
  • Children’s literature including work by E. Nesbit and Beatrix Potter
  • Women and scientific literature
  • Crime fiction
  • Religious writing
  • Poetry
  • Lesser known women writers such as Mina Loy and Clemence Dane

The organising committee consists of Dr Susan Civale, Professor Adrienne Gavin, Alyson Hunt and Professor Carolyn Oulton. We can be contacted at ICVWW@canterbury.ac.uk


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Last edited: 14/06/2017 13:41:00