Overlooked and overshadowed: French women's writing 1900-1938

Margaret Goldswain

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This study examines how women in France between 1900 and 1938 (before
during and after the Great War) were represented in the writings of four selected
women writers - Marcelle Tinayre (1870-1948), Colette Yver (1874-1953), Lucie
Delarue-Mardrus (1874-1945) and Marcelle Capy (1891-1962). These authors,
fêted in their time have now been largely excluded from contemporary studies
on women in early twentieth-century France. The thesis demonstrates how their
personal circumstances and the politico-social events of 1900-1938 influenced
the way each writer represented women over time, and reveals that women’s
writings were not homogenous in theme or in focus. By reading these texts
alongside other contemporaneous texts (newspaper articles, reviews and
writings by other women), the analyses show that Tinayre, Yver, Delarue-Madrus
and Capy challenge and complicate stereotypical perspectives produced mainly
by male authors of the same era. Using a longitudinal approach, the study
explores each author’s selected texts across three distinct periods - the belle
époque, the Great War and the inter-war. Such a reading makes it possible to
assess changes in their writing in response to contemporary social and political
events in France. By looking at four writers writing across the same era the
diversity of women’s lives is also underlined. In these fictional texts which depict
inter-personal relationships, professional choices and women’s struggle to earn
a living as writers one can locate the origins of post Second World War feminist
thought in France. With this study the dual goal of recuperating selected work of
four neglected French women writers and reinserting their representations of
women into French cultural historiography is achieved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


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