Gender and nationalism in women's historical plays, 1920-1940
D'Monté, R. (2009) Gender and nationalism in women's historical plays, 1920-1940. In: Echoes of the Past: Women, History & Memory in Fiction and Film, Newcastle University, 2009.
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This paper explores how the interwar plays of female dramatists like Muriel Box, Clemence Dane, G. B. Stern and Dodie Smith, show the existence of a tension between, on the one hand, the damaging effects of the First World War, and on the other, its potential for empowerment, a clinging to past expectations whilst at the same time forging a different future. This can be seen in the confused notions about gender, often expressed through recurring character types: the war worker, the seemingly polarised figures of the spinster and the sexual adventurer, the ambiguous representation of the career woman, as well as the disjunct between the younger and older generations.