18th century, Arts

Public and Private, Real and Fictional: The Rise of Women’s Letter-Writing in the Eighteenth Century

By Tess Somervell.During the eighteenth century, thanks to the establishment of the post office in 1660, a rise in literacy, and an ascendant ‘middle class’, letter-writing became an increasingly common pastime for men and women. The letter became a form both of private communication and of public expression, in which women were expected not only… Continue reading Public and Private, Real and Fictional: The Rise of Women’s Letter-Writing in the Eighteenth Century

20th century, Arts

Uncomfortable Quadrangles: Communities of Women in the Inter-War Oxford Novel

By C. Stopa-HuntIn her novel The Dark Tide (1923), Vera Brittain pillories her best friend and fellow Somervillian, Winifred Holtby. The first half of the novel is set in a women’s college in Oxford, but “Drayton” a Somerville surrogate fails to cure Daphne Lethbridge, the figure based on Holtby, of “a mental immaturity that was… Continue reading Uncomfortable Quadrangles: Communities of Women in the Inter-War Oxford Novel

20th century, Arts

Golden Notebook, golden ladies? Image and self-image in Doris Lessing’s unwilling ’feminist Bible’.

By Monika Kreile That heroines of The Golden Notebook (first published in 1962i) are not paradigms of ’liberated’ women is an often-stated fact in criticisms of the novel. However, to ponder whether, and to what extent, the weaknesses of her heroines are intentionally inserted by Lessing or reflect Lessing's own state of feminist (un)consciousness is… Continue reading Golden Notebook, golden ladies? Image and self-image in Doris Lessing’s unwilling ’feminist Bible’.

19th century, Arts, Humanities

Education and Social Change in George Eliot’s Middlemarch

By M. S. Lovelace The rapid educational and social developments of the late 19th century were underpinned not just by policy and public documentation but by the 'unrecorded but resourceful improvisations’ (Donald, 1992, p. 2) of the everyday. The latter occur in the physical spaces in which education operates and these spaces and improvisations can… Continue reading Education and Social Change in George Eliot’s Middlemarch

Arts, Contemporary

Kate Mosse: the other Kate

By Clarissa Pabi. Kate Mosse may not canter down catwalks like the other Kate, but she is a model of great importance nonetheless.  A BBC broadcaster, best-selling author, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, co-founder of the “Orange Prize for Fiction” and the “Chichester Writing Festival”, Kate’s contributions to the arts go on ad infinitum. … Continue reading Kate Mosse: the other Kate

20th century, Arts

The Real and the Good: Iris Murdoch’s Philosophy in Fiction An examination of The Bell

By Minocher Dinshaw Iris Murdoch is now best known to us as a novelist; it is easy to forget that her undergraduate study at Oxford was in classics, her postgraduate studentship at Cambridge was in philosophy, and that during her time as a Fellow at St. Anne's (1948-1963) she also taught the subject. Her first… Continue reading The Real and the Good: Iris Murdoch’s Philosophy in Fiction An examination of The Bell

20th century, Arts

Intensity of vision: A.S. Byatt’s The Shadow of the Sun

By Victoria Elliott The English faculty of Cambridge in the 1950s belonged to two men: Lawrence and Leavis. For a female undergraduate with ambitions to write, the pressure could have been crushing: the lessons were that literature should be moral to be great, and that very few were capable of greatness, so you were better… Continue reading Intensity of vision: A.S. Byatt’s The Shadow of the Sun

19th century, Arts

Rebellion against the ‘silken snare’: two Bronte sisters and the struggle against convention

By Elly McCausland The authors of both Jane Eyre (1847) and Wuthering Heights (1847) present women that rebel against constraining and oppressive social norms, attempting to free their passionate natures from the many limiting forms of the yokes and moulds of convention. However, there is a stark difference between the ways in which both sisters'… Continue reading Rebellion against the ‘silken snare’: two Bronte sisters and the struggle against convention

20th century, Arts

Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina: The (im)Possibility of Writing the Female Self

By Alexandra Hills The cultic tradition of German literary scholarship overlooks its few female exponents shadowed by inescapable male heavyweights of Germanistik. To toe the standard line, women in German literature are often limited to playing a supporting role to the eminent male genius whose ineluctable influence decides their fate, Goethe's Gretchen for example. Ingeborg… Continue reading Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina: The (im)Possibility of Writing the Female Self